Vernier Go Temp USB device in Linux

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I've got a USB thermometer that is recognized by Linux when I plug it in, but I have no idea how to read it. Below are the steps I went through to figure out how to get Linux to read it, but you should skip to the end and download the Vernier Linux SDK, which I was unaware of when I started solving this puzzle.

/proc/bus/usb/devices says this about it:

T:  Bus=02 Lev=01 Prnt=01 Port=00 Cnt=01 Dev#=  2 Spd=1.5 MxCh= 0
D:  Ver= 1.10 Cls=00(>ifc ) Sub=00 Prot=00 MxPS= 8 #Cfgs=  1
P:  Vendor=08f7 ProdID=0002 Rev= 1.53
S:  Manufacturer=Vernier Software & Technology
S:  Product=Go! Temp ver 1.53
C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=80 MxPwr=100mA
I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=03(HID  ) Sub=00 Prot=00 Driver=ldusb
E:  Ad=81(I) Atr=03(Int.) MxPS=   8 Ivl=10ms


udev says that it has created a device for the ldusb driver called /dev/ldusb0 here (implemented in the Kernel as ldusb.c):

crw-rw---- 1 root root 180, 176 2008-01-05 11:17 /dev/ldusb0

That's hopeful, but how do I poke at that device, exactly?

Googling for ldusb0 I found someone who has the same device ( http://www.thok.org/intranet/python/vernier/README.html) and says that this code works to read it:

#!/usr/bin/python
import time
import struct

ldusb = file("/dev/ldusb0")

time.sleep(0.5)

# for n in range(10):
while True:
    # time.sleep(0.5)
    pkt = ldusb.read(8)
    parsed_pkt = list(struct.unpack("<BBHHH", pkt))
    num_samples = parsed_pkt.pop(0)
    seqno = parsed_pkt.pop(0)
    for sample in range(num_samples):
        print seqno+sample, parsed_pkt[sample]/100.0
    # time.sleep(0.5)

But it doesn't work for me. I picked a bad day to not learn python. Perhaps I can grok it enough to write a perl script to do the same thing.

From the above article:

turns out that an 8-byte read (from /dev/ldusb0) gets you a one-byte sample count, 
a one-byte sequence number, and three two-byte little-endian temperature samples 
which appear to be 100ths of a degree celsius. It appears to generate around 2.5 
samples per second, which is probably overkill.

It looks like the perl should be something like this:

my $buf;
open(DEV, "/dev/ldusb0") || die "couldn't open device file";
my $number_read = read(DEV, $buf, 8);
my ($samplecount, $sequence, $temp1, $temp2, $temp3) = unpack("c c s s s", $buf);
print "$samplecount, $sequence, $temp1, $temp2, $temp3\n";

And it works!

3, 127, 2840, 2840, 2840

Now, what are those numbers? Room temperature seems to be from 2400 to 2800. Grabbing the thermometer yields about 4280. Putting it into a hole into our uninsulated wall when it is 8 degrees Celsius outside seems to stabilize about 2000.

Putting the sensor in the heater vent when it blowing shows about 4000.

I've tried telling unpack to treat the value as different formats but to no effect.

v (little-endian short)
S (unsigned short)
s (signed short)

All seem to yield the same value after unpacking.

The advertised specifications for the sensor are:

Range: -20°C – 110°C
Maximum temperature
that the sensor can tolerate
without damage: 130°C
Resolution: 0.07°C
Accuracy: +/- 0.5°C
Response time: 4s (to 90%
of full reading in water)

Here is the graph of heater vent using the thermometer: http://finninday.net/temp/vernier.html

Conversion formula

My formula for converting the Vernier probe data to Celsius is this:

C = V / 126.74 - 5.4

I arrived at that formula after taking these measurements with a cup of hot water and a cup of ice water. I used a kitchen thermometer to provide half the data.

Vernier Fahrenheit Celsius V/C Ratio
8504 143.2 61.7 67.1 5.4 61.7
8464 142.5 61.4 66.78 5.38 61.38
848 33.6 0.8 6.69 5.89 1.29
824 33.3 0.7 6.5 5.8 1.1
760 33.1 0.6 6 5.4 0.6
7744 61.1 126.74

7744 is the difference between the maximum and the minimum of the Vernier values. 61.1 is the difference between the maximum and the minimum of the Celsius measurements.

126.74 is the ratio of the differences.

The V/C Ratio column is the result of multiplying the Vernier values by 126.74. From there I can see that I'm generally about 5.4 degrees too high.


Official Linux SDK

As of September 2010, Vernier Software & Technology offers an official USB Linux temperature reading SDK for the device. This appears sufficient for server room monitoring.

probe shows up as /dev/usb/hiddev0 under Fedora 23

It looks like usb devices in /dev/usb/hiddev0 present data in a different way that /dev/ldusb. I haven't made it work in Fedora yet, but it looks like the data is still there, just at a different offset.

With enough experimenting with

cat /dev/usb/hiddev0 | od 

I could figure out where the temperature data is now.

I'm used to the Go Temp data appearing like this through /dev/ldusb0:

[root@hyper1 bin]# cat /dev/ldusb0 | od
0000000 075403 005300 005300 005300 003003 005270 005270 005270
0000020 004401 005270 005270 005270 005001 005270 005270 005270
0000040 005401 005270 005270 005270 006001 005270 005270 005270
0000060 006401 005270 005270 005270 007001 005270 005270 005270
0000100 007401 005270 005270 005270 010001 005270 005270 005270
0000120 010401 005270 005270 005270 011001 005270 005270 005270
0000140 011401 005270 005270 005270 012001 005270 005270 005270
0000160 012401 005270 005270 005270 013001 005270 005270 005270
^C

Coming through /dev/usb/hiddev0, it looks like this:

# cat /dev/usb/hiddev0 | od
0000000 000106 000001 000001 000000 000106 000001 177716 177777
0000020 000106 000001 000100 000000 000106 000001 000013 000000
0000040 000106 000001 000150 000000 000106 000001 000016 000000
*
0000100 000106 000001 000001 000000 000106 000001 177717 177777
0000120 000106 000001 000110 000000 000106 000001 000013 000000
0000140 000106 000001 000150 000000 000106 000001 000016 000000
*
0000200 000106 000001 000001 000000 000106 000001 177720 177777
0000220 000106 000001 000110 000000 000106 000001 000013 000000
0000240 000106 000001 000150 000000 000106 000001 000016 000000
*