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Thread: Air Quality Monitors

  1. #1
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    Air Quality Monitors

    For those with monitors. I'm attempting to improve the air quality in the shop, it's in the basement. I have a 1 stage dust collector with Merv 15 filter canisters and am looking into a ceiling mount air filter. I'm figuring that since I'm going in this deep I should get a monitor to see when and for how long I need to run the filter. So being cheap, does one need a monitor that goes down to .5 microns? I see the $200 Dylos has 2 ranges, 1 & 5 microns, the Pro $270 model has .5 & 2.5 ranges. I also see other manufacturers with even lower cost $100 models that have 2.5 & 10 micron ranges.

  2. #2
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    I have the pro and am glad to have it. It has really improved my reaction time to putting on or turning on additional safety gear related to dust. Hand sanding is more impactive to the air quality than running my bandsaw. Who knew!?!
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  3. #3
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    Glenn, never having used one, do you go by the small particle measurement or the large?

  4. #4
    I have the Dylos DC1100 Pro. The two particle counters go up and down together. You could probably just go by the upper reading. I look for the upper reading to be under 200. I up the speed on the air cleaners (I have two) to bring down the count. The air cleaners are noisy so it is nice to turn them down or off. If there is dust on the floor, just walking around will get the count over 200. The monitor helps identify what you need to do to reduce the hazard.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Johnson2 View Post
    Glenn, never having used one, do you go by the small particle measurement or the large?
    I go by the small. It really is beneficial. I will be working along and glance over; sometimes all is well and sometimes I have a "huh!?!" moment and grab my respirator. Many of us have the best of intentions but, any of us can become involved and forget. I have a health problem brought on by not doing enough about dust collection early on; that's on me.

    Just shuffling through the lumber rack in an area that has been idle for a while can send the numbers skyrocketing. I should know by now to mask up for that sort of activity and the Dylos helps me "remember". At this point in my life I move a bit slower and take more time in doing things. This has certainly helped me pay better attention to PPE and the proper use thereof. I really think we'd do better if we were born with experience and lost it slowly over time .

    Thomas makes a good point. You have to know your environment. I live in a desert basin with a consistent breeze and frequent high wind. My shop, first thing in the morning may already be approaching 100 on the 'small' counter without doing anything. If it heads toward 300 I mask up or kick up the ambient cleaner like Thomas. The point is that if your air with the doors open is already 200 . . . 300 is still worse and you should react. Congrats on taking action toward your long term health.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 01-22-2021 at 2:51 PM.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  6. #6
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    I just got this one off Banggood. It's got good reviews from people I trust and it's only $38.52 CDN. It doesn't have its own power supply so I use a USB battery stuck to the back with velcro. It's a little ghetto looking, but I didn't have the budget for a Dylos.

    Seems to work well.


  7. #7
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    One issue with the lower cost Dylos units is that they only give you particle counts. To get PM2.5 and PM10 estimates you need to go the the $475 DC1700-PM. It's the PM numbers that you need in order to compare to EPA and WHO data for fine dust ef

    There's a big difference between particle counts and PM numbers. The "small" number on the Dylos is the COUNT of particles LARGER than 0.5 micron. The PM2.5 number on the other monitors is the total MASS of particles LESS than 2.5 micron. Dylos recommends estimating the the PM2.5 value by dividing the difference between the .5 and 2.5 counts by 100. That formula assumes an average particle and average particle density. Another approach is to use the formula on this chart:
    DylosFromAQISPEC.jpg
    Last edited by David L Morse; 01-22-2021 at 4:04 PM.
    Beranek's Law:

    It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else's loudspeaker. In this case, the frequency response of the loudspeaker seems to play only a minor part in forming a person's opinion.
    L.L. Beranek, Acoustics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954), p.208.

  8. #8
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    I guess it's not as simple as looking at the numbers on the monitor. I need to do some more homework on this. Thanks all.
    Last edited by Bob Johnson2; 01-22-2021 at 5:51 PM.

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    The PM numbers are the only ones that you can really correlate to health outcomes. The enormous amount of data that's resulted in warnings about particulate matter are all based on PM numbers. I don't think there are any studies that use "Dylos counts". Particle counters that read out in PM numbers (all of the low cost air quality monitors) make an estimate of PM values based upon proprietary algorithms that are empirically derived from actual atmospheric data compared to the unit's particle counts and size distribution.

    In the US the EPA sets recommendations for a variety of pollutants that include PM2.5 and PM10. The PM numbers are for 24 hour exposure. Here's the official table:

    AQI Chart.jpg

    There's another whole dimension to the discussion though. The EPA numbers are for atmospheric pollution and the biggest villain ther is often thought to be emissions from fossil fuel combustion. That's not wood dust. OSHA limits wood dust exposure to 1000 microgram per cubic meter for an 8 hour exposure. That might be (with some arm waving) about a PM10 of 500 or so, as seen on a typical low cost sensor.

    Note that the sensor Frank linked displays both PM numbers as well as counts (in metric units). You can get Dylos equivalent counts (imperial units) by multiplying the >.5 and >2.5 counts by 2.8.
    Beranek's Law:

    It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else's loudspeaker. In this case, the frequency response of the loudspeaker seems to play only a minor part in forming a person's opinion.
    L.L. Beranek, Acoustics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954), p.208.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by David L Morse View Post
    The PM numbers are the only ones that you can really correlate to health outcomes. The enormous amount of data that's resulted in warnings about particulate matter are all based on PM numbers. I don't think there are any studies that use "Dylos counts". Particle counters that read out in PM numbers (all of the low cost air quality monitors) make an estimate of PM values based upon proprietary algorithms that are empirically derived from actual atmospheric data compared to the unit's particle counts and size distribution.
    But you will agree that lower numbers are better, on the half-micron readout of whatever device? And that zero is what you’re trying to achieve, by whatever means? :^)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    But you will agree that lower numbers are better, on the half-micron readout of whatever device?...
    Certainly lower numbers are better. It doesn't really matter which "readout" you use or whether it's counts or mass, lower is better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    ... And that zero is what you’re trying to achieve, by whatever means? :^)
    No, I don't agree that zero is a valid goal. There's risk in life. Focusing on one small aspect of risk and trying to completely eliminate it results in obsessive behavior that is itself a health risk.
    Beranek's Law:

    It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else's loudspeaker. In this case, the frequency response of the loudspeaker seems to play only a minor part in forming a person's opinion.
    L.L. Beranek, Acoustics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954), p.208.

  12. #12
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    I also have the Dylos DC1100 Pro version. It truly changes how I work in the shop.

    The way I use it, is I know that typically the small particle count (the higher number) in my home / neighborhood is around 500. If my shop is over that, I turn on the air purifiers (I have a Jet 1000 and a Jet 2000) and keep a respirator on until it gets back to that number. It's been astounding how high the number gets with certain operations (beware cinderblock and drywall). Belt sander, despite a 5HP Oneida also sends out a ton of dust, which is invisible but is rapidly picked up by the Dylos.

    I also have the Banggood unit (arrived recently). Frankly, I took it upstairs into the house a few days after use and am sticking with the Dylos.
    Last edited by Alan Lightstone; 01-23-2021 at 10:10 AM.
    - "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
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  13. #13
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    Has anyone found a cheaper option then the Dylos for the shop? I saw the one Frank posted. I guess they don’t have to be terribly accurate, just consistent? Lower is better theory I guess. Nice display and simple to read would be nice for the shop.

  14. #14
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    I recently bought an "inexpensive" monitor from a Chinese company called Bangood after someone mentioned a sale somewhere here on SMC. It's one of those companies that hawks all kinds of electronic gear and sends excessive numbers of promotional emails. Those of which I have already opted out of. It arrived here last week and simply plugging it into a small, available USB brick got it working. I'm not expecting scientific research quality; rather, it should clearly show a trend in my shop relative to airborne fines and remind me to turn on the air cleaner or take other action, depending on what I'm doing. It will be interesting to see what transpires when I'm cutting a new CNC project that was just commissioned yesterday in the coming week.

    Edit: It's the same unit that Frank shows up above and was thirty bucks on sale at the time I bought...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I'm not expecting scientific research quality; rather, it should clearly show a trend in my shop relative to airborne fines and remind me to turn on the air cleaner or take other action, depending on what I'm doing.
    I also have one of the inexpensive ones. I was a bit suspicious because the company names selling them on Amazon seem to change very frequently, presumably to outrun bad company ratings. Mine looked exactly like the image posted above of an inexpensive one, but the company "Sodial" is no longer listed.

    I use it the same way as does Jim Becker: to tell me which operations cause more dust in the air, to remind me to run my air cleaner, and to tell me how long to do so. Change over time rather than specific numbers matter to me.

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