Comparison of Aware Electronics Corp. LCD-90 + RM-80 to the Mazur PRM-9000

Here we compare Aware Electronics Corp. LCD-90 and RM-80 combination to an Mazur PRM-9000.

Tube: Both the RM-80 and Mazur PRM-9000 use a made in the USA LND halogen-quenched, uncompensated GM tube with thin mica window, 1.4-2.0 mg/cm2 areal density. Effective diameter of window is 45 mm (1.75 in.).

Feature LCD-90 + RM-80 Mazur PRM-9000
Radiation Detected Alpha
Cable Type and Length Snap in place standard telephone cable extendable to 1000 feet. No ability to separate sensor from readout.
Display Custom made large seven-character starburst main display with both numeral and scrolling text, moving decimal mark and scientific notation along with a six digit real-time clock display and 12 indicators. Small generic display.
Units CPS, CPM, microR/hr., milliR/hr., microSV/hr., Total. The minimum floating point displayable values (besides zero) are 0.001 microR/hr, 0.001 MicroSV/hr, 0.001 MilliR, 0.001 CPS, 0.001 CPM and 1 Total count. CPS, CPM, microR/hr., milliR/hr., microSV/hr., Total.
Maximum Reading Expressed in CPS 11,000 CPS limited by tube. LCD-90 can measure and display up to 12 million CPS. 7,291 CPS.
Audio Off, Short Click, Medium Click, Medium Long Click, Long Click. Off, Three volume Beep.
Alarm Settable from 0 to 10 million radiation units in CPS, CPM, microR/hr., milliR/hr., microSV/hr. or Total. milliR/hr. or microSV/hr.
Alarm Actions Any combination of the following: Audio Beeper, Dedicated Alarm LED flashes, LCD display “ALARM” icon, Internal vibrator power MOSFET activated to power internal MOLEX connector, Alarm voltage output pin in Serial port, Alarm voltage output pin in MOD connector. Audio Beeper.
Input Output ports Built-in USB port and Serial port both of which can be used at the same time. Ports can be used as a real time source for PC, for downloading stored data and for complete control of the LCD-90 by-way-of the PC. Periodic ASCII output in any radiation unit desired with settable running average, with date-time code for each point. Immediate ASCII output equal to LCD display value and date-time code. Binary output with CRC error detection-correction. NAK resends packet. Separate “Click” signal allows clicking PC’s sound system. ASCII and binary input allows setting of all the menu items from a PC using standard terminal programs or Aware’s Aw-Radw software. Click pulse output. One way USB port for dumping stored data. No CRC error detection-correction. No USB real time data. No USB controlling of menu settings. No Serial port. Must stop all other functions to download data.
Clock Quartz crystal real-time clock with separate six character display settable by menu buttons or through USB or Serial port by ASCII commands or Aw-Radw which can sync the time with the PC’s time. Includes menu item to adjust clock speed in increments of 0.003% as-well-as select quartz crystal loading caps. 10pf, 14pf or 18pf. Internal clock but no dedicated clock display. No ability to adjust clock speed.
LEDs Event LED, Alarm LED, USB Transmit LED, USB receive LED. Event LED.
Running Average Depth Settable between 0 and 120 seconds in increments of one second. Includes one button push to immediately reset running average. 5, 10 or 20 seconds. No reset i.e. must wait for running average to clear with change in radiation level.
Internal Data Logging 110,000 data-points with date-time. Store once per second to once per 65,535 seconds (i.e. up to once per 1092 minutes) in increments of 1 second. Unlimited number of internal radiation data files up to the limit of flash each with its own store cycle i.e. start store, stop store as many times as desired. ASCII or binary download data through USB or Serial port, with CRC error correction. LCD-90 continues with all other functions and displays, including adding additional data points to a file even while the same file is being downloaded to the PC. 100,000 bytes. Store once per minute or once per hour. Only one file allowed i.e. must download and erase the file before starting another data logging file. All other operations are stopped when downloading the file. No CRC error correction.
Calibration Calibration menu allows easy calibration to any source desired or using a pulse generator. Calibration range: 0 to 65.535 in units of 0.001 Multi-step calibration procedure. Unknown calibration range.
Dead Time Correction Settable from 0 to 2000 microseconds in increments of 1/1000th of one microsecond. Unknown dead time correction.
Power Supply Internal battery holder can accept two AAs, three AAAs or one nine volt battery. The LCD-90 auto draws power from USB port, Serial port, standard 2.1mm power jack (3 VDC to 13.8 VDC) or the battery. When LCD-90 senses power available from one of the ports or power jack, it disconnects the battery by-way-of a zero voltage drop power MOSFET. Allows, for example, power from a small solar panel with auto internal battery backup. Nine volt battery or external 9 volt, 100ma power supply. No other power source.
Power Draw ~0.1ma. 24,000 hrs. per standard internal battery. Claims a very long battery life but only if display is not turned on. Under typical practice, perhaps a few weeks battery life.
Size LCD-90: 4.4" x 2.44" x 1.06"; RM-80: 4.4" x 2.44" x 1.06" Mazur 9000: 5.64” x 3.25” x 1.37”
Settings and Data Retention Maintains all settings and data files in non-volatile flash memory such that if all power is removed, all settings and data files are retained. Non-volatile memory only for data file. Must reset everything including calibration if power is removed.
Use with other sensors LCD-90 can be used with any Aware RMs or monitors by others. Multi Aware RMs can be plugged into the LCD-90 at the same time to double, triple, quadruple the sensitivity. One internal sensor.
Software Interface USB and/or Serial port periodic ASCII output in any radiation unit desired with settable running average, with date-time code for each point. Immediate ASCII output equal to LCD display value and date-time code. Binary output with CRC error detection. NAK resends packet. Separate “Click” signal allows clicking PC’s sound system. ASCII and binary download of all data logged files. ASCII and binary input allows setting of all the menu items from a PC using standard terminal programs or Aware’s Aw-Radw software. One way USB port for downloading the one data file using only one format. No USB real time data. No CRC error correction. No setting of menu items through software. Click pulse output for use with third party error prone software. See Pulse counting error prone software for example errors induced by typical pulse counting software.
Wireless Operation The LCD-90’s Serial port allows plugging in a Bluetooth, WiFi wireless or GSM cellular modem for complete wireless control of the LCD-90 including real time data, logged data files, and controlling and setting all LCD-90 menu items wirelessly from a PC. See bottom of this page: Aware's New LCD-90 Pro MicroController - Data-Logger No wireless option.

Digital radiation monitors with the added versatility of an external probe offer many advantages over and above monitors with built-in detectors. For example the external probe can be moved around suspected radioactive areas while the digital readout remains conveniently viewable. The Mazur PRM-9000 has no such option. It is often useful to have the ability to separate the readout from the sensor unit with the snap in telephone wire provided by the LCD-90 + RM-80 combo. For example let’s say you wanted to check for radiation from several packages of food. Place the RM-80 in the middle of the pile of packages with the LCD-90 at hand. Attach the RM-80 to a stick with VELCRO so it can be held close to the ground, or into a crawl space, or up a wall or in between boulders or down a well hole or by a spring. Place the RM-80 down by the water tank or next to the air filter unit within the air handler with the LCD-90 readout mounted at the top of the stairs.

Additional Notes

The Mazur must get all its power from the internal nine volt battery or power jack. The use of the power jack demands a nine volt source “9 VDC at a minimum current rating of 100mA”. This matches the typical current draw of a backlight LCD as used in the Mazur, which typically consumes ~ 100mA (which would deplete a typical nine volt alkaline battery within five hours).

The LCD-90 will automatically draw power from its internal battery, the USB port, the serial port or its power jack (anywhere between 2.5 and 13.8 VDC). The LCD-90 includes internal battery packs using two AAs, three AAAs, or one nine volt battery. When switching from battery pack to external power supply, the LCD-90 automatically disconnects the battery by-way-of an internal power MOSFET which exhibits zero voltage drop when on (unlike a diode isolator).

The LCD-90 also includes a custom made, designed by Aware highly optimized LCD display that draws less than one micro amp, 100 million times less power draw than the Mazur display with backlighting and four thousand times less power draw then the Mazur’s with backlighting turned off. The LCD-90’s LCD characters are much larger than the Mazur’s. The LCD-90 also includes a real-time clock display. The Mazur’s backlighting display is always harder to read in any condition where there is light. The LCD-90’s LCD includes a 100% reflective back surface for optimum clarity under ambient lighting conditions. A backlight display as in the Mazur uses a partial reflective back surface (transflective) to allow the backlighting to pass through.

“Reflective displays have an opaque rear polarizer that includes a diffuse reflector, such as brushed aluminum. This layer reflects polarized ambient light that has entered the front of the display back through the LCD cell. Reflective displays require ambient light to be seen. They exhibit high brightness, excellent contrast, and wide viewing angles. ...Provides best head-on contrast and environmental stability...

“Transflective displays have a rear polarizer which includes a translucent material which reflects part of the ambient light, and also transmits backlighting. As the name implies, it is a compromise between the transmissive and reflective viewing mode. Used in reflection, it is not as bright and has lower contrast than the reflective type LCD, but it can be backlit for use in low light conditions.

Only in near complete darkness is backlighting an advantage, but in such a case with the LCD-90, in near complete darkness, carry a tiny flashlight with you.

LCD-90 Pro

Since the Mazur’s LCD display draws such a large amount of power, it provides auto shut off of the display, after perhaps 30 seconds. You can imagine a situation where you want to glance over to have a look at the readout. With the Mazur you can’t just glance over to have a look. You have to get up, walk over to it and press a button to activate the display. The Mazur claims a very long battery life but this is only if you don't turn the display on.

As indicated above, the Mazur allows its use as a real-time data source for the PC but uses an error prone pulse detection scheme which involves tricking the serial port’s UART into thinking it has received a character with each pulse, or an error prone scheme of using a sound card or microphone input as a pulse detector which demands fiddling with sound card thresholds, sampling rates, etc. Above perhaps 50 mR/hr. the Mazur’s connection to a PC as real time data source will begin vastly under reporting the actual radiation level. At higher rising radiation levels, the Mazur’s scheme will actually show falling radiation levels. Not good during an emergency situation.

The LCD-90 allows use as a real-time data source for the PC but instead of fiddling with sound card settings or tricking the UART, the LCD-90 sends precise CRC error correction packets with the exact count per unit time or converted radiation units with or without dead time correction applied, along with time codes, with any time period desired, both in binary format and/or ASCII format. This allows the LCD-90 to act as a complete error corrected real-time data source for a PC through the USB port, the serial port, a Bluetooth, WiFi, GSM modem or packet radio adapter.

Remove the power from the Mazur and it loses all its internal settings including its calibration. Remove the power from the LCD-90 and it maintains all its setting and all of its data files.

The Mazur can download its one file using terminal programs like Tera Term through an additional cost one-way USB cable (one way meaning the Mazur will only send data out but can’t receive data in by-way-of its USB cable). As indicated above, it cannot be controlled by-way-of a terminal program nor will it act as a real-time source for terminal programs. You can’t even start the download using the terminal program. You must press the appropriate button combos on the Mazur to start downloading and to erase.

The LCD-90 can be completely controlled by terminal programs such as the free Tera Term and download its multiple files with terminal programs as well, but also can be used with the very feature rich Aw-Radw program using CRC error correction variable size no loss data compression packets that can be channeled through, as indicated above, Bluetooth, WiFi, GSM cellular modems adapters, etc.

As indicated above, the LCD-90 includes both a two-way RS-232 serial port and a two way USB port. The USB port includes two LEDs. The blue LED flashes with each data transmission from the LCD-90 through the USB port and a red LED that flashes with each data transmission from the USB port to the LCD-90.

As mentioned above, the Mazur includes an alarm beep and no other alarm output i.e. just a beep.

The LCD-90 includes a pulsing alarm beep but also includes a dedicated flashing alarm LED, a large Alarm icon on the LCD display, and two output pins that have voltage applied with alarm condition. This is a very handy feature allowing activation of sirens, strobes, Radon mitigation fans or other equipment with alarm activation.

Besides the two alarm output pins, the LCD-90 also includes an internal MOLEX jack for internal vibrator motor that attaches to the inside of the LCD-90 case with silicon transfer tape, activated with alarm, by-way-of an internal power MOSFET.

The Mazur allows access to its internal battery by unscrewing metal screws that tap into plastic posts. Over time, this technique can lead to the stripping of the plastic and failure of the screws mating with the plastic tap.

The LCD-90 includes metal screws that mate with threaded brass inserts.

Additional Notes About the Companies

Aware Electronics Corp. is a USA company that has been in the business of designing and manufacturing radiation monitoring systems and software for over 23 years. Aware Electronics Corp. equipment has been featured in many publications and peer reviewed scientific papers and displays excellent feature rich properties and very long life.

Like so many hundreds of other geiger counter companies, Mazur came into existence shortly after the accident in Japan. Mazur is not incorporated. Mazur Instruments business address is a UPS store. Mr. Mazur is a principle of a marketing company. "Vincent Mazur is one of the founders of Intelligent Marketing Inc. " – "He is a certified Guerilla Marketing professional and completed his training under an affiliate of Jay Conrad Levinson - father of Guerilla Marketing". Information about “Guerilla Marketing”: The guerilla marketing company that owns Mazur Instruments:

Shown below is a LCD-90 and RM-80. A Class 1 Bluetooth wireless adapter with built-in rechargable Lithium Ion battery and stub antenna, is plugged into the LCD-90's serial port (300 feet range) allowing wireless control and downloading both stored data and real-time data from the LCD-90 to a PC. Also available are wireless network adapters and GSM cellular modems. Alternatively the LCD-90 can be plugged directly into the PC’s serial and/or USB port.

LCD-90, RM-80, Bluetooth
Class 1 Bluetooth Adapter with built-in rechargable Lithium Ion battery, plugged into the LCD-90's serial port, feeding real-time data wirelessly to Aw-Radw seen in the background. A radioactive rock was placed on top of the RM-80 causing the graph to rise.

Aware Electronics Corp. LCD-90 Pro Micro-Controller Data-Logger with RM-80 hooked up to a custom Radon sampling fan

RM-80, LCD-90 Custom Radon Sampling Fan-Filter

Aware Electronics Corp. RM-80 plugged into our LCD-90 Pro Micro-Controller Data-Logger

RM-80 and LCD-90

Bill DiPuccio: "The more I dig into this software the more impressed I am with its sophistication. It seems that you thought of everything. Here is the set up I use to test small samples (minerals, food, etc.). The RM-80 rests on a piece of plywood drilled to accommodate the window. Height is adjustable using a machinists accessory made for drill presses."

DiPuccio's Lab1

Mazur PRM-9000

Mazur PRM-9000

  • Aware Electronics Corp. LCD-90 Pro MicroController - Data-Logger includes a USB cable and internal battery holders that accept either two AAs, three AAAs or one nine volt battery. We include three AAA batteries installed. As with all our instruments and software, if you are displeased for any reason you can return the LCD-90 Pro within 45 days for a full refund. Up to this point nobody has returned a LCD-90 nor have any failed. They are designed to last a lifetime.

  • Click here for info: Aware's New LCD-90 Pro MicroController - Data-Logger

    For the last 20+ years our goal has been and is to provide the best solution for radiation monitoring.

    Phone:(800)729-5397 or Phone/Fax: (302)655-3800

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