Heated worries? Be alerted about temperature and humidity

As many know, I create instrumentation and display systems that do a wide variety of weather monitoring tasks. Usually I focus on weather and climate measurement in situ.

Now, I have something useful for alerting you to problems of mission critical indoor climate. Please forgive this diversion to a commercial message, but I think that there are many readers that might benefit from this new gadget, or know somebody who might. If you are not interested,  just skip over this. Thanks – Anthony

TempElertUSB Offers real-time alerting of temperature and humidity conditions for mission critical applications. Only $99

NEW: Temperature and hygrometer device called TempElertUSB which can alert via email, pager, cell phones of any over/under temperature, humidity, and dewpoint conditions which may affect the safe operation of mission critical operations such as server rooms, food storage systems, greenhouses, warehouses, and process control applications.

The devices features a simple 1 minute installation and setup, requiring no special skills beyond knowing your email account settings.

Even then, the included software offers an import feature for Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express to import account settings. For manual message alert setup, a helpful email configuration wizard is provided. Messaging from TempElertUSB is supported on most popular mobile messaging platforms including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Alphanumeric Pagers, Email enabled cellphones, and standard SMTP/POP3 email accounts.

When plugged into any USB 1.1/2.0 port of a PC, Windows will automatically install a driver. After installing the software from the CD-ROM provided, TempElertUSB measures temperature and relative humidity from -20 to +70°C (-4 to +158°F) and 0 to 100%RH. The software displays the temperature, humidity and dew point (the temperature at which water vapor present in the air begins to condense) in real-time and saves it to a file which can store up to 7 day’s worth of data. This data file is overwritten at the beginning of each new logging session. The software provides the option for the user to save the data file permanently to the hard-drive. Temperature, relative humidity and dew point can be graphed, printed and exported to other applications.

Easy to apply to racks with a USB extender cable and adhesive clip

An export to Excel feature is built in to the software. A test button allows you to test email/cell phone/pager messaging prior to deployment.

TempElertUSB can be set to monitor over and under temperature, dewpoint, and humidity alarm conditions, then alert you several ways:

  • Visually on screen

  • Audibly via computer speaker

  • Via Email

  • Via pager

  • Via cellphone

  • Via mailing list server

The sensor can be extended away from the PC using optional USB extender cables up to 5 meters (16 feet) or using our optional Cat5/6 USB adapter, guaranteed up to 50 meters (150 feet) with maximum possible use to 100 meters (300 feet) on a dedicated cable.

Easy to install and use, the control software runs under Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows7, and Server 2003/2008. It provides a display which can view the current temperature and humidity and graph either the current live data or logged data files. The software can also show the current temperature and humidity in the notification area within the Windows tool-bar. Right-clicking on the TempElertUSB icon in the notification

area enables the user to access the full functionality of the software. Users can assign high and low alarms within the software which can send emails, text alerts or audible alarms via the PC’s internal speaker.

Pricing in singles is $99 with volume discounts available. Government and educational purchase orders are accepted.

TempElertUSB_Data_Sheet (PDF)

Instant Real time temperature alerts: email, cell, pager Plug and Play – no drivers needed
Powered from USB port – no batteries to fail Monitors temperature, humidity, & dewpoint
1 year warranty, free support Runs in background, logs data, Excel export

Features at a glance:

  • Temperature and humidity email alerts issued in real-time
  • -20 to +70°C (-4 to +158°F) measurement range for temperature and dewpoint, 0 to 100% relative humidity measurement range
  • User-Programmable alarm thresholds for temperature & RH%, plus dewpoint
  • Can also message to most any cell phone, pager, or other email/messaging enabled hand-held device
  • Runs automatically as Windows starts
  • Stays minimized in the system tray unless you want to view the live data screen
  • Logs all temperature, humidity, and dewpoint readings to disk automatically every second
  • Intelligent logging system writes only new data, preventing huge file sizes
  • Real-time temperature, humidity, and dewpoint graphs
  • Display and alert on Celsius or Fahrenheit settings
  • Audible alarm on alerts
  • Can email the log once every 24 hours to any email address
  • Export data to Excel feature built in
  • Support for SMTP and SSL email server authentication
  • Email test button to ensure you get it right
  • Ability to send to alerts to one or more email addresses
  • Includes an import wizard to automatically import your email account settings (see the screenshots page)
  • Runs on Windows 2000, WindowsXP, Server2003/2008, Vista, and Windows 7
  • Blue LED activity indicator on the TempElertUSB tells you it is operating
  • Can be extended away from the PC to the monitoring location via USB cable or Cat5 cable with our optional accessories


  • TempElertUSB sensor unit
  • TempElertUSB Windows software on CD-ROM
  • PowerBug remote system shutdown software on CD ROM
  • Quick Install Guide
  • Printable Manual on CD and within the program
  • Storage case

The TempElertUSB Digital Alerting Thermometer and Hygrometer can be used for:

  • Server and equipment rooms
  • Warehouses
  • Air duct monitoring
  • Fan monitoring
  • Greenhouses
  • Wine cellars
  • Walk in freezers
  • Basements (humidity)
  • Vacation homes
  • Outside air temp
  • Comfort monitoring
  • A/C failure alerter
  • Heating failure alerter
  • Mildew conditions alert
  • Worker environment alert
  • Hydroponics
  • Animal farming
  • Food service refrigerators

Learn more about it at www.tempelertusb.com

For 99 bucks, it is pretty cheap peace of mind for things that can go wrong costing thousands.

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David Y
April 12, 2011 12:33 pm

This is really cool! (pardon the pun)

April 12, 2011 12:35 pm

I hate to sound like a fanboy, but I would buy this if there were a linux version. Anthony, most internet servers run some version of *nix, if you can get a version that works on those, you can make some sysadmin’s job a bit easier (though only a bit, as they’re very likely to have a windows box lying around they could use for the purpose).
All my home services run on linux boxes, and my laptop is dual boot. :/ Perhaps I’m not your target customer.
Also, your last link in this post is broken.
REPLY:Fixed, WordPress editing bug. It will run under WINE in Linux. – Anthony

April 12, 2011 12:37 pm


Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta
April 12, 2011 12:44 pm

The link doesn’t work.
REPLY: WordPress bug…refresh and try again – A

Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta
April 12, 2011 12:46 pm

Ah… the link should be http://www.tempalertusb.com

April 12, 2011 1:14 pm

From my ventilation course in mining engineering, we learned that relative humidity above 70% caused things to mildew and rust, while below 30% the cilli of the lungs couldn’t function properly, causing (especially older) people to struggle with colds, the flu, and pneumonia. This looks like a great tool to keep relative humidity in the proper range.

April 12, 2011 1:46 pm

Just what I’m looking for! I do a lot of remote administration. I have a Data Logger for longer/offline testing, but I’m interested in real-time and alerting solution. This sure would beat checking the ambient on your server motherboard or on a UPS (and summer is coming – maybe). This should solve my problem nicely. Thanks!

April 12, 2011 1:55 pm

This instrument probably would have eliminated a big part of my metrology job. We used circular chart recorders that had felt tipped pens, red and blue, for temp and humidity. They ran off AC power with 6 D-cell batteries for backup. They were less accurate, and the chart had to be manually replaced every 24 hours. Lots of electro-mechanical maintenance, and a calibration was due every 3 months. Cost about $600, IIRC.
This TempElert looks like it avoids all those problems, and it’s much cheaper. Win-win!

April 12, 2011 2:11 pm

Anthony, you are quite sure it will run under wine? USB can be a problem, but if you’ve actually tried it, we will probably get one or two.
REPLY: I’ve not tried it personally under WINE, but my programmer says it should. OTOH it may vary with distros. Windows is the target OS, since it has the lions share. Easy to put on an old Win box – A

Frederick Davies
April 12, 2011 2:16 pm

Does the driver and software work in Windows x64?
REPLY: Nothing much that has to talk to hardware works under Windows x64, this included. We gave up trying. The software works, but won’t talk to the hardware. The idea is to run this on a Win based x32 workstation monitoring the room- Anthony

Dave Springer
April 12, 2011 2:24 pm

Nice gadget. I’m thinking about selling a kit that turns a smart phone into a wireless anemometer. The cool thing is the kit is the is foot cut out of a nylon stocking, a piece of string, and some duct tape. Tape the nylon stocking to the bottom of the case and it becomes a wind sock. Tape the string to the back of the case so you can hang it in the breeze. The wind sock keeps it aligned into the wind and pulls it out of the vertical more or less according to wind speed. Most smart phones nowadays come with magnetic sensor and accelerometer.
Temperature, pressure, and humidity sensors are lacking in most of them but a dongle plugged into the external headphone jack will give you two of those. Put a thermister from left speaker out to microphone jack and a humister from the right speaker out to the microphone jack. Generate an audio tone to either the left or right speaker and figure out the resistance by signal level coming back in on the mic. Getting all three on the headset jack would be a little tricker but not much as you could just put a band pass filter in series with each sensor then select between sensors by the frequency of the tone. That way you could have (at a minimum) a pressure transducer, thermister, humister, and any other passive sensor you care to name.
I’m only half joking. It can be done in exactly that fashion. I’m joking about actually doing it although it would be kind of cool to be able to hold my phone up by the wrist strap and see the wind speed & direction on it. 🙂

Frederick Davies
April 12, 2011 2:31 pm

Thanks for the quick reply.
If you are advertising this device for “Server and equipment rooms,” you are going to have to make it work with Windows Server x64 systems (2003/2003 R2/2008/2008 R2). Who uses Windows Server x86 systems in a modern server room anyway?
REPLY: We don’t really expect people would use it on a production server, as you really don’t want anything running on those that will possibly take CPU cycles and resources away from the primary mission of a server. I have two kinds of people interested; those who think they should think they should run secondary apps on a mission critical server, and those who think that idea is nuts.
We figure this would run on a workstation. That’s how we do it. Besides, I don’t want the responsibility of having to ensure that it will work unfettered with some server app competing for resources. I just don’t think a server is the place to run things like this. Most server rooms have one or more workstations used for monitoring the network situation.
We do have self contained TCP/IP systems that will work with any box, any OS, you can run your own query system or use the windows software on any workstation anywhere. More expensive though see http://www.tempelert.com and the network multichannel edition. – Anthony

Bjorn Drefeldt
April 12, 2011 3:00 pm

Why not also make a selfcontained datalogger that can communicate by the net (tcp/ip). If you did you would not depend on a windows box. With a good specification of the communication protocol it could be used for any system, you wouldn’t be limited to Windows (and Windows32 at that).
REPLY: We have that too. See it at http://www.tempelert.com – Anthony

April 12, 2011 3:14 pm

Awesome – related articles should include that earlier piece on indoor medical marijuana growth, right?

April 12, 2011 3:38 pm

REPLY: Nothing much that has to talk to hardware works under Windows x64, this included. We gave up trying. The software works, but won’t talk to the hardware. – Anthony
Microsoft won’t let Windows x64 run 32 bit drivers. They HAVE to be written as 64 bit drivers. They did this because running 32 bit hardware access in Windows 64 bit OS will corrupt the OS.

Oh we know this, and we tried the 64bit drivers path. Still doesn’t work. But as I said above, this should really run on a workstation anyway. – A

April 12, 2011 3:47 pm

Anthony Writes : “The software works, but won’t talk to the hardware.”
Any drivers you write will need to be signed. I’d be surprised if your developer didn’t know that though so I’m probably simply telling you to suck eggs…

April 12, 2011 4:14 pm

A device like this to monitor the operation of my sump pump would be very handy.

April 12, 2011 4:21 pm

[Snip. snipsnipsnip. ~dbs, mod.☺]

Malcolm Miller
April 12, 2011 4:39 pm

What about we Macintosh users?

old construction worker
April 12, 2011 4:49 pm

You mean to say it informs the user of indoor atmosphere condition and it is not based on CO2 ppm. What will the “Team” think?

April 12, 2011 5:18 pm

I would suggest mounting this on a hub remote from your computer. Even a laptop can throw off 80w and distort the local temperature. The weater station receiver on my computer table routinely gives temps 5+ degrees high due to the local heat in the area. Worse, some laptops like to put their USB ports next to the CPU fan vents in the back of the machine. Demoting it on a low power hub or an extension cable will get you far enough away to not have some of the weather station problems we talk so much about.

hotrod (Larry L)
April 12, 2011 5:37 pm

Timely post Anthony, we were just discussing remote monitoring of a server room here at work and I showed them some of your stuff including:

REPLY: We have that too. See it at http://www.tempelert.com – Anthony

Great item! Our air handlers monitor the air temp in the server room but if they lose power we also lose the ability to monitor server temperatures or send pages that temps are going ballistic. This monitor would solve that problem, and continue to run off of the server room UPS to send pages that the air handlers are down.
Perfect timing and dirt cheap when compared to the cost of toasted servers and down time.

Rational Debate
April 12, 2011 6:30 pm

On a tangent – Anthony or other guru’s here, would one of you please point me to a simple graph that I could use to figure out just how much water I need to run thru a room humidifier to get a room in a house/apartment up to X% humidity? I live in the desert, and would like to be able to use humidity as shown on wunderground.com (or similar sites, which I’m assuming is probably relative humidity), and then be able to know roughly how long to run a humidifier to get the humidity to a reasonable level inside. Darned humidifiers typically don’t have any easy way to even tell just how much water you’ve run thru them, but do at least say how much they put out per hour (if I recall correctly!). Also, anyone happen to know just how well/quickly the level in one room would transfer/disperse into another room when connected by a short hallway? and/or, how long it takes for outside v inside humidity levels to equilibrate thru an open window? I know many factors could influence this last question in particular, but assume no wind, open window that is perhaps 1 ft x 3 ft wide, indoor humidity maybe 35% and outdoor 14%…
Mainly tho, info/graph that would allow me easy rough calc on how long to run humidifier would be greatly appreciated…

James Sexton
April 12, 2011 6:32 pm

Malcolm Miller says:
April 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm
What about we Macintosh users?
Phhttt. What does a Mac user want to do with a practical application?

James Sexton
April 12, 2011 6:45 pm

Anthony, can I get specifics on how this works? (Com protocols) I’ve got use for such a critter, but I’ve got to com with it over quite some distance. Also, I’d need to know if multiple locations could be used. I have an application that is suppose to do such a thing, but doesn’t very well. I’ve got some AMR equipment at remote sites. No PC, but I don’t think it would be a problem, in that I’ve got many tools to change com protocols and the comm links already established.
REPLY: Are you talking about the USB or the multichannel IP/ network version? – Anthony

hotrod (Larry L)
April 12, 2011 7:14 pm

Rational Debate says:
April 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm
On a tangent – Anthony or other guru’s here, would one of you please point me to a simple graph that I could use to figure out just how much water I need to run thru a room humidifier to get a room in a house/apartment up to X% humidity? I live in the desert, and would like to be able to use humidity as shown on wunderground.com (or similar sites, which I’m assuming is probably relative humidity), and then be able to know roughly how long to run a humidifier to get the humidity to a reasonable level inside. …

You can use rules of thumb to ballpark it. Air at 80 deg F and 50% humidity near sea level (altitude of Dallas Tx) would hold about 12 oz of water in every 1000 cubic ft of air.
Absolute humidity is measured in grains of water per pound of air (7000 grains = 1 pound)
There are various humidity calculators on line, but to use them properly you need your absolute barometric pressure, and the wet bulb and dry bulb temperatures or the information to work back to those numbers.

April 12, 2011 9:41 pm

James Sexton says:
April 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm
“Malcolm Miller says:
April 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm
‘What about we [sic] Macintosh users?’
Phhttt. What does a Mac user want to do with a practical application?”
Now that’s a hoot! Of course, I’d add Windows and its (MSFT’s) many proprietary formats to that. (I’ll admit that W7 seems to have got more things right than any previous version; not that that’s saying a whole bunch. ;p)

P. Solar
April 13, 2011 3:57 am

Server and equipment rooms
Air duct monitoring
Fan monitoring
Wine cellars
Walk in freezers
Basements (humidity)
Vacation homes
Outside air temp
nice idea but not as useful as it first appears in some areas. It essentially needs a PC running 24/7 *with* a UPS.
The “no batteries to fail” claim is a bit dubious. Since a much more likely event is a power out it needs a PC to have a UPS, in which case the “no batteries” claim is no longer valid.
A/C failure alerter
Heating failure alerter
Animal farming
Food service refrigerators
Wine cellars
Walk in freezers
Vacation homes
It is not going to provide any of the above functions reliably without a UPS on the PC.
I presume many in the US leave their PC running 24/7 anyway otherwise this would be an enormous waste of energy to run a simple temp/humidity monitor.
Leaving a PC running all year to monitor a vacation home may prove an expensive idea too.
A stand alone device would seem much more reliable and efficient but I’m sure this gadget will appeal as a gift etc.
One other technical aspect I suggest you check is flash burnout. I’ve designed flash based monitoring/logging systems and it’s surprising how quickly the typical 100,000 writes gets eaten up with continual logging.
REPLY: There’s no flash memory in it. And, almost any professional need for such alerting does have a PC running 24/7 I’ll admit though, a vacation home may not have a PC running, but you’d be surprised at the calls we get. We do have a voice dialer system that can run without a PC and uses a mechanical thermostat as a trigger for such purposes. – Anthony

James Sexton
April 13, 2011 6:35 am

James Sexton says:
April 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm
REPLY: Are you talking about the USB or the multichannel IP/ network version? – Anthony
Hmm, I think that answers my questions. We should be in contact soon for a small order.

Bernf Felsche
April 13, 2011 8:55 am

Rational Debate,
Look for a psychrometric chart.
If you know the dry bulb temperature and the wet bulb temperature or the relative humidity, you can look up the amount bywhich the air should be dried/humidified in order to get into your target range. The chart also tell you how much the heat content of the air has to change; ie. the amount of heat that has to be removed or added.
You can assume air pressure to be “standard” unless you’re at high altitude (above 1500 m above MSL) in which caseyou need todo some corrections for different pressure.
If you’re managing the air inside a closed space, then the simplest way is to humidify over-warmed air, chill it so that it saturates and then reheat it to the target temperature without adding further water. The process is easy to control because it depends only on the saturation and target temperatures. It always works but can be energy intensive unless you have heat recovery from the chilling to the reheating to the desired temperature.
e.g. if you wanted 24°C and about 60% RH, you’d heat the air to well above 30°C while adding lots of moisture (e.g. as steam) and then cool the air until it gets to 14.5°C, draining off any condensate. Then re-heat without adding any moisture to 24°C (requiring about 10 kJ/kg dry air). The air then has about 60% RH. (around 11.5 g water/ kg dry air)
Note that if the space in which you’re trying to control the air quality adds only heat, then the RH will drop as the temperature increases. e.g. if it heats to about 30 °C, then RH will be below 40% — heat content rising by about 8 kJ/kg. But if the initial RH had been lower at say 30%, then the same amount of heat would have raised the room temperature to about 32°C on the same quantity of (dry) air.

April 13, 2011 11:10 am

I guess I’m a little disappointed there is no mention of Accuracy and/or Calibration for the RH measurement. Mass consumer devices can be notoriously off when it comes to RH%.

April 13, 2011 11:10 am

There are two ways to run WINE. You can run it from within a desktop interface such as gnome or kde etc and then run Windows GUI applications. Or you can run WINE at the command line in LINUX and run all those glorious DOS batch files and executables. It is much more important for my particular type of data center monitoring that I be able to get the temperature and humidity data using LINUX bash scripts, TCL/Expect scripts and then be able to further provide the data to a web server (apache/php). This generally would require a LINUX driver rather than trying to run windows code under WINE. But especially running your Windows GUI program under WINE would require a LINUX desktop rather than the much more command LINUX CLI only. So, I would strongly recommend that you get your wonderful USB device a LINUX hardware driver that can be compiled for any LINUX distribution.

Bernd Felsche
April 13, 2011 8:11 pm

CJN says:

I guess I’m a little disappointed there is no mention of Accuracy and/or Calibration for the RH measurement.

Download the data sheet from the unit’s web site. Accuracy is documented.
Calibration would be a process that’s run against a precision control in a controlled environment. That’s not of concern to most users and probably beyond what they’d want to spend.
(I fixed the spellink of my name this time.)

Bernd Felsche
April 13, 2011 8:37 pm

A USB device can be connected to a “plug computer” which consumes only a few (<5W) watts. An old Linksys NSLU2 can do the same with new firmware.
Depending on hardware ports and network availability, such devices can send alerts (and/or logging data) over the Internet, dial-up modem or mobile phone network. If you're in an area with mobile phone coverage, then it's a matter of having a mobile data USB device (with a cheap, pre-paid SIM) to send data via SMS when and as required. The mobile phone device can be "turned off" to consume power when not needed.
Low-level interface documentation is needed however, as a plug computer isn't designed for GUI – though some have hooked up USB-Photoframe, keyboard and mouse just to show how awful it can be.

Dave Springer
April 14, 2011 6:50 am

PaulH says:
April 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm
“A device like this to monitor the operation of my sump pump would be very handy.”
I had a wireless gimcrack in the bilge of my houseboat that communicated the water level to the houseboat’s desktop (Windows) computer. I also had indoor and outdoor wireless temp sensors, wireless digital compass, wireless GPS, wireless wind speed and direction, plus a few video cameras. The houseboat PC had “PC Anywhere” installed on it so I could check the status of any of those sensors or cameras from any other internet connected PC anywhere in the world.

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