Development of a GPS-Enabled Compact Data Logger to Evaluate Small Engine Usage in Actual Applications 2016-32-0032
In the process of developing small general purpose engines, it is necessary to obtain accurate engine usage information. Commercially available measurement systems created for this purpose have unfavorable characteristics, including limited flexibility and large physical size. A compact data logging device was developed to overcome these limitations, and it was used on several lawn mowers. A microcontroller controls the data logger and acquires data. The data logger also includes a vacuum pressure sensor, tachometer input, thermocouple inputs, and a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver. The GPS receiver is used to provide machine position and velocity data, which is synchronized with the other measurements. The housing is compact (54 mm x 124 mm x 100 mm), so it can be mounted on most small engine-powered products. Setup of the data logger requires no significant engine or machine modifications, which reduces the time required to instrument a product for testing. Since the data logger is simple and compact, it was possible to deploy several loggers concurrently in different geographic regions. The acquired data was used to quantify the engine loading, engine start cycles, accessory clutch cycles, and movement of the machine. These results are being used to precisely define the usage and durability requirements for small engines. In the future, work will be done to expand the data logger’s capability.