PRM-9000 Geiger Counter

Product Name:Mazur PRM-9000 Professional Geiger Counter
Brand:Mazur
Rating:
PRM-9000 Geiger Counter
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Mazur PRM-9000 Professional Geiger Counter

 

Made in America, the PRM-9000 is the latest addition to Mazur Instrument’s line of handheld Geiger counters. It features a large 2”, pancake-style Geiger-Mueller tube, the industry benchmark for low-level radiation detection. Indeed, the improved sensitivity of the PRM-9000 combined with its real-time data collection, make it a superior choice for measuring environmental contamination levels.

 

Data collection is the focus with this unit. Users can set the instrument to “Always On” mode to continually monitor average, current, minimum and maximum radiation levels, and with a single key can scroll through several screens to access specific data.

 

The timed count or timed measurement mode is key to record low level contamination that would otherwise be missed by a momentary scan. The PRM-9000 will record and date/time stamp this data to help users pin down spikes or anomalies in radiation levels. Generous memory is another reason the PRM-9000 is our first choice with capacity for 91,466 logging data points uploadable in standard CSV format.

 

From a construction and usability perspective, the PRM-9000 portable Geiger counter has a robust build and streamlined design that includes two ports, one for audio connectivity (headphones or speakers) with pulse output, which when mated with the optional software is able to graph and record the radiation levels in real time. The other port is used for uploading logged data when connected by optional data cable.

 

The counter is fitted with a two-line, alphanumeric backlit display which works well in low light and provides support in both Japanese and English.

 

With regard to battery life, the PRM-9000 Geiger counter is a notch above its competitors with a single, replaceable 9-volt lithium battery that delivers impressive 2-years continuous service under normal conditions.

 

Before you start the video demo below, I’d like to mention the plastic hard cases Mazur offers with the PRM-9000. In yellow or black, these padded carrying cases are great for field work; you can throw them in the trunk, or even drop them from a building and your detector won’t feel a thing. Plus they’re watertight with a pressure equalization valve to compensate for any internal/external differentials. Mazur is one of the few mid-range Geiger counter manufacturers to offer true high-impact protection.

 

 

Mazur PRM-9000 Demo and Review

 

 

Suggestions for Improvement

 

Although we stand wholeheartedly behind our decision to rank the Mazur PRM-9000 portable Geiger counter as our #1 detector, we do have some concerns starting with the pancake tube. This type of component can be more fragile than other variants, and the unit comes with only a 120-day warranty. I don’t have the return rates for this device so I don’t know the reason for the tight warranty. It just seems insufficient for a best-of-class handheld Geiger counter. Another small annoyance is the battery mount, which to access requires you remove all four screws on the face of the unit. And while we’re on the subject of the battery, USB charging would be nice upgrade.
And finally, easier transfer of logged data to MAC or Windows is definitely something to include in the next redesign, for example, via a USB PnP data interface.

 

Current Specification Summary

Detection Profile —

LND 7317 Pancake Geiger-Muller tube, Halogen-quenched
Mica window diameter 45mm (1.75 inch)
Radiation Types: alpha, beta, gamma and x-radiation
Energy Sensitivity alpha: minimum 2.0 MeV
beta: minimum 0.16 MeV with 25% efficiency at 1 MeV
gamma/X rays: min 10 keV (window)
gamma sensitivity: 3,500 CPM/mR/hr
calibrated to Cesium-137 (Cs137)
Accuracy ±10% Typical, ±15% Maximum
Measurement Ranges:
0.001 to 125 mR/hr
0.01 to 1,250 uSv/hr
1 to 125,000 uR/hr
1 to 437,500 CPM (3,500 CPM/mR/hr)
0 to 7,291 CPS (58.33 CPS/mR/hr)
Total Count: 0 to 4,294,967,295 (32 Bit Integer)
Measurement Statistics:
Elapsed Time,   Average, Min and Max dose rate in uR/hr, mR/hr, uSv/hr, CPS or CPM
Timed Measurement Selectable 1, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60 and 90 min intervals
Dose Rate Alarm Alarm set to mR/hr or uSv/hr

 

Internal Data Logging —

Storage 100,000 Bytes non-volatile memory
Logging Intervals Every Minute or Every Hour
Maximum Capacity 91,466 Minutes or Hours
(90% Normal Background, 10% Full-Scale)
Minimum Capacity 32,656 Minutes or Hours
(100% Full-Scale Measurement Levels)
Logging Output Format Standard Comma Separated Value (CSV) with time stamp and CPM Data (3,500 CPM/mR/hr)

 

User Interface —

Languages: English and Japanese
Display Two-Line, 14 character LCD with optional back light
Weather resistant membrane keypad
Visual LED pulse indicator
Audio pulse indicator
I/O Ports:
Standard 3.5mm jack Audio Output / Digital Interface
Optional USB Interface for data
External Power 9 VDC

Temperature Range: -20° to 51° C (-4° to 125° F)
Dimensions: 143 x 83 x 35 mm (5.63″ x 3.25″ x 1.37″)
Weight:  368 grams (13 oz.) including battery
Battery Life:
Standard 9V Lithium 42,850 Hours / 4.89 Years
Standard 9V Alkaline 20,150 Hours / 2.30 Years (included)

Warranty: One Year (60 Days on GM Tube)
Certifications: CE Compliant / FCC approved for home use

 

Pros:

Made in the USA
Pancake-style Geiger-Mueller tube
Ability to log data
Configurable sensor audio level
2+ years battery life
LCD backlit display (English and Japanese)
Real time pulse output for graph and recording
Rugged, compact, streamline design

 

Cons:

Limited 60-day Geiger-Mueller tube warranty
Logged data transfer cable not included
USB battery charging not yet available

 

Summary:

Despite some minor complaints the PRM-9000 is a great handheld Geiger counter. It’s professionally engineered, clean looking, ruggedly built with advanced features that give it the edge over its competitors – the PRM-9000, a superior choice and our #1 pick.

 

Special Addendum:

Shortly after publishing our most recent review, for the benefit of our readers we reached out to Mazur Instruments to get some clarification on our complaints and criticisms.  President and CEO Vince Mazur was kind enough to offer his comments, making some strong arguments to support his product design and customer support.

 

1. On the issue of pancake tube fragility and relatively short warranty:

“While statistically it is true that the pancake tube with its larger area of thin mica is more vulnerable than other variants, please keep in mind that any manufacturer that uses an LND pancake tube is subject to the same reality. We get many questions from individuals about the 10,000 foot altitude limitation that we mention on our web site. Because we are based in the Colorado Rocky Mountains we thought it best to mention this. Please note, again, any instrument (i.e. the Inspector) is subject to the same limitations whether stated by the manufacturer or not.”

“Failure rates have been considerably lower than estimated. While in writing we limit the warranty as stated, we reserve the right to repair any defective equipment, regardless of how long ago it was purchased, at our cost.”

 

2. About battery mount and ease of replacement:

“I agree this is a bit of an inconvenience, but I can’t tell you how many devices I have seen with broken battery doors…Unless very well designed, battery doors are a liability over time, and we did design our product to last decades.”

“It should be noted, that a frequent thing that happens to 9-vold battery clips is that over time, the wire will break off the PCB.  If you look inside our unit, you’ll see we went through the extra expense of using a clip/wire with a connector at the end so that our personnel or even customers can easily replace the clip in the event it is required. Most companies just solder the wires to the board. Over time they break.”



3. About lack of rechargeable batteries:

“We’re a bit conservative on the power supply. I agree rechargeable would be nice, and we continue to consider a solution for recharge-ability. However, over time rechargeable batteries are among the first items to become defective. What’s more, many of the cells are driven by the smart phone market, and unless large quantities are pre-purchased by manufacturers like us, it could be hard to replace because the battery manufacturers focus their volume on future products that may not be compatible.”

“Also, the greatest charge density is achieved currently with Lithium type batteries and there continues to be much concern over the self combustion that can happen with Lithium type of rechargeables. There is different treatment by shipping companies, etc. We will continue to consider a solution, but if I had my way we would add the recharge-ability to the existing 9 Volt battery design. The nice thing about the 9 volt battery, is that they are widely used in life critical devices such as carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and available virtually anywhere. The customer is virtually guaranteed to find a 9 Volt battery at a time of need.”



4. About the somewhat dated data transfer utility:

“Regarding easier transfer, I also agree. The current approach uses widely available software and the technique is potentially backward compatible to systems made in the 80’s. Why is this important? In the hopefully unlikely event of an EMP generating, nuclear event, one cannot know with certainty what systems will be available.  The serial approach we use is very universal.  But like recharge-ability, as we improve data connectivity, we will maintain the legacy method.”

“Please keep in mind that these devices do play a role in protecting individuals in the time of emergency and in general the greater the flexibility the greater the utility. This dynamic played a role in how we structured our feature set.”



Four criticisms, four excellent replies.  Thank you Vince for these very informative answers.  You’ve shed some valuable light on your product design and customer support philosophy.   We can’t wait for the next iteration of your product line, hopefully incorporating some of the improvements you alluded to.  In the meantime we continue ,with high confidence, to rank the Mazur PRM-9000 as our #1 mid-range handheld Geiger counter.

 

 

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