The year 1983 was memorable in many ways. McDonalds introduced Chicken McNuggets, Ronald Reagan announced his Star Wars plan for missile defense, and IBM released its IBM PC XT computer. At Campbell Scientific, we were proud of our newest datalogger release, the CR7 Measurement and Control System. Looking back 28 years later, the CR7 has lived a remarkably long life—especially for a piece of electronics equipment.
The CR7 was our first modular datalogger, allowing customers to select the number and type of I/O modules that matched their particular application. As such, it was well-suited for applications requiring a large number of channels. Like all of our dataloggers, its rugged design and construction has allowed it to be used in harsh environments around the world.
With its compact size and high-quality measurement capabilities, it quickly found a fit in automotive testing applications. Its first foray into this area happened in early 1983 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, the location of a General Motors cold-weather test track. A GM engineer was interested in seeing how the new CR7 datalogger could solve his vehicle testing needs. It didn't take long to show that the CR7 could withstand the extreme cold (subzero temperatures) and, as a small box on the seat of the car, provide more measurement functionality than a trailer full of their other measurement gear. Many CR7 systems are still in use in automotive applications.
Another aspect of the CR7 that made it a fit for many applications was its high-resolution measurement capability (to 50 nV). This was especially the case for thermocouple and strain measurements. Many thermocouple applications benefited from measurements that could be resolved to 0.001°C. Weighing lysimeters that used strain gauges to detect minute changes in the water content of soil plots also benefitted from these high-resolution measurements.
While the CR7 is on its way to a well-deserved retirement, we take pride in knowing that its design and construction resulted in a long, useful life and made it a solid investment for our customers. Many organizations will continue to benefit from its measurement quality and reliability for years to come.
One of the challenges that comes from supporting a product with such a long life is part obsolescence. We'll continue to offer as many replacement parts as we can to support the many units in the field. Our application engineers will also continue to support the CR7, as we do all of our dataloggers.
As we work on future dataloggers and measurement products, we look forward to more high-quality products that will serve our customers' needs.