ATMON FL GAS ANALYSER - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

2020-03-30

In this article we collected the most frequently asked questions about the ATMON FL - a mobile gas analyser made in Poland by Nanosens. It can test the atmosphere for up to 4 specific gases and 2 sizes of particulate matter and is compact enough to be mounted on a Yuneec H520 drone. .







Table of Contents:
1. What do AQ and RI sensors measure?
2. What technical standards does Atmon FL meet?
3. Will the smoke not be dissipated by the rotors? Do they not interfere with repeatability of measurement?
4. Will the measurement in Atmon FL mode on a drone and suspended under a drone be the same?
5. What is the warranty period?
6. Where are the data stored?
7. Urban I - for normative measurements; Urban II - for the location of origin of pollutants. - Why and how do they differ?
8. What is the lifetime of the sensors?
9. How long is calibration recommended?
10. Can data be transmitted live to the cloud?
11. What is the full list of available sensors?
12. What measurement method does Atmon use?
13. Under what atmospheric conditions can the FL Atmonium be used? Can it be used in an environment with a lot of steam or in the rain?
14. How does the Atmon take a sample for analysis?
15. Does it make sense to take an air sample with a tube?
16. How is calibration performed?
17. Is the user panel available in English?
18. Can a chimney test report be printed?
19. Is it possible to create smog clouds maps?
20. Does the Atmona not interfere with the drone transmitter?
21. What is the error in the measurement of the Atmon?
22. Who in Poland already uses Atmon?
23. What is PM?
24. What are the reliable sources of knowledge on air pollution?
25. Atmon FL in S.M.O.K. version: what are the sensors and what is its purpose?
26. Is the oxygen sensor compatible with Atmon?
27. Can the FL Atmonas can work in the rain?
28. What does the result file with the saved data from the Atmon look like and what data does it contain?
29. What substances are recommended for detecting the incineration of illegal waste in domestic furnaces and why?
30. What transmission frequencies does the Atmon use and what is the power of its transmitter?
31. What is the maximum number of sensors?
32. Which tablet or computer is currently recommended to work with ATMON?
33. Are the sensors in Atmon interchangeable? Can you replace them yourself?


YUNEEC H520 NANOSENS ATMON FL


1. What do AQ and RI sensors measure? Each of those sensors measures the concentration of several gases simultaneously and shows an average resulting value. The substances making up the group have been selected for certain common features:
  • AQ (Air Quality) - measures overall air quality, the group contains : CO, H2S, NO, SO2
  • RI (Respiratory Irritants) - measures concentrations of frequently occurring respiratory irritant gases: NO2, O3, CL2, HC
The URBAN II configuration contains AQ and RI sensors, so it can be used for more general localization of the origin of pollutants, without indicating their type. The URBAN I version has separate sensors for specific gases, making it more suitable for normative measurements. The SMOK configuration, on the other hand, includes gas sensors recommended by the Central European Drones Demonstrator for chimney sweeps for Municipal Guards .

2. What technical standards does Atmon FL meet?
The manufacturer provides a certificate of conformity with the standards harmonised with the EU directive EMC 2004/108/EC and 94/9/EC ATEX with later amendments.

3. Will the smoke be dissipated by the rotors? Does that interfere with the measurements?
Smoke from a chimney can be dispersed in so many ways (depending on air humidity, wind strength and direction, atmospheric pressure and even sunlight) that regardless of the technology used, the repeatability will always be limited. The slightest wind blow that could occur during measurment outside a chimney duct will cause changes in the readings. Therefore, outside of a chimney duct, we can only make approximate measurements - and that is how ATMON is supposed to be used.  In order to make a precise measurement, it has to be taken deep inside the chimney duct, but in the case of drone flights this solution is not practical. Measurements with a high repeatability of results can be taken with FL Atmon in an environment where we can ensure repeatability of the surrounding conditions. The chimney smoke will be affected by the rotors, as well as even small gusts of wind. However, in the H520+ATMON system, the airflow around the airframe and rotors actually facilitates sampling. If the drone approaches the floating smoke head on or from below, the airflow caused by the rotors will suck the smoke in towards the sensor, making measurement easier. We have tested this solution in practice many times and it works perfectly and the measurement is easy and safe. In real life conditions, approaching the chimney outlet as close as possible is pointless, because we still measure the smoke partially dispersed in the air. Therefore, using Atmon is safe because it eliminates the need to get as close as possible to the chimney outlet. Analysing the gas from the chimney, measurements can and should be made at a distance from the outlet (1m or more). The accuracy of the drone's approach to the smoke plume will have a greater impact on the measurement than the proximity of the chimney.

4. ATMON can be mounted on top of the drone but it can also be suspended underneath. How does this affect the measurements?
As mentioned earlier the very nature of the measurement method doesn't allow for perfect repeatability of the results, this it is difficult to talk about comparative mearurements between the two methods of mounting the ATMON. In general the results should be the same. After multiple practical tests performed by the manufacturer the conclusion was that using the "suspended underneath" mode can rarely be justified, and in the vast majority of cases the top-mount solution will be a lot better. 

5. What is the warranty period?
The warranty period for the ATMON FL central platform is 24 months, in accordance with the the NANOSENS warranty conditions (https://www.nanosens.pl/serwis-urzadzen/). The warranty period for the sensors is 1 year.

6. Where are the data stored?
Data is normally saved on the computer to which the ground module is connected when the "save" option is selected in the AtmonFL Ground Unit.

7. Urban I - for normative measurements; Urban II - for the location of origin of pollutants. - Why and how do they differ?
The two variants differ in some sensors, and the location measurement and meeting standards are identical in both models. The configuration version 'Urban I' has single-gas sensors and is therefore more suitable for normative measurements (normative measurements are based on the measurement of specific substances). Urban II measures the AQ and RI indices (among others), which broadens the search scope for pollutants in general, but provides less information about what those pollutants are.

8. What is the lifetime of the sensors?
The lifetime of the sensors in normal conditions is about 10 years (applies to Urban I and II configurations). During this time, the sensors should be calibrated regularly and the Atmon battery should not be discharged in order to maintain good condition of the battery and the sensors.

9. How often should the sensors be calibrated?
Calibration is recommended to be performed once a year, and for very intensive use once every six months. The cost of calibration and diagnostics is not included in the product price.

10. Can data be transmitted to the cloud in real time?
The transmission to the cloud will be available in the future. (currently the date is not known due to the global pandemic). The user will have to bear the cost of the subscription related to the data transmission. The cost includes the subscription for the sim card, unlimited data transfer from the device, server and user account maintenance.



YUNEEC H520 NANOSENS ATMON




11. What sensors can be mounted in the ATMON FL?
AQ - Air Quality - the sensor measures a group of substances which are the main determinants of low air quality (CO, H2S, NO, SO2)
RI - Respiratory Irritants - this sensor measures the presence of respiratory irritants (NO2, O3, CL2, HC)
C2H6O - ethanol
Cl2 - chlorine
CO - carbon monoxide
CO2 - carbon dioxide
H2S - hydrogen sulphide
HCHO - formaldehyde
HCl - Hydrogen chloride
VOC - Volatile Organic Compounds
NH3 - ammonia
NO - nitrogen oxide
NO2 - nitrogen dioxide
O3 - ozone
SO2 - sulphur dioxide
PM10 and 2,5 - Particulate Matter - suspended particulates

12. What measurement method does the Atmon use?
For particulate matter (PM) Atmon uses the laser/optical method. For other media, electrochemical sensors are used.

13. Under what atmospheric conditions can the FL Atmon be used? Can it be used in an environment with a lot of steam or in the rain?
Atmon can take measurements in conditions up to 95% humidity but not in condensation. As for the other conditions (temperature, etc.), you can assume the same parameters/conditions for the Atmon as for the Yuneec H520 drone. Due to its casing, the Atmon can operate in light rain, provided that there is no strong wind (more than 5 m/s) that causes "slanting" rain.

14. How does the Atmon take a sample for analysis?
The Atmon takes a sample by force of suction, that is generated by a small fan. The sample is sucked under pressure through an opening in the housing into the interior of the Atmon, where it passes the PM sensor first, and then through a chamber where the sensors for the gases are located. The sample is then blown outside through an outlet. The air exchange in the device takes a few seconds.

15. Does it make sense to take an air sample with a tube?
Tube sampling has far more disadvantages than advantages. The tube has a significant impact on the measurement of dusts, as these are deposited on the inside of the tube. Even Kevlar or carbon thin-walled tubes interfere with the results. In addition, the propeller downwash will always interfere with the sampling with the tube, unless it is very long (reaching far beyond the outline of the drone's arms). In the case of Atmon FL, the airflow from the propellers helps the measurement instead of interfering.

16. How is the sensor calibration performed?
Atmon is calibrated with special calibration gases according to EU guidelines.

17. Is the user panel available in English?
Yes.

18. Can a chimney test report be printed?
Each measurement can be saved on the computer or tablet to which the Atmon Ground Unit is connected. The data is saved in the form of a CSV (comma separated values) text file, which makes it easy to import into various kinds of software for further processing and creating reports. In addition, the current readings are displayed on the computer screen in the user panel along with the coordinates, temperature and other data. By taking a screenshot, we can quickly and easily record all of the readings at any given moment for a given place, time and altitude; the screenshot includes a graph of concentration over time for one substance. It is also planned to extend the reporting functionality of the software in the future.

19. Is it possible to create smog clouds maps?
The majority of GIS-type programs allows importing data from different file types, including CSV. Each data point created by Atmon contains information about the location and altitude of the measurement, as well as the concentration of all substances. This information is sufficient to create a pollution map in the relevant program.

20. Does the Atmon interfere with the drone's transmitter?
No. By default, the Atmone transmits in the 433 MHz band, which H520 does not use at all. In fact, the 433 MHz band is almost never used in the drone industry. This ensures no negative interations between the comms systems of the drone and the Atmon.


YUNEEC H520 NANOSENS ATMON




21. What is the error in the measurement of the Atmon?
The measurement error (measurement uncertainty) is reported separately for each substance. Information on the measurement range and uncertainty of measurement can be found in the technical specifications as well as the documentation included with the device. Each kit shall be accompanied by a calibration certificate from the manufacturer certifying the measurement error.

22. Who in Poland already uses Atmon?
It is used by Municipal Guards and rescue services. Currently, research works are also carried out using Atmon in the Scientific and Research Centre for Fire Protection.

23. What is PM?
It is an indicator of the concentration of the Particulate Matter (PM) mixture in the atmosphere. PM10 is an indicator which determines the level of contamination by particles with a diameter of less than 10 µm (micrometer - one thousandth of a millimeter). The dust concentration is calculated in micrograms per cubic meter [µg/m3]. The standards for dust concentration in the air can be found here: http://www.gios.gov.pl/pl/aktualnosci/294-normy-dla-pylow-drobnych-w-polsce

24. What are the reliable sources of knowledge on air pollution?
http://airindex.eea.europa.eu
https://www.airqualitynow.eu/pollution_home.php
http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/air-quality/data-and-statistics

25. Atmon FL in S.M.O.K. version: what are the sensors and what is its purpose?
ATMON S.M.O.K. is one of the Atmon variants designed to measure chimney stacks for identification of houses where trash or other illegal fuels are being burned. Individual sensors in this variant have been selected to comply with the recommendations of the Central European Drones Demonstrator. It measures PM2.5 (sum of the result including PM0.5, PM1 and PM2.5) and PM10, as well as specific substances: ammonia (NH3): 0-100ppm, hydrogen chloride (HCL): 0-30 ppm, formaldehyde (HCHO): 0-5 ppm

26. Can the Atmon be equipped with an oxygen sensor?
Yes, it is available on special request. If you are looking for other sensors that are not on the current list of Atmon FL sensors - send us a message. Perhaps such sensors will also be available on special request.

27. Can the Atmon FL work in rain?
In case of rainfall from above and from a slight incline, the Atmon can be used. We assume that in case of precipitation the maximum wind can be up to 5 m/s. Note: Yuneec drone H520 cannot be used in any precipitation at all.

28. What does the result file with the saved data from the Atmon look like and what data does it contain?
The files saved by the Atmon FL Ground Unit are in CSV format so they can be imported into many different programs for further analysis and processing. The simplest form is to import into a Microsoft Excell or Open Office Calc worksheet. The following data is available:
Date and time (in the form of a unix timestamp)
Latitude and longitude
Altitude
RSSI (signal strength index)
Battery charge level
Identification number
Device status
Measurement results from individual sensors
Air temperature
Humidity

29. What substances are recommended for detecting the incineration of illegal waste in domestic furnaces and why?
It should be remembered that these are not clear-cut issues, because different substances will separate many different gases when they are incinerated. The multitude of types of rubbish is obvious, but some legal fuels can also burn "dirty".
We have three main groups of waste on which we focus:
  • Wood/furniture waste: materials such as MDF, plywood etc. contain organic adhesives, but the biggest problem with them is that they are preserved/impregnated with formaldehyde, which is very harmful and simultaneously rarely found in legal fuels. It is one of the best, most unambiguous markers for combution of illegal fuels, but of course it only concerns certain types of waste.
  • Rubber waste: sulphur is used in vulcanisation of rubber - it is one of the key components of rubber products that determines its properties. We can expect a lot of sulphur oxides, a little bit of hydrogen sulfide, and a little bit of formaldehyde when burning rubber waste. We can also expect a lot of soot and a relatively high amount of "thicker" suspended particulates.
  • Plastics, etc.: there are a lot of types of these substances. The worst are polyvinyl chloride, or PVC / PVC. When burned, we can expect them to produce large amounts of hydrogen chloride, but also carbon monoxide (to a lesser extent). The bottles are often made of polyethylene, which is relatively harmless. Interesting fact: In Switzerland, burning of polyethylene bottles is legal, provided that the cap and cap ring are removed beforehand, as these are often made of PVC. During combustion, polyethylene breaks down into ethylene, which is flammable and mostly burns out immediately within the fireplace.
Division by substance/sensor:
  • HCL hydrogen chloride: will facilitate the detection of the combustion of plastics (mainly PVC), objects containing metal parts, materials containing dyes. HCL is very harmful. It's one of the most important sensors to detect illegal waste incineration.
  • Formaldehyde HCHO: will appear when furniture products are burned, because materials (cellulose) and organic adhesives are used, which are preserved by formaldehyde (specifically a water-based solution of formaldehyde). It may also appear when burning rubber, plastics and plastic bags. It's one of the most important sensors for detecting illegal waste incineration. Its appearance is a rather unambiguous and certain indicator that something that was impregnated is being burned.
  • Hydrogen sulphide H2S: may appear when certain plastics and rubber are burned. Using this sensor is recommended by the Central European Drones Demonstrator (probably in order to comply with the so-called European Odour Directive and also for industrial/agricultural/wastewater treatment plants - odour pollutants). Hydrogen sulfide is dangerous only in high concentrations. The human nose is very sensitive to hydrogen sulfide (comparable to sensors), but in contrast to sensors - it gets used to it quickly, which can lead to ignoring dangerous concentrations of this gas.
  • Sulphur oxides SO, SO2: will appear in larger amounts when burning rubber, it can also appear when burning plastics, as well as solid fuels, oils, coal, biomass.
  • Carbon monoxide CO: may be an additional indicator, but it will say little in itself about the burning waste. The combustion of legal fuels can also generate more CO if the combustion is incomplete (e.g. due to oxygen deficiency).
  • PM: these occur with every combustion. A sudden increase in the PM readings is useful for determining that the device is taking in smoke and not ambient air.
  • Ammonia NH3: this substance is recommended by the Drones Demonstrator probably in order to determine odour pollution / industrial or agricultural pollution. Ammonia is usually formed by the breakdown of protein substances by bacteria.
  • Hydrogen cyanide HCN - is formed when burning plastics and is also present in cigarette smoke.
  • Molecular chlorine Cl2 - is formed during the combustion of plastics. An average waste can emit a mixture of different substances. For example, burning a PC keyboard will produce a lot of gases, but hydrogen chloride may be dominant because of the PVC housing. Many packages such as juice cartons are made of several different materials, so they will also emit a whole set of poisonous substances when burned.

30. What transmission frequencies does the Atmon use and what is the power of its transmitter?
The frequencies used by the Atmon FL are in the ISM band: 433.05-434.79 MHz. Transmission power: 10mW e.r.p.



YUNEEC H520 NANOSENS ATMON FL




31. What is the maximum number of sensors?
Every ATMON FL must be equipped with PM2.5 and PM10 sensors in order to work properly. Additionally, it can be equipped with up to 4 sensors from the current sensor list.

32. Which tablet or computer is currently recommended to work with ATMON?
Any device based on Windows 7-8-10 and equipped with a USB port. Compatibility with devices based on the Android system is planned for 2021.

33. Are the sensors in Atmon interchangeable? Can you replace them yourself?
Yes, depending on the situation, the user can choose the sensors so that they best meet the requirements of the situation. This is particularly important, for example, for chemical emergency services, which can select a set of sensors to quickly adapt their Atmon to the intervention. The exchange is fast and can take place during the action, in between flights.
Show more entries from March 2020
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