Review and Basic Usage:
“IdealRatio” “Rodnik 3” Portable Radiation Detector
The Rodnik 3 Radiation Meter shows these bananas
are not radioactive. About 0.06µSv/h to 0.08µSv/h is the normal
background radiation in my area.
Ever since I was very young, I have been interested in electronics. I started with one of those basic electricity learning kits when I was less than 10 years of age. I was soon obsessed with almost any sort of electronic gadget that I could build, take a part, or repair. If it was portable, that was even better. After all, OCD is not something you can leave at home.
A little further along my path of electronics learning, someone gave me one of these:
My 1950’s Vintage Universal Atomics V-700
This (as well as a few other cool gadgets) brought rise to a parallel addiction -- Fascination with the unseen world. That vintage Geiger Counter is portable, but not very. It’s not something I am likely to carry with me on – for example – a trip to the supermarket.
As smaller, digital devices became available, I bought a couple of radiation meters that were much more portable than that vintage Geiger Counter, but again, an addiction is not easily overcome. I needed more. I craved the lasting high of features and functionality, but in this strange obsession, I also needed smaller, more portable.
My next “hit” of “rad” meter had to meet the following “requirements”:
The reasoning behind each of these can be found in my Radiation Detector Buyer’s Guide, and will not be repeated here.
There are other devices that “fit the bill”. So why did I buy the “Rodnik 3”?
The Radex One is readily available (ships from the USA if you use the provided link), it’s actually cheaper and it has PC connectivity. It also looks and works more like a pen. But the meter reviewed here is actually slightly smaller in every dimension, and has a much bigger display. The Radex One, at least as far as I know, does not allow you to expose the tube. The website does not mention any ability to detect α or β particles.
There are also a few different small (and again, less expensive) older Russian devices. But again, they are bigger in at least one dimension, often have a smaller tube, and the ones I know of have very small LCD displays, if they have a display at all.
The EcoTest VIP is nice, very “pen-like”, and definitely represents a “hit of the good stuff” for anyone fascinated with radioactivity, or radiation testing. But again, I don’t see a way to expose the tube (at least without removing a cover that could get lost or broken), and the EcoTest VIP is quite expensive.
There are also small devices that plug into a mobile phone’s headset jack, and with a special app, they allow you to measure, and even track radiation. Most of these are actually semiconductor devices. They are not true Geiger counters, and not sensitive to α or β particles.
There are also wand like radiation detectors that connect to a mobile phone with a short cable. Some of these do contain actual GM tubes, but these are more expensive, and by the time you connect 2 devices together with a wire, you actually end up with something less convenient, and less likely to be actually used, than a single compact device with an integrated display.
Since the tragedy at the power plant in Fukushima, a Japanese company has begun marketing several very compact radiation meters, including one that is very compact, and “pen-like”. Again, however, these use a semiconductor device as a sensor, and thus detect gamma (γ) radiation only.
Let’s get Physical:
IdealRatio.ru (Russian Language) seems to distribute a number of the Soeks, Radex, and other portable radiation detection devices (as well as devices for detection of nitrates and RF radiation). But according to a translation of their web page, they apparently realized the same deficiency of the other products as I mentioned above. They decided to “go it on their own”.
Please see the actual unboxing video of this device on the CarCynic.com YouTube Channel.
It’s not my intent to copy the “IdealRatio” instruction book or web advertising here, but I will point out that it meets most of the criteria mentioned above and in the Radiation Detector Buyer’s Guide.
Here are the basic physical specifications:
The Rodnik 3 is compared to a basic Russian pocket
Radiation Detector in this screen shot from the Unboxing Video.
The Rodnik 3 is smaller, more sensitive, and has more features.
Other Features and Pluses:
In addition to the basic features mentioned above, I would also like to point out some of the specific things I like about this particular meter now that I actually have used it.
The large GM Tube and slots in the back cover
make the Rodnik 3 able to quickly identify these
candlestick holders as genuine Vaseline glass
even though they are only very mildly radioactive.
The display is showing 0.35µSv/h, or about 5 times
the normal background radiation in my area.
A perfect portable device would cure my addiction. But as I mentioned, finding the right drug to cure an addiction is not easy. This device definitely has some misses:
The above are minor gripes, or at worst, things I would change if I were designing one (which I did start to do at one point). Unfortunately, there are 2 bigger problems with this unit:
Overall, this is an excellent and very discreetly portable radiation meter. It is at the very least a good choice as compared to the other small units mentioned above. Under the conditions that (1) You understand that it does not do accumulated dose, and (2) Conveniently carrying it is of prime importance, I do recommend buying the “IdealRatio” “Rodnik 3” Portable Radiation Detector. It’s size, cost, build quality, sensitivity overall, and sensitivity to alpha particles make it excellent for finding either radioactive substances you want (like antique shopping) or radioactive substances you want to avoid. For more serious life – or – cancer circumstances, however, I would recommend that the buyer look for a larger unit with more features.
Extra: Did I Find Anything Radioactive?
Obviously, a good test of a Radiation Detector is to find something radioactive. Did I find anything radioactive with my Rodnik 3? Well, I recently went on a family vacation, and I took my Rodnik 3 with me. Read about the surprisingly radioactive things I found in the LinuxSlate.com Forums.
The LinuxSlate.com Guide to Buying a Personal Radiation Detector
Linuxslate.com review of the DRSB-88
Discuss this Article on the Linuslate.com Forums
THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR "AS IS". IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INJURY, OR ILLNESS ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS DOCUMENT, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE, INJURY, OR ILLNESS.
IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK IS RADIOACTIVE, OR OTHERWISE HAZARDOUS, OR IF YOU SUSPECT OTHERS OF HAVING SUCH, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES.. THIS GUIDE IS A TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF CONSUMER ELECTRONIC DEVICES ONLY. IT DOES NOT, NOR DOES IT PURPORT TO, GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY FORM OF HEALTH ADVICE. IF YOU SUSPECT THAT YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO A HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE, OR ARE HAVING HEALTH PROBLEMS, CONTACT A PHYSICIAN OR YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES.