Dirt Cheap Acoustic Guitar Pickup Answered
I am concerned about the health and safety aspects of the instructable of "Dirt Cheap Acoustic Guitar Pickup by Xuthal". The project encourages people to take apart a smoke detector to obtain a piezo sounder. However no warning at all is given by the author that there may be radioactive material in the device, or how to recognise it and how to deal with it.
I tried to post a warning on the article but for some reason it hasn't worked. I could not see how to flag up the item so I am posting here.
Whilst the manufacturers of smoke alarms play down the dangers of Americium 241 dioxide (the radioactive material), they would most certainly not condone opening up a smoke detector sensor. Am O2 will most likely pass straight through the gut due to its insolubility, so your readers are probably safe from ingesting it. However, if the source is fractured into dust particles, it could be inhaled and will lodge in the lung for a long time. Being an alpha emitter the Am241 will very likely end up causing a lung cancer.
I think this instructable is highly irresponsible and should be removed. In any case the item taken from the smoke detector, a piezo transducer, is readily available from any hobby electronics supplier and costs less than the battery to power the detector in the first place!