Review: Node-S by Clarity

I love clean air and even when we are indoors the air we breathe comes from the outdoor environment, like streets, small neighborhoods, city superblocks, etc. There are high probabilities that you, the reader, live in a city and the air you breathe isn’t clean enough to support your healthy lifestyle.

Most cities in Europe, as far as I know, have two state reference stations (a background and an urban) for air quality monitoring. They are great, with highly accurate and expensive equipments inside. Unfortunately, most of the time they are old and outdated which limit their ability to engage people to look into the air quality problems we are facing.

My city hosts around 200,000 people and the one urban reference stations we have isn’t capable of measuring PM2.5, at least not as most people will expect. It registers ONE daily average PM2.5 measurement (and not always). Data are free but in order to get these daily measurements you need to file a form and wait a month as manually a lab examines the filters were PM2.5 particles are captured.

Of course this is a tedious way to report data in 2020 at least in my opinion, I understand the “accuracy” obsession that surrounds some scientists, they can keep doing that but also they need to report real-time data to citizens if they want them to change the way they think and behave. I mean, what can I do if I learn that the air was dirty a month ago?

Here comes a outdoor monitor like Clarity Node-S. In my opinion, cities have no excuse not to install such monitors around the city and allow citizens to see the air they breathe. Literally, it is so easy to pick a place in a city and install a monitor. Clarity takes advantage of the low-cost sensors and has developed a solution hard to resist.

Technical Specifications

dimensions-sheet-2020.jpg

  • Plantower PMS6003 for PM1 | PM2.5 | PM10 (0 – 1000 μg/m3)
  • Alphasense NO2 Sensor (0 – 3000 ppb)
  • Temperature (-20 – 70 ̊C)
  • Humidity (0 – 100% RH)
  • Global Cellular Module
  • Solar Panel
  • Internal Battery
  • Wall Power Supply

 

Hardware

General

I have been playing with the device for over a month now, undoubtedly it is a gorgeous monitor not that the design matters for a city deployment but the build quality is high and suitable for places where it rains, or it is windy, or the sunlight is strong (UV) and could deteriorate the plastic.

The Solar Panel and the external power supply act as a switch for the device so each time you plug/unplug the monitor you basically restart it even with the battery inside. The Solar Panel is very durable and you can adjust the angle with great flexibility in order to get more solar power. Although even when I limited the sunlight exposure the device was able to operate without a problem for 24h. For a week the monitor was exposed to direct sunlight for only 1 hour during the day and the battery was fully charged each time after that period. You don’t want your air quality monitors to be left without energy and not being able to register precious air quality data. Clarity was able to pass the energy tests I put it through. The specifications state that the internal battery can go up to 20 days without sunlight, >2 years with 1 hour of full sunlight per day on average.

The monitor is rated with IPX3 which means that you can spray your monitor up to 60° from the top of the device aka rainproof.

The device could be mounted in three different scenarios: hanging onto a panel (Figure 1), screwing into a wall (Figure 2), or attaching to a pole (Figure 3), which is the most common ways in cities — street light, traffic lights, or high street signs.

OPTIONS Clarity

Sensors

For the particulate matter monitoring, Clarity is equipped with a Plantower PMS6003 sensors which is one of my favourites low-cost sensors. The PMS6003 is a dual laser version of the PMS5003, for longer lifetime and has been proved to be very accurate and a better fit for particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) which makes it a perfect candidate for urban environments and vehicle emissions. Of course, it can also measure PM10 and PM1.0.

Since the huge Dieselgate scandal, I am obsessed with NO2 emissions and the unethical automotive companies who poison citizens till today. This is the reason NO2 measurements are very important, in Europe alone, there are 8 million vehicles in the streets spewing highly toxic NO2 in high concentrations. Clarity uses one of the best NO2 sensors by Alphasense.

The temperature and humidity sensors are there only for measuring the internal environment of the device and to ensure the proper function and for possible sensor adjustments.

Communication

The device communicates and uploads all measurements every 15min via a Global Cellular Module aka 3G/4G data packages. That way it doesn’t spend a lot of energy and ensures coverage all over the cities or any other place. If your smartphone has reception then Clarity will work there too. The global internet module comes included with the global data plan (no extra data costs), so 100% worry-free setup.

Calibration

Remote Calibration is a process where the device can be further adjusted for local conditions (temperature, relative humidity, etc.) and pollutant profiles to provide more accurate data. This process is included in Clarity’s comprehensive service solution.

This solution reduces cost, labor, and time requirements and, of course, is scalable, allowing for a city-wide deployment of hundreds of IoT air quality sensors with real-time insights.

Software

Deployment Portal

When you first get your monitors, you have to set them up in your personal account, and from there you can manage the technical aspects of the devices. Where they are placed, if they are in an indoor or outdoor environment, etc.
Deployment Clarity

Private Portal

Once the deployment is ready you can access a private portal where you can see all the measurements and compare them with other reference monitors that may be around your Node-S. You can download all data for any time, you can visualise data with different ways, my favourite is the Seasonally Heat Map (Image 1), or even use the embedded Scatter plot for instant correlation of coefficient with other monitors.
The device takes measurements every 15 minutes but the user can request a custom interval. In that case, the energy consumption will increase and for this reason you have to make sure that the device takes enough sunlight during the day to keep the battery well charged.

OpenMap Portal

Finally, If you want to share your data and make them open and available for everybody to enjoy, you can register your devices in the OpenMap portal. That is a fantastic solution for cities as they don’t have to develop a different map for their city/community.

Currently, you can also show and hide the actives COVID-19 cases as registered by the John Hopkins University.

Clarity OpenMap

Soon there will be available a new unified dashboard where users will be able to do much more! So stay tuned.

Conclusion

If you run an air quality department or you manage the sustainable development budget in a city, you must help your city breathe cleaner air by adopting such solutions. Clarity can monitor two of the most important urban air pollutants, Particulate Matter (PM1/PM2.5/PM10), and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in real-time and the Remote Calibration feature will help you save money and time. A tool that will help cities understand and tackle air pollution.

The Node-S it’s not a consumer air quality monitor and it is designed for retail to governments, communities, and industries.

Help your community see, think, and act.

11 thoughts on “Review: Node-S by Clarity

  1. The PMS6003 dual laser technology sounds quite interesting. I was searching for detailed comparisons to the PMS5003 but did not find anything. Also, the official specs of the PMS6003 look identical to the 5003. I would have expected a higher accuracy. Do you know of any comprehensive reviews of the PMS6003?

    I am asking because we are using the PMS5003 in our sensors but would like to have a higher accuracy sensor. So this is interesting for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, the PMS6003 uses a proprietary technology-dual laser technology, which can achieve dual laser linkage and mutual calibration, thereby extending the service life more than doubled.

      It won’t offer a better accuracy but longer lifetime.

      Like

      • It would be interesting to know if they just have two lasers but are using the same optics and chamber or have also redundant optics. A great way to improve the R2 of these sensors is to run two PM sensors in parallel (e.g. what the purple air does), so I wonder why not put that idea inside one module?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the second laser just confirms that the first one works well but it can’t make measurements more accurate because there is only one photo-detector. Always two sensors in parallel are better than one but many claim that you need three sensors in parallel to be absolutely sure.

        Like

  2. Thanks for this very informative review. I have been trying to find some answers online but Clarity website does not give much detail. Is the NODE-S a NEW release model or one that has been out for some time? Any spec sheets for predecessor out there or what they used before PMS6003 Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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