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Global radiation monitoring network

The uRADMonitor is a plug-and-play, low power, self contained radiation monitoring device, connected to a centralised server component.

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This project was created on 06/29/2014 and last updated 5 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.

August 19, Stage 2 Updates:

The system design document:

Here is a presentation video:

A previous code revision is available as open source on Google code. Use it as an initial reference. The final code will be released when this project reaches a stable state.

Probably this is one of the best examples of Connected technology, combining the software with the hardware like poetry, going from microcontrollers to Geiger tube and high voltage inverters, coding in embedded C up to PHP and SQL. Hardware dosimeters to do the hard work, and webpages or Android phones to show the data, as the radiation measurements will also be available soon, via an Android app on the Google play. Technology interconnected at its best, to serve a useful purpose and help us all (global) stay safer.

September 12, Stage 3 Updates and video:

The uRADMonitor is a digital radiation dosimeter, enclosed in a rugged aluminium case. Designed to function as nodes, in a distributed network of radiation monitors,the uRADMonitor units are working together to achieve environmental radiation surveillance on a global scale.

Connectivity is a key element of the uRADMonitor design. All units are reporting the readings to a centralized server, where anyone interested can evaluate radiation levels all across the globe.

The devices can be employed in local, personal use, when one needs to constantly monitor a particular location. But the true advantage of this technology comes on a larger scale, where multiple units are working together, to help us understand variations in radiation levels, as affected...

Read more »

  • 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
  • 200 uRADMonitor units deployed

    5 days ago • 0 comments

    As you know, uRADMonitor was one of the 2014 semifinalists. The competition brought together a lot of excitement and constructive energy, but for some of the competing projects it went as quickly as it came, leaving only deserted project pages behind.

    We would have chosen the space trip, like true hackers do, but uRADMonitor didn't win the competition. Yet it is still going, building on the exposure it got from this great event, and only a few months later, the global network of radiation detectors has reached an exciting number of 200 deployed, interconnected units, moving a DIY project to an unprecedented scale.

    The new locations are many and it would be a rather complicated task to name them all in a decent size blog post, but iterate just a few, the additions include:


    With this impressive increase in units reaching two hundred, the volume of global radiation data collected has gone up as well, getting closer to a total of 20 million entries.

    The stats show a major presence of uRADMonitor units in the United States, followed by Australia, Germany, Canada and Great Britain. The column marked TMP represents mostly units currently in transit or waiting to be installed.
    Join now to contribute to this community global radiation monitoring project and help the network expand even further!

  • uRADMonitor + RESTful APIs + Encryption = v111

    8 days ago • 0 comments

    With the uRADMonitor network covering more ground, constant effort is invested in making the project serve its purpose better. Code improvements come with extra features or better stability, and new firmware updates are released to anyone interested in upgrading their units.

    Firmware 111 is the latest code released for the uRADMonitor model A units. We are excited to announce a set of changes that is the start of several improvements impacting both the hardware devices and the server infrastructure.

  • RESTful APIs. Easy to understand, maintain and extend, this will handle all data interfacing. This is also a first step in supporting custom DIY detector units that wish to join the uRADMonitor network, in an effort of expanding Global coverage even faster.
  • in compliance with the new API, we'll use HTTP POST requests for all unit data uploads, while we reserve HTTP GET transactions mostly for data access part of the new API. New Standards are getting in place.
  • Encryption and integrity control. In early versions all resources were invested in getting the job done, and ignored the possibility of cybernetic attacks. Since this is not a perfect world in regards to people with bad intentions, and to protect the integrity of the data we deliver – firmware v111 is the first to integrate advanced encryption techniques, to make sure the data sent from the uRADMonitor units arrives unaltered to the servers.
  • embedded code improvements to speed, memory size and stability, as well as some bug fixes related to JSON formatting and temperature readings.
  • More details here:

  • The Compensation Capacitor

    16 days ago • 0 comments

    Normally, the Geiger tube delivers a sharp short pulse, with an abrupt descending path, as the quenching gas very quickly neutralises the conductive ions, and so terminating the current flow. The uRADMonitor pulses appear with a slightly rounded tip because an extra capacitor is added in the circuit, named the "compensation capacitor". All uRADMonitor model A units have this capacitor:

    Here is the original pulse, as recorded on an uRADMonitor model A unit, with the compensation capacitor removed (left picture) and a similar pulse, with the capacitor in place (right picture):
    The first pulse has an amplitude of 8.48V correctly verifying the resistive voltage formula presented previously, while the second image shows a dampened pulse with a rounded tip and a decreased amplitude that is little over 5V, as an effect of the extra capacitance. Note the voltage divs are different in the two images.

    The role of this compensation capacitor has been further explained here:

View all 51 project logs


Steve wrote 5 days ago point

Why do we still have to depend on cold war Geiger tubes?  Hasn't anyone invented a solid state radiation sensor?

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radu.motisan wrote 5 days ago point

That is an excellent question. The answer is the Geiger tubes are still posing a good sensitivity/price ratio, unlike modern solid state detectors, that are either insensitive or expensive. Moving to solid state would make everything easier so hopefully that will become possible with lower costs.

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Steve wrote 7 days ago point

Would it be difficult to add an LCD display to the unit?

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radu.motisan wrote 7 days ago point

I am already working on that! The current model is called model A, the next model B will have and LCD and batteries for portable use. But it is also possible to hack the current model A and add and LCD.

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Steve wrote 7 days ago point

Is there a way to see your radiation level locally?  Why does the map show a number of installations at sites all over the world when you can only get them on Ebay from someone in Timis, Romania?  Why don't the levels in Japan read higher? 

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radu.motisan wrote 7 days ago point

Steve, I live in Timisoara, Romania, and that's a very nice city :) . With the new firmware, the units not only transmit data to the central server, but they can also be accessed in your LAN. So if something goes wrong with the server or the communication to it, we are still covered and the units can still be accessed. Drop an eye on to see more about this project if you haven't already. Here's a script for local access, some guys are using already:

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valery wrote 21 days ago point

complete Russian analogue of the dosimeter and weather station

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the Exosmith wrote 3 months ago point
The military might like this..

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parijat99 wrote 3 months ago point
I live in India and want to get my hand on one of these could you tell me were to get them.

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radu.motisan wrote 4 months ago point
More units will get online the following next days, as they are approaching various destinations all across the globe.

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Spockopolis wrote 5 months ago point
The metal housing will block alpha and most beta radiation. Ever thought of incorporating a window over the tube to allow measurement of these as well?

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radu.motisan wrote 5 months ago point
Yes, but that would complicate the design. In this early phase all effort has been focused on making the first units possible. This goes on with private funding, so I'm doing my best. As the project will develop further, we'll see additional features in place.

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Victor Bolshakov wrote 6 months ago point
Why not use PoE (simplest passive variant)? And why metal case? It will shield same radiation...

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radu.motisan wrote 6 months ago point
I wasn't able to use POE in Model A because of the enc28j60 ready-made module that I was using for the Ethernet interface. But it is possible to use an external POE adapter. For the future models I might be able to add this feature too.

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Philip Gladstone wrote 6 months ago point
Interesting -- what type of radiation are you detecting? I would guess that it is mostly Beta. How thick is the aluminum shielding of the case? I would think that that would stop most of the beta radiation...

Have you done any testing / calibration?

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radu.motisan wrote 6 months ago point
The uRADMonitor is an automated GM detector in a rugged aluminium housing which responds predominantly although not exclusively to gamma radiation.

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Nakul Rao wrote 6 months ago point
Awesome Project!! I am unable to access the website Is it down?

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radu.motisan wrote 6 months ago point
I see it is working, can you try again?

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Jasmine wrote 7 months ago point
Hello radu.motisan, now is the time to add a few more details to your project to give it the best chance of going through to the next round of The Hackaday Prize.

By August 20th you must have the following information on Hackaday Projects:
- A video. It should be less than 2 minutes long describing your project. Put it on YouTube (or Youku), and add a link to it on your project page. This is done by editing your project (edit link is at the top of your project page) and adding it as an "External Link"
- At least 4 Project Logs (you've got this covered)
- A system design document
- Links to code repositories, and remember to mention any licenses or permissions needed for your project. For example, if you are using software libraries you need to document that information.

You should also try to highlight how your project is 'Connected' and 'Open' in the details and video.

There are a couple of tutorial video's with more info here:

Good luck!

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radu.motisan wrote 7 months ago point
Thanks Jasmin, I'll do my best to meet the requirements before the deadline.


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radu.motisan wrote 7 months ago point
I believe this entry now has everything in place. Thank you for the reminders, both here and on email.

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davedarko wrote 7 months ago point
I'm just here to drop my kudos! Awesome project, pleasing pictures!

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Dreistein wrote 7 months ago point
Have you thought about powering the whole thing over ethernet? Saves the AC/DC adapter

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radu.motisan wrote 7 months ago point
yes, that would be a good improvement.

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Marius Popescu wrote 8 months ago point
Awesome project!
I'm curious, do you happen to know a source for buying these russian-made geiger tubes in larger quantities?

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radu.motisan wrote 7 months ago point
yes, Ukraine :)

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Adam Fabio wrote 8 months ago 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?

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Christoph wrote 8 months ago 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.

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radu.motisan wrote 8 months ago 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.

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ghzatomic wrote 8 months ago point
Very nice man ... great project ... i hope to help the world with my projects as well as you

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radu.motisan wrote 8 months ago point
Thank you, let's hope for the best!

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paolo wrote 8 months ago point
you can add more sensors:
pollution sensor
co2 sensor
radon sensor
uv sensor

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radu.motisan wrote 8 months ago 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).

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Victor Cazacu wrote 8 months ago point
Awesome work Radu! ;)

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radu.motisan wrote 8 months ago point
Thank you!

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