Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and don't miss any updates

Global radiation monitoring network

The uRADMonitor is a plug-and-play, low power, self contained radiation monitoring device, with a network interface used to centralise data.

16 74 102
Enjoy this project?
Share on twitter   Share on Facebook

This project was created on 06/29/2014 and last updated 2 days ago.

The uRADMonitor is a completely assembled and functional radiation dosimeter unit. In the current models, the radiation detector is a Geiger Muller tube. The electronics provided are self sufficient: there is a fast microcontroller, a precision regulated high voltage supply, a digital counter and a network interface (Ethernet). The detector works by itself, while consuming very little power, measurements show only 0.8Watts of power! It could almost run on a single AA cell for hours, or it could easily be powered by a solar power source.

While the hardware is globally distributed , the second component of the project - the server is a centralised NODE, receiving the data reports. The uRADMonitor sends small packets of data every minute, so we have an excellent resolution to the measurements.

What started as a hobby project with just a simple Geiger Clicker, has now gone digital to global level, and the first units are already running: . Done as DIY.

In the beginning there was the passion for technology. I decided to start a blog and write about the things I’ve built. I was more into high voltage, physics and various experiments, cool, but with little or zero use to those around me. Then I decided it was time to build something useful, to put my time and energy into something that would eventually come to do good. I already had the high voltage inverters and a few Geiger tubes in my toolbox. In just a few minutes my first Geiger counter was clicking indicating radiation detection. It was early 2011.

As a software engineer, I found microcontrollers exciting, and easy to use. I didn’t learn electronics in school, it was something I acquired during my spare time activities. But an effort done with passion overcomes obstacles easier. With my new advances in electronics, I decided to build a radiation monitoring station, with an Ethernet interface to have it function in an automated fashion by pushing data online for anyone to view. Slowly, the idea I was looking for, was shaping into reality.

The station, named uRADMonitor (from micro radiation monitor), quickly caught local press attention. It was featured in online and local publications, and I even had the chance to talk about it on TV.

Pushing things forward I got to learn about PCB design, tiny SMD electronics and hardware bugs (worse than any bugs known to a software developer). It was a long road of finding mistakes and perfecting the design. Some of that is documented in multiple posts on my blog and progress can be tracked there. But finally, in October 2013, precisely one year after my original uRADMonitor station, the first prototype for the new distributed network of radiation detectorswas seeing the daylight and passing the first tests with good results.

This is how uRADMonitor began, in an effort of building a distributed global network of detectors, calibrated to the same reference to offer consistent radiation measurements regardless of location, to function autonomously and use very little power while pushing the data online to the centralised webportal and to be as plug-and-playable as possible requiring the user to only plug in the power cable (5V DC) and the Ethernet cable (for Internet access). All the rest is done automatically: registering to the network for an IP via DHCP, accurately measuring time and radiation pulses and finally sending everything out to the server.

  • 1 × enc28j60 mini module Great for opening the internet to microcontroller projects
  • 1 × atmega328p Microprocessors, Microcontrollers, DSPs / ARM, RISC-Based Microcontrollers
  • 1 × Geiger Tube SBM-20 or SI-29BG Russian Geiger tubes made for the military - robust and very accurate
  • 1 × Aluminium Enclosure Rugged enclosure to make the detector indestructible.

Project logs
  • First unit in Japan measures low background radioactivity

    2 days ago • 0 comments


    First unit in Japan measures low background radioactivity

    Leave a reply

    The unit shipped to Japan finally went online yesterday. For now it is connected indoors. The unit measured an average of 0.12uSv/h in Timisoara, Romania during a few hours of tests.
    Surprisingly the values dropped to 0.07uSv/h when the first measurements started at its current location, in Japan. The first half of the graph shows recordings from June, during its initial tests, while the second half contains the measurements from July, recorded in Japan.

    Here are the values in CPM, as recorded by the SI-29BG Geiger tube contained in this detector, illustrating the same decreasing trend:

    The integration was set to one hour, meaning that for each number plotted on the X axis, 60 distinct measurements recorded 1 minute apart were averaged to give a better indication on the real values. The unit’s other parameters indicates everything is functioning in normal parameters. Here is a chart showing the voltage on the Geiger tube, following a constant level of the preconfigured 380V:

    And here is the internal temperature:

    The real time data is available here. For those of you interested in getting one of these units to monitor the radiation levels in your area, remember there is one currently available on Ebay for a very low price, to cover just the materials used:

  • Surplus unit on Ebay

    3 days ago • 0 comments

    I've recently sent a new batch of uRADMonitor units throughout the World, but got one unit left. I've listed it on Ebay for its BOM price:

    Anyone willing to get an automated radiation detector for the minimum possible cost, and join the network, has now a chance. You also get to directly support this project.

  • Rainproof plastic enclosure

    6 days ago • 0 comments

    To make things simpler when mounting uRADMonitor outdoors, here is a plastic enclosure that is rainproof when the case is mounted in vertical position, with the cables at the bottom:

    The radiation detector circuit board is safely mounted inside.

View all 13 project logs


Dreistein wrote 5 days ago null point

Have you thought about powering the whole thing over ethernet? Saves the AC/DC adapter

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Marius Popescu wrote 6 days ago null point

Awesome project!
I'm curious, do you happen to know a source for buying these russian-made geiger tubes in larger quantities?

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Adam Fabio wrote 24 days ago null point

Great project Radu! Thank you for entering The Hackaday Prize! We need a global network to monitor radiation - ASAP! If you haven't already, you should check out freaklabs talk at the 2012 OH summit, and his work with Tokyo hackerspace. Great starts there!
Keep the updates coming in - How do you test those Russian tubes to be sure they're still good?

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

screen Name wrote a month ago null point

Nice. Seems like you evaluated the whole thing. Maybe I am blind, but I did nit find an answer to this: Does your current design include a discriminator for evaluating impulses? If yes, I'm curious how it works. I've once used a commercial devie which magically transfers impulses in some gaussian shaped pulse allowing you to cound and evaluate energy. Regards.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

radu.motisan wrote a month ago null point

There is a pulse counter and it has a discriminator (part of the digital circuit), but it doesn't extract any information on radiation energy.
This functionality is usually implemented with different detectors such as scintillation probes or proportional counters, not geiger tubes (almost ignoring the radiation energy in their geiger plateau: )
If things go well, we might see an uradmonitor also capable of measuring radiation energy somewhere in the future (perhaps using an array of PIN photodiodes). We could then have a hint on the type of radionuclide involved.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

ghzatomic wrote a month ago null point

Very nice man ... great project ... i hope to help the world with my projects as well as you

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

radu.motisan wrote a month ago null point

Thank you, let's hope for the best!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

paolo wrote a month ago null point

you can add more sensors:
pollution sensor
co2 sensor
radon sensor
uv sensor

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

radu.motisan wrote a month ago null point

I did for the first station built, see: . But for these distributed detectors, I need to keep a balance between costs and reaching the target. What I presented here is the Model A, there will also be a model B, featuring temperature and barometric pressure sensor (needed to estimate altitude).

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Victor Cazacu wrote a month ago null point

Awesome work Radu! ;)

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

radu.motisan wrote a month ago null point

Thank you!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Mads Barnkob wrote a month ago null point

Great to see this project! Most of the other distributed radiation networks is only concentrated in the US with a few measurements from Europe.

I am really looking forward to a greater number of monitors spread around the globe and the possibilities to visualize the data with the google maps API.

Keep up the good work!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

radu.motisan wrote a month ago null point

Thanks Mads!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

bremenpl wrote a month ago null point

Hey there, great project :). One thing i noticed regarding projects containing ethernet connection is that ppl still tend to use the enc28j60 chip with an 8 bit mcu instead of a 32 bit mcu with ethernet pheripheral on board.
This isnt an attack on your project of any sort! It was just an outloud thought. I wonder either this trend is going to change anysoon.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

radu.motisan wrote a month ago 1 point

Most likely yes, as things evolve, despite there being a rather large inertia on change. Personally I opted for this combination based on previous experience, and for this project there so many obstacles - I had to choose things I knew they would work straight ahead, where possible.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]