[ RadSafe ] NetCAMs issues

ROYCE Christopher (AREVA) christopher.royce at areva.com
Tue Apr 12 13:51:56 CDT 2016

I wanted to give an update to the NetCams post I put up last week. Yesterday I received a call from Canberra and got great updates and support from Luke Hovestadt and John Kennedy of Canberra. Below in Red are some responses and comments they had for me:

NetCams issues:

I am running into a number of issues with NetCams being deployed with Alpha Sentries. I would like to see if anyone has also had these issues or any issues I haven't encountered yet, and if you have any fixes. We recently upgraded our NetCam Dongles from the older serial style to the USB style and immediately ran into trouble.

1.       The software will only work on IE 7 or Mozilla 3.6.10. This is burdensome as our corporation likes to stay up to date on browser software, but it is what it is, I know how slow Canberra is with fixing their software.

Turns out NetCams are a product that are mostly being phased out. Canberra supports it for some customers that still use it such as Areva. There is a new patch that has updated Modern Browser capability and they will be sharing that with us, though further updates probably wont be happening as the company is trying to phase out the product. That's understandable.

2.       We immediately began to fail performance checks in regards to the energy calibration. We were using the Am 241 source Canberra recommends. We discovered that the "Region of Interest" feature no longer applies simply to an ROI that you are establishing for your viewing pleasure, but to the detectors performance checks as well. We narrowed down to see only Uranium, but then that cut out Am. When we expanded our ROI all was well EXCEPT we have this huge window that catches counts from Radon. Canberra acknowledges this is an issue and says they are thinking about it. So again I don't expect much progress, but hopefully this info will be useful for other users. We are currently looking for a sizable Uranium source to calibrate with and we think this will eliminate the problem. By the way, does anyone have a sizable 47 mm uranium source they want to give up?!

Two things here, on the Canberra side, I was assured the patch to deal with this issue is eminent and Service Engineer Extraordinaire John Kennedy would be onsite to gather some data from my instruments to help development of needed resolutions. This is excellent. On the source side, I spoke to EZ's Evgeny   Taskaev and he offered suggestions for potential radionuclide substitutes such as Gd 148 that has an alpha decay at around 3.2 MeV. That's a big help too. It is important to note Canberra still recommends use of the AM241 source for calibration and QC of the NetCAM over other isotopes.

3.       We are constantly getting Acute alarms. We have bumped up the acute alarm setting and it doesn't seem to prevent a false alarm. The chronic alarm works fine most of the time.

4.       The rest of the time the chronic alarm fires off at spikes in counting. So I expect a CAM to think it has high counts every now and then when it doesn't. Especially considering I run that puppy 24/7, but it seems the NetCam doesn't take into effect time averaging at all. I've lengthened count time all the way out to 30 minutes but that doesn't seem to help. Any advice.

In regards to 3 & 4, Again, Service Engineer Extraordinaire John Kennedy would be onsite to gather some data from my instruments to help development of needed resolutions. This is a huge help from Canberra.

5.       We are unable to see efficiency on the NetCam 2.4 screen. This is merely  a preference, doesn't cause me to have staff don respiratory protection.

Canberra tells me there is a way to access this information through the browser and will show me when John's on site. Once I have this into our procedures I'll share this info if anyone is interested.

6.       Net Cam 2.4 does NOT update and inform the operator of the system status as Tera Term does. For example, when the system is in linearization, the operator does not know unless plugged in with Tera Term. We would like to be able to get this information remotely with NetCam.

This is just a nuance of the fact the system isn't actively pinging the instrument. It's bothersome but not a huge issue.

7.       Nuisances like this that are made during updates can really trip up a user. It would be nice if Canberra put out a list of changes made and their affects to the user.

Due to the fact Canberra is trying to phase out these instruments and get users to go to the iCams, updates and patches aren't as well publicized and covered as with Genie 2k or Apex Alpha Beta. Patches developed are mostly customer specific to issues identified and not necessarily to needs canberra identifies.

8.       We are unable to download channel by channel data from NetCam. We used to be able to from RadCom but the new dongles don't seem to let us do that anymore. I'd love to have Uranium MDC for the detectors...

Canberra informs me this info is also stored on the browser page the efficiency is stored at and will be showing me how to do that as well. I'll share the procedure when I get it down for those that are interested.

9.       The algorithm seems to still bleed a tone of counts into the uranium region from radon. In Peak mode at least. On a couple of detectors I have switched to Valley for testing but I get a ton of hits in PU and AM of which I have none on the plant other than tiny check sources. So, not sure what to do there.

I misspelled ton here and it's not because I work for a French company (this is a joke if you missed it). Anyway, the new iCams does a little better at implementing an updated algorithm, however, Canberra will be collecting data from my cams to see if there are any resolutions here.

Does anyone else use this system? Anybody having issues, fixes? I'd love to discuss it with anyone that will sit still.

Christopher L Royce, CSP, RRPT, MS
Health Physicist

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