Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 12, 2010

DIY Geiger Counter Project – Based on the Arduino Microcontroller

at 9:34 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment

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Over at the Arduino X10 Collection site there is a two part series in the making of a DIY Geiger Counter Project which is built with an Arduino Microcontroller. Part 2 can be found here. I can’t think of a time I was looking for a geiger counter but you never know. The project is built around a Russian Military SBM-20 Hard Beta and Gamma GM Detector. If you are thinking about making one keep in mind that the circuit has some very high voltage involved so be careful!

“There are 2 types of tubes. Those that have a mica window are the most sensitive. They will detect alpha and beta particles as well a gamma rays. Because of the mica, they are more fragile and generally are more expensive. The other type, like the SSBM-20 which I used, have only the metal jacket. They will detect gamma rays (the most penetrating) and some beta particles (more easily stopped). Considering the SSBM-20 is all metal, it does a good job with beta – as long as you put the sample right on the tube. Uranium is a big beta emitter, so some sensitivity to beta is a good thing.”




 

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8 Responses to “DIY Geiger Counter Project – Based on the Arduino Microcontroller”

  1. NatureTM Says:

    The only time I think I’d have a purpose for a Geiger would be to detect radon in my basement.

  2. Circuit Hack – How to Make a Radiation Detector Geiger Counter! Says:

    […] via hackedgadgets […]

  3. ch Says:

    The Arduino is a microcontroller now?

  4. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi ch,

    Sure, just like a Picaxe is a microcontroller. I see what you mean though, it’s only the bootloader and language that makes it an Arduino.

  5. Milarepa Says:

    You can make a real random number generator. Those are awesome, since they are the easiest way to get some events that are directly caused by quantum dynamics. If I had a tube, I’d build one!

  6. Alex Says:

    I can’t imagine how he got his hands on the uranite and the americium. Americium is pretty expensive
    and radioactive so… I think he keeps them in a lead box overnight or when he doesn’t need them.
    radioactivity always spooked me a bit…Anyway an interesting project.

  7. Dave Says:

    Americium is in old-fashioned smoke detectors so there’s plenty of that kicking about :o)

  8. Andrew Says:

    My friend bought a cheap Russian Geiger counter that also doubled as a dosimeter, with a REALLY loud alarm.
    We did all sorts of tests with it on old watch dials, WW2 aircraft instruments, smoke detectors, my Armson occluded eye gunsight, stuff like that.

    The really interesting thing was that his house, made of double brick, had a way higher background count than my place built from sandstone!
    I was surprised none of the fire places we tested had a higher count.

    When it got scary was a trip to the Flinders Ranges, which is sitting on one the largest uranium deposits in the world.
    Where we normally camp near Mt Painter set the dosimeter alarm off pretty much as soon as we got there!

    We no longer camp at that site!

    When I got home we checked all the “pretty coloured” rocks I had been collecting over the years and sure enough some of them made the counter tick over like a stop watch!

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