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FTP destination requirements - will a cloud server such as Dropbox work as an FTP destination?

BenFerguson Sep 12, 2012 01:05 AM

I am currently working with a series of remote stations that are running off CR1000's. At present to download data from the sites I need to manually dial in via a modem (at present we are using Maxon Intermax modems with data enabled sim cards) and then download the data - this has become something of a weekly chore... A colleague mentioned using FTP to push the data to a server automatically, but didn't know the finer details of it. This got me thinking about whether a cloud server like Dropbox could be used as an FTP destination? I have seen other references to FTP setup (http://www.campbellsci.com/forum/messages.cfm?threadid=80E9D155-8E04-455B-8152A5C568C60F83), but they don't specify whether or not there is a specific 'FTP compatibility' requirement in the destination IP address that is listed...

If Dropbox could be used as an FTP destination it would be exceedingly convenient, as I could then use it as an intermediary, and use the Dropbox program to regularly download new data to my computer and sync it with previously downloaded data...

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Ben.

GaryTRoberts Sep 12, 2012 09:46 AM

By default, Dropbox does not allow users to use FTP programs (or a CSI datalogger) to transfer files back and forth from Dropbox to FTP and vice versa. But, there are a couple of ways one could get FTPd data into the Dropbox cloud.

One way is to setup a Windows, Mac, or Linux box on the internet somewhere as a ftp server. The ftp server software could be set up so that the incoming folder (where the datalogger would upload files to) is the same folder shared by Dropbox. Dropbox would then send them to the cloud.

There is also the possibility of using Backup Box (www.mybackupbox.com) for getting files off of your datalogger using FTP and pulling them into your Dropbox account. It works well on a schedule.

BenFerguson Sep 12, 2012 08:51 PM

Hi Gary,
Thanks for the quick response.

I should clarify one point from my previous post: The end goal of my query is to find a way to get the data downloaded onto my work computer. Using a cloud server was simply an intermediate step that I thought might simplify the process...

I suspect the first option would be rather difficult with my work network's security settings. However, if I could set it up, am I correct in thinking that the files would then be sent directly to the computer (eliminating the dropbox step altogether)? Would this be done with a program such as FileZilla, or is there another way of setting it up?

The second option seems like it may be easier to set up with the security restrictions that I am having to work around...
However, after a quick look it seems as though backup box is purely a data channel, drawing data from an ftp server address and passing it directly onto the destination without storing it... As I see it there are three possibilities:

-I would still have to set up an FTP server to push the data to from the logger, which I could then use as the source connection in backup box,
-Backup box would accept FTP data that is pushed directly to it from the logger, and then pass it onto Dropbox upon receiving it,
-The logger could be set up with its own FTP server address, so that Backup Box could draw directly from the logger.

Am I on the right track with this, or completely lost?

Thanks again for any help,

GaryTRoberts Sep 13, 2012 09:24 AM

Your on the right track.

Yes the FileZilla FTP server software would work.

The datalogger itself can act as a FTP server as well as being a FTP client. So Backup Box can pull directly from the datalogger and into your Dropbox account.

Another option would be to create batch files/scripts on your PC and use Windows native ftp commands to pull the files directly off the datalogger on to your PC.

BenFerguson Sep 13, 2012 02:23 PM

It seems as though the best option would be to set up the batch files and use the native ftp commands to grab the files directly. Regardless of whether or not I end up using the batch files or backup box to grab the files, the lynch pin seems to be setting up the Logger as an FTP server... How would I go about it, is that something I would have to do through Dev Config in LoggerNet, or is that something that I would set up in the coding?

GaryTRoberts Sep 13, 2012 02:38 PM

You will need to do it in the Device Configuration Utility. You can download a newer revision at http://www.campbellsci.com/downloads . To enable FTP and set a user name and password, change the settings under the Net Services tab.


BenFerguson Sep 13, 2012 02:57 PM

So when I go through Device Config, have FTP enabled, and set up the user name and password, how would I go about connecting using the batch file? What would the server name/address be?
#EDIT# - Or how could I go about finding out?

* Last updated by: BenFerguson on 9/13/2012 @ 3:06 PM *

BenFerguson Sep 13, 2012 02:58 PM

Or how could I go about finding out?

GaryTRoberts Sep 13, 2012 03:06 PM

You would use the IP address of the datalogger which can be found under the TCP/IP tab in DevConfig.

For help with the scripts, look at:

BenFerguson Sep 13, 2012 03:10 PM

Ah, of course, I should have thought of that. Thanks for all the help, I'll give this a whirl and see how it goes!

BenFerguson Sep 16, 2012 10:30 PM

Hey Gary,
I've gotten a modem in the office set up, and have run into another wall... I have the logger hooked up to the modem through the COM4 Rx and Tx ports, and when I go into the TCP/IP tab in DevConfig, the IP address is set to, to use DHCP to get an IP address. This means that the IP address changes every time the logger connects to the internet. Is it possible to either force the modem to a certain IP address (by setting the address in DevConfig to something other than 0?), and how would you know what the IP address should be (I assume it can't just be anything)?


Sam Sep 24, 2012 10:48 PM

Interesting idea of sending the data to DropBox.
Looks like a savvy programer (*cough* Gary *cough*) could utilize their API to post files.
- https://www.dropbox.com/developers/reference/api

I also saw this application that look interesting.
Looks like you could use EmailSend() to work you way through the net to finally make it to DropBox.
- http://sendtodropbox.com/

Sam Sep 24, 2012 10:56 PM

You're going to want to configure the RavenXT cellular modem for PPP by following section B-1 of the RavenXT manual (
When configuring the datalogger, set the "port used" to COM4. You will then get a static IP from your service provider or (what most people do) use the free Airlink DNS service to keep track of the modem's IP address.

If using the Airlink DNS service
- set modem name, usually to your phone number
- set domain to eairlink.com
- set IPManager1 and 2 to edns2.eairlink.com and eairlink.com
- Enable IPPing = 255 to www.google.com

BenFerguson Sep 24, 2012 11:49 PM

Thanks for the thoughts on applications of Dropbox. I am surprised that no-one (so far as I can tell) has really looked into it before, as it seems to be an ideal way to disseminate data directly to a number of different users.

Unfortunately the API option doesn't apply to me, as my programming is fairly limited.
However, the EmailSent() option could be a valid one, I'll have to give that a go and see what I can work out.

One of the major difficulties that I am facing is that I am not using a CS supported Modem. Whilst CS Australia offers support for one of the Maxon modems (the Modmax), they unfortunately don't offer support for the next generation of Maxon modem (Intermax) that I'm using, and a number of the AT+ commands have changed...

Also, I assume that the AirLink DNS service that you mention above is restricted to RavenXT users, or is it available to anyone?

Sam Sep 25, 2012 01:44 AM

Sounds like Gary is hot on the DropBox API trail. He'll probably have something worked out in the next few weeks.
The Airlink DNS service is for the Sierra Wireless users. I didn't realize you were using a different modem.
CSA not offering support (even for a modem they do not sell) sounds off.

BenFerguson Oct 3, 2012 03:41 PM

Hi Sam,
To clarify, they are willing to try to offer assistance with the unsupported modem type, however, they don't have any of the documentation of the commands that the modem responds to, and as they have not worked with them before, they are not familiar with the syntax of the commands (which is explained in a somewhat confusing manner in the modems manuals). So although they have been offering advice and support, there is only so much they can do.

BenEvans Oct 4, 2012 09:19 AM

Some very useful thoughts and ideas here. It is a problem with which I am struggling at the moment, so thanks to everyone.

I would just like to say, however, that if you're worried about the IP rights on your data, make sure you've read all the documentation on DropBox. We've been told we can't use it without ceding the rights over our data to Google.

BenFerguson Oct 4, 2012 05:41 PM

Really, is DropBox a Google product? I hadn't realised. I would have thought that DropBox would be able to lay claim to a copy of the data, but the original ownership of the data would remain with you... In that case I guess the only issue is if the data can be used/understood without context. As the files that I would be sending would be raw data as ascii's, they would be effectively meaningless, as there is no indication of what the data is relating to.

BenEvans Oct 5, 2012 02:31 AM

Sorry, maybe not Google, you're right. Not sure who then, perhaps US govt as servers are in US. You're equally right that the data are effectively useless out of context. To be honest I haven't looked into it myself, I just know that wer're not allowed to use dropbox because of IP problems (although I can't see it being an issue in reality - who is going to be keeping track of all this stuff?).

kblackw Nov 21, 2012 01:30 AM

Thanks for this post. I'm in the process of trying a similar solution on our Cr1000s.

Actually, DropBox runs on top of Amazon's S3 cloud product.
You really should read the DropBox Terms and Conditions. A partial quote from the DropBox Terms of Service
"Your Stuff & Your Privacy
By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below."
They also prohibit you from using copyrighted material and unlawful material like pornography. Unless your datalogger is generating that type of data you should have no worries. I'd be more worried about security and reliability.

BenFerguson Nov 21, 2012 05:32 PM

Hahaha I surely hope my logger isn't producing copyrighted or unlawful material...
Good to hear that DropBox doesn't try to lay any claim to your stuff, its a refreshing change from the usual...

Johnski Jun 29, 2021 04:19 AM


I have connected via ftp to my cr1000 bur dir reveals a CPU folder and no data

Inside the folder is the CR1 files

How/where do I get the data files to download?



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