Geiger counter with Flyport

Posted by openPicus | On: May 28 2012

Marcus Vohburger created this very interesting device: a geiger counter powered by Flyport.

Basically a geiger counter is a tool that measures radioactivity: when you add Flyport though it becomes interactive, connected to Internet and also able to send e-mail alerts.

Let’s discover the project with Marcus

The nuclear catastrope in Fukushima (and of course Chernobyl, Harrisburgh and so on) made it clear that using radioactive materials for generating energy can and probably will end in a horrible disaster. 

Very soon after the first reactor in Fukushima exploded, geiger counters were sold out eveywhere and prices soared to almost ridiculous levels. Although I do not live in or near Japan, I too wanted to have a geiger counter to monitor radioactivity myself, being prepared in the case some nuclear accident should happen in my part of the world (central Europe).

So I started researching for suitable DIY circuits on the net, testing a few of them and as none of them would fit my requirements, I designed my own circuits. Building a basic counter that clicks is pretty easy, but such circuits will never give you detailed and reliable information on whats really going on.  
So the next step is to add a microcontroller and a display that would allow to calculate numerical values, but this would require you to record the measurements by yourself to have an overview of the long-term development of radiation. So the next logical step was to build a radiation logger device, that would record many thousands of measurements and display them on a computer screen. 

A few months ago I created a very basic geiger counter application for the Flyport, it just displayed the Counts per Minute in simple text format. This worked nicely, but with a microcontroller and a wireless Lan you can of course do much more interesting things. The next step was a version of the program that would display one day of logged data with a simple HTML Bar graphic. This was a great improvement, since you could see very well the changes from minute to minute, especially when examining various materials for natural radiation.


Some pictures of the web based user interface:

Project website: : www.radiation-logger.net
Info, schematics : send an email to Markus Vohburger

We want to thank Marcus for sharing his amazing project but, amazingly enough, he didn’t stop there:  he actually decided to donate 2 PCBs of this device to openPicus community. If you want to candidate to receive one, just comment here proposing a nice application for this device, Marcus will pick the winner!

6 Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is a very interesting and useful project! I wonder why geiger counter are so expensive on the market.. By the way, I see an evolution of this project: think about having many geiger counter powered by flyport all around the world and collecting all the data in a common database.. We will get the worldwide radioactivity map, and we will be able to detect disaster in realtime! What do you think about that? Who would like to join in a possible open radioactivity map project?

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I created this circuit, I had something like this in mind.

    There are already some radiation-monitoring networks, and of course this circuit could be used to provide data for these.
    With some minor changes you could also upload data to a thingspeak channel or something…

    vohburger

  4. Yeah vohburger, you are right! We can join on any of the already active radioactivity monitoring projects.
    My idea was also to alert via e-mail all the registered users about abnormal radioactivity level in the places where they live…

  5. compliments, the project is both simple and efficient, in particular I appreciate the section of the high voltage for supply the heiger tube. It’s very good the feedback implementate with the zener diodes on PIN RESET of IC555

  6. I found a new series of low price pin diode for detecting radioactivity as valid alternative to the classic geiger tube. In particular recommend the model X100-7 of First Sensor Company

    http://www.first-sensor.com/en/products/components/detectors/detectors-ionizing-radiation

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