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FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

1) The PRISM will not communicate with the PC, what's wrong?

There are a number of things to check if the PRISM is not communicating with the PC correctly. First of all, is the unit on and running? Secondly, is the Model 543-1 Proprietary USB communications cable plugged into the PRISM unit and PC properly? If both of these conditions are met and the PRISM still isn't communicating with the PC, it is likely a cable issue. Try another Model 543-1 cable. If the PRISM still isn't showing up as a removable drive on the PC, send the unit to alphaNUCLEAR for servicing.

CAUTION: Using any cable other that the Model 543-1 can cause damage to the internal circuitry of the monitor.

2) Should I delete old job run files from the PRISM?

Simply put that is up to the end user. The PRISM is equipped with an internal memory capacity of 2GB. To put that in perspective, a week's worth of data, 168 hours, produces a job file of 87.5KB. This is 0.0875MB or 0.0000875GB. Another way to look at this is if one day produces a job file of 12.5KB, one year will produce a job file of 4.5625MB. 438 files of this size can be stored on a 2GB memory space. That's a lot of data! The files can safely be copied off of the PRISM, renamed accordingly and stored. The files can be deleted from the internal memory when connected to a PC by selecting the files for deletion , deleting the files and then shutting the unit off.

CAUTION: When the PRISM is restarted the next job run will be assigned the first available job number starting from Job 0000.

3) How long will the PRISM run on battery power alone?

All PRISMs that leave alphaNUCLEAR are subject to a rigorous test of battery run-time. We guarantee that all units that leave alphaNUCLEAR have passed a 12 hour test time after a full charge. As long as the units are kept at full charge, units in the field will get the same battery run-time. Over time the capacity of the battery will decrease, a full discharge, running the monitor unplugged until a low battery shutdown occurs, will help restore battery capacity.

4) How long before battery replacement is required?

According the battery manufacturers specifications, a battery will typically last three to five years in the field. The number battery replacements performed by alphaNUCLEAR have coincided with these statistics.

5) How often should I change filters?

Anytime a new job run is started, a new filter paper must be used. Site testing has shown that the filter paper can be used until a pump flow restriction error occurs, unless the unit is moved while running or a new job run is started. The end user should consider their unique environment in which a PRISM is being used and calculate a filter change/new job run schedule accordingly. See page 28 of the 597-PX3 and Configuration Manual

6) What are the minimum and maximum programmable run times?

The minimum run time is 10 minutes. However the data collected during a 10 minute run does not take into consideration the full hour recommended for particulate build-up on the filter as well as time for algorithm deposition calculations. The maximum run time is not limited. However, the job file format is a .CSV extension, readable by such programs as Microsoft Excel or Notepad. The data memory system has sufficient capacity to store up to 455 days of data to still be accessed by Excel. If this limit is exceeded, the user would be required to open the file in Access or some other database program. This is a caution only, not a limitation

7) Can data be collected before a programmed run is complete?

Yes. At any time the user can use the Model 543-1 Proprietary USB communications cable to view and download any job file. However, the PRISM has an internal buffer that accommodates up to 40 minutes of run-time. When connected to a PC, the monitor does not update the job file if the 40 minute buffering time is exceeded the monitor will start to overwrite its buffer leading to data loss. To avoid this undesirable event the recommendation is to copy the relevant job file(s) to the PC and disconnect from the monitor. The job files can then be viewed at the user's convenience.

8) How much internal memory is contained in the PRISM?

The PRISM contains 2GB of flash memory data storage. Easily over 100 years of data storage.

9) Where can I place the PRISM during use?

The PRISM would best be placed off the ground away from blasting areas. It should also be placed out of reach of heavy equipment. The PRISM will provide the best results when placed at a height equivalent to the workers breathing zone. In some mining environments air currents separated by thermal gradients can cause large variations in radon levels depending on the height at which the monitor is placed.

10) How often should the PRISM be calibrated?

It is recommended that each unit be calibrated in a controlled radon environment, such as alphaNUCLEAR's radon chamber, a minimum of once per year or at any time that the monitor is subjected to physical damage.

11) What periodic maintenance can be performed by the user?

Source, flow and background checks can be performed by the end user. alphaNUCLEAR strongly recommends quarterly flow and background checks, see the Source, Flow and Background Check Recommendations document for more information

12) Can the user make any internal adjustments to the PRISM?

Yes, by using the PRISM Configuration Utility. This gives the user the ability to change the Efficiency, Flow Rate, Background Counts and Light Thresholds values.

CAUTION: The efficiency, provided on the calibration certificate, is determined from the results of a 48 hour calibration run in the radon chamber. The value should not be adjusted without proper supporting documentation in the form of an updated calibration certificate from a calibration run.

13) Is the PRISM waterproof?

No. The PRISM is water resistant but not waterproof. The PRISM was designed to operate in harsh environments such as underground mines which include high moisture and water flow. The PRISM is not designed for use submerged in water, such use will damage the unit leading to an expensive repair bill.

14) How does altitude affect PRISM operation?

The pump flow is set at 250 cc/minute at 504 meters of elevation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The end user should verify pump flow, if it is different, the pump flow can be changed via the PRISM Configuration Utility.

15) How do I measure airflow?

See pages 29 and 30 of the 597-PX3 and Configuration Manual for a detailed explanation and helpful pictures.

16) How can I verify correct counting of the instrument?

To verify correct readings in field use, perform a grab sample close to the PRISM and compare the results. In an office or lab setting, a source check can be performed to verify a unit's calibration. See pages 26 and 27 of the 597-PX3 and Configuration Manual for a detailed explanation and helpful pictures.

17) What happens if I turn the PRISM off during the middle of a programmed run?

The data is simply stored and is ready for viewing. Even though the programmed run may have not been completed, the job file created will contain all the data of the programmed job run up to the last ten minute interval before the unit was turned off.

18) What happens if power is not restored after a prolonged period of time?

The unit should be plugged into AC power for a minimum of a day. If the unit does not turn on after this extended charge time, the battery voltage may be too low for the internal battery charger to function. The unit should then be sent to alphaNUCLEAR for repair and servicing. Battery and internal battery charger functionality will be verified.

19) What additional checks are included during calibration?

The battery is recharged to full capacity and internal battery charger functionality is confirmed. Indicator LED's are tested for brightness, if they have dimmed from use, they are replaced. The pump motor and tubing are thoroughly cleaned; operation checks of the pump are performed. The detector assembly, including collimator are thoroughly cleaned to keep background counts to a minimum. The detector itself and associated electronics are calibrated by using an Am-241 source and pulse height analyser. The unit enclosure itself is also cleaned. After a 48 hour radon-chamber calibration, a battery run time test is performed to ensure that a 12 hour run time is achieved

20) When I return my PRISM for calibration, how long before I can expect its return?

Not including shipping time, alphaNUCLEAR strives to deliver a 2 — 3 week turnaround time.


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