Over the years, we’ve all used a variety of tools to measure temperature. From dial or liquid in bulb thermometers to a variety of electronic sensors, most require the user to routinely monitor the temperature and make adjustments based on the data. If the device doesn’t log or record the data, we won’t have a good idea of what’s really happening in our process. Worse yet, if we have a failure of a cooling or heating system, we won’t know until it’s too late. Because of this, one of the newer demands from industry is to not only measure and record the temperature but also to alert the user electronically if there is a trend outside a user specified temperature range.

One industry in particular that has demanded temperature alerting is the computer industry, specifically server farms and data centers. Temperature control in these environments is critical due to the cost of equipment failure and data loss. Because of this, Quality Thermistor Inc (QTI) has brought to market the new DIRECTEMP USB temperature acquisition system – a complete, and highly accurate, plug ‘n’ play temperature sensor. The device can interface with the supplied PC based software or the user can stream the data as a virtual serial port for use with their own software (In addition, the device can be supplied as a board level solution (CAN-Bus, UART,SPI, I2C).

Our case study involves a local firm that provides data center installation. They were repeatedly seeing field failures of their equipment following installation. The failures weren’t happening consistently but rather at different times throughout the day. Once the equipment was removed back to their facility and tested, all the equipment was in working order. After having to troubleshoot, uninstall, test and reinstall equipment at their cost, they decided to look for a way to monitor the temperature in the rooms to see if there was a cooling issue. The firm decided to use the DIRECTEMP USB thermometer primarily due to the ease of use and the auto alert feature.

The installation process took only a few minutes and they were not only able to create a log of what the temperature was in the data center, but they were able to have the DIRECTEMP sensor automatically alert the customer when there was a dangerous increase in the room temperature. Since the device can be supplied with a NIST traceable calibration certificate, there was no argument about the accuracy of the device. The documented proof also allowed the firm to show their customer that the equipment was installed properly, but that the cooling system was the root cause of the problem.

QTI prides itself in the configurability of its products in addition to their quality. Among the many sensor housings and cable types you can choose from, you also have the option to opt for the virtual serial port version of the DIRECTEMP system which can be programmed right into your existing software application. Standard accuracy is 0.1°C (0-100°C) additional accuracy available up to 0.05°C from 0-70°C.