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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 12 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...

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  • 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.

  • Right on time

    01/27/2016 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…

  • Weather vs Radiation readings

    08/04/2015 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.


    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?"


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

  • uRADMonitor in Shenzhen, China

    05/17/2015 at 13:08 0 comments

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

    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.
    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.

View all 55 project logs

Enjoy this project?

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!

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

Hm... A metal box...

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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?

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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.

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Lupus Mechanicus wrote 08/15/2015 at 07:55 point

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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? 

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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 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 02/13/2015 at 13:33 point

complete Russian analogue of the dosimeter and weather station

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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

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Jasmine 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:

Good luck!

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


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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.

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

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Dreistein wrote 07/26/2014 at 17:00 point
Have you thought about powering the whole thing over ethernet? Saves the AC/DC adapter

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

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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?

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

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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?

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Christoph wrote 07/04/2014 at 06:25 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 07/04/2014 at 07:18 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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André Filipe Cortez wrote 12/15/2015 at 15:11 point

For that you'll need to have a good energy resolution, which will depend on the type of detector you're trying to build (which can be solid state, liquid or gas) and there are a lot of technologies available using both light production or charge multiplication, but let me call your attention for the fact that proportional counters have a great limitation regarding the energy resolution attainable which is related to the fact to the charge multiplication process. But if you want I can always talk with you about this in more detail since I'm working in the development of new detectors for gamma-ray spectrometry. In any case, congrats on the excellent job you did!! Great project!!

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Radu Motisan wrote 12/20/2015 at 21:57 point

Hello André, I'd like to go into more details on this, specifically low power, low cost, portable detectors.

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ghzatomic wrote 07/03/2014 at 15:38 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 07/03/2014 at 20:44 point
Thank you, let's hope for the best!

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