A chart recorder is an instrument used to record various process and electrical signals. The most traditional chart recorders record data on paper. The paper is passed under a pen and the pen is deflected in proportion to the signal. The result is a graph or chart of the data. Chart recorders are available in single or multichannel styles (single or multipen) and in various configurations. Many of today's chart recorders can also record information in a digital format for download to a computer.
There are scores of data recorder models on the market, ranging from several price ranges. Extremes—gone are the days when most data recorders could be classified as either simple, midrange, or complex. In recent years, for example, conventional analog chart recorders have hybridized with data loggers, and PC-based functions have been added to most of the product categories.
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Typical Uses of Chart Recorders
Chart recorders are a familiar sight in manufacturing plants, where they track such variables as temperature, pressure, flow, pH, and humidity. Laboratories, meanwhile, use them to monitor scientific and engineering data generated in testing, diagnostics, statistical analysis, and other work requiring a graphic record.
When Should I Use a Chart Recorder?
When the process to be tracked involves limited variables that do not require a PC-based interface, paper and pen can still be the way to go. The advantage of a circular chart is its intuitiveness: at a glance, it gives a complete history of each selected variable over a specified period—a truly continuous display of a trend’s change with time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Select a Chart Recorder?
Many applications are suitable and require the installation of a chart recorders. Before choosing one, make sure you consider the following questions:
- How many inputs need to be recorded?
- What types of inputs need to be recorded?
- Do different input types need to be recorded in the same unit?
- What type of recording is required?
- Multiplex scanning (what minimum scan cycle is required?)
- Is a communciation interface required?
- Is recorder to be bench style or panel mounting?
- What type of instrument power is available?
- Is log-type recording desirable instead of/in addition to trend recording?
- Is color differentiation available for trend lines?
- Is message printing required?
- Is the recorder to perform alarm functions?
- How many setpoints per channel?
- What types of alarms: threshold, rate delta?
- Are physical relay contacts available for external alarm output?