Mazur Instruments PRM-9000 Geiger Counter and Nuclear Radiation Contamination Detector and Monitor, 0.001 to 125 mR/hr Range, +/-10 Percent Accuracy
Specifications for this item
|Number of Items||1|
|Brand Name||Mazur Instruments|
|Item Weight||1.45 pounds|
|Power Source Type||battery-powered|
|Special Features||CE, Lead-Free|
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The PRM-9000 includes the same two-inch (50.8 mm) pancake Geiger detector tube that is the gold-standard for surveying areas for potentially harmful ionizing radiation levels and for detecting radioactive contamination of packages, items, equipment and people. The instrument is suitable for regulatory inspections, and for the detection, measurement and monitoring of broad spectrum, low energy radionuclides, including Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM). The two-line, alphanumeric display supports both English and Japanese languages promoting ease-of-use and concise measurement. The display is backlit to support low-light conditions. Using only one key, users can scroll through several screens that display present, average, maximum and minimum measurements in uR/hr, mR/hr, uSv/hr, Counts per Second (CPS) or Counts per Minute (CPM). The PRM-9000 instrument not only records the maximum radiation measured, but also displays the time and date at which the maximum occurred. Battery life is over 4-years under normal conditions from a single, readily-available, 9-volt lithium battery that is user-installable without soldering. Standard alkaline 9-volt batteries available everywhere provide over 2-years of life under normal conditions. With over 100K bytes of data logging memory included, the PRM-9000 can autonomously store up to 91,466 minutes or hours of time-stamped measurements. These measurements can then be uploaded to a PC in CSV format for analysis. A user-settable dose rate alarm sounds an audible alert when the measured radiation level exceeds that of the alarm level setting. Designed by Mazur Instruments and manufactured in the USA, the PRM-9000 includes abundant I/O options including support for headphones, external speakers, external power and PC/Mac USB data exchange (requires optional 3.5mm to USB adapter cable). Minimum energy sensitivity alpha (2.5 MeV), beta (50 keV), gamma/X rays (10 keV). Gamma sensitivity: 3,500 CPM/mR/hr (Cs-137).
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Top Customer Reviews
I am going to compare the Mazur PRM-9000 to the Inspector EXP+ in this review, since they have the same type 1.75" (effective diameter) Geiger-Mueller tube, and should produce similar results. The strongest point for me regarding the Mazur brand of instruments is the ability to LOG data without being tethered to any other device. Just select "Data Logging", in my case I set the interval to "Minute" and "Start" the process when I want to begin, and "Stop" when I am finished. This can be used for very long measurements since it is capable of storing 91,466 minutes or hours' worth of data depending on your settings. Each stored data point contains the date, time, and counts per minute. This can be transferred to a computer with a free program called TeraTerm, and graphed in Excel. My other brand detectors are incapable of doing this since they have no internal memory. The Mazur instruments can also be set to monitor for a preset duration of 1, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60, or 90 minutes, and will give you your data in whichever unit you specify, uR/hr, mR/hr, uS/hr, CPS, or CPM, already calculated for you in the counts or dose rate you specify, no further calculations are necessary. This is not possible with the Inspector, in which you set your time duration, and it gives you total counts for the time set, then you do the math to get your CPM or CPS, the timer does not function in any other mode than "Total / Timer", so no direct readout of CPM, CPS, mR/hr, or uS/hr is possible during a timed reading. If you need to monitor a project for longer than 90 minutes that is not a problem, just reset the counters in the PRM-9000, and let it run for hours, weeks, or months, and it will continue to update the minimum, maximum, average, and current counts. This would be a good time to use the data logging feature I mentioned above. I am not familiar with any other units that have the minimum, maximum, average, and time of maximum information displayed. The Mazur units I own are very well built, have backlit displays, and the user interface is second to none. They are very easy to use and interpret the data they output. Another thing that is a big plus is the time the unit can run on a single 9V battery. The battery life is stated to be 20,150 HOURS or 2.3 YEARS at normal background levels, this is a really nice feature since the unit is designed to be always on. The specifications on my PRM-8000 are for 28,000 HOURS on a single 9V alkaline battery, and I don't doubt the factory's estimate on the battery life is correct. I did recently change my battery on the PRM-8000, but I run it at significantly higher levels as you will see in the tests below, thus the shorter battery life. I still got 8 MONTHS out of a single battery. Being always on is a great feature, since it is always monitoring background, and its alarm will alert you if the background radiation level exceeds your set point. Maximum is constantly updated with the time it occurred as long as the unit is on.
I ran a few comparison tests with the Mazur PRM-9000 and the Inspector EXP+, all timed tests were 10 minutes long unless otherwise noted. The first test was with both units sitting next to each other on a wooden countertop reading background radiation only. The PRM-9000 logged 24,081 counts for 29.7 CPM and the Inspector EXP+ logged 25,169 counts for 31.0 CPM. This was over a 13.5 hour period (810 minutes). The second test was with a Uranium doped glass bead at the same distance from each Geiger-Mueller tube. The PRM-9000 yielded 3149 counts, for 314.9 CPM, and the EXP+ logged 3119 counts for 311.9 CPM. The third test is an interesting one, it started raining so I did a 10 minute count of my countertop and a paper towel with both units, and then went out and saturated the towel with rain from the hood of my car. The background count with the PRM-9000 was 29 CPM, and the rain soaked paper towel is 92.4 CPM yielding a count of 63.4 CPM for the rain alone, and the EXP+ logged 30 CPM for background, and 104.3 for the wet paper towel, yielding a count of 74.3 for the rain alone. The GM tubes were kept at equal distances from the test subject, and both counts were made at the same time. This is a nice test to see how they work in a real scenario of testing for contamination in food or water. Do I need to worry that a local nuclear power plant has released contaminants? Perhaps we are getting the remains from a nuclear disaster far away?? No, it is just naturally occurring Radon and its progeny in the atmosphere being brought down and concentrated by the rain, and I am sure a few contaminants on the hood itself. This does show that both units are very capable of testing for contaminants. With the Mazur PRM-9000 I was able to set up data logging and let it continue to collect data for the next 6 hours, and I was able to see on a graph the rate that the sample decayed back to nothing more than background radiation (about 2.5 hours). The fourth test I did was with a small Depression glass vase, it has a base the same size as the sensors, so it was easy to locate the sensors in the same place on the base of the vase. The PRM-9000 logged 27,056 counts, for 2705.6 CPM. The Inspector EXP+ logged 28,620 counts, for 2862.0 CPM. The fifth and last test in this review is from a "ball pitcher" with orange glaze of the same type found on Fiesta Ware. This is a relatively "hot" piece, and I wanted to see how the detectors would handle a more active test target. The PRM-9000 logged 153,980 counts, for 15,398 CPM, and the EXP+ logged 142.9 (X1000) counts, for 14,290 CPM, both over a 10 minute time period. Note that the EXP+ only has four active digits on its display, and has to illuminate the "X 1000" multiplier.
To conclude this review, I have to say it is a very clean looking, well built, user friendly Geiger counter with all the bells and whistles I could ever want and more. If you are considering the purchase of a Geiger counter for emergencies, checking for contamination in food and water, or to experiment with the things around you, I would strongly recommend you give this one a close look. It has so many more features than its competition.
Knowing my intended use and minimum requirements, my choices came down to 3 similar products. The PRM-9000 won over the other 2 options because of its additional features.
Cost was not an influence. I did have a limit, but if what I wanted cost too much, I will refuse to settle for less. Fortunately, I could afford this unit. And it's price seemed reasonable compared to the other 2 devices.
Aside from requiring a quality accurate sensitive Geiger counter, I needed a way to know of peaks and when too, without having to sit and watch it all day.
With the PRM-9000, I can set it to alarm over a specified reading, and it keeps the last max detected reading along with a time stamp. It also logs data which you can download and analyze. And you can send decay pulses to an external device for .. well, whatever I suppose, i.e. for additional analysis, processing, recording.
I've only played with this for a day now. I was a little disappointed I found nothing of surprise that was hot around my home, lol. The few known things that I have that are a little hot were packed away in moving boxes (rocks, old glass, etc.). I had to dig something out of a box.
I found a used 1" round dielectric mirror from a laser. I performed a 10 minute reading right over it and got a 7.540 μSv/h reading. Highest thing I've been able to find so far. But, I've not checked everything yet.
My background reading (Twin Cities, MN, south suburbs) averages 0.09 μSv/h during the day. In the night that average drops to 0.07 μSv/h.
I ordered the required data cable to connect it to a PC. I've not done that yet, but I assume it works as others have reported it does.
The only nuisance is battery accessibility. Sure, it says it last a long time, years. But is that still the case if I'm playing with it a lot and using the backlite often, with the LED and sound on? And what about data transfer? I guess time will tell. If I have to remove 4 screws every few months to replace batteries, I'll be a little annoyed.
Otherwise .. I am glad I did my research. No regrets after I've played with this so far. It seems to give really consistent results. And I don't have to babysit it all day to know what happened and when.
5 stars .. but I'll drop that to 4 if I have to change the battery often, lol.