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Low-cost configurable IoT data capture system

15 February 2019

Astute IoT industry observers will have noticed a new low-cost data capture and logging instrument from Electronics & Software Engineering innovators Beam Ltd being previewed at Southern Manufacturing exhibition, prior to its final development phase and full public launch later this spring. Currently the new instrument is undergoing Beta trials with several selected developers and highly-regarded organisations.

The South Gloucestershire-based company chose the recent engineering event to reveal pre-production units of its newest instrument, the highly-configurable, 8-channel BMeasure-125i. While this innovative product is aimed at Internet of Things (IoT) developments, its capability and generous range of features also targets broader laboratory, industrial and remote sensing applications.

The BMeasure-125i is an IoT data capturing and logging unit for real world data, featuring eight analogue and eight digital channels. Host connection is via USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi or RS-485 interfaces. Speeds of the 24-bit ADC run to 125ksps, delivering fully differential synchronous sampling.

The BMeasure-125i is able to run from a variety of power sources, including direct DC jack input of 5V to 16V, Power over Ethernet at 48V and USB-5V, where it will draw just 2 Watts. However, likely to be of acute interest to developers of remote monitoring solutions will be the unit’s ‘extreme-low-power’ mode that consumes less than 10µA. The innovative instrument can be programmed to wake periodically from this ‘deep sleep’ mode to take and store measurements, offering perfect standalone remote functionality with its optional battery and 3G/4G mobile communications module.

Beam Ltd also supplies its BMeasure software toolset with the instrument to enable rapid configuration and easy use. BMeasure supports both Linux and Windows operating systems. An integral MQTT client function facilitates connection to industry standard IoT cloud platforms. Operating as a data logger, the BMeasure-125i can autonomously sample and store data to internal 4Gb FLASH memory for later retrieval. For applications required to sample a larger number of channels, the BMeasure-125i units can be linked to provide up to 32 synchronously-sampled channels, making the instrument ideal for many sensor array applications.

High on the agenda for many developers seeking innovative data capture instrumentation is cost. The BMeasure-125i is the first of a planned family of instrumentation from Beam Ltd and will, says the firm, address the cost issue squarely with a base ticket price for a fully-configurable instrument in the region of £600.

When launched, the new BMeasure-125i will become one of the most configurable and adaptable data capture and logging solutions in its price range, delivering exceptional flexibility at a low cost. “Some have termed it a solution looking for a problem,” says Martin Thomas, director at Beam Ltd. “That puts us in great company as the same was allegedly said about the laser and hovercraft! We look forward to revealing details of the exciting applications that our Beta Test pre-production units are engaged with to show that there are in fact many ‘problems’ that will be immediately solved by our new BMeasure-125i.”

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