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March 23, 2009
about 4 years ago
Actually, the older model that I’ve been graphing for about a year now, had a short term spike that went from my normal 24 to the 80’s. It didn’t occur the same time as one of the CME’s hitting the earth, I suspect one of those middle of the night trains carrying special cargo’s, I’m about a mile from the main line running through Eastern Washington. :)
about 5 years ago
Seconded, I’d be very interested in aftermarket tweaks to improve the design and safety.
That sounds pretty much like the experience I had with my first unit. I eventually found a solder blob shorting a couple of traces when I found my jewelers loupe, but the damage had already been done by then. I returned it to SparkFun and they sent me a replacement which has been working fine for months now. I’d suggest contacting SparkFun’s support group and getting an RMA number.
For anybody who might be playing with my VB app, I’ve updated it to fix one small bug and added a second file output format. You can now specify a filename and have it produce a file that can be read by the free, LiveGraph program, which will graph the output of the last six hours worth of data. Since LiveGraph is in Java and has a published API, you could probably build on that to create your own graphing applications.
I believe all you need is a copy of the v13 firmware, a copy of the program compiler/downloader for the arduino (from their website) and one of the In Circuit Programmers (ISP) supported by that downloader. I think SparkFun sells a couple of different ISP’s, there are two listed in the Related Products here that would probably work.
Have you moved the counter to a different location to compare counts? I agree, 70-120 seems abnormally high compared to the average around the country.
It’s not the body scanner that would trip, it would be one of the radiation detectors. When I had my Nuclear Stress Test a few years back, they asked if I had any travel plans because they’d give me a doctors note explaining why I was radioactive. Border crossings and airports, at least, have a lot of detectors you don’t see because they don’t have to be close to notice a change.
With a bit more data history, and weather that actually implies Spring might happen this year, I’m seeing a daily variation in the graph. Roughly a 10% swing between a low at night and the high during the day. Our local star doing its job. :)
So, with about 3 weeks of monitoring now, the only visible artifact on my measurements is the occasional DROP in background radiation. :)
Since this is all part of my weather station setup, I’ve checked a few obvious things like wind, barometric pressure and rain, nothing seems to match up with the changes in background radiation. Yes, I’ve checked the times I use my dryer also, since the detector is near the exhaust vent for it. :)
Anybody else noticing any interesting things?
Ok, it’s a insane hack, but it seems to be working. Using the Windows program to write out the results and MRTG running on OpenBSD, I’ve managed to graph the Background Radiation for my website.
The current zip of the software includes the hack to write the results out to a file for MRTG to read.
No public wish lists :(
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