These two kits allow you to send your Geiger kit readings to radiation monitoring sites, and IOT sites, on the internet. (1)
Until now, there was only one kit that would do this - the GKnet (described below). The GKnet connects to your network with a wired Ethernet cable.
The latest kit, the GK-WiFi, connects to your network with a WiFi connection.
Both kits are viable ways of getting your Geiger kit readings to web sites on the internet. Both have the same basic functionality, and both are supported. However, there are differences between the two which should become clear from the following.
The GK-WiFi Kit:
The GK-WiFi kit uses an included ESP8266 SOC for WiFi connectivity and processing. The board connects directly into your kit's FTDI port and reads the serial data (CPM, Dose, Vcc). It then connects via WiFi to the sites you specify in the software and sends those readings. Three status LEDs show network down, data available, and send OK.
The GK-WiFi kit was also designed so that it can serve as a development platform for the ESP8266. A carrier board is used to hold the ESP8266 for ease of replacement, all common I/O pins are broken out and the LEDs can be disabled.. This chip is a lot of fun to work with with using the Arduino IDE add-on package.
Currently, the software provides support to connect to Radmon.org, Sparkfun, and ThingSpeak with memory to spare.. (These sites are described below.) The software also supports DHT22 or Adafruit HDC1008 sensors which can be added to send temperature and humidity readings in addition to Geiger readings.
An I2C OLED display can also be added. The software supports it to display the connection status, or it can be used for other developments.
The GK-WiFi is only 1.85” x 1.40” (~4.7 x 3.6 cm) and the kit includes everything you need hardware-wise to use it.
Please Note: This kit requires that you be prepared to upload your modified sketch to the ESP8266 with the Arduino IDE after you add your network and site credentials. Step by step instructions for this are provided in the Build Instructions for doing this, but I'd hesitate to recommend this kit to those with no programming experience.
For more detailed information, refer to the GK-WiFi Build Instructions below.
Purchasing the GK-WiFi kit:
The kit includes the ESP8266 and carrier board, and all parts needed to make the board shown above. All GK kit types are supported - GK-B5, GK-Plus, and GKmini. The DHT22 sensor, and I2C OLED options are not supplied.
Kits are available for purchase on the "Buy the Kit" page.
GK-WiFi Build Instructions:
The Build Instructions for the current v1.4 board are here.
(Previous versions of the GK-WiFi Build Instructions may be found on the Archive Page. )
The GKnet Kit:The GKnet kit is another way to interface the output of the Geiger Kit to internet sites that display and graph the data without the need to have a computer running to do it. This kit uses a wired network connection to your LAN.
GKnet attaches to the FTDI port on the Geiger kit (GK-B5, GK-Plus, or GK-mini). It has it's own ATmega386 microprocessor that reads the serial data from the kit and puts it on the network using a plugin Ethernet module. GKnet supports the WIZnet WIZ811MJ Ethernet board as well as the lower priced ENC28J60 Ethernet module (example) as the plugin Ethernet module (neither supplied).
Hardware: Some of the hardware features of GKnet are:
- Small size - the board is 5x5 cm.
- Sockets for WIZnet board and ENC28J60 board.
- Onboard 3.3V supply for the Ethernet modules.
- The board plugs directly into the FTDI port on the Geiger kit for power and serial.
- Three status LEDs show network down, data available, and send OK.
- I/O pins are broken out so you could add headers and use the board as an Arduino compatible.
Software: See the Downloads: section below for the latest sketch that will allow you to connect to Radmon.org, Xively, and Sparkfun monitoring sites with either the WIZnet or the ENC28J60 ethernet modules.
Because you must personalize the sketch with your own account information, you must be capable of downloading a sketch to GKnet board using the Arduino IDE. (The GKnet kit is not compatible with thet serial output of the old Logging Shield.)
For more detailed information, refer to the GKnet Build Instructions linked in the GKnet Downloads: section below.
Here is a blog entry about building and using the GKnet kit. It's a very informative description about what's involved in setting up and using the GK.net kit.
WIZnet vs. the ENC28J60 Ethernet module:
Note: Since this was written there are now lower priced WIZnet modules available. One is the WIZ550io. Naturally,it is not pin compatible with the WIZ811MJ headers on the GKnet board, so wires would need to be run to it and a different version of the ethernet library is needed.
As mentioned, the current GKnet board supports both the WIZnet module and the the ENC28J60 as a direct plug-in. (The header must be removed and reversed on the ENC28J60 board.)
So which should you choose?
The WIZnet module runs about $25USD while the ENC28J60 module runs about $4.00USB on eBay. However the WIZnet board contains it's own "TCP/IP stack" while the ENC28J60 does not. This means that the stack must be handled by the sketch for the ENC28J60. This increases the sketch size considerably, and by many accounts decreases the dependability. So far, I have not noticed problems with the ENC28J60 in terms of dependability, but in terms of memory availability, it might be something to consider if you are planning to add more to the sketch.
Using the WIZnet with the standard Arduino "Ethernet" library, it is possible to connect and send readings to all three of the supported sites simultaneously with each update cycle. Using the ENC28J60 with the UIPEthernet library, the current sketch may only support some combinations of these sites. The newest v4 sketch seems to support two, but due to the large sketch size (~31k) I can't guarantee reliability.
In general the WIZnet module is more widely supported in the development community. Having said all this, the choice is yours.
Purchasing the GKnet kit:
The kit includes the ATmega328 and all parts needed to make the board shown above. You will still need to purchase the WIZnet board or an ENC28J60 Ethernet module on your own, and you must be able to load the sketch modified with your credentials.
Kits are available for purchase on the "Buy the Kit" page.
The Build Instructions for the current v2 board are here.
[10/29/14] GKnet_v4c - This sketch adds the following new features:
You can download it here.
Previous versions of the GKnet software may be found on the Archive Page.
About Radmon.org, Sparkfun.com, ThingSpeak, and Xively:
Radmon.org is dedicated to radiation monitoring and has attracted a good group of users at this point. It uses a unique approach where the Geiger's output is collected at the PC which then sends it to the Radmon.org website. (Instructions for connecting the basic kit to the Radmon app on a PC are on the Graphing to a PC page.)
However, the GK-WiFi and GKnet software connects directly to the Radmon.org site, so a PC is not required.
A map on Radmon.org allows you to compare your readings with other's around the globe, and very nice set of graphs for your CPM data is provided. You can see my Radmon feed from the GKnet here.
Sparkfun introduced data.sparkfun.com site recently. Less bells and whistles than ThingSpeak or Xively and no mapping or graphs like Radmon.org, but still an easy use IOT site and a great place to store data..
The GK-WiFi and GKnet software support this site.
You can see my Sparkfun feed from the GKnet here. (if I have it on)
A nice thing about the Sparkfun site is that it's easy to link Google Charts to it. I am no expert, but you can see my live results from the GK-RadMon by clicking here.
It's simply an HTML file with a script that I am running locally. You can easily modify it for your Sparkfun feed. You can get what I have for the GKnet here. For the GK-WiFi there is a link in the Build Instructions.
ThingSpeak is a free IOT site with nice graphs and features. It can also interface to MATLAB, but I haven't tried it.
Currently it's only supported by the software in GK-WiFi but it wouldn't take much to add it to GKnet.
Xively (aka Cosma Pachube) is a free online service that connects sensor data to the Web. It's been around for a long time and has many users.
It accepts multiple "channels" which means you can send it more than just CPM. Currently the sketch is sending CPM, Dose, Max CPM for the day, and "battery" voltage.
I'm not always connected to it, but You can see the Xively feed from my GKnet here.
(click channel names for graph)
Xively has been acquired by LogMeIn recently and the site has a commercial bent. However there is still a personal account section.
Since ThingSpeak seems to have the same or better functionality Xively is not supported with the GK-WiFI or GK-RadMon kits.
To get started with one of these sites, refer to the Build Instructions for GK-RadMon, GK-WiFi or GKnet.