Using Aware Electronics Radiation Monitors with Android Smart-Phones and other Android Devices


Here we present a method of using our USB-MSP and/or LCD-90 Pro with Android devices including Smart-Phones. An advantage of this method includes extremely accurate measurements as compared to the tricking of a Smart-Phoneís microphone input and audio circuit to count pulses. We have tested this method with a HTC smartphone, USB-MSP and RM80 and it works perfectly.

Most newer Android devices include USB OTG (USB On-The-Go). USB OTG allows these devices to switch back and forth between the roles of host and client devices.

Wikipedia's USB OTG

Aware Electronics Corp. USB-MSP and LCD-90 Pro include a USB interface, acting as a client.

To use the USB-MSP (and/or the LCD-90) with an Android device, purchase a USB OTG cable for your device.

Amazon search for USB OTG

We used the StarTech.com Micro USB OTG to USB Adapter.

Next, download and install to your Android device, the free FTDI UART Terminal program:

Google Play FTDI UART Terminal program

If the app is not on Google Play then you can download the apk here:
FTDI UART Terminal program (J2xxHyperTerm.apk)

If you downloaded the apk, here is how to install it:
How to install apps outside of Google Play

Here is the FTDI UART Terminal program manual:
FTDI_UART_Terminal_User_Manual.pdf

After installing the FTDI UART Terminal app, plug your Aware RM (radiation monitor) into the USB-MSP or LCD-90, and use the USB cable we include with the USB-MSP or LCD-90 to connect to your USB OTG cable.

Next plug the USB-OTG cable into your Android device. The USB-MSP will immediately power-up using the voltage from your Android device (5VDC). In the case of the LCD-90, if your installed batteries produce a voltage less than 5VDC, for example three AAA batteries, it will also draw all power from your Android device.

The RM will also power up and the LEDs will begin flashing with each detection, the alarm LEDS will activate with alarm condition, the USB transmit and receive LEDs will flash as data is passed to and from your Android device, etc. Typical power draw from your Android deviceís battery will be ~1 ma which is insignificant compared to the Androidís own power draw.

The FTDI UART Terminal program will detect the USB chip within the USB-MSP or LCD-90 and the program will pop-up on your device.

Now you can send the USB-MSP or LCD-90 ASCII commands and their real-time radiation data output will appear on the FTDI UART Terminal program, one line at a time. You can also direct the FTDI UART Terminal program to simultaneously save the data to a file for datalogging and graphing. (Choose ASCII file).


SMART_RM80

Shown above is the RM-80 Pro plugged into a USB-MSP plugged into an Android Smartphone. All power is drawn from the phone. The Americium disc from a smoke detector is placed on the RM-80 window. The USB-MSP was directed to send the current CPM (count per minute) data, once every two seconds. The third column is the time code in the form of seconds since the start of the measurement.

The USB-MSPís blue LED flashes with each detection and here it is almost continuously on due to the high count rate. The yellow alarm LED and the red alarm LED are flashing since the rate is above the alarm set point. The USB transmit LED flashes as the USB-MSP sends data to the Smartphone, in-this-case, once per every two seconds.

The telephone cord can be substituted with a much short cable. Likewise the USB cable.


A typical command to send to the USB-MSP or LCD-90 is HEX 07 (the BELL character) followed by P, which will cause the USB-MSP or LCD-90 to immediately send back the current radiation level in the form of TAB delimited ASCII text.

Another typical command is BELL N which will cause the USB-MSP or LCD-90 to periodically send the radiation level, in the form of TAB delimited text. If one directs the FTDI UART Terminal program to auto-save this data to a file (ASCII), one can load the same file into a spreadsheet program for graphing, or download the file to the PC for graphing.

For all text commands the USB-MSP and LCD-90 respond to, see:

LCD90_USB-MSP_ASCII_COMMANDS.pdf

Notice the FTDI UART Terminal program can also send files out your deviceís USB port. One could prepare a set of small files containing the commands to send to the USB-MSP or LCD-90, load these files to your Android device, then send one or more of these files to the USB-MSP or LCD-90 rather than typing the commands.

As per the LCD90_USB-MSP_ASCII_COMMANDS.pdf, some example commands to include in these files include the following. (Note MSP stands for either the USB-MSP or LCD-90. Also note each example is followed by a link to a text file containing the example. You can download these files using Chrome, Firefox or by entering the address into Notepadís File-Open-Filename dialog or any other program with a File-Open-Filename dialog. Windows Explorer will also download the files but it will strip out the CRLF and replace them with a space).

Example characters to send to MSP for CPM readings with running average of 60 seconds, once per 60 seconds, send (ESC BELL V 1 CR LF BELL i 60 CR LF BELL N).
CPM_60SECS.txt

Example characters to send to MSP for CPS readings with running average of 1 seconds, once per 1 second, send (ESC BELL V 0 CR LF BELL i 1 CR LF BELL N).
CPS_1SECS.txt

Example characters to send to MSP for microR/hr. readings with running average of 30 seconds, once per 30 seconds, send (ESC BELL V 2 CR LF BELL i 30 CR LF BELL N).
MICROR_30SECS.txt

Example characters to send to MSP for microSV/hr. readings with running average of 20 seconds, once per 20 seconds, send (ESC BELL V 3 CR LF BELL i 20 CR LF BELL N)
MICROSV_20SECS.txt

Example characters to send to MSP for microSV/hr. readings with running average of 20 seconds, once per 20 seconds, without the trailing (TAB)units(TAB)time-code send (ESC BELL Z BELL J BELL V 3 CR LF BELL i 20 CR LF BELL N).
MICROSV_20SECS_NO_UNITS_NO_TIME.txt

When preparing these files, use a filename that will make it easy for you to know what each file will accomplish.


SMART Send File SMART RM-G90-3

To the left is a screen shot of the programís file send page. Just tap the desired control file and the program and Smartphone sends the file to the USB-MSP or LCD-90 Pro thereby configuring it as desired.

To the right is a RM-G90-3 with three gamma tubes. Here the USB-MSP was directed to send real-time readings in the form of MicroSv/hr., once per second without the third column time code.

Note that the USB-MSP and LCD-90 will save all settings, such as calibration, deadtime correction, Units, digit precision, etc. to their internal non-volatile Flash memory such that even if all power is removed, they will retain the settings for use with the next power-up. Therefore one could set these various parameters with a PC before using with an Android device

To plug more than one RM into the interface, use a Telephone Line Splitter. Plug one or more RMs into the telephone line splitter and the outlet of the telephone line splitter into the USB-MSP or LCD-90 Pro.


E-mail aware@aw-el.com
Phone:(800)729-5397 or Phone/Fax: (302)655-3800

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