Geiger Counter (Radioactivity Meter)

How can I measure radioactivity?

Within my penchant for measuring and controlling everythingI've been thinking for some time about adding to my list of sensors a Beta and Gamma emissions (what we usually refer to as a radiation meter), a Geiger-Muller counter or Geiger meter.

When the Chernobyl incident occurred in the Soviet Union (specifically, in what is now Ukraine), I was 20 years old and was already part of what we could then call the "maker community". I was a radio amateur, an electronics and computer enthusiast, and the truth is that I was very impressed by the incident, especially because made me realise that we didn't know anything about what was really going on..

Why do I want a Geiger counter? Quite simply, because I know that sooner or later an accident will happen or we will suffer an attack and our governments will hide the information from us (look for information on the accident that occurred in Madrid, in Moncloa, in the middle of the University City, and you will see what I am talking about). And, even if they do not hide it from us, I want to be informed first hand and know what is going on around us.

Also, on occasion when there have been references to radiation in the news, it has been good for me to have my own Geiger counter and to be able to measure radiation, when it has been convenient for me.

For example, when they said that the fish we were eating was contaminatedThe report said that he was affected by the Fukushima radiationThe fish we brought home can be analysed, which gave us extra peace of mind (and I know that there are people who analyse fish daily with meters similar to this one).

Well, the fact is that I have recently decided to build it and it is already working.

Make a Geiger counter from scratch?

I spent a long time thinking about how to do it. A Geiger counter really is very simplebasically consists of a detection tubea high voltage source (the tube operates at about 450 volts, approximately) and a circuit impulse counter generated in the tube depending on the amount of radioactive particles in the environment.

One possibility was to build a high voltage generator on the one hand (easy enough, a few capacitors and diodes) and a counter (a simple Arduino). It would lack the tubeI will now talk about, and some way of visualising the results (an LED, LCD or OLED display, a computer connection or something similar).

Building a Geiger counter kit?

Looking for information about it, I found that it was not worth designing it and doing it from scratch. I found a kit on eBay that, for about €30The new system provided virtually everything (apart from the tube).

I decided to order this kit and in a couple of weeks I had it at home, coming from Lithuania.

I could save myself the trouble of designing it and spend that time on improving the meter, by equipping it with Wifi and connecting it to the internet.for example.

Geiger counter assembly

The assembly of the kit was quite simply The 50 or so SMD components are already soldered to the board and only a few normal components need to be soldered on. Even a beginner could do it without any problems, with a little bit of care.

The STS-5 Beta and Gamma Radiation Detection Tube

Geiger Tube STS-5

The heart of the Geiger counter is the ionising radiation detection tube Beta and Gamma STS-5.

There are many different tubes with different sensitivities and able to detect different types of radiation (alpha, beta, gamma, x-rays, etc.).

Although it is highly sensitive laboratory equipmentcontrary to what we might think, its price is not high.

We have at our disposal a large number of surplus pipes, from the former Soviet Unionfrom the Cold War era, which are easy to find on the internet and whose prices generally range from 15€ y 30€.

In my case I went for one STS-5 tube, from Ukraine. For 15€.I had my new tube at home in just over two weeks, including shipping.

3D printed box

Finally, to complete my new Geiger-Muller detector, and to give it a nice finish, I needed to a box to put it in.

Fortunately, I found in Thingiverse a custom box for the kit I had ordered, so that in a couple of hours my 3D printer had "spat out" a more-than-apparent box (to which I made a yellow vinyl front with my cutting plotter to give it a more professional finish).

Send radioactivity data to the internet

One last detail remained, but, for me, the most important: connecting the Geiger counter to the internet and capture the data it generates, create graphs, alarms, etc..

The kit and its firmware already include a serial port able to extract this data, so the next step will be to complete the detector with an ESP8266 (which I want to put inside the same box) and which, connected to my wifi network, will be responsible for sending the data to the rest of the systems in my house. But this will be the subject of a new blog post...

Edit: You can find this new article on how to send radioactivity data to the internet in real time on this page

Do you want to have your own Geiger-Müller counter?

Having your own Geiger counter can be interesting and, of course, build it in kit form, it's a lot of fun.

Here is one selection of best-selling Geiger counter kits to make it easy for you to find the one that's right for you.

Geiger counters in kit form

Here is a selection of the Geiger counter kits best sellers. If you prefer a commercial Geiger counter, you can find a selection in the following section.

Bestseller No. 1
Shkalacar Tube Radiation Detector, Nuclear Geiger Counter Kit,Assembled Radiation Detector System, DIY Miller Tube Module Experimental Module
  • This kit is compatible with Arduino.
  • 🚗Made of high quality materials, it will not rust and is durable.
  • Supports most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (330 ~ 600 V operating voltage of the Geiger tube can be supported).
  • 🚗Supports computer (PC) data acquisition, analysis and Matlab processing.
  • Good kit for MCU software developers who just want to run Geiger Tube for their own software.
Bestseller No. 2
Handheld Portable Simple Assembled DIY Geiger Counter Kit Nuclear Radiation Detector Module X-Ray X-Ray γ-Ray β Iodine Detection 131 with OLED Display
  • Two forms of alarm: this nuclear radiation detector has a sound and light indication function, the results will alert you in time.
  • Multifunctional tool: has the functions of real-time dose rate, average dose rate, cumulative dose rate, trend graph, etc.
  • OLED display screen: a small OLED screen is adopted to clearly display the measurement results, you can see the data more clearly.
  • The ARM processor is adopted, which has fast operation speed and powerful processing function.
  • Wide applications: this nuclear radiation detector can detect X-rays, γ-rays, β-rays can detect the radioactive dose of marble, jade, Amoy sea products, iodine-131, various unknown minerals for decoration.
Bestseller No. 3
Assembled Radiation Detector System, DIY Miller Tube Tube Nuclear Radiation Detector Geiger Counter Kit Module Experimental Module
  • This kit is compatible with .
  • Made of high quality materials, it will not rust and is durable.
  • Supports most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (330 ~ 600 V operating voltage of the Geiger tube can be supported).
  • Supports PC data acquisition, analysis and Matlab processing.
  • Good kit for MCU software developers who just want to run Geiger Tube for their own software.
Bestseller No. 4
XIYINLI Assembled Radiation Detector System, DIY Miller Tube Tube Nuclear Radiation Detector Geiger Counter Kit Kit Module Experimental Module
  • This kit is Arduino compatible.
  • Made of high quality materials, it will not rust and is durable.
  • Supports most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (330 ~ 600 V operating voltage of the Geiger tube can be supported).
  • Supports PC data acquisition, analysis and Matlab processing.
  • Good kit for MCU software developers who just want to run Geiger Tube for their own software.
Bestseller No. 5
Unassembled DIY Geiger Counter Parts Kit M4011, Module, Nuclear Radiation Detector, X-Ray, X-Ray, γ-Ray, β-Ray
  • SUPPORTS MOST GEIGER TUBES: M4011 can be installed directly, other models cannot be installed on the board, but flying leads can also be used (digital multimeter measures the positive pole of the Geiger tube to the negative pole of the power supply, adjust the blue potentiometer until the multimeter shows DC 170 volts).
  • INTERRUPT OUTPUT SIGNAL: Can be monitored by an external display or a pointer meter. The output signal is interrupt output, the waveform is the falling edge of the pulse and the low level is valid.
  • LOW FAILURE RATE: The circuit structure of the DIY Geiger counterpart kit is stable and the failure rate is extremely low.
  • VARIOUS DETECTIONS: can detect X-rays, gamma rays, beta rays and can perform radioactive dose detection on decorative marbles, antiques, jades, foreign purchased goods, iodine-131 and various unknown minerals.
  • EXCELLENT RESIN MATERIAL: adopt good quality resin material, possess impact resistance, scratch resistance, environmental protection, heat resistant, low temperature resistant, possess excellent electrical properties.
Bestseller No. 6
Geiger Counter Kit Module Geiger Counter Meter Kit USB Visual Alarm Audible Visual Alarm LCD Data Acquisition for Nuclear Radiation Detection
  • Audible and visual alarm: This Geiger counter kit has a built-in audible and visual alarm and its working voltage is 380V-550V.
  • Compatible with most Geiger tubes: This Geiger counter module is compatible with most Geiger tubes M4011, STS 5, SBM20, J305, etc.
  • Function: The Geiger counter kit module is used to detect γ rays from 20 mR/h to 120 mR/h and soft β deflection variables from 100 to 1800, beam spot.
  • Support for computer data acquisition: The Geiger counter module supports computer and PC data acquisition for Matlab analysis and processing.
  • With LCD display: interrupt output interface, through which it can connect to the microcontroller and then display on the LCD.
Bestseller No. 7
Nuclear Radiation Detector, Detector Host, Geiger Counter, β γ-Ray Tester, DIY Radiation Monitor Assembly Kit
  • EASY ASSEMBLY: Nuclear radiation detection module assembly kit, equipped with USB cable, ready to test after assembly (battery not included).
  • RAY DETECTION: it can be used to detect γ-rays from 20 mR/h-120 mR/h and variable β-rays from 100-1800, which has a high accuracy.
  • MULTIPLE FUNCTION: can be connected to MCU for data display, PC data acquisition, for analysis and Matlab processing.
  • GEIGER TUBES: Supports most Geiger tubes, such as M4011, STS 5, SBM20, J305, etc., no replacement restrictions, good compatibility.
  • APPLICABLE SCENES: for detection of home decoration environment, detection of radioactivity of jewellery stones, detection of cosmetic radiation residues, etc.
Bestseller No. 8

Commercial Geiger counters (already mounted)

Maybe you don't like electronics and gadgetry so much and you prefer to buy a more "finished" Geiger counter. If so, here are these options:

GQ GMC300EPLUS COMPLUSE GEIGER DIGITAL Nulcear Counter Nulcear Radiation Detector Nulcear Radiation Monitor Meter Beta Gamma Dosimeter X-ray data data data monitoring
  • Small Geiger counter holder developed by gQ Electronics USA General indoor and outdoor detection.
  • Audible/visual indicator; Dot Matrix LCD display; real-time recording of data per second to internal flash memory.
  • USB data port for connection to PC/laptop GQ, Geiger counter software.
  • It has large-print text modes for easy reading and easier acquisition of information, e.g. CPM, date, time, elapsed time, USV/h, MR/h, etc.
  • The real-time graphical mode provides a real-time display of radiation level changes, making it easier to observe radiation changes.
GQ GMC-320 Plus Geiger Counter Nuclear Radiation Detector Meter Beta Gamma X ray Europe
  • Small, portable Geiger counter developed by GC Electronics in the USA.
  • Audio/visual indication; LCD dot matrix display, real time recording per second.
  • USB data port for connection/charging with Soft Geiger Counter PC software.
  • Large font size and easy-to-read text mode, maximum data information.
  • Real-time graph mode for displaying real-time fluctuation of radiation.
Sale
GQ GMC-500+ Plus - Geiger counter detector for nuclear radiation, for X-rays, beta and gamma rays
  • Independent detection mode
  • Continuous monitoring mode
  • Fast reading in seconds after power on
  • Accurate, real-time data
  • CPM, USV / H, MR / H display on one screen
GQ GMC-320 + V5-UK Digital Geiger Counter WiFi Wireless Wireless Data Wireless Data Dosimeter Radiation Detector
  • Log data through the wireless WiFi connection server and internal memory at the same time.
  • Edifi WiFi ready, keep in touch with Geiger Counter Map of the World
  • Free unlimited online data storage history and unlimited online Geiger Wold map counter service.
  • Real-time evaluation tests, scientific tests on the sample such as: Necessary for the construction of the Hospital Monitoring radiotherapy for cancer, food, water, indoor/outdoor, radiography, and more....
  • Real-time graphic, text and large font mode (radiation data recording and playback again later)
Smart Geiger Pro SGP-001 Radiation Meter for iOS Andriod Smartphone Geiger Counter Radiation Counter Radiation Counter Radiation Detector Geiger Counter
  • Whether synthetic or of natural origin - too much radioactive radiation is harmful. Not only in nuclear power plants, but also in other areas of everyday life Radioactive radiation is produced in various concentrations. among others food, construction and the research sector in varying degrees of these rays hit.
  • For example, check the materials of your living spaces (e.g. the collection of own mineral glaze tiles), clay, some granite, pumice, gypsum, slag, bauxite or red mud containing uranium ...
  • Smart Geiger Pro (SGP-001) is 10 times more accurate than the previous FSG-001. SGP-001 is only slightly 13.5 g, size 75x24x10 mm, connected the headphone jack, the Smartphone within seconds to a full radiation meter transform.
  • SGP-001 with 10 built-in semiconductor sensors now 10 times more sensitive With previous FSG-001, you can now also measure radioactive radiation in the air! Radiation measurement: gamma, X-ray - Measuring range: 0.05 ~ 200 mSv / h - Accuracy: < 15% - User interface: Smartphone (headphone jack) - Size: 75x24x9,9 mm - Weight: 13,5 g
  • FEATURE: practical, easy to carry, fast and accurate data, reasonable price, no battery needed, Personal EMF monitor for smartphone, easy and quick inspector. Compatible with smartphones: iOS 7.0, Andriod 4.3. Check before ordering if you can install "Smart Geiger Pro" app on your smartphone.
Radex RD1503 - Dosimeter (outdoor version) - High Accuracy Geiger Meter, Nuclear Radiation Detector
  • Outdoor edition
  • Combined detection of beta, gamma and X-ray radiation.
  • Detection range of 0.05 ~ 9.99 µSv/h (micro sieverts per hour) or millirems.
  • Audible alarm - Vibrator - Backlight.
GQ GMC-600 Plus Geiger counter detector Geiger counter detector Dosimeter Alpha Beta Gamma XRay LND 7317 sensor tube
  • High Sensitivity Pancake Geiger Tube lnd 7317 installed
  • Large LCD display - Auto source large horizontal and vertical display
  • Built-in flash memory and integrated WIFI
  • Real-time, Unlimited data logging, data logging data storage server
  • Rechargeable battery installed and many more...

1 thought on “Contador Geiger (Medidor de Radiactividad)”

  1. Thanks to your article I was encouraged to set up my Geiger counter.

    Plate and tube from Aliexpress
    ESP8266 D1 mini
    ESPHome (using the integrated pulse counter) connected to HomeAssistant but can also work offline.
    Printed box

    Very happy with the result

    Reply

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