War ... War never changes.. Those words are from Fallout series game. In this game planet has suffered from nuclear war, it is full of radiation, mutants, violence. People are trying to survive in this inhospitable world... This game is one of the best games ever created.
This article is not about Fallout game. Just Fallout game has inspired me to obtain Geiger counter. This device is not often sold in markets. I have searched it for several years, but did not found appropriate item for me. Some of them are too expensive, some are very simple and do not have enough functions.
Geiger counter module
Recently I have found Geiger counter module for Arduino that does not cost too much. And there are many ways how to use it. Geiger counter module can detect mainly gamma rays, and may be some beta rays. Large particles as alpha it cannot detect.
It can work just as it is - only you have to connect 5V power source, for example from USB port of computer or power bank. Other option is to connect Arduino development board using 3 wires - 5V, ground and data wire. Most expensive part of this module is Geiger tube, that registers radioactive particles. This module looks like this
When this module is connected to power source it makes some '"ticks" when cosmic rays particle reach tube. It is normally when module do so - it is just ambient radiation level and is not danger. Unless it starts ticking several times in a second...
This module also have audio 3.5 mm output for connecting it to computer.
As I have said, it has output for Arduino development board, just need three wires to connect it. Seller from Aliexpress have provided required documentation and code for me.
Geiger counter module also has transparent case:
So required parts for this Geiger counter project:
- Arduino board. I have used nano version. It is small and requires less power
- Geiger counter module
- Display to show radiation level
- Two resistors to connect display to Arduino board
- Breadboard to connect wires
- Multiple wires
- Box to hold this all together
- Power source, for example power bank
All items can buy on Aliexpress.
Connect to Arduino
All required information and code can be found on my Github profile - https://github.com/edgars-eizvertins/geiger-counter
Information how to connect display is here - https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/LiquidCrystalDisplay
So just need to correctly connect all wired from Geiger counter board and LCD display and then use script for Arduino. For powering Geiger counter I use small power bank. Power bank powers Arduino board and power to LCD display and Geiger counter module is provided by Arduino board. I have measured power consumption - it is about 0.04A using 5V USB power source. As you see it requires very little power and can work for long time using single power bank.
At the end constructed Geiger counter looks like this
Radiation measurements says that radiation is about 0.2 micro Sieverts per hour. It is not much - I have found information than radiation less than 0.4 is normal. In hospital during taking X-ray photo people receive from 2-3 up to 40-60 micro Sieverts per one shot.
With this device it is possible to know if there was accident on nuclear power station or atomic bomb has exploded. But I hope this will never be needed for such cases and this project is only for fun and education.