Project 4: Free Sensors

Introduction
Now that we have a working data logging system, we can easily modify it to display and record signals from real sensors.  Now instead of looking at random numbers, we can get readings of actual physical parameters from the real world.     But where can we get a free sensor?

Turns out most PCs have temperature and voltage sensors installed at various places on the motherboard.  These are used to check the health of the PC and to be sure it does not run too hot.  How do we access these sensors?   Fortunately there is freeware that will detect the sensors in your PC and provide access to the voltages and temperatures that they read. 

This project describes how to obtain and install MBM 5 motherboard temperature and voltage sensing software and how to view the sensor readings.

Getting and Installing MBM 5.3.7
MBM 5.3.7 is a comprehensive motherboard monitoring program that detects and communicates with the temperature sensors and voltage readfings on your PC’s motherboard.  It has many features and takes care of all the details in dealing with low-level sensors.

MBM 5.3.7 is freeware and is available here

Download the file and then execute the installation program.  This is straightforward.    At the end of the installation  launch MBM.  You can tell that MBM 5 is running when you see the temperature readings appear in the bottom right tray of the Desktop.

MBM 5 Configuration
Once you have installed and launched MBM 5 you can access the configuration settings by right-clicking on the temperature readings that appear in your tray in the bottom right corner of your Desktop.  Select Settings from the list that pops up.  When the configuration screen appears, select Interval and SysLog from the bulleted list on the left margin.  You should see something like that below:

Project 4 - MBM 5 config screen

There are several settings to be changed to work with Tiny Web Server:

Enable Interval Log – This box should be checked.  Also select .TXT file type.

Interval Log Time – This can be set to 30 seconds.

Location for the Interval Log Files – Set the path to C:\freelogger.  You can do this by clicking on the file icon and browsing for the C:\freelogger folder.

Interval Log Filename – Set to mbm.

Maximum Interval Entries – I set this to 10 but you can save more readings.

Include Value Symbols – I checked this box.

Be sure to Apply the changes before you finish.

Now the MBM 5 program will generate a file of temperature and voltage readings named mbm.txt every 30 seconds.  You can open this file under Notepad to see what it contains.  This will vary according to the number and type of sensors available on your motherboard.  Mine looked like this after two sets of readings were recorded:

Project 4 - MBM.txt file contents

The file will increase until 10 readings have been saved, then the oldest readings will be discarded.  You can, of course, change the number of readings saved to the file.

Using with Tiny Web Server
As you may have already guessed,  you can access the mbm.txt file using Tiny Web Browser.  Simply launch Tiny Web Server, start your browser and enter the following address:

http://localhost/

The list of files available in the C:\freelogger folder will now include mbm.txt.  Click on the link and you will see the contents of the temperature and voltage data file saved by MBM 5.

Going Further
There are lots of options to explore in the MBM 5 configuration settings. You can save the data to an HTML file (instead of mbm.txt it would be mbm.html) and you could view this directly by setting your browser address to http://localhost/mbm.html.

You can also change the readings from deg F to deg C from the General page of the configuration settings. There are alarm logging options and even ways to send your PC temperatures via e-mail.

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