Lascar Electronics have been providing digital display, data logging instruments globally since 1977. In the next few reviews I will be looking into some of their temperature and humidity data loggers. They have a wide array of loggers each with their own distinct differences. The reviews are in the context of carrying out short dampness inspections within the social housing environment.
In this first review I will be looking at the EL-GFX-2+which is a high accuracy USB data logger. When looking at Lascars products online, if it has a + sign next to the name it means it is the high accuracy version of that device giving more precise readings.
I thought the 100,000 data point entries with the Tramex DL-RHTX was impressive until I found out that Lascars EL-GFX-2+ can hold 250,000 temperature and relative humidity readings. The crazy thing is that this is not even Lascars largest capacity logger, the EL-BT-2 data logger can store up to 500,000 readings!
The Lascar products do not mess around with any fancy packaging, its pretty much a what you see is what you get scenario. The EL-GFX-2+ comes with the following:
- USB data logger with USB cover
- Mounting clip
- Micro USB cable
- Cardboard container
The unit uses tekcell sb-aa02 batteries which are non-rechargeable 1/2 AA lithium batteries for use with most Lascar data loggers. These are not the most readily available battery type, however you can order these direct from Lascars website.
The The EL-GFX-2+ is a small compact sturdy looking device with an IP67 rating. The top half is a rubbery texture which gives the device quite a robust feel. A small U-shaped USB cover encases the micro USB slot in the side of the device.
There are three buttons on the front face can start, stop and restart the device. When first turning on the logger you can use the centre button to check the memory used, readings taken and whether logging is in process.
This device is set up using the EasyLog software which can be downloaded from Lascars website. This would be done using a laptop or PC which means you will be setting up these devices in the office or taking your laptop to site. In saying this you can set up the logger with a delayed start time or to start when the button is pressed so you can set them up remotely then transport them to site without getting unwanted readings.
The logger is not compatible with the EL-DataPad which is a portable device which can be used to quickly set up other Lascar USB loggers. If you set up multiple loggers in the office you will need to label them in some way to ensure they do not get mixed up whilst transporting them to site. This is an issue that could be easily resolved by making the device name accessible on the information screen of the logger.
The logger comes with a mounting clip which has a small magnate on its back and two small holes to allow it to be screwed to a surface. It feels sturdy enough to give you confidence that it will hold the device whilst being flexible enough to allow the device to be placed on and taken off with relative ease.
Price wise, this logger comes in at what you would expect to see at around £95 plus vat which is cheaper than the Tramex data logger but more expensive than the Protimeter BLE.
The EasyLog software is very easy to use to set up loggers. When setting up the logger the first screen allows you to name the logger and set the interval which is anything between 10 seconds and an hour. You can then select how you would like the LCD display to work and whether you want users to be able to use the buttons to start and stop the logger.
This is quite useful as in the social housing environment you would want this option turned off so that people could not tamper with the logger whilst it is running. You can then set parameters if you want the logger to set off an audible alarm when it meets a certain thresholds of temperature or humidity. I am not interested in this function for the purposes of dampness inspections so this was kept off.
The final screen is for deciding when you want the logger to start which can be immediately or have a delayed start.
Gathering the data
During the logging session you can check the minimum and maximum temperature and humidity readings taken. This snap shot is really quite useful as you will be able to get a quick understanding of the limits of the readings which have been taken.
You can also check the live graph view on the unit. There are two views you can switch between, I am not sure if this is a full overview and a 24 hour overview or a 24 hour and 1 hour overview. The accompanying quick start guide could do a better job of laying out what this is.
The settings tab will be on locked mode if you have triggered this function.
You can then connect the device to your PC via the micro USB cable and stop the logging session and download the data. You can then view the EasyLog graph using the software. The software gives you a very simple and clean looking graph which gives all the info you need to complete a condensation survey.
You can zoom into areas of interest, view the data as a long list and export the data in a variety of formats like JPEG, CSV, PDF and EXCEL. If you have multiple loggers on the go you can open up multiple graphs and check them out side by side by minimising the screen. This will allow you to check out the results of different loggers against each other which can provide important information about what is going on in the property.
The EL-GFX-2+ is compact, tough wearing and extremely accurate. This little device is very easy and quick to set up. With the ability to store up to 250,000 data readings you will never be struggling for storage. To put this in perspective, if you’re logging at 5 minute intervals you will obtain around 2000 readings per week which is a drop in the ocean on what this logger can record.
Setting up the device using a PC / Laptop is limiting but not a deal breaker due to the delayed start feature. You can set up the logger using the device itself but this means that anyone can stop the device whilst in use which is not great in the social housing context.
The software isn’t bustling with bells and whistles like the Tramex DL-RHTX accompanying software but it gives more than enough to allow a surveyor to complete a dampness survey. The software is however very simple to use and has the ability to open up multiple graphs which allows for manual data analysis with a bunch of export options.
Whilst the screen on the data logger is useful for giving a snapshot it isn’t intuitive enough to give in depth detail. For this reason you might find just as much utility in the EL-USB-2 with data pad. I will be looking at the EL-USB-2-LCD in my next Lascar review.
If you like the look of this logger you can get a 10% discount on your first purchase by using the discount code CORNER10.