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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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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: http://www.uradmonitor.com . 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.

  • First IndieGogo funded unit went ONLINE

    Radu Motisan02/16/2016 at 13:04 0 comments

    header_110000E0

    There are now three uRADMonitor units running in Poland. The last one went online this month, and even if it’s technically similar to the other two by being a model A unit, it is special because it’s the first indieGogo funded unit to go online, part of the first batch of perks delivered.
    poland_110000E0
    Thanks to the great people that supported this project. Here’s how the network takes shape right before our eyes, thanks to your trust in this work.
    To access the unit readings and see the measured values of that area in Poland, click here. More units are currently in transit, and will go online soon, part of the campaigns scheduled calendar.

  • Right on time

    Radu Motisan01/27/2016 at 10:55 0 comments

    Following the successful indieGogo campaign, we are now ready to deliver the first perks to our backers, right on time, as promised, with the first batch of model A units. Thanks to the community supporting this amazing project!

    More details on https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/uradmonitor/x/7951265…

  • Weather vs Radiation readings

    Radu Motisan08/04/2015 at 11:30 0 comments

    The correlation between weather factors and background radiation levels have been investigated in an experiment that took place in Australia.

    David put together one uRADMonitor unit and a weather station, and aligned the output data using a python script.

    wind

    As David explains:

    "I’ve been running uRAD unit #12000003 here in Australia for around 12 months now and the only time I’ve really seen a solid increase in readings is during heavy rain which got me thinking, what other weather conditions affect radiation levels?"

    weather

    See the tools he used and more details on Weather vs Radiation readings

  • uRADMonitor in Shenzhen, China

    Radu Motisan05/17/2015 at 13:08 0 comments

    14_07_11_headerUnit 1100007D went online in Shenzhen, China, showing slightly elevated radiation readings:

    1100007D_uradmonitor_china
    This unit is located in an industrial electronics production centre. Its purpose is more connected to future uRADMonitor production than to environmental surveillance, so the readings might go offline from time to time.
    1100007D_china
    Other units in that part of the world, include the 1100008D in Taiwan, and the 11000080 in Japan, but unlike the 1100007D these last two show normal readings.

  • uRADMonitor KIT1

    Radu Motisan03/08/2015 at 14:48 0 comments

    uradmonitor-kit1-pcbtop

    uRADMonitor KIT1 is the first open source DIY dosimeter KIT, that can be used to collect radiation measurements and push them to the uRADMonitor network. Similar to model B that is to be released later this year, the KIT1 is intended for those interested in building their own radiation devices and contribute to the uRADMonitor network.

    The device was designed so that it an be easily reproduced by DIY enthusiasts. It features a single layer PCB and solely trough hole components.
    uradmonitor-diy-kit-06

    The PCB file, and the firmware source code are available on the project's page: http://www.pocketmagic.net/diy-dosimeter-geiger-counter-kit/ . The code is hosted both on Google code and Github, all those interested are welcome to contribute.

  • 200 uRADMonitor units deployed

    Radu Motisan03/01/2015 at 15:07 0 comments

    As you know, uRADMonitor was one of the HackADay.io 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.

    uradmonitor_devices_feb_2015
    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:

    uradmonitor-australia-new-zealanduradmonitor-italy
    uradmonitor-united-kingdom-isle-of-man-irelanduradmonitor-norway-sweden
    uradmonitor-moscow-russiauradmonitor-istanbul-turkey
    uradmonitor-franceuradmonitor-estonia
    uradmonitor-british-virgin-islandsuradmonitor-austria-czech-republic-hungary-slovakia

    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.
    uradmonitor_total_data

    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.
    uradmonitor_units_per_country
    Join now to contribute to this community global radiation monitoring project and help the network expand even further!

  • uRADMonitor + RESTful APIs + Encryption = v111

    Radu Motisan02/26/2015 at 22:24 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_api_uradmonitor

  • 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: http://www.uradmonitor.com/new-firmware-v111/

  • The Compensation Capacitor

    Radu Motisan02/18/2015 at 21:49 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:

    compensation_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):
    geiger_oscilloscope_compensation_capacitor
    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: http://www.uradmonitor.com/compensation-capacitor/

  • Checking the Geiger tube

    Radu Motisan02/18/2015 at 00:16 0 comments

    uradmonitor_oscilloscope_geiger_pulse

    The Geiger tubes used in uRADMonitor model A units are mostly the SBM-20 or the SI-29BG, both of Russian provenience, manufactured at military grade specs. Therefore they were meant to resist fluctuations over a wide interval of temperature or pressure. If a tube failure is suspected for a particular uRADMonitor unit, for example when the number of counts per minute reported shows zero, checking the Geiger tube might be necessary, and the following indicators should be verified:

    Voltage on tube

    Assuming the uRADMonitor unit is otherwise functional, it should first be connected to the LAN Network to get a valid IP, so that it can be accessed locally by opening the IP in the web browser:
    uradmonitor_web
    The voltage on tube is displayed in the web interface, together with several other parameters. The voltage on tube should read 380V +- 5V. The duty cycle must be between 25% and 45%.
    This method of checking the tube voltage is preferred over directly measuring high voltage inverter output for a several reasons:
    – it is safe: no electric shocks can accidentally occur by touching the high voltage sections of the circuit
    – a high impedance voltmeter would otherwise be needed to directly measure the voltage on the board. A 10M impedance voltmeter (or higher) would be needed to measure the voltage directly, to avoid the voltage drop and so erroneous readings to a maximum extent. The high voltage inverter is a low current high voltage supply.
    If both the "radiation" and the "average" fields show zero while the "voltage" is correctly measured close to 380V, it could indicate a tube failure. For certainty in this case, direct tube verification is needed, and the following approaches should be used:

    Geiger tube pulses

    The purpose of the Geiger tube is to count radiation induced pulses. When the tube internal environment is ionised by intersecting radiation, it becomes conductive for a very short amount of time. The anode (for example 10M) and cathode (for example 220K) resistors form a resistive divider. If the signal is collected from the cathode, then the maximum pulse amplitude for 380V across the entire assembly will be Vout = 8V according to the following calculations:
    voltage_divider
    To test the tube is functioning properly, we need to check it is able to count radiation pulses. In the absence of an active radiation source, the background radiation can be used as a source, which for the SBM-20 should be about 20CPM (counts per minute), depending on the particular region. So a first test would be to see if the tube registers any pulses, and to count them to see if we get the expected number, that is approximatively 20 pulses in a minute. Due to the random nature of radiation, we will get more or less, but repeated tests should slowly tend to reach this value. On the other hand absolutely no pulses at all, would clearly be an indication of tube failure.

    The following tube tests can be used: http://www.uradmonitor.com/checking-the-geiger-tube/

  • Isle of Man

    Radu Motisan02/08/2015 at 22:47 0 comments

    A new uRADMonitor unit went online recently in Ramsey, Isle of Man:

    Readings available here: http://www.uradmonitor.com/?open=12000024


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    LJCIRCUITS.COM PCB wrote 05/06/2016 at 05:28 point

    Hi Radu,

    Would you please confirm that you will need bare PCB of 2Layer FR-4 from us?

    My regards.

    T. Tan

    LONGJIANG CIRCUITS CO., LTD

    www.ljcircuits.com

    sales@ljcircuts.com

      Are you sure? yes | no

    georgefomitchef wrote 03/22/2016 at 09:48 point

    We do not know the future. We build it together with everyone

    We invite everyone who is in SWFL to attent bright TED-like show talk about future
    of robotics.

    http://www.slideshare.net/GeorgeFomitchev/tedlike-show-talk-about-robotics

    More information is here:

    http://eventful.com/capecoral/events/ted-talk-robotics-showcase-/E0-001-091801619-6 

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1034175773305483/

    Skype:george.fomitchev

    E-mail: gf@endurancerobots.com

      Are you sure? yes | no

    davedarko wrote 03/22/2016 at 10:20 point

    are you really back again to self promote your stuff on big projects?

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Kuristian wrote 08/16/2015 at 12:13 point

    Hi Radu, Great work you did here! Glad to see that the network is expanding as well! Do you happen to have a part list or the name of the transformer you use for the high voltage? I am really interested to see how you managed to fit a HV supply in such small place, and would sincerely appreciate. Thanks!

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Lazy Rabbit wrote 08/15/2015 at 05:09 point

    Hm... A metal box...

      Are you sure? yes | no

    davedarko wrote 03/22/2016 at 10:25 point

    it's not lead, it's aluminum.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Steve wrote 03/01/2015 at 04:53 point

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

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 03/01/2015 at 14:54 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.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    MECHANICUS wrote 08/15/2015 at 07:55 point

    http://www.instructables.com/id/RadSense-An-Open-Rad-SolidState-Gamma-Detector/

    It's called google, steve, it works amazing.  

    https://www.physics.rutgers.edu/grad/506/detectors-00326398.pdf

    Geiger tubes can detect beta particles as well as gamma. Solid state have different applications.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Steve wrote 02/27/2015 at 16:34 point

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

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 02/27/2015 at 19:34 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.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Steve wrote 02/27/2015 at 05:22 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? 

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 02/27/2015 at 10:48 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 http://www.uradmonitor.com/blog to see more about this project if you haven't already. Here's a script for local access, some guys are using already: http://www.uradmonitor.com/howto-upgrade-uradmonitor-graph-local-statistics/

      Are you sure? yes | no

    valery wrote 02/13/2015 at 13:33 point

    complete Russian analogue of the dosimeter and weather station 

    http://meteobox.tk/internet-meteostantsiya-s-dozimetrom.html

      Are you sure? yes | no

    the Exosmith wrote 12/05/2014 at 20:50 point
    The military might like this..

      Are you sure? yes | no

    parijat99 wrote 11/26/2014 at 15:41 point
    I live in India and want to get my hand on one of these could you tell me were to get them.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 11/07/2014 at 19:10 point
    More units will get online the following next days, as they are approaching various destinations all across the globe.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Spockopolis wrote 09/23/2014 at 11:47 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?

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 10/12/2014 at 17:48 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.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Victor Bolshakov wrote 09/13/2014 at 08:12 point
    Why not use PoE (simplest passive variant)? And why metal case? It will shield same radiation...

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 09/16/2014 at 06:41 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.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Philip Gladstone wrote 09/12/2014 at 12:17 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?

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 09/12/2014 at 13:09 point
    The uRADMonitor is an automated GM detector in a rugged aluminium housing which responds predominantly although not exclusively to gamma radiation.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Nakul Rao wrote 09/12/2014 at 02:33 point
    Awesome Project!! I am unable to access the website www.uradmonitor.com. Is it down?

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 09/12/2014 at 13:09 point
    I see it is working, can you try again?

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Jasmine Brackett wrote 08/15/2014 at 19:34 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: http://hackaday.com/2014/07/26/4-minutes-to-entry/

    Good luck!

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 08/16/2014 at 21:30 point
    Thanks Jasmin, I'll do my best to meet the requirements before the deadline.

    Radu

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 08/19/2014 at 21:35 point
    I believe this entry now has everything in place. Thank you for the reminders, both here and on email.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    davedarko wrote 08/15/2014 at 08:06 point
    I'm just here to drop my kudos! Awesome project, pleasing pictures!

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Dreistein wrote 07/26/2014 at 17:00 point
    Have you thought about powering the whole thing over ethernet? Saves the AC/DC adapter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PoE

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Radu Motisan wrote 08/06/2014 at 17:16 point
    yes, that would be a good improvement.

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Marius Popescu wrote 07/24/2014 at 20:02 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

    Radu Motisan wrote 08/06/2014 at 17:16 point
    yes, Ukraine :)

      Are you sure? yes | no

    Adam Fabio wrote 07/07/2014 at 06:07 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

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