I now have a "server closet" where I keep my home server, terastation, switch, dsl modem, wifi station, ups and so on. In order to track the temperature inside the closet I ordered a "USB Thermometer" from usb.brando.com.hk. You just plug it into the USB port of a Windows computer and it will measure the ambient temperature.
The device arrived in an envelope within a few days together with a mini cd-r. That's right, not a factory made cd-rom but a normal burn-it-at-home cd-r with the software on it. And the software seems quite home made as well.
I read some review saying the device was "designed to be used in laboratories". Right.
You need two drivers to get it to work. First a USB-Serial -adapter and then a driver for the thermometer. It seems they use some old thermometer solution designed for serial-connection and simply put it on the same USB stick as a USB-to-Serial -adapter. But it works. And the temperature is very close to what my stand-alone thermometer says when placed nearby.
The software shows most of the captions in English and is capable of logging temperatures at different intervals - although only as a list on screen, not to a file. There is a "updata software" option in the software as well, but it is only a mailto: link to a suspicious looking address".
Not a great device but not very expensive either and it works. I just wish they had made logging to file available and used fewer colors in the user interface.
There are two alternative programs available for this device:
- TermoHID (link updated 10.9.2011)
- UTAC (link updated 28.4.2011)
Both of these are much better than the original one.