Nuclear Pioneer MCA manual and firmware updates

Nuclear Pioneer Multichannel Analyzer is a Gamma Spectrometer and a Radioisotope Identification Device (RIID). Because the software is optimized for a large volume NaI(Tl) detectors, we recommend to use probes with crystals like 40x40mm, 51x51mm or 63x63mm. 

Here you can download the latest updates of the MCA firmware. For detailed description of the software and hardware specifications please download PDF manuals.

DOWNLOAD PDF MANUAL for firmware 4.10

DOWNLOAD PROGRAMMING INSTRUCTION

 


 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE 4.12 HEX file 22/04/2022

What is new in 4.12 firmware:

  1. Library is structured into two groups. Now you can set in the RIID f(x) menu what type of the library to use: Industrial/N.O.R.M or Medical. Selected library hint is also shown on the main display as MED or IND. IND/N.O.R.M. includes:Cs-137, Am-241, Co-60, Co-57, Ba-133, Eu-152, Ra-226, Th-232, U-235, K-40  MED includes: I-131, Lu-177, F-18(beta) and following isotopes as it also used in Nuclear Medicine for calibration or procedures: Cs-137, Co-60, Co-57

  2. I-131 assigned to the correct Medical classification.

  3. Fixed false positive detection of I-131 caused by Ba-133 peaks

  4. Fixed false positive detection of Bi-214 caused by Lu-177

  5. Start logo of the device is replaced with a smaller image to free 137kBytes of storage memory for further updates.

  6. Added F-18 511keV to the medical library, currently in beta mode.

  7. Added blink notification for successful identification.  


 

All previous bug fix and updates from 4.01-4.11 are included in 4.12

You may need to recalibrate LLD, HLD, doserate factors, Compton properties, timestamp and energy scale after making firmware update

Isotope Library Include: Cs-137, Ra-226, Th-232, Bi-214, Ba-133, Am-241, Lu-177, Eu-152, K-40, Co-60, U-235, I-131, Co-57,F-18

 


If you want to get OEM firmware HEX file with your company name / email / logo / brand-name integrated into Nuclear Pioneer start screen or menu, please contact us to get commercial offer. 

Previous firmware releases

Energy Scale Calibration

Background Subtract

Activity Calculator

 
How to make energy scale calibration
 

Before starting energy calibration, choose for you the preferred scheme: Cs-137 K40, Ra-226 or Eu-152 and make spectrum acquisition to locate channel number for the following energy peaks. You can move red pointer line over the LCD or move all spectrum over the LCD right-left with the encoder. Short pressing on encoder button allows to toggle between moving pointer state. Longer pressing on the encoder button open the menu.

 

3-point energies used in default schemes:

  • Cs-137 K40 scheme: 32keV, 662keV, 1460keV

  • Ra-226 scheme: 186keV, 609keV, 1760keV

  • Eu-152 scheme: 122keV,344keV, 1408keV

  • Co-57 I-131 scheme: 122keV,364keV, 637keV

 

Write your note with channel number for 3 calibration points, depending on your preferred scheme. In my example I use Cs-137 K40 scheme. Enter menu UNLOCK CALIBRATION and select your scheme. Return to the spectrum. You will see 3 triangles in the upper line. Each triangle position is indicating channel position of a calibration point.

For example, if you selected Cs-137 K40 scheme, then move the red pointer to the position of the first 32keV photopeak and shortly press the button. Repeat marker positioning for the second and for the third energy. If done correctly, you will hear confirmation melody and the MCA will re-calibrate the scale by auto with all new values. If you made a mistake, then just start over energy calibration process.

When calibration process is unlocked, you can see yellow “unlocked” message on the bottom line. It very important to perform energy calibration procedure because peak detection and dose rate functions are using this data.

How to use Background Subtract 
 

Real time background subtract can be helpful when sample activity is low, and you don’t have a lead castle to filter natural background. The function is mathematically subtracting previous saved background 00000000.CSV from the actual spectrum.

You need to prepare background data file prior using subtract function. Set SPECTRUM TIME to 1000 - 7200 and make background acquisition. The file will be saved by auto on SD card when timer roll over the defined spectrum time. Check that the file is saved correctly through opening it from VIEW SPECTRUM. Be sure the file remains opened before continuing.

Go to BACKGROUND menu and select “Save”. The software will create a new file (or re-write the old) on SD card with the name 00000000.CSV It’s your background data that can be used now for the real time subtract. Acquisition time must be smaller or equal to the background spectrum time. The good idea is just to keep SPECTRUM TIME unchanged.

To activate the subtract go to BACKGROUND again and select “Subtract”. Now you can make “RESTART” and to view real time spectrum without background.

To stop using the subtract viewer go to BACKGROUND and select “Unload”.

If you have 00000000.CSV file on SD card, next time you can just activate the function by selecting “Subtract” from the BACKGROUND menu.

How to use activity calculator
 

Since 4.07 firmware Nuclear Pioneer offer beta version for activity calculation. The initial function is programmed for 51x51mm NaI(Tl) crystal and 3 types of geometries: point source with selectable distance, sample bottle 60mm, Marinelli Beaker MB500-92-116L.

 

Since 4.08 firmware added point source geometry for 63x63mm, 10x40mm, 25x25mm and 40x40mm.

 

Previous Firmware Releases:

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE 4.11 HEX file 05/04/2022

What is new in 4.11 firmware:

  1. New isotopes added to the library: I-131, Co-57

  2. Improved identification of Co-60

  3. Fixed minor RIID bugs for low activity Ra-226 / Cs-137 

  4. RIID f(x) menu now includes also I-131, Co-57, Co-60 tolerance settings. If one of the isotopes from the library list pop-up with false positive too often, then you can decrease the tolerance %. Set all 0% as the default levels. Correct setting for your probe geometry can be found experimentally, normally tolerance can be set in range +/- 20% for a typical detector.

  5. Added support for the new website browser application:  https://spectrum.nuclearphoenix.xyz/ You can use USB serial connection to view live data uploaded from Nuclear Pioneer to the browser. NuclearPhoenix is very nice online MCA that allows to open CSV spectrum files and support live data logging from a different hardware MCA. You can contact the author of this application through the forum: https://www.geigerzaehlerforum.de/index.php/topic,969.0.html 


By default, serial logging is OFF for live data. Nuclear Pioneer uses ";" delimiter for serial logging to make it compatible with the website logging. To toggle live data upload please send serial service command s1818 to the Nuclear Pioneer prior connecting with browser application. You can use Arduino IDE serial terminal or NuclearPhoenix Console to send service command.

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE 4.10 HEX file 21/01/2022

What is new in 4.10 firmware:

  1. Added spectrum line draw mode (LIN or LOG). You can toggle bar / line mode in the new LCD DRAW MODE menu.

  2. Added date&time label in spectrum viewer when file is opened.

  3. Fixed minor bug in printing temperature text during energy scale calibration.

  4. In RIID f(x) menu fixed bug of printing and scrolling percentage values, now you can set +/-75%

  5. In RIID f(x) menu introduced a new function that allows to hide Compton continuum. This function can be useful to identify a shielded N.O.R.M. source in situ analyzing.  

  6. Added BLE command to  control Compton-hide properties  (abstract units, refer user manual).

  7. Added serial monitor command to  control Compton-hide properties  (abstract units, refer user manual).

  8. Fixed bug in monitoring of low battery level.

  9. Improved Cs-137 and Ra-226 identification confidence for 63x63mm and 51x51mm crystals.  The software will perform deeper analyze  for faster identification of low activity / shielded source, however the deep analysis currently programmed only for large volume crystal and may not work correctly if you connect small detector. That's why for better performance of RIID using large crystal is recommended.

 

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE 4.09 HEX file 30/12/2021

What is new in 4.09 firmware:

  1. Added Eu-152 isotope to the library

  2. Improved Cs-137 identification in case of weak activity or shielded source behind Compton

  3. Temperature sensor readings moved to the main MCA window

  4. Added RIID f(x) menu for identification tolerance adjustment

 

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE 4.08 HEX file 28.10.21

What is new in 4.08 firmware:

  1. Fixed background file load error that was happen after powering off the device

  2. Added more crystal sizes for correct energy compensated doserate (63x63mm, 10x40mm, 40x40mm)

  3. Added activity calculation geometries for 63x63, 40x40, 25x25 and 10x40 crystals

  4. Now you can set your crystal size by selecting correct type of the NaI(Tl) in activity menu, instead sending serial monitor command

  5. Added U-235 to the library. Improved auto-identification.

  6. Added sound notification when activity is calculated or when isotope detected

  7. Added service serial monitor command to set fast/slow scintillator May be useful if you are using slow CsI(Tl) scintillator with SiPM and external pulse shape amplifier.

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 23.10.2021

What is new in 4.07 software:

  1. Improved search mode with sound alert for 3 sigma CPS deviation

  2. Introduced activity menu for 51x51mm NaI(Tl) crystal and 3 types of geometry (still in beta mode)

  3. Fixed minor bugs 

  4. Added serial monitor command to get files name list saved on SD card

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 29.09.2021

What is new in 4.06 software:

  1.  Optimized and faster peak detection

  2.  Fixed false positive detection triggering in some scenarios 

  3.  Improved Ba-133 and Lu-177 detection

  4.  Improved Cs-137 FWHM% resolution calculation

  5.  Added 3 minutes warning for warm-up period after power up

  6.  Added energy calibration hints with markers and energies list for the selected scheme

  7.  Added Co-57 I-131 energy calibration scheme

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 03.09.2021

What is new in 4.05 software:

  1. Added second color theme for gamma spectrum with higher contrast. You can switch the spectrum color by making several turns of the encoder pointer toward 0keV direction. The encoder have to be in pointer control mode.

  2.  Added Th-232, Ba-133, Lu-177 isotopes to the auto-detection library

  3.  Added N.O.R.M. mix detection with mixed Ra-226 and Th-232

  4. Improved peak detection

  5. In scint.mode, the counter will make the event beep for every n=100 detected particle for large crystal or for every n=25 detected particle when small crystal is used. You can set crystal size through serial monitor command as described in the manual.

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 31.08.2021

What is new in 4.04 software:

  1. Fixed software freeze caused by erratic energy calibration point

  2. Added detailed information on the boot screen with sound notification regarding wrong / missed energy calibration point

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 19.08.2021

What is new in 4.03 software:

  1. Added FWHM% resolution measure for Cs-137 662keV peak, now you can roll the pointer over Cs-137 photopeak to read resolution.

  2. Added serial command to change LCD backlight PWM frequency because some LCD modules had failure with 25KHz PWM. Now the default PWM is 1KHz and you can change the frequency to any value in range  of 100Hz-25KHz

  3. Fixed bug with RN4871 bluetooth connection that caused spurious BLE commands during application connect.

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 28.07.2021

What is new in 4.02 software:

  1. Added boot screen to allow viewing of all saved constants

  2. Added click sound for Geiger-Muller counter in scintillation mode

  3. Improved averaging procedure of Geiger-Muller CPS counter, now it show the correct result faster

  4. Added serial command to make a training data of isotopes for better and faster identification, see manual for details

  5. Added serial command to set crystal size, 51x51mm or 25x25mm

  6. Improved doserate energy compensation calculation

  7. Fixed bug of non correctly saved mean CPS to eeprom memory

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 13.07.2021

What is new in 4.01 software:

  1. Better and faster Cs-137, Am-241 and Ra-226 RIID detection. Reduced the number of false detection events

  2. Added few BLE commands for calibration through smartphone terminal application, see user manual for more details

  3. Changed starting position of a channel pointer during energy calibration

  4. Minor changes in battery voltage monitoring and initial ADC configuration

 

DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE HEX File 21.06.2021

Release hex file  4.00

Order Nuclear Pioneer:

 
Nuclear-Pioneer-RIID-MCA-Ra-226-linear-spectrum.jpg