Safecast bGeigieNanoKit V1.4.1 features

 Introduction:

Fig 1

Firmware V1.4.1 for the bGeigieNano is available now at https://github.com/Safecast/bGeigieNanoKit. A 5-second hotspot reading feature has been added. This should be especially useful for finding out exactly where the radiation is highest in a given area, and for finding the source.

A video about the added functionality can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GF0vf3rVHw

It has been a while since Safecast released an update for the firmware of bGeigieNano. The main challenge when creating patches/added functionality is the limited memory space of the FIO hardware.

How to update your bGeigie Nano:

    Mac:

1. Application for Mac (easiest).

2. Source code and compilation method:

    Windows:

  • Hex file download and use UploaderX
  • Download the hex file from: https://github.com/Safecast/bGeigieNanoKit/blob/master/bGeigieNanoV1.4.1.hex
  • Download the UploaderX program from: http://xloader.russemotto.com/
  • Connect the FTDI connector to the bGeigieNano. (Remove the BLE module, if used, from the Xbee socket)
  • Run the program and configure it with your COM port. Also, make sure that the Baud Rate is set to 115200.
  • Select the Hex file from the location where you saved it before in step 1 above.
  • Click “Upload” to transfer the hex file to the bGeigieNano.

How to Setup the Alarm level:

  • Shut down the bGeigieNano and take out the SDCARD.
  • Edit the SD card SAFECAST.TXT and change the alm=XXX settings to set the CPM count/trigger level. 
  • Power on the bGeigieNano.

Display changes:

Fig 2

If the bGeigieNano is in normal logging mode you will see “60s” displayed in the upper right corner of the display. This indicates that the CPM rate represents the total number of pulses counted during the previous 60 seconds, recalculated every 5 seconds. (Figure 2).

 

Fig 3

If the bGeigieNano is in hotspot logging mode you will see “5s” displayed in the upper right corner of the display. This indicates that the pulses are counted for a total of 5 seconds and extrapolated to 60 seconds, recalculated every 5 seconds. (Figure 3).

 

Future developments we are considering for bGeigie software:

Fig 4

We’re considering switching to an ASCII only library for the SSD1306 display. That would leave a lot of room for new coding. Current ASCII (development-only) version: https://github.com/Safecast/bGeigieNanoKit/tree/ASCII
We may be able to use the full 64 pixel height and extra space on the display to show more data.
We’re considering using the function key to create a setup menu without having to switch the alarm level by editing the SD card, as in Figure 4.

Future developments we are considering for bGeigie hardware:

We’re considering switching the FIO board to a ESP32 based MPU, using as much of our existing hardware and software designs as possible.

 

About the Author

Rob Oudendijk

CEO of YR-DESIGN   Twitter

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