Frequently Asked Questions | American Thermal

By: Freeze Check  09-12-2011

What is the battery life of a tag?
Current tags (X2) have a battery life of up to 3 years in recording and/or standby mode.

What is the shelf life of a tag?
5 years in off mode.

What type of battery is used in a tag?
A standard lithium manganese dioxide, non-rechargeable, non-lithium ion battery is used in our tags.

What is the memory life of a tag?
4,000 logged data points; 53 histograms (each capable of storing 16 million temperature readings); 48 excursion records; min/max temperatures.

Are the tags programmable?
Yes. The tags can be sent to a customer with a pre-programmed configuration or sent to a customer ready for configuring by the customer.

What is the accuracy or temperature resolution for a tag?
Please refer to Tag Specs for detailed Tag Accuracy information. Temperature Resolution for all current tags (X2) is ±0.1°C.

What is the temperature monitor response time of the tag?
An industry-leading 30 seconds in a 10°C bracket and 240 seconds in a 40°C bracket.

How is data from a tag downloaded or retrieved?
Temperature data is downloaded using a Desktop (DTR) or Handheld (HHR) Reader. Tags can be scanned through a shipping container (with no metal components). If a USB Tag is ordered, data can be downloaded both with a reader and by plugging the tag directly into a PC USB port.

How does an RFID Reader differ from an optical Sensor?
An optical sensor has two parts. One eye, located in a docking station, sees the other eye on the temperature device and, upon confirmation, gives the signal to then download the data. LOG-IC devices do not have an optical sensor. The handheld and desktop readers allow data to be downloaded in less than one (1) second by positioning a temperature tag within 5" of a reader's bullseye.

Is a tag reusable?
Tags can be ordered as one-time use or ordered as multi-use.

Are LOG-IC products validated?
Yes. Information on Temperature Accuracy and Software Validation is available upon request. A Certificate of Validation is provided with each tag order. Standard tags are calibrated to 3-Point National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) certification. Individual tags can be calibrated when requested by customer.

How often do temperature tags need to be calibrated?
Tags are calibrated for the life of the battery in the tag. There is no need to send a tag back to American Thermal Instruments (ATI) for re-calibration unless your internal or regulated protocol requires it.

What is the difference between a Handheld Reader and a Desktop Reader?
A desktop reader is connected to a PC and sits on a desk. The handheld reader (HHR) is mobile. Thousands of tags can be scanned prior to connecting to a PC and synchronizing data to the LOG-IC CertiScan software.

What is a Use Count?
Use count refers to the number of on/off cycles that a tag has recorded. If you have ordered a multi-use tag, the use count is tracked and visible each time tag data is downloaded. In the following example, view the tag id # in the left column of the screen. The highlighted tag number is: 2000014271-UC11. UC represents use count. This tag is currently in its 11th use.

Does LOG-IC use active or passive Radio Frequency ID (RFID)?
LOG-IC tags are semi-active. Below are some general guidelines:

  • Passive RFID: A tag gets power when in the Radio Frequency (RF) field of the reader. Therefore, the tag will only operate and communicate when in the influence of a reader. A temperature monitor needs to have the functionality to record even when not in the presence of a reader. Therefore, this is not a viable option for transporting of goods.
  • Semi-Active RFID: A tag needs the RF field of the reader to communicate but can also use a battery to operate without the influence of a reader. This allows a tag to continue to record temperature without the presence of a reader. The tag will only attempt communicating when influenced by the reader.
  • Active RFID: A tag can both communicate and operate without a reader. An active RF tag will continue to try to communicate even when not in the influence of a reader. This is not feasible for airline cargo for the same reason cell phones and computer Wi-Fi are not permitted when in flight.

Can LOG-IC RFID tags be integrated with other RFID programs?
Yes, ATI can provide an API to support this process.

What is the read range of LOG-IC Readers?
Desktop Reader 2"; Handheld Reader 5".

Is there a way to extend the read range from tag to reader?
Yes, specialized antennae and boosters are available to increase read range up to 12". Consult with your representative for pricing information.

How do I know I turned the tag on/off?

  • Onboard the tag: When the status button is pressed there will either be a flashing green light or a steady green light in the Active Display window.
  • Flashing Green Light: The tag is in soaking, standby or off mode. If the on/off button was pressed to turn the tag on, wait until the programmed soaking period has expired to press the status button. If the on/off button is pressed during the soaking period, the soaking time will start again. Once soaking period has expired, the Active Display window will show a steady green light.
  • Steady Green Light: LOG-IC tag is recording.
  • Viewing status through software: Scan the LOG-IC tag and view the Overview screen. In the Tag Mode Section it will display one of the following: "Recording," "Off," "Standby," or "Soaking."
  • Viewing status on the Handheld Reader: Scan the LOG-IC tag and view the Display screen. In the Mode Section it will display one of the following: "Recording," "Off," "Standby," or "Soaking."

Can I download a tag through thick packing foam, bubble wrap or gel packs?
Yes, provided the reader is within 5" of the tag and there are no metal components.

Are non-USB tags waterproof?
Yes, they are rated National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 6/ IP68.

Are USB tags waterproof?
USB tags are water-resistant.

Will any micro USB cable fit into an Internal USB/Zip Logger port?
Yes. Internal USB/Zip Logger ports are designed to be universal.

If I ordered a multi-use tag, how do I track the number of uses?
View the left hand column in the software after downloading tag data. View the tag that you wish to track. After the tag ID number you will see the use count number. For example: If you see 2000014230-UC8 – this tag is on its 8th use (UC stands for use count).

If I ordered a multi-use tag, and I am on UC4 but have recorded for 3 years, what happens?
The battery life in a tag is 3 years. Once the tag records for 3 years, you must reorder a new tag. Therefore, a tag can be used for 3 years or the number of uses sold (whichever comes first.)

Can I configure/program a tag multiple times?
Yes, configuring a tag does not affect the use count. You may configure tags an unlimited number of times. A tag must be in the off mode to re-configure.

Do tags stop recording when data is downloaded?
No, temperature data can be downloaded multiple times and will continue to record until the tag is turned off. Even if the log fills, the tag will still monitor the histogram, excursions and the min/max temperatures.

What is the difference between a Tracker tag and a Logger tag?
Tracker tags are a base model of the LOG-IC tags. Some customers require only temperature excursion data. The Tracker tags offer only "Hi" and "Lo" excursion data with no curve graph. In other words, the Tracker tag will only show how long a temperature has been above a programmed temperature or below a programmed temperature. The Tracker tag only shows temperatures collected in the Temperature Bins. Logger tags offer more complete temperature history including data points logged on a curve graph. There are several styles of Logger tags available. Tags with probe options are only available as an add-on to Logger tags.

Can I take the tag out of the plastic pouch?
Tags will still operate outside of the plastic pouch. However, this would eliminate any protection from water, moisture or other damage; therefore it is not recommended.

What are temperature bins?
Temperature bins are depicted in CertiScan graphs as colored blocks. Tags record temperature every minute and place the temperature readings into a temperature bin. Temperature bins are preset and are not programmable. Tags have the capability to store up to 16 million temperature readings in every temperature bin. Temperature bins do not store the same information as data points on a temperature curve graph. LOG-IC is the only data logger that has this added feature.

What is the significance of a temperature bin?
Competitive data loggers typically only offer a temperature curve graph and are limited to 4,000 or 16,000 data points. A logging interval determines how often a data point is plotted on a temperature curve graph. If a logging interval is set to plot temperature every 60 minutes and an excursion occurs after one point is plotted, but before the next – the temperature bins will capture the excursion data where the temperature curve graph would not.

Do I have to have a reader to perform all functions with a tag?
If you order a LOG-IC USB tag, a reader is not necessary to activate, download or program a tag.

Can I name a tag?
Yes, using the User Data upload icon.

Can I overlay graphs from multiple tags?
CertiScan does not perform this task; however, raw data can be exported to an Excel/.csv file for a user to perform this function.

When a tag memory has reached 4,000 recorded data points, will the recording wrap around?
For insurance purposes, tags do not support wrap-around memory usage. Once the tag has reached 4,000 recorded data points, it should be stopped and downloaded. However, as a safeguard, the tracker function takes over and will continue recording up to 48 excursions and the histogram will continue to populate.

Why can't I turn a tag on by pressing the button after I have turned it off?
To protect recorded data. Once a tag is turned off, a fail-safe is built in whereby the tag must be placed into a start mode prior to being able to turn it back on using the button. This ensures that the data from the previous recorded session is downloaded and able to be saved prior to being turned back on. Once a tag is turned back on, previously recorded information is erased and the tag's memory is rewritten. This also prevents someone from turning a tag on and off only when it is "convenient" to record temperature. This is also in place because tags need a time reference which can only come from communication with a reader on the start command.

If I configure a tag does it use a use count?
No. Tags can be configured as many times as the user chooses. The tag must be in the off mode in order to configure.

Can I read data from a tag in different languages?
Yes. There are 11 languages available: English, French, German, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Portuguese (Brazil), Tagalog (Philippine), and Korean.

Does LOG-IC support Client-Server access?
Not at this time, however, this will be included in future software versions.

What is the RFID component of LOG-IC products?
LOG-IC Tags are data loggers with an RFID interface. Our tags are semi-passive: "Semi" because they contain a battery, "passive" because they do not transmit RF. Our tags reflect a signal to a LOG-IC RFID reader only when within 2"-5" of a reader.

Do tags operate with HF or UHF frequency?
Readers and tags operate on a 13.56 MHz HF (high frequency) signal.

Why was HF used as opposed to UHF?
HF frequency was used for multiple reasons:

  • Download rate with HF is faster than with UHF (i.e., 0.5 seconds vs. 5 seconds).
  • Data from tags is downloaded using LOG-IC CertiScan proprietary reader. This protects data from being downloaded with a generic reader and is an additional security precaution important to many companies using RFID products.
  • HF works better around metals and fluids comprised of water than UHF.
  • HF allows for less complicated readers which are less expensive.
  • UHF can have a large range, making it difficult to identify a specific tag when many tags are simultaneously communicating with a reader (i.e., you don't know which tag is the tag in front of you).
  • HF allows for more cost-effective tags that have more complex features.

Can you download/read tag data without a reader?
LOG-IC USB Loggers (Zip and Link) are the only tags that can be read without a reader. If you order a USB tag you will have dual download capabilities. Data can be downloaded via a reader or by directly connecting a USB tag to a PC in the LOG-IC CertiScan software.

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