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
Kedelak DIY Geiger Counter Kit Module Assembled Nuclear Radiation Detector With LCD Display
  • 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 Geiger s: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Geiger 330-600V operating voltage can be supported).
  • Supports computer (PC) data acquisition, analysis and Matlab processing.
Bestseller No. 2
ILS - Geiger counter module Kit Miller tube GM tube nuclear radiation detector
  • Safe shipping and tracing
  • For more information or product specifications, read the description below.
Bestseller No. 3
Baugger Diy Geiger Counter Kit - Geiger Diy Counter Kit Module Assembled Nuclear Radiation Detector with Lcd Display
  • ☛ Supports Most Geiger Tubes: M4011, Sts-5, Sbm20, J305, Etc. (330-600V Operating Voltage of Geiger Tube Can Be Supported).
  • ☛ Equipped with Alarm Sound and Light.
  • ☛ Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can be connected to the microcontroller and then displayed on the lcd screen.
  • ☛ for the Detection of 20Mr / H-120Mr / H of Gamma Rays and 100-1800 of Variables / Points of Soft Beta Rays.
  • ☛ Supports Computer (Pc) Data Acquisition, Analysis and Matlab Processing.
Bestseller No. 4
KKmoon DIY Geiger Counter Parts Kit Core Radiation Detector Module with LCD Display
  • 5V power supply or 3 x 1.5V batteries; 4 batteries of 1.2 V; current: 30 mA - 120 mA.
  • For the detection of 20 mR / h / h of 120 mR / h of gamma rays and 100 - 1800 variables / points of the Soft Beta beam.
  • Equipped with sound and light alarm.
  • Disconnect the output interface, through this interface the microcontroller can be connected, and then displayed on the LCD.
  • Compatible with most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (The working voltage of the Geiger tube can be supported from 330 to 600 V).
Bestseller No. 5
DIY Geiger Counter Kit Module Assembled Nuclear Radiation Detector With LCD Display
  • This is a kind of good quality nuclear radiation detection module, plug it in and you can directly measure nuclear radiation. For the detection of 20mR / h-120mR / h of gamma rays and 100-1800 of soft beta ray variables / spots. You can try.
  • 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 Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Geiger tube 330-600V working voltage can be supported).
Bestseller No. 6
KKmoon Geiger Counter Kit Assembled Nuclear Radiation Detector Module
  • For the detection of 20 mR / h ~ 120 mR / h of gamma rays and 100 ~ 1800 variables / turn-off points of soft beta rays.
  • Sound and light alarm.
  • Interrupt the output interface, through this interface can be connected to the microcontroller and then displayed on the LCD.
  • Supports most Geiger tubes: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (330 ~ 600V working voltage of Geiger tube can be supported.)
  • Compatible with MatLab computer (PC) data acquisition, analysis and processing.
Bestseller No. 7
Kshzmoto 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. 9
DIY Geiger Contador Kit Módulo Miller Tube GM TUBO Detector de radiación nuclear DIY
  • Fuente de alimentación de 5V, o batería de 1.5V 3x;BATERÍA DE 1.2V 4X, CORRIENTE: 30MA - 12MA
  • Para la detección de 20MR / H ~ 120MR / h de rayos gamma y 100 ~ 1800 de las variables / puntos / cm 2 del rayo beta suave
  • Alarma de sonido y luz, Ardunio compatible.
  • Interrumpir la interfaz de salida, a través de esta interfaz se puede conectar al microcontrolador y luego se muestra en la pantalla LCD
  • Admite la mayor parte del tubo Geiger: M4011, STS-5, SBM20, J305, etc. (Se puede soportar el voltaje de operación de 330 ~ 600V del tubo Geiger))

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 GMC-300E-Plus Digital Geiger Counter Nullify Radiation Detector Monitor Beta Gamma Dosimeter Meter Detector Real Time Monitoring Recorder Data Recorder with UK Wall Charger
  • 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-320 + V5 Digital Geiger Counter WiFi Wireless Data Logger Dosimeter Radiation Detector
  • Log data to server via wireless WiFi connection and internal memory at the same time.
  • Built-in WiFi ready, stay connected with the Geiger world map
  • Free online history unlimited data storage and Geiger's Wold map service.
  • Real-time test evaluation, scientific tests on samples such as: building material, hospital radiation therapy for cancer, food, water, indoor / outdoor, X-ray and more.
  • Real-time graphic, text and large font mode (record radiation data and play back later)
Smart Geiger Pro SGP-001 Radiation Meter for Smartphone iOS Andriod Geiger Counter Measure Radiation Counter Radiation Detector Geiger Counter
  • Whether it is synthetic or naturally occurring - too much radioactive radiation is harmful. Not only in nuclear power plants, but also in other areas of everyday life. Life produces radioactive radiation in various concentrations. among others the food, construction and research sector to varying degrees of these rays hit.
  • For example, check the materials of your living spaces (for example, your own mineral collection enamel tiles), clay, some granite, pumice stone, gypsum, slag, bauxite or red mud contains 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 to the headphone jack, the Smartphone in seconds to a complete 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 air! radiation measurement: gamma, X-ray - Measurement 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 required, Personal EMF monitor for smartphone, quick and easy inspector. Compatible with smartphones: iOS 7.0, Andriod 4.3. Check before ordering if you can install the "Smart Geiger Pro" app on your smartphone
RADEX RD1503 + Dosimeter, geiger counter, high precision nuclear radiation detector
  • Outdoor edition, better protected
  • Detection of combined beta, gamma and X-ray radiation.
  • Detection range of 0.05 ~ 9.99 µSv / h (micro sieverts per hour) or millremos
  • Audio alarm, vibration alarm, backlight
  • Precalibrated, accurate (+/- 15%), fast (40 second cycle if low, immediate if high)
GQ GMC-600 Plus Geiger Counter 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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