My latest project is a floor-to-ceiling temperature logger. The inspiration came from a 1929 study by the University of Illinois Experiment Station, which investigated the effects of various type of steam heating radiator enclosures on the heating effect produced by those radiators in a controlled setting. The U of I study observed and compared heat distribution patterns in a specially-constructed room, measuring room temperatures with thermocouples at the floor and ceiling, and several heights corresponding to "breathing levels" when an individual is seated or standing.
My project's objectives are to:
1. Measure the heat distribution patterns in various rooms in the house, which is heated by cast iron steam radiators.
2. For rooms with ceiling fans, compare the heat distribution patterns with and without the fans running.
3. Fine-tune the radiator venting by comparing the data from each room, along with boiler cycle time data (recorded by the EcoSteam boiler control software), to identify rooms which over/under heat.
For this project, I used a Phidget SBC2 single-board computer equipped with six Phidget 1121 voltage dividers and six 10K +/-0.5C thermistors. The logging application software is written in Java. Temperatures are measured at 3", 18", 42", 60", 78", and 102" from floor level. Temperature data is sampled every five minutes and recorded to a csv formatted log file on the SBC. Log files are created/closed by a toggle switch connected to an SBC digital input. Completed log files are downloaded over wireless from the SBC to a PC where the data is charted and analyzed.
Photos of the logging "stick" and a sample annotated temperature chart are provided below.
Reference: Willard, Arthur C., et al. Investigation of Heating Rooms with Direct Steam Radiators Equipped with Enclosures and Shields
. University of Illinois Engineering Experiment Station, Bulletin 192. Urbana: University of Illinois, June 1929. Print. <https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/4165/engineeringexperv00000i00192.pdf