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1  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / Re: IdealRatio Rodnik 3 Portable Radiation Detecto
 on: Aug 13th, 2019, 8:27pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
... But does it work on a Plane?
 
Sorry if you were expecting some sort of clever rhyme there.
 
As readers interested in ionizing radiation, and devices for measuring radiation probably already know, our atmosphere shields us from lots of space radiation (cosmic rays).  A commercial airline flight, flying at about 40,000 feet  (12,000 meters) is above the majority of this shielding atmosphere.  Yes, planes are generally made of metal, but a very thin aluminium skin is not going to make up for 10's of thousands of feet of atmosphere.  As a result, all passengers on commercial flights are subject to a significant dose of radiation every time they fly.  And, Yes, it's worse for frequent flyers, those on long-haul (international) flights, and of course, pilots and flight attendants.
 
So can the Rodnik 3 show us the dose a passenger receives? Is it legal to take on a plane?
 
I recently went on a business trip, and I took my Rodnik 3 with me.  I tossed it in my backpack with other typical electronic gadgets, such as 2 laptops, associated cables, mice, chargers, etc.  It passed through security with no attention from those very friendly folks with the latex gloves.  Carrying radioactive materials on a commercial flight is illegal, but the Rodnik 3, and similar devices detect radiation.  They are not, themselves, radioactive, and taking one on a plane is no different than taking other consumer electronics.
 
Here's a screen shot from after the plane reached the top of climb:
 

Rodnik 3 Ionizing Radiation Meter showing typical radiation levels on a commercial airline flight at 39,000 feet.  Image adjusted for display contrast only.
 
A few observations:
  • The contrast of the display was edited due to the strong sunlight only.  As I have mentioned before, the display of the Rodnik 3 is actually very crisp and easy to read.
  • This was an east-bound flight, so we must have been at an odd multiple of thousands of feet -- I'm assuming 39,000 feet in this case.
  • While the shot did not catch the LED on, it is flashing as indicated by the 'A' for alarm.
  • There is actually an advantage to the audible alarm being so quiet.  With the noise of the aircraft, other passengers won't notice the alarm. Note that I am covering the holes over the buzzer just to be sure.

 
The display is indicating 3.41 µSv/h.  Again, using my round number of 0.10  µSv/h for normal sea-level background levels, I am receiving 34.1 times the normal radiation level.
 
This coincides very closely to what is listed on Spaceweather.com for an "average" flight (scroll to "Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere"):
http://spaceweather.com/
 
Descending back into the thick air of a Florida summer, the counts went down quickly.  By the time the fight attendants announced we were descending through 10,000 feet, the Rodnik 3 only indicated about 2 -3 times normal background, although by looking at the developing cumulus clouds at that same time, I estimate we were more likely between 8,000 and 5,000 feet when that announcement was made.
 
This exercise also points out one of the biggest deficiencies of the Rodnik 3.  As mentioned in the review, it does not measure accumulated dose. A meter like the Ecotest MKS-05 "Terra-P" (Reviewed Here: http://linuxslate.com/Review_Terra-P.html ) has an accumulated dose feature that could be reset before a flight, and measure the total accumulated dose for a specific flight. In this mode, it could even continue to record accumulated dose while placed in checked luggage.
 
  
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2  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / Re: IdealRatio Rodnik 3 Portable Radiation Detecto
 on: Jun 24th, 2019, 8:25pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Another note on displays pertaining to Radiation at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
 
In another room, there is a different display on radiation.  This display contains an analog radiation meter (Geiger counter) and a chunk of radioactive ore attached to a rotating disk.  The intent is to show that the Geiger counter registers as the ore passes near the Geiger probe.
 
This is not the display I am referring to in the above posts.  While the radiation in front of the display with the rotating ore was detectable as I stood in front of this display, it was no where near the levels near the display of radioactive minerals in the minerals and gems area.
 
 
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3  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / Re: IdealRatio Rodnik 3 Portable Radiation Detecto
 on: Jun 20th, 2019, 9:05pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Is the display of Radioactive Minerals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History dangerous to the public?
 
In the post above, I mention that the display of Radioactive Minerals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. immediately made my Rodnik 3 radiation "Dosimeter" alarm in my pocket just from walking in front of the glass.
 
In the photo below, It is reading 7.53µSv/h.  Holding it there a bit longer may have had it reach 10µSv/h.
 

The Rodnik 3 responding the a display of Radioactive minerals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, USA. Photo copyright 2019
 
Is this dangerous to the public walking by it, or casually reading about the displayed minerals?
 
Well, first of all, to be clear this is really measuring ionizing radiation penetrating the glass.  Yeah -- ionizing radiation.  Not the stuff from your mobile phone or microwave oven.  That's RF radiation, and the Rodnik 3 does not measure that.  We are talking about ionizing radiation -- The real Chernobyl or Fukushima stuff.
 
More than that, normal background radiation is generally about 0.10µSv/h (rounded for easy math), so it is at least 100 times the normal background radiation where most people live.
 
That sounds dangerous... but is it really dangerous for someone browsing this particular display?
 
Well, let's put it in perspective.  Using the radiation dosage chart (Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sievert ) We can compare it to some other things people commonly do.
 

 
Note the first, single green dot in the second section -- Chest X-ray -- 20µSv.  So studying the display for two full hours would be equivalent to a single chest X-ray.  However, I don't think people typically spend two hours studying that display.  In most cases people only spent a minute or two perusing any of the displays.
 
Using the same chart, we can look at it another way.  Look at Mammogram -- 400µSv.  If you stood in front of the display for an entire work week (5 days x 8 hours a day), and then left to get a mammogram, you would get an equal dose from the mammogram, as from the display at the Smithsonian.
 
So... Enjoy the display of Radioactive minerals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  Read it, study it leisurely. Unless you spend all day, every day, with your -- um -- "mammogram parts" -- pressed up against the glass, it's really pretty safe.
 
I should also mention that the Rodnik 3 detected radiation from a few other individual mineral samples in other displays that contained heavier elements, as one would expect.  None of these produced nearly as high a reading on the Rodnik 3 as the Radioactive minerals display.
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4  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / Re: IdealRatio Rodnik 3 Portable Radiation Detecto
 on: Jun 20th, 2019, 7:06pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Obviously, a Geiger Counter such as the IdealRatio Rodnik 3 doesn't really prove it's worth until it finds something radioactive, so some reviewers of these devices (not just myself) will ask the rhetorical question "Have I found anything radioactive?"
 
Well... I recently went on vacation, and took my Rodnik 3 with me.  It was great that it was so portable.  And yes, I did find quite a few radioactive things -- some of them were impressively radioactive.
 
Or vacation was a long road trip, with several stops along a significant portion of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.
 
The first stop was the Daytona Flea Market in Florida. https://daytonafleamarket.com/ .  Antique hunters will want to proceed all the way to the back (north end) of the market.  There is a vendor there that sells antique glassware.  He already knows me and my DRSB-88 radiation detector.  The "Radioactive Green Cat" mentioned in the review was purchased from his antiques tent, and yes, he still has numerous Vaseline glass pieces that the Rodnik 3 responded to. I asked him about Fiestaware https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiesta_(dinnerware)#Radioactive_glazes , and he lead me to a complete place setting of red authentic antique Fiestaware.  It was mildly radioactive, but not really that impressive. We began talking about other items that may have a radioactive glazing.  He mentioned that he thought some yellow glazings were also radioactive.  We tested several pieces, but nothing seemed to get the Rodnik 3 excited.  Then, totally at random, I held the Rodnik 3 near a rather ugly clay pitcher with a beige glazing, and glazing on the front in other colors depicting fruit, including intense (for the age) purple grapes.  The Rodnik 3 began counting events in a continuous stream, and soon went to alarm mode.  I am not sure if the pitcher itself was made of a radioactive clay, or if it was the glazings.
 
The pitcher was large, ugly, and while the seller was willing to negotiate, it just was not something that I actually wanted to take with me on the rest of the trip.
 
The next real destination for our trip was Washington, DC -- more specifically, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  This museum (the most visited museum in the world) has an extensive section about minerals and gems, including a display dedicated to radioactive minerals.  When I saw what the display was about, I of course thought of the Rodnik 3 in my pocket.  As soon as I thought of it, I realized it was already in alarm mode in my pocket.
 

The Rodnik 3 responding the a display of Radioactive minerals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, USA.
 
This showed 2 things -- First, it was the first (and only) time it actually warned me of radiation exposure, as opposed to me actively testing an object.  Second, I did not hear it alarming until I thought of it. As I mentioned in the review, it was not loud enough to get my attention over the background noise of the crowded museum.  (More about the Smithsonian display in a later post. See Below.)
 
The return trip provided another opportunity for the Rodnik 3. By sheer chance, we happened upon the Black Rose Antiques and Collectibles Mall in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. https://www.blackroseantiques.com/ .  Several of the booths had items that really got the attention of the Rodnik 3.  There were several antique clocks with Radium dials, and the usual assortment of Fiestaware and Vaseline glass.  But in 2 separate booths, there were identical red-orange pitchers that immediately put the Rodnik 3 in alarm mode, even from several feet away.  Neither of these pitchers had any markings, so they were apparently not actual Fiestaware, but they must have had significant Uranium in the red-orange glazing.
 
There was also another small vase that caused the Rodnik 3 to immediately go into a constant stream of counts, and almost immediately alarm.  This piece was particularly interesting because nothing about it's appearance gave a clue to it's radioactivity.  It did not have a shiny glazing at all, and it was not red, orange, or yellow.  If anyone ever buys it, they may never be aware of it's radioactivity.
 
The Black Rose Antiques and Collectibles Mall was a really cool stop, and the Rodnik 3 added a whole new dimension to browsing the dozens of overstocked vendor booths.
 
Note: Pictures of the radioactive antiques I did not buy are not included, since many antique vendors do not like people taking pictures of their offerings.
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5  Linuxslate.com Reviews & Commentary / Review Discussions / IdealRatio Rodnik 3 Portable Radiation Detector
 on: Jun 20th, 2019, 6:33pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
This thread is for the discussion of the review “IdealRatio” “Rodnik 3” Portable Radiation Detector.
 
Of course, you may want to read the review first:  
http://linuxslate.com/Review_Rodnik_3.html .
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6  Mobile Linux Devices / General News / Wouxun KG-UV9D(plus) Programming on Linux
 on: Sep 26th, 2018, 7:16pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
The Wouxun KG-UV9D(plus) "Official" Programming software works on Linux/Wine !
 
Skip to after the screen shot for what you need to get it working...
 

To be clear -- This article is about running the "official", proprietary Wouxun Programming software.  We are not talking about CHIRP, or any other Open Source Ham Radio Programming software.
 
You need:
 
-- A Wouxun KG-UV9D(plus) Radio (if you don't find this at least somewhat obvious, you probably do not need to read the rest.)
 
-- The Software from the Wouxun Website:
   http://www.wouxun.com/resource/download.aspx?flid=1094
 
-- An Appropriate Cable:
Obviously, the official one should work.
 
I made my own using an FTDI adapter as described here:
   http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Technical.php
 

Perhaps not pretty, but I can verify that the same cable as described in the linked article work for the KG-UV9D(plus).
 
 
-- A PC or Laptop running a current Linux.  I was using Ubuntu 14.04
 
The Steps:
 
-- You must install Wine from the official WineHQ repository.  The versions supplied from the default Ubuntu repositories are not up to date enough.  Follow the instructions here to add the official winehq repository, and then install the latest stable version:
 https://wiki.winehq.org/Ubuntu
Again, I recommend performing the command to install the Stable-branch.
 
-- You may need to install winetricks:
Code:
sudo apt-get install winetricks 


 
-- Run winecfg to create a Windows "C" drive, and configure wine.
Code:
winecfg 


During the first wine startup, it will ask you to install 2 missing components, one is for Windows .NET, and one is for Windows programs that use embedded HTML.  Answer "Yes" or "OK" to both.
You do not have to change or configure any windows settings, just hit "OK".
 
-- Make the cable accessible to the user.
Code:
sudo adduser [your_user_name] dialout 


Replace [your_user_name] as appropriate, without the brackets.
"Drivers" for the cable are not needed on Linux.
 
-- Map the USB device to a Windows "com" port:
NOTE: The cable (or FTDI adapter) must be connected to the computer in order to have a /dev/ttyUSB0.
Code:
rm ~/.wine/dosdevices/com1
ln -s /dev/ttyUSB0 ~/.wine/dosdevices/com1 


This removes the old link, and then links ttyUSB0 (the programming cable) to Windows COM1.
If you have other USB serial devices connected, change the line above to match the correct USB device.
 
-- Install the Wouxun programming software:
Find the downloaded file UV9DP_SEN.rar in your Downloads directory.
Right-click it, and choose "Extract Here".
Find the resulting Installer file KG-UV9D(Plus) setup.exe, which should be in the same directory. Run the installer, and answer the prompts as normal.  Select install shortcuts for a single user, when asked.
This should create a link on the desktop as shown on the screenshot above.
 
-- Install minicom from you distribution repository (If you do not have it already):
Code:
sudo apt-get install minicom 


 
-- Run minicom to setup the serial port:
Code:
minicom 


The first time minicom is run, it will ask for defaults.  The point is, we want to set /dev/ttyUSB0, and set it to 2400 baud, 8-N-1. After the initial setup, the commands would be:
Alt-A --> O (letter "o") --> Serial port setup --> E --> (use a and b keys to select 2400) --> verify 2400 8N1 at the top --> Hit Enter twice to save, then select Exit --> Alt-A --> Q to quit minicom without reset --> Yes.
 
-- Turn on, and connect radio
 
-- Run the Wouxun Programming software
Click the link created during the installation (not the installer).  If it is not on the desktop, you can find the installed executable in:  ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/KG-UV9D\(Plus\)/
 
Click "Read" (Downward Facing Blue arrow), and it should read the data from the radio.
The radio will reboot after a successful Read or Write.  Apparently, this is normal.
Suggestion:  Save your radio settings file outside of the .wine directory.  This way, you can remove/upgrade/etc. your wine environment as you wish, and you will still have your settings saved.  Back up your settings files as part of your regular Linux backup.
 
Troubleshooting:
 
-- If the Wouxun programming software will not run:
run winetricks, and select "Select the default wineprefix" "OK" --> "Install a Windows DLL or component" "OK", and then select mfc42 and msvcirt.
 
vcrun6 and vcrun6sp6 should already be selected.  Hit "OK".  When it competes, try to run the Wouxun app again.
 
-- Wouxun programming software runs, but will not connect.
Check the serial port settings.  minicom can be used as a serial sniffer to help understand what is happening.
Try reversing the TX and RX wires on the FTDI board (home made cables only) as mentioned in the article referenced above.
 
-- Check the Cable (or FTDI) device name:
If the cable is disconnected, and then re-connected, it may re-enumerate to /dev/ttyUSB1 (or another number).  Disconnecting the cable from the USB port, waiting a few seconds, and then reconnecting it should set it back to the lowest available ttyUSB device number.
Code:
ls /dev/tty* 


USB devices should be at the end of the list.
 
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7  Original Projects and Builds / NodeMCU IoT Clock / Re: NodeMCU IoT Clock Source Code
 on: Nov 6th, 2017, 9:22pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Status Update, and additional minor bugs:
 
 
-- It did correctly update for the US end of DST !!  Smiley  
(I'd also like to note that our "Atomic" (WWVB) clock in the kitchen still has not gotten a signal, and remains 1 hour off.)
 
-- On the main settings page, if one changes the time zone, or the time server, and then presses the keyboard enter button instead of clicking the Submit button, it would not save the settings. This has been fixed by simply changing what is looked for in the post response.
 
-- In time only mode, code was added to move the time on the display to maintain uniform display brightness. Since the time display in 24 hour mode is shorter (fewer characters) than time in AM/PM format, in 24 hour format, it will favor the left of the display, and never use the last few characters of the display.
 
These have been fixed, and will be in the next .tar.gz I upload.
 
Here's a picture of my development clock, using a 40 character dot matrix VFD.  It is running the 20 character code, however.
 

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8  Original Projects and Builds / NodeMCU IoT Clock / Re: NodeMCU IoT Clock Status Update
 on: Nov 6th, 2017, 8:59pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Please refer to the
 
NodeMCU IoT Clock Source Code: http://linuxslate.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1482280050
 
page for future status and issues list.  This separate thread is deprecated.
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9  Original Projects and Builds / NodeMCU IoT Clock / Re: NodeMCU IoT Clock Source Code
 on: Nov 3rd, 2017, 9:34pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
New Release (Finally) Uploaded.  (Just in time to test Fall back, for those in areas that use DST)
 
http://linuxslate.com/files/VFD_Clock_Distribution_20171103.tar.gz
 
Bug Fixes and Improvements:
 
-- Spring Forward and Fall Back were tied to wrong dates. Spring was in November, and Fall was in March.
    Other not - as - glaring errors and optimizations in this section of the main code.
    Still no promises, but at least the worst, and most obvious errors were fixed.
 
-- Another DST related error in the Daytime connection to the time server.
   2 issues caused the initial connection to the Daytime server (port 13) and determination of whether DST was in effect to fail. -- Fixed.  Initial Connection to the Daytime server, can of course fail due to external problems, but it seems to work most of the time.
 
-- Various code clean up and space (heap) savings
 
-- New feature:  In Clock Only mode, the time moves around the display every minute.  This helps keep screen brightness uniform on many (most) types of displays. (Note: The timer is caught and sync'ed the 1st minute, so it does not actually move the time until the second minute. This also means that alarms set for within less 2 minutes after a reboot may not work, but I do not consider that to be a bug.) (Note: There is still 1 or 2 characters at each end that is are used in 24HR mode.)
 
-- The 1 minute timer is now synced to seconds.  Alarms occur on the minute, or approximately 1 second after.  The movement of the display in clock only mode uses this, so the clock moves on the minute, and not at a random number of seconds.
 
Startup time reduced to 5 seconds. Depending on how you connect to the NodeMCU, this should not be a problem if you need to "file.rename("init.lua","not_init.lua")", or similar.
 
NOT Fixed:
 
When an alarm is playing, the relevant sound file is (obviously) open each time the sound is playing. If the user then requests (or refreshes) the web page, the webserver must open the relevant HTML file. While newer NodeMCU firmwares will allow 2 files to be open at once, the version I used did not.  The result is that there is a very high probability of a crash when attempting to cancel an alarm or hitting snooze. While a crash serves (in a rather un-elegant way) to silence the alarm, and the clock resumes normal function after it reboots, this renders the snooze function unusable. Newer versions of NodeMCU have serious issues with End User Setup, so I have to stick with the old firmware for now.  Given the current state of NodeMCU, this may never be fixed.
 
Setting the 2 alarms within 10 minutes of each other may still cause unpredictable results. (Code not checked/tested for this condition.)
 
Punctuation in the Alarm Messages still causes messages to be displayed "funny" (control character codes are displayed).
 
In addition to the above, more checks for valid inputs (settings) are needed.  Ex: Proper format for Alarm Time.
 
Weather not yet implemented.  Still anticipating possible memory problems when this code is added.  
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10  Original Projects and Builds / NodeMCU IoT Clock / Re: NodeMCU IoT Clock Status Update
 on: Mar 15th, 2017, 12:26pm 
Started by Administrator | Post by Administrator
Update and Serious bug notice:
 
--- Daylight Savings Time Errors:
11 March 2017 DST change did not work correctly due to glaring errors in the DST related code.  
   Spring Forward and Fall Back tied to wrong dates. Spring was in November, and Fall was in March.   embarrassed
   Other not - as - glaring errors and optimizations in this section of the main code.
 
-- Another DST related error in the Daytime connection to the time server.
   2 issues caused the initial connection to the Daytime server (port 13) and determination of whether DST was in effect to fail.
 
There seems to be another error causing cross talk between the settings for DST and 12/24 hour time display.  More research on this bug (if it actually exists) is needed.
 
I hope to also come up with a work around for Issue 1 mentioned in the previous post.
 
 
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