DIY Arduino Geiger Counter

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Introduction: DIY Arduino Geiger Counter

About: Just do things, electronics, woodwork, etc.

Hello everybody! How do you do? This is project How-ToDo my name is Konstantin, and today I want to show you how i made this Geiger counter. I started to build this device almost from the beginning of last year. Since then it has gone through 3 complete rework and my laziness. The idea to make a dosimeter appeared from the very beginning of my passion of electronics, the topic of radiation was always interesting to me.

Step 1: Theory

So actually dosimeter is very simple device, we need the sensing element, in our case - the Geiger tube, power for it, usually it is about 400V DC and an indicator, in the simplest way is just a speaker. When ionizing radiation striking the wall of Geiger counter and knocked out electrons from it, it makes the gas in the tube conductive, so power goes directly to the speaker and it clicks, you can much better explanation on the web if interested. I think everyone will agree that clicks are not the most informative indicator, although it will be able to warn about the increasing radiation, but counting them with a stopwatch for an accurate results is kind of weird, so I decided to add display some brains.

Step 2: Design

Lets move to the practice, for the brain I choose arduino nano, program is very simple it's counting pulse of the tube for a certain time and display it on LCD, also it's show nice radiation warning sing and battery level. As a power source I use 18650 battery, but arduino needs 5v, so I DC-DC bust converter and li-ion charger to make devise completely autonomous.

Step 3: High Voltage DC-DC

I have hard time working on a high voltage power supply, originally I build it by myself, wound a transformer about 600 turns in secondary coil , drive it with MOSFET transistor and PWM from arduino. It's working, but I want to keep things simple, it's better when u can just buy 5 modules, solder 10 wires and get working devise then winding a coil, adjusting PWM, I want anyone to be able to repeat it. So I found high voltage DC-DC bust converter, it's strange but it's hard to find and most popular module has about 100 sales. I ordered it, made a new case, but when start to test - it gives out a maximum of 300V but the description says up to 620v, I tried to fix it, but the problem probably was in transformer. Whatever, I bought another module and it came in different size description says the same... I returned money but keep this module because it gives 400v we need, but anyway maximum 450 instead 1200 (something is really wrong with Chinese measuring devises... ) I made a new case, again.

Step 4: Components

And so in the end we have a design almost entirely consisting of modules:

Battery, optional active piezo buzzer and Geiger counter itself, I'm using old made in USSR tube, called STS-5 it's pretty cheap and easy to find on ebay or amazon, also it's going to work with a SBM-20 tube or any other, you just need to write parameters to a program, in my case the value of micro-roentgen per hour is equal to the number of tube pulse in 60 second. And well, the case printed on a 3d printer .

Also there are pretty cheap Geiger Counter Kits u might be interested. ( Aliexpress OR Amazon )

Step 5: Assembly

Lets start an assembly, the first thing to do is to set the voltage on the high voltage DC-DC with this potentiometer, for STS-5 it is approximately 410V. Then simply solder all the modules together by this circuit, I use solid wires, it will increase stability of construction and it is possible to assemble the device on the table, and then just insert it into the case. An important point, we need to connect in and out minus of the high voltage converter, I simply solder a jumper. Since we can't just connect an arduino to the 400v, we need a simple transistor circuit, I make it point-to-point wiring and wrapped it in a heat shrink tube, a 10MΩ resistor from + 400V was fixed right into the connector. It's better to make a cupper foil bracket for the tube, but I just twist a wire around, it's working fine, don't reverse plus and minus of Geiger counter. I connect display to the detachable cable, insulate it carefully, it's very near to the high voltage module. Some hot glue. And assembly is done!

Step 6: Final

Put it in the case and we are to test it. But I don't anything for tests, by the way Background radiation is looks fine. What can I say, is this devise working? Yes, sure. But I see a lots of way to upgrade it, for example large display so u can draw graphics, Bluetooth module, or use Sievert instead of Roentgen. I'm okay with device, but if u will upgrade it, please share! So thats all I got for today, hope u like it, and if u do please share this video in social media, it's really helps. Thanks for watching, see u next time!
Find me on social media:

https://www.youtube.com/c/HowToDoEng
https://www.instagram.com/konsta.kogan/

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    51 Discussions

    0
    c125
    c125

    Question 4 weeks ago on Step 6

    Константин, привет! Я Дмитрий. Я из России. Помогите, пожалуйста, скачать прошивку для Вашего дозиметра - яндекс диск говорит, что она удалена. :( Если возможно, пришлите мне на электронку ddg414@mail.ru Спасибо!

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Question 5 months ago

    Excuse me,
    Anyone can explain to me, how the transistor BJT common emitter on this circuit works?
    Thankyou

    2
    IvanGeorgievHimself
    IvanGeorgievHimself

    Tip 5 months ago

    Tip 1: Since the Interrupt attached to D2 is waiting for a falling edge of the signal, there is a missing INTERNAL_PULLUP on D2. With it only the pulses from the sensors actual trigger the interrupt.
    Tip 2: If you have any troubles making it work, first check if the sensor is working. One of the easiest ways is using a phone jack and a headset. Touch the phone jack ground with you hand and touch the tip (usually left ear speaker) to the Anode. Even with only background radiation you will hear the pulses.

    Screenshot 2020-06-04 at 22.26.35.png
    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Reply 5 months ago

    Can you explain me, why it's use common base BJT on this project?
    Thank you

    0
    IvanGeorgievHimself
    IvanGeorgievHimself

    Reply 5 months ago

    The voltage used to power the Geiger-Muller tube in this particular circuit is 400 volts. The tube becomes conductive for a very short time when detecting Beta or Gamma radiation wave. The resulting pulse amplitude is around 3.96 volts based on the 1Mohm/10Kohm resistor voltage divider. With that said, you need a simple BJT switch to protect the Arduino. For that purpose, the pulse from the tube is applied on the base of the BJT allowing Collector/Emitter current. When that happens, external interrupt is triggered on D2 that counts the number of pulses for a specific time period.

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Reply 5 months ago

    I'm sorry sir. But I'm still little bit confused about how the common emitter BJT transistor works on this circuit as a switch. When there is Radiation itu will produce a voltage 3.9volt. What happens to that voltage after passing the transistor sir?
    Can you explain to me please?
    Thankyou
    Best regards,
    Adji Satrio(Indonesia)

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Reply 5 months ago

    Okay sir
    So, the BJT function here to protect arduino as a switch. when there is radiation, 3.96 volt will trigger BJT as a switch on and trigger the pin D2 as INT0.
    Thank you for answering my question. You're very kind. God Bless you.

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Reply 5 months ago

    And Sorry for my English sir.

    Best Regards,
    Adji Satrio(Indonesia)

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Reply 5 months ago

    Hello, Great Project. I just want make this project for my project school, can you help me please? Where can I draw the schematic like you did?
    I hope you can help me for my project please.
    Thank you.

    0
    IvanGeorgievHimself
    IvanGeorgievHimself

    Reply 5 months ago

    You can use EasyEDA free software to draw the schematic.

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Reply 5 months ago

    Okay sir, thankyou

    1
    hartliebr
    hartliebr

    Tip 1 year ago

    Hello, Great project, I made one and it works fine! But you need to adjust the high voltage with the 10MOhm resistance ! Many thanks!

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Reply 7 months ago

    Hii, Can you help me please?

    0
    a.kaizar
    a.kaizar

    Question 7 months ago

    Hello, Great Project. If i want to make Geiger counter that just count of alpha radiation or make radon detector, what should i do or modification from this project?
    I hope you can help me for my project please.
    Thank you.

    0
    MártonP2
    MártonP2

    Question 11 months ago

    I made it, but doesn't work. The schematic is okay? If collector-emitter shorted out then I get +1 on screen. The tube works. What could be the problem?

    0
    VyacheslavO
    VyacheslavO

    Answer 9 months ago

    How can you proof that the tube works?
    Long story short, you'll need an oscilloscope to check the form of an output signal right after the tube and then after the output transistor. In case you have no access to oscilloscope you can connect appropriate points of the scheme to analog pins of Arduino and create a simple sketch to read values in a loop or in interrupt handler. That's a bit risky as different tubes have different output voltage, though you can start trying using a simple voltage divider.
    Another important thing is a matching transistor cascade. The way it is built here is odd (but may work too). I can propose another scheme - https://habrastorage.org/files/f37/bb4/f13/f37bb4f13a7d45d09cb352eed869244d.png - as it uses pull-up resistor and overall tends to produce more predictable result (see the rightmost yellow block).

    0
    OttoK4
    OttoK4

    Answer 10 months ago

    Hi. I have the same problem.

    1
    JimB144
    JimB144

    1 year ago

    Can't locate the INO ?

    0
    XavierM72
    XavierM72

    Question 1 year ago

    hello can you tell me what is the purpose of the resistance 10 M at the output of the high voltage step up DC-DC. because at home it makes the voltage drop to 80 V. Is this an error on my part? I do not understand the fritzing assembly plan because the module is not the same as the one used in the 5v DC-DC bust converter. Thank you.