• Category Archives english
  • Interfacing the Uradmonitor with the Internet of Things, MQTT and Pimatic


    For some time I have owned a Uradmonitor model A unit. This is a radiation monitoring solution which measures radiation and makes it available on a website. Connect it to your local network, and it will automatically get an IP address and start logging to www.uradmonitor.com. There you can find the stations and associated readings on a map.

    Since the Uradmonitor has a webinterface it is easy to scrape the data and send it elsewhere. For example, the CPM can be displayed on a VFD display or displayed in domotics applications.

    At home I try to make any sensor reading available using Mosquitto/MQTT. It is a lightweight, easy to use protocol to distribute dynamic data. Besides the Uradmonitor, multiple NodeMCU ESP8266 units running ESP Easy publish their sensor readings to the local MQTT server. All of this is done by Mosquitto running on my Debian ARM NAS and a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian and Pimatic.

    Scraping and publishing to MQTT

    First off I scrape the data from the Uradmonitor webpage using curl. Then, after some awk and html2text processing it is published to my local MQTT server using the mosquitto_pub MQTT publishing client.

    uradmonitorcpm=$(curl -s http://<ip of uradmonitor/ | html2text | grep radiation | egrep -o '[0-9.]*')
    mosquitto_pub -m $uradmonitorcpm -t /uradmonitor/cpm

    This bash script runs every minute using /etc/crontab and updates the local MQTT server with the latest measurement. The command ends with the MQTT topic which is the “address” of the dynamic value on the MQTT server.  Please note that mosquitto_sub does not need an IP address when publishing to localhost/ since that is a default of the client. To specify a host, use the -h <ip address of mqtt server> option. Continue reading  Post ID 3185

  • Hoornvliestransplantatie linkeroog / Corneal transplant of left eye

    (English summary below)

    Op 26 februari, ongeveer een maand geleden dus, heb ik een hoornvliestransplantatie voor mijn linkeroog gehad. Omdat dit oog vergevorderde keratoconus had en geen lens meer tolereerde heb ik er ca. 3 jaar niet echt mee gekeken. Dit was de derde operatie aan mijn ogen dus de opname en behandeling in het ziekenhuis waren voor mij bekend terrein. Ik meldde mij om 7:30 in het ziekenhuis en werd voorbereid voor de operatie. De operatie is uitgevoerd in het UMC door dr. Wisse onder supervisie van dr. van der Lelij.

    De operatie zou in eerste instantie een DALK procedure zijn waarbij de onderste laag (endotheel) van het hoornvlies blijft zitten. Dit zorgt in theorie voor een duurzamer resultaat omdat het hoornvlies regelmatiger van afmeting blijft en het nieuwe donorendotheel een van de redenen is dat het lichaam het hoornvlies kan afstoten.

    Volgens de oogarts was na het verwijderen van het zieke hoornvlies het oppervlak van het endotheel niet glad genoeg wat optisch een slechter resultaat zou geven. Er is dus besloten de hoornvliestransplantatie toch penetrerend, dus over de gehele dikte, uit te voeren. Dit is wel gedaan met de zgn. mushroom techniek om het nieuwe hoornvlies zo robuust mogelijk vast te laten groeien. Continue reading  Post ID 3185

  • MP3 streaming of RTL-SDR receivers

    I have just made some progress with something I had been researching for some time. With the rtl-sdr software and the widely available USB DVB-T sticks it is possible to implement a cheap SDR receiver. I wondered whether it is possible to grab the sound output of the rtl_fm low cpu usage receiving utility and convert it into an MP3 stream.

    I came across this post on the Raspberry Pi forum and tried to make it work. After some messing around with settings I succeeded. The commands I am using are as follows:

    rtl_fm -s 22050 -f 145.575M -l 0  - | lame -b 32 -r -s 22.050 -m m -  | ezstream -c /etc/ezstream.xml

    Basically, it runs rtl_fm, sends the output the lame mp3 encoder which sends its ouput to the ezstream icecast stream generator. /etc/ezstream.xml is as follows:

             For streaming from standard input, the default for continuous streaming
             is bad. Set <stream_once /> to 1 here to prevent ezstream from spinning
             endlessly when the input stream stops:
             The following settings are used to describe your stream to the server.
             It's up to you to make sure that the bitrate/quality/samplerate/channels
             information matches up with your input stream files.
            <svrinfoname>RPi rtl_fm test stream</svrinfoname>
            <svrinfodescription>RPi rtl_fm test stream</svrinfodescription>
            <!-- Turn off YP directory advertising -->

    I run a dedicated icecast server on a separate server but it should be possible to host this on the RPi itself. The stream takes up about half of the RPi’s processor capacity. Currently, squelch does not work because it seems rtl_fm stops sending data when the squelch is on, causing lame and ezstream to stop. A possible workaround is to have rtl_fm output to the RPi line-out and generate the icecast stream from the line-in of another USB sound card plugged into the RPi. To solve this in software looks more elegant to me.

  • Trinket powered geiger counter

    Lately I have been messing around a bit with microprocessor powered geiger counters. One smart guy came up with the idea of generating high voltage using PWM signals from the microprocessor itself. With some additional external parts a HV supply and negative going pulse suitable for microprocessors is easy to make. Here is a schematic I came up with:

    gm counter interface

    The circuit works as follows: A ~1 Khz squarewave turns the MPSA44 high voltage transistor on and off, generating high voltage when the  inductors current is shut off. The voltage depends on the pulse width of the square wave which can be tweaked in software. The 1N4007 diode rectifies this voltage, and the HV cap removes most of the ripple on this voltage. The resistor limits current to the GM tube. The current pulses from the tube generate a voltage drop over the 100K resistor which turns on the BC546. When this happens the voltage through the 10K resistor is pulled to ground, generating a negative going pulse each time the GM tube detects an ionizing ray or particle.

    To drive this circuit I used my new Adafruit Trinket, a small board with a Attiny85 microprocessor. Using the tutorials on the Adafruit website it is easy to work with from the Arduino environment. Here is the code:

    void setup() {
     analogWrite(0, 30); //starts PWM on pin 0, generates about 400V
     analogWrite(1, 255); // needed to get LED to full brightness
     attachInterrupt(0,countPulse,FALLING); // attach interrupt to pin 2
    void loop() {
     //nothing much really
    void countPulse(){
     //pulse led
     digitalWrite(1, HIGH);

    And here is a video of the setup in use:


    Of course it is rather wasteful to only use the microprocessor to generate PWM and flash a LED. I plan on implementing counting and serial output in software later. Unfortunately the Trinket does not have native serial USB capability but bit banging a serial signal on one of the pins should work fine according to several sites. Then it is just a matter of adding a cheap PL2303 serial to USB adapter.

    Update 18/4/2014

    Added serial logging capability. Using a tx only software serial library, the Trinket outputs the measurements in CPM each 10 seconds on pin 4. New code:

    // Trinket GM counter by Johan/dynode.nl
    //counting vars
    long count = 0;
    long countPerMinute = 0;
    // init softserial only tx on pin 4
    #include <SendOnlySoftwareSerial.h>
    SendOnlySoftwareSerial mySerial (4);
    void setup() {
      mySerial.begin(9600); // init serial 9k6
      analogWrite(0, 30); //starts PWM on pin 0, generates about 400V
      analogWrite(1, 255); // needed to get LED to full brightness
      attachInterrupt(0,countPulse,FALLING); // attach interrupt to pin 2
      mySerial.println ("Trinket GM counter starting..."); 
    void loop() {
      delay(10000); //the count is incrementing during this delay
      countPerMinute = 6 *count;
      mySerial.println (countPerMinute);
      count=0; //reset the count
    void countPulse(){
        //pulse led when count is increased
        digitalWrite(1, HIGH);

    Example serial output using cheap eBay USB<>TTL serial adapter:

    Trinket GM counter starting...
    402        <--- thorium bearing mantle held next to GM tube

    There still need to be some tweaking done, the circuit is quite susceptible to electromagnetic interference which causes erroneous counts.

  • Streaming radio receivers with the Raspberry Pi


    The Raspberry Pi is a small computer that has become very popular. Lots of applications and hardware hacks have been made for it. You can run various software like web/file/printservers, read out sensors, the possibilities are endless.

    I own multiple Raspberry Pi’s, one is a test platform for sensors, and a new one pictured above will be dedicated to audio streaming. I use the software packages darkice and icecast2 to capture the audio from an USB audio card and make it available on the internet.

    To stream audio with the RPi you’ll need the following hardware and software: Continue reading  Post ID 3185