A few frequently asked questions:

Q. How should I use the RM-60, 70 or 80 to keep an eye on Radon levels in my house?

A. The danger from Radon is not the gas itself, but the radioactive dust it creates when it decays while in the air. Your goal should be to reduce the amount of radioactive dust in the indoor air as much as possible, particularly the shorter half life Radon daughters (Radium B, Radium C and Radium C'), otherwise these decay products will collect in your lungs.

The RM-60 with Fan-Filter add-on continually samples the air for radioactive dust. (Fan-Filter Photos) Whatever you can do to reduce this dust will help. Results of any mitigation will show right away (within a few minutes) on your PC equipped with RM-60 + Fan Filter.

You can draw air through a coffee filter, with a dust buster or vacuum cleaner, for two minutes, then place the dirty side of the filter right next to the Alpha-Beta window (see manual). Try this using outdoor air. This will indicate the level of radioactive dust outdoors. This should be your goal for the indoor air.

Now sample your indoor air. If there is more radioactive dust inside than outside, try to reduce the radioactive indoor dust then sample it again. One way to reduce indoor radioactive dust is to provide a surface onto which the radioactive dust can "plate out". An indoor air filter will help in this regard. Note that this will not reduce the amount of Radon gas but will reduce the amount of radioactive dust, which as mentioned above, is the real health threat. Many other mitigation techniques exist.

If you are using the fan-filter add on, before running the above described "coffee filter" air sampling test, remove the fan-filter from the RM unit, but let the fan continue to run if you want.

Q. Hello Aware Electronics,

I am a science teacher in the UK and I've found your site very useful for ideas for experiments.
I would like to ask why the daughter products of the radon are called radium B, C and C' when there is no obvious connection with radium.


A. Radium A, B, C, etc. terminology is used as an easy method of referring to Radium-Radon daughters, and their position in the decay chain of Radium.

The Radium family includes Radium, Radon (Radium emanation), Radium A (Po 218), Radium B (Pb 214), Radium C (Bi 214), Radium C' (Po 214), Radium C'' (Tl 210), Radium D (Pb 210, Radiolead), Radium E (Bi 210), Radium F (Po 210), Radium G (Pb 206, Lead).

Q. For general use poking around, finding radon entrance points, checking food, water, rocks, etc., what model should I purchase, the RM-60, 70 or 80?

A. Our biggest seller is the RM-60, and all users seem very pleased with the results. On the other hand, if you can afford the RM-70 or RM-80, these are much nicer in that they have larger alpha-beta-low energy gamma, X-ray windows. The RM-70 window has 10 times the surface area as compared to the RM-60, and the RM-80 has 24 times the surface area. This means they will generate 10 and 24 times the count rate when detecting alpha-beta-low energy gamma, and therefore will provide a faster response time. Since with the RM-70 and 80, the software is working with more counts per unit time over background count rate, it is much easier to spot very low levels of radioactive contamination, hot spots, etc.

Q. I have another question about the RM-70 and LCD-60 that you sent me e-mail about. Will it read into the high gamma area..in other words will it read radiation that is at the fatal exposure limit and above, I'm not interested in tracking small amounts of radation, what I am interested in is making sure that I don't ever one of the days in the future walk into a hot zone where my hair and teeth will fall out! Will it do that, and if not, which model is it, and how much will it cost???

A. The RM-70 LCD-60 should work well above 1 million microR per hr. As you approach the area, the readings will increase. If disaster strikes, and you want to continue reading until you drop over, you can purchase roofing lead sheet from hardware and shield the RM (wrap it around the entire RM, run wire out of shield to LCD-60 or PC). When you get within an area with very high radiation, just note percentage drop with shield. This percentage will hold. For example, if shield drops level from 10,000 to 100, then a reading of 30,000 would equate to 3,000,000. If you find one layer not enough, you can always wrap another layer of lead sheet around RM. It should shield approx. the same percentage as first layer, that is, given the above example, a reading of 30,000 would equate to 300,000,000.

If you find shelter, you can place RM outside of shelter to keep eye on outdoor levels. This is another example of advantage provided by telephone cable connection between RM unit and LCD-60 or PC.

Q. I don't have a laptop or palm top PC but I would like to use RM unit in the field. What do I need.

A. You have at least four options: (Please see page on web site about LCD-90 and "Clicker").

Option 1: For $19 purchase the add-on "clicker" unit. This is a tiny circuit with a standard 9 volt battery clip, an earphone jack plus earphone, and a small run of telephone cable with telephone style modular plug. The modular plug snaps into the modular jack in the RM unit. Plug the battery in and you hear the very distinctive "Geiger" clicking in the earphone. Once you get a little experience with the Geiger clicking sound (from both the Clicker as-well-as the software + PC), it can be very revealing. The battery should last for perhaps 2000 hrs. of operation. It can be held to the RM case with the included Velcro cinch strap, and the assembly slipped into your pocket, with the earphone in your ear.

Option 2: Purchase the LCD-60 digital readout add-on for $189. See description on price list page and on another web site page.
(Please note we have stopped production of our LCD-60 which has been replaced with our new LCD-90)
(Click Here For Info: Aware's New LCD-90 MicroController - Data-Logger)

Option 3. Purchase a H.P. 200LX or 1000CX Palm Top PC or refurbished Laptop (~$125).

Option 4. Purchase a new subcompact notebook computer for about $300. See (Acer Aspire One)

With any of the above options, you will also have all that is needed to run the RM unit on your PC, which you should find very valuable, in that you get the real-time graph showing changing radiation levels versus time, as well as all the other features the software provides.

Please note: On this page: (200 LX page) is listed links to 200LX sources

If you plan to use only Aware's DOS line of software you need a PC that will boot to MS-DOS. Almost every PC sold can be made to boot directly to MS-DOS. You can purchase MS-DOS or Windows from Aware Electronics or use Windows 95 or Windows 98 which include MS-DOS 7. MS-DOS 7 can use 32 bit FAT drives.

If you desire to run Aware's Windows program Aw-Radw you need a PC with Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP or Vista. If the refurbished PC you are considering is loaded with Windows 95, you can perhaps install a minimum load of Windows 98 or XP.

Q. I have a new laptop but it does not have a serial port. What are my options?

A. Purchase a PC Card Slot (PCMCIA) Serial Port Card ($99)
Card Bus Serial Port
Information about PC Card Slot (PCMCIA) Serial Port

or purchase Aware's high performance USB-MSP Adapter allowing any of our past or present RMs and PMI-30s to be used in conjuction with a PC's USB port ($99).
Information about Aware's USB-MSP

Q. I presently own the following items: RM-80 with filter fan, LCD60, a Compaq Armada 1130 Notebook with 64MB RAM 3.5"FDD 1GB hard drive, 2 PCMCIA slots, 1 56K Modem, 1 serial, 1 parallel interface, and the original software that came with my RM-80.

At home I have a workstation utilizing the AMD Athlon XP 2000+ CPU and Windows XP - Professional.

What I want to do is to use the RM-80/Filter Fan attached to the Armada 1130 as a data logger. I want to store the data to the hard drive (only 1GB), or some external storage device. I want to see the data on the Armada 1130 in "real time" and be able to transfer the data to my workstation for further analysis.

Can I analyze data obtained on the notebook system by transferring it to my XP workstation by use of a serial cable, or null modem cable?

A. Yes. One option is as follows:

Install our new Windows program Aw-Radw on both PCs.

Purchase a DirectParallel Basic 4-bit Cable ($19.50) here: DirectParallel

Start collecting the rad data on the notebook with Aw-Radw's real-time graph.

With the DirectParallel cable, the hard drive on the notebook will look like another hard drive on the workstation. Run a second copy of Aw-Radw on the workstation and direct it to display the data if you like.

An upcoming option is Aware Electronics new Aw-Link package that automatically updates radiation data from one PC to another PC by-way-of a serial port or modem.

Q. How do I run Aw-Graph under 64bit Windows?

A. See: Running Aw-Graph Under 64bit Windows (Use DOSBox to run Aw-Graph under 64bit Windows)

Q. Is the software hard to use.

A. The software is very easy to use. There is no installation process. Just insert the floppy then start the software. Copy the files to your hard drive if you like.

Q. I would like to run in Windows. Do you have a Windows version.

A. Yes. See this link for info about our new Windows program Aw-Radw

As regards our DOS program Aw-Srad included free with each RM, Aw-Srad runs from the DOS prompt, but has been designed to run in a window as well. We include a pif file. Just click on the pif file and your up and running.

Q. I have read the installation instructions for the standard DOS software but am still confused on how to install it. It mentions the software can be run thru Windows or outside of Windows. If I install it outside of Windows, what exactly do I type at the DOS prompt? to get it to install?

To run Aware's Aw-Srad DOS program from the floppy, at command prompt type:

Hit S for Setup
Hit I for Input port
Choose the input port you plugged RM into.
Hit Esc
Hit C for Capture
Hit D for Display Current Input
Hit (Enter) to display radiation levels without saving the radiation data to a file or enter a filename to save the radiation data or direct the program to make-up a filename for you from system date-time.

To copy files to your hard drive C: and then run the program, from the command prompt type:

cd \(Enter)
md \AWARE(Enter)
cd \AWARE(Enter)
copy a:\*.* C:\AWARE(Enter)
then follow the same instructions above i.e.:
Hit S for Setup
Hit I for Input port
Choose the input port you plugged RM into.
Hit Esc
Hit C for Capture
Hit D for Display Current Input
Hit (Enter) to display radiation levels without saving the radiation data to a file or enter a filename to save the radiation data or direct the program to make-up a filename for you from system date-time.

OK if you selected the correct serial port then every 60 seconds a value should appear. (You can also choose 10 second mode in Setup menu).

To stop collecting rad. data hit F1 then F2. Then back-out of program by hitting Esc key.

You can also follow the instructions in RM-60 manual under "Quick Instructions"

Q. Where can I purchase check sources?

A. Here is a source: The-Source-Inc.com
The model S-Cs-25 137 Cs 10 uCi ~25mm O.D. Plastic/Epoxy 370000 Bq ~6mm A.D. check source is approx. $75 + $25 shipping-handling.

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