Product Review: NOVUS LogBox Connect BLE
Industrial Internet of Things again, woo hoo! Oh stop, you know you love it. But how many of you are thinking about the cost of those devices right now? Yeah, IIoT solutions can get kind of spendy. At least part of them, anyway. Usually, the field devices stay the same, but the new apps and cloud storage to collect and study all your data – not cheap.
So yeah, most IIoT solutions have some “initial investment cost,” even though the benefits pay for themselves eventually. On the other hand, you can find IIoT and cloud solutions with lower prices if you do some digging.
Speaking of, let’s check out the LogBox Connect BLE, a Bluetooth data logger from Novus Automation. If you need a data logger to collect field measurements, then stick with me and let’s find out how this device might help.
Disclaimer: This product review examines only features, not performance. If you’ve used this device, feel free to share your experience in the comments. This content serves the purpose of providing information if you want a new device.
Whatcha got there?
First off, to write about the LogBox, I needed to download the technical manual and other stuff. Guess what? If you want to download the manual in Portuguese, you need to fill out a form. Why? You don’t need a form for the English version, but the file upload forced my computer to shove a wheelbarrow full of bricks up a flight of stairs. And it opens in a pop-up window! Really, Novus?
But let’s set that aside and get to the device itself. It makes a nice first impression, compact at 120 by 100 by 40 millimeters. You can chuck it in a backpack and go. It also has a generous LCD, where you can see three channels at once, along with alarms, diagnostics, and other data.
It only has two multi-function keys on the front, but the manual teaches you how to use them. Depending on the screen you have up, those keys will do different things when pressed individually or together.
Besides the BLE, Novus also offers a LogBox WiFi and a LogBox 3G. If you don’t like the BLE, then you may want to check out the other two before walking away. The BLE and WiFi have one digital input, three analog inputs, and one positive digital output. The Logbox 3G has one digital input, two analog inputs, and one negative digital output.
They all can integrate various sensors – temperature, analog, millivolt, and more. You can read the entire list and the differences among the models on the device page here at Visaya.
What can it do?
Okay, the LogBox can monitor all kinds of devices using the analog or digital inputs. Not every application needs control systems, and for those, a simple monitor will save money and time while providing data remotely.
And the LogBox has a resolution of 15 bits and a memory capacity of 140,000 logs total. Not bad at all. If you get the BLE or WiFi models, you can set up log intervals from one second to 18 hours. The 3G can go from 10 seconds to 12 hours. You should also know how to set the log trigger. All three models let you select date/time, start button, digital input, or software command.
If you want a local alarm, they all have built-in buzzers. So you can have up to eight alarms, two per channel for minimum and maximum levels. And if you want a different alarm or remote indicator, then the digital output lets you do that. You can read more about it here.
Why should I care?
Because we haven’t even gotten to the fancy features yet! These set the LogBox apart from its competitors. Novus provides some examples of device applications – monitoring sensitive products during transport, climate control in greenhouses or cold chambers, and more.
You can power up the LogBox either with a local power source, from 10 to 30 volts of direct current, or with four AA batteries. Yep. The BLE has a battery life of two years. The WiFi has a battery life of one year, but you lose the WiFi feature when you go to the battery. Whaaa? Anyway, the 3G has an internal backup battery with two hours of juice.
You can go either USB or Bluetooth to set up the LogBox. If you want to use the USB, then you need to download the NXperience software. It seems like a pretty good interface. If you have an Android (unlike me), you can download the LogChart to set up the device. Sadly, the app has no demo feature like you’ll find in the VEGA and Endress+Hauser apps.
Last but not least, I need to highlight the cloud connectivity in the WiFi and 3G. They use the most common protocol, the MQTT. You can use the NOVUS cloud service or another of your choice, which makes this feature impressive.
The LogBox Connect BLE could save some pennies for your new monitoring application. Or you may want to study the other models. You have three options offering good features and two ways to power them. You also get cloud capacity and easy setup with Bluetooth and a simple app. Before you buy, compare these gadgets to other options on the market. See which will cover all your process requirements, but the LogBox makes a good place to start.
This video has more details, and you can read more about the LogBox Connect BLE in our device directory.