Review: uRAD Monitor A3

Who says that everything is made in China or USA? Well, let me introduce you the uRAD Monitor A3 an Air Quality Monitor which is made in Romania, Europe since 2012. The design, firmware design, server software and big data database maintenance and development are all made there and amazingly enough even the unit that I have on my hands is made personally by the CEO Radu Motisan. As a result I am very proud to review it and talk about the cons and pros.

Features:

  • Temperature Sensor -40°C to +85°C / 40°F to 185°F
  • Humidity Sensor RT 0-100%
  • Air Pressure Sensor 300-1,100mbar
  • VOC Sensor 0 mg/m³ to 100 mg/m³ reducers – 10 mg/m³ oxidizers
  • PM2.5 Sensor 0 μg/m³ to 1000 μg/m³
  • Formaldehyde Sensor 0 ppm to 5 ppm
  • Carbon Dioxide Sensor 400 ppm to 5000 ppm
  • γ (gamma), x-rays Sensor 0.01μSv/h to 9999.99μSv/h
  • WiFi or LoraWAN or Ethernet or GSM
  • Built-in Speaker
  • LED Light

Design:

The device is solid and compact, just 110x65x25 mm. You can place it on any surface or you can even mount it on the wall. The enclosure is 100% Aluminum alloy which makes it durable and rugged. Suitable for simple usage inside houses or offices but definitely it can also be used into more advance spaces like production spaces, smart cities and for CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) protection in hospitals etc.

Sensors:

What I love about this product is how open it is. You can find all the details about all the sensors that it uses on the website of the company, they even include photos of the electronics that it uses, no secrets or small letters. But let me analyze each one of them here with a bit more information.

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Older Version
  • It uses the Winsen ZH03A sensor for PM2.5 monitoring. It is a laser sensor with built-in air pump for active air flow. I have already written about which type of sensor is the best for PM monitoring on this article and the uRAD A3 has it. The datasheet of the sensor you can find it on this link.
  • uRAD A3 has a dedicated sensor for Formaldehyde CH2O monitoring which make it super useful because most devices with just a VOC sensor tend to confuse consumers, read why here. Formaldehyde is a common VOC which easily can be found in paint, varnish, furniture, glues etc and it is very toxic, so it is nice to know when it is present inside your home or work place. The device uses the Winsen ZE08 sensor. Just be aware that alcohol and CO can interference with the measurements.
  • It uses the Bosch BME680 for Temperature, Humidity, Air Pressure and VOC measurements. A tiny LGA sensor with great accuracy for the weather forecast.
  • Once more it uses a sensor by Winsen this time is the Winsen MH-Z19B for the Carbon Dioxide measurements. The accuracy is ± (50ppm+3% reading value), pretty much all the CO2 sensors are in this ranges.
  • Finally for the γ,x-rays Sensor it uses the SI29BG Geiger tube. I am not an expert on radioactive pollution so I will prompt you to read more information about it on the company’s blog at uRADMonitor Blog.
  • The WiFi version, which I have, seems a bit strict with the type of password it accepts to establish a connection with your router. I had to change my original password and remove symbols like !@#$% from it. It uses the Espressif ESP8266 at 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n. I think this is a firmware restriction and they may fix it in the future.

Individually, each sensor is exposed to the target gas and separate measurement points are marked on an inspection sheet by a laboratory. The result is a calibration certificate, available for all sensors in the A3 devices, and the other hardware types too.

App:

Currently the data from all the uRAD devices are accessible through an ingenious web interface and a simple Android app.

The web app offers Maps, different ways of Visualizations (Simple, Gradient, Heatmap, Clusters) and Time intervals of your choice for each sensor. It also offers statistic tools like average values and trend. My favourite way to display the data is through the dark dashboard number 4, as seen on the image below, it feels like that you are having a complete view and control of the air you breathe. The data are available for download in two file formats, CSV or JSON, just choose the time interval of your desire.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 16.56.54Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 16.56.09Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 23.03.05

Although the A3 device can’t store data internally, you can have direct access to the data by establishing a direct connection between the device and your computer/tablet/phone, so the internet connection is optional. The devices with Ethernet or WiFi (A, A2, KIT1, A3, INDUSTRIAL) have an internal webpage. Many readers have asked me if there is an AQM that doesn’t emits radio frequencies, in this case I will recommend you the uRAD A3 Ethernet device.

Conclusion:

The company has selected very carefully all the sensors that take part in this device, it seems like a mature device, hardware speaking. Each one of them brings a great value and allows the users to have a better understanding of the air quality. Also it offers an API for those who are interested. The price of the device is at $499 USD.

If I could recommend something to the company for the future development of the device/software it will be to use a USB connector for power supply instead of the current DC jack, but now that I am thinking about it again they use this kind of connection to allow solar power (6V-28V). It would be nice to have an iOS app, the app doesn’t need to be too advanced or hype just the current readings and a history graph, it will help us have access to the information one click away. Of cource the web page, works nice on the phone too, but it would be nice to see the real time data in a table or in a line with some icons. By the way I have an e-reader with an e-ink display and I see the air quality thanks to these two devices 24/7 on my desk.

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8 thoughts on “Review: uRAD Monitor A3

  1. […] Formaldehyde CH2O is a very dangerous chemical-gas that can be easily found inside a house because it off-gases from paints, carpets, furniture, etc… In this article I am going to find out how well a cheap, handheld air quality monitor WP6930S compares to a more professional solution such as the uRAD A3. […]

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