Geiger Counter (Radioactivity Meter)

Last modified December 8, 2020

How can I measure radioactivity?

Within my fondness for measuring and controlling everything, I've been thinking about adding a sensor detector to my sensor list for a long time. Beta and Gamma emissions (what we usually call a radiation meter), a Geiger-Muller counter or Geiger meter.

And why do I want a Geiger counter? Well, very simple, 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 about the accident that occurred in Madrid, in Moncloa, in the heart of the University City, and you will see what I am talking about). And, although they do not hide it from us, I want to be informed first hand and know what happens in our environment.

Also on some occasion when they have made a reference 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 suited me.

For example, when they said that the fish we were eating was contaminated, putting it down to being affected by Fukushima radiationYou can analyze the fish we brought home, which gave us extra peace of mind (and I know that there are people who analyze the fish daily with meters similar to this one).

Well, the fact is that recently I have encouraged myself with its construction and it is already working.

Make a Geiger counter from scratch?

Geiger Radioactivity Counter

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to do it. A really Geiger counter It is very simple, basically consists of a detection tube, a high voltage source (the tube operates at about 450 volts, approximately) and a circuit scaler that are generated in the tube depending on the amount of radioactive particles in the environment.

One possibility was to build a high voltage generator for one (easy enough, a few capacitors and diodes) and a counter (a simple Arduino). Would be missing the tube, which I will now talk about, and some way to view the results (an LED, LCD or OLED display, a computer connection or something similar).

Build a Geiger Counter Kit?

Geiger Counter Kit Radioactivity Meter

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 € 30, it provided practically everything (in the absence of the tube).

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

I could save the work of designing it and spending that time improving the meter, providing it with Wifi and connecting it to the internet, for example.

Geiger counter mounting

The assembly of the kit was frankly simple since the approximately 50 SMD components that it carries are already soldered to the board and only a few normal components have to be soldered. Even a beginner could do it without any problem, with a little care.

The STS-5 Beta and Gamma Detection Tube

Geiger STS-5 tube

The heart of the Geiger counter is the Beta and Gamma ionizing radiation detection tube 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 about laboratory equipment, highly sensitive, contrary to what we might think, its price is not high.

We have at our disposal a large number of surplus tubes, from the former Soviet Union, from the cold war era, which are easy to find on the internet and whose prices usually oscillate between € 15 and € 30.

In my case I decided on an STS-5 tube from Ukraine. For € 15Including shipping, in just over two weeks I had my new tube at home.

3D printed box

Finally, and to complete my new Geiger-Muller detector, and give it a good finish, I was missing 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 "spit out" a more than apparent box (to which I have made a yellow vinyl front with my cutting plotter to give a more professional finish).

Send the radioactivity data to the internet

There was one last detail, but, for me, the most important: connect Geiger counter to 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 complete the detector with an ESP8266 (that I want to put inside the same box) and that will be in charge, connected to my Wi-Fi network, to send the data to the rest of the systems in my house. But this will be the subject of a new blog post ...

Edito: You can find this new article on how to send radioactivity data to the internet in real time in 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, it's a lot of fun.

Here is one selection with best-selling Geiger counter kits so that it is easy for you to find the ideal one for you.

Geiger counters in kit

Here is a selection with the Geiger counter kit Best sellers. If you prefer a commercial Geiger counter, you can find a selection in the next section.

Bestseller No. 1
GQ GMC300EPLUS COMPLUSE GEIGER DIGITAL Nulcear Counter Nulcear Radiation Detector Monitor Meter Beta Gamma Dosimeter Radiography Data Data Data Rays Monitoring
  • Small Geiger counter mount developed by gQ Electronics USA General indoor and outdoor sensing.
  • Auditory / visual indicator; Dot Matrix LCD screen; real-time recording of data per second to internal flash memory.
  • USB data port for connection to PC / GQ laptop, Geiger counter software.
  • It features large font text modes for easy reading and easier acquisition of information, e.g. CPM, date, time, elapsed time, USV / h, MR / h, etc.
  • Real-time graphing mode provides a real-time display of radiation level changes, to more easily observe radiation changes.
Bestseller No. 3
F Fityle DIY Geiger Counter Kit Nuclear Radiation Detector Beta Gamma X-ray Test Equipment for Stone
  • Supports computer (PC) data acquisition, analysis and processing.
  • 5V power supply or 3 * 1.5V battery; 4 * 1.2V battery, current: 30mA - 120mA.
  • Supports most of Geiger tube: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage can be supported.)
  • For the detection of 20mR / h-120mR / h of gamma rays and 100-1800 outside variables / points of the soft beta ray.
  • Equipped with sound and light alarm. Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can be connected to the microcontroller and then displayed.
Bestseller No. 4
Assembled DIY Geiger Counter Kit Weytoll Nuclear Radiation Detector Module with LCD Display
  • It is used to detect 20mR / h-120mR / h gamma rays and 100-1800 soft beta ray variables / spots.
  • Equipped with warning lights and sound. Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can be connected to the microcontroller, and then displayed on the LCD screen.
  • Supports most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Supports Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage.)
  • Supports most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Supports Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage.)
  • 5V power supply or 3 * 1.5V battery; 4 * 1.2V battery, current: 30mA-120mA.
Bestseller No. 5
Lepeuxi Unassembled Geiger Counter Parts Kit Module, Nuclear Radiation Detector with LCD Display
  • 5V power supply or 3 * 1.5V battery; 4 * 1.2V battery, current: 30mA - 120mA.
  • For the detection of 20mR / h-120mR / h of gamma rays and 100-1800 of soft beta ray variables / spots.
  • Equipped with sound and alarm light.
  • Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can connect to the microcontroller, and then display on the LCD screen.
  • Supports most of Geiger tube: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage can be supported.)
Bestseller No. 6
Sharplace DIY Geiger Counter Kit Nuclear Radiation Detector Radioactive Detector for Marble
  • . For detection of 20mR / h-120mR / h gamma rays and 100-1800 out of soft beta ray variables / spots.
  • . 5V power supply or 3 * 1.5V battery; 4 * 1.2V battery, current: 30mA - 120mA.
  • . Equipped with sound and light alarm. Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can be connected to the microcontroller and then displayed.
  • . Supports most of Geiger tube: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage can be supported.)
  • . Supports computer (PC) data acquisition, analysis and processing.
SaleBestseller No. 7
Bestseller No. 8
skrskr DIY Geiger Counter Kit Module Assembled Nuclear Radiation Detector With LCD Display
  • Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can connect to the microcontroller, and then display on the LCD screen.
  • For the detection of 20mR / h-120mR / h of gamma rays and 100-1800 of soft beta ray variables / spots.
  • Equo with sound and light alarm.
  • Supports computer (PC) data acquisition, analysis and Matlab processing.
  • Supports most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage can be supported).
Bestseller No. 9
Colcolo DIY Geiger Counter Kit Nuclear Radiation Detector for Him
  • For the detection of 20mR / h-120mR / h of gamma rays and 100-1800 outside variables / points of the soft beta ray.
  • Supports computer (PC) data acquisition, analysis and processing.
  • Supports most of Geiger tube: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage can be supported.)
  • 5V power supply or 3 * 1.5V battery; 4 * 1.2V battery, current: 30mA - 120mA.
  • Equipped with sound and light alarm. Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can be connected to the microcontroller and then displayed.

Commercial Geiger counters (already assembled)

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

GQ GMC300EPLUS COMPLUSE GEIGER DIGITAL Nulcear Counter Nulcear Radiation Detector Monitor Meter Beta Gamma Dosimeter Radiography Data Data Data Rays Monitoring
  • Small Geiger counter mount developed by gQ Electronics USA General indoor and outdoor sensing.
  • Auditory / visual indicator; Dot Matrix LCD screen; real-time recording of data per second to internal flash memory.
  • USB data port for connection to PC / GQ laptop, Geiger counter software.
  • It features large font text modes for easy reading and easier acquisition of information, e.g. CPM, date, time, elapsed time, USV / h, MR / h, etc.
  • Real-time graphing mode provides a real-time display of radiation level changes, to more easily observe radiation changes.
Geiger counter Mueller GQ GMC-320 Plus Geiger Counter Nuclear Radiation Detector Meter Beta Gamma X ray Europe wall charger
  • Portable hand-held Geiger counter developed by GQ Electronics USA
  • Audio / visual indication; Dot matrix LCD display; Real-time per second data recording
  • USB Data port for connection / charging with PC GQ Soft Geiger Counter software
  • Large font and text mode easy reading, maximum data information
  • If the product has a plug you may need a UK plug adapter. If the product has a keyboard, it is UK configuration
GQ GMC-500 + Plus - Geiger counting nuclear radiation detector, for X, beta and gamma rays
  • Independent detection mode
  • Continuous monitoring mode
  • Quick read in seconds after power on
  • Accurate and real-time data
  • Display CPM, USV / H, MR / H on one display
GQ GMC-320 + V5-UK Digital Geiger Wireless WiFi Counter Data Wireless Dosimeter Radiation Detector
  • Record data through wireless WiFi connection server and internal memory at the same time.
  • Edifi WiFi ready, keep in touch with Geiger Counter World Map
  • Free history of unlimited online data storage and Geiger Wold map counter service.
  • Real-time evaluation tests, scientific tests on the sample such as: Necessary for the construction of the Hospital Radiation therapy for Cancer Monitoring, food, water, indoor / outdoor, radiography, and more ..
  • Real-time graphic, text and large font mode (recording radiation data and playback again later)
Smart Geiger Pro SGP-001 Radiation Meter for Smartphone iOS Andriod Geiger Counter Measure Radiation Counter Radiation Detector Geiger Counter
  • Smart 001 001.) is 10 times more accurate predecessor fsg SGP Geiger Pro (SGP 001 only 13.5 g is easy, 75 x 24 x 10 mm, Large size, angeschloßen in the headphone jack can transform your smartphone in seconds into a full-fledged injection meter
  • 001 SGP with 10 built-in semiconductor sensors now 10 times delicate. Useful measurement Adjustable to 3/5/10 minutes.
  • With SGP 001 you can now also radioactive injection measure charge in the air.
  • Beam measurement: Gamma, X-ray - Measurement range: 0.05 ~ 200 µSv / h - ehler measurement: <± 15% - User Interface: Smartphone (Headphone Jack) - Size: 75 x 24 x 9.9mm - Weight: 13.5g
  • '' Compatible with smartphones: iOS 7.0, Andriod 4.3. Check before ordering if you can install the application "Smart Geiger Pro on your smartphone
RADEX RD1503 + Outdoor Edition Dosimeter, Geiger Counter, High Precision Nuclear Radiation Detector
  • Updated exterior edition - better protection
  • Combined detection of Beta, Gamma and X-ray radiation.
  • Detection range of 0.05 ~ 9.99 µSv / h (Micro Sieverts per hour) or millirems
  • Audio alarm - vibration alarm - backlight
  • Precalibrated, accurate (+/- 15%), fast (40 second cycle if low, immediate if high)
GQ GMC-600 Plus Geiger Detector Dosimeter Alpha Beta Gamma XRay LND 7317
  • High sensitivity Pancake Geiger tube lnd 7317 installed
  • Large LCD Screen - Auto Source Large Horizontal and Vertical Screen
  • Built-in flash memory and built-in WIFI
  • Real-time, Unlimited log data log data storage server
  • Rechargeable battery installed and many more ...

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