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Replacement:SEN-10742. The new version has a more robust tube power switch and also supports the Arduino auto-reset feature. This page is for reference only.
We've revised a few layouts and footprints with this version of the Geiger counter, but it's essentially the same as the last revision. This is a USB powered Geiger Counter equipped with an ATMega328 that can be programmed in circuit using one of the programmers below. Simply plug the unit into USB (make sure you have FTDI drivers installed), open a terminal program to the correct COM port at 9600bps, and you will see random bits being generated from the random background radiation. Each bit generated (actually an ASCII byte, 0 or 1) represents an actual event in the tube in real-time, so the output can be used to deduce CPM or what ever units you need. Here at SparkFun, on average, we get about 25 counts a minute.
Check out the random number generating Geiger counter tutorial for more information.
Also, check out the live Geiger Counter feed from SparkFun headquarters.
Note: While the Geiger counter is powered and the switch is in the ON position, the board contains exposed high voltage components. In order to turn the unit off, you must flip the tube power switch to OFF while the USB cable is plugged in or while the board is still connected to your power supply. The reason being; when you move the switch into the OFF position, the high voltage lines are bled out through a resistor connected to ground, more information on this is in the tutorial.
A project box or enclosure is suggested. Do not touch the end window of the Geiger tube and do not to touch any conductive region inside the area marked HIGH VOLTAGE when the Geiger tube is powered ON. An enclosure is not absolutely necessary, but if you choose not use an enclosure, remember to be extra careful with the end window and high voltage regions.
The Geiger tube comes with a red boot to protect the end window during, production, handling, and shipping. The boot should be removed if you need to detect alpha particles. However, you should still see activity from gamma and beta particles even with the boot on.
For older revisions with a bleed button: Remember to always hit the bleed button with your power supply connected, after the tube power switch is moved from the ON position to the OFF position.
This product is controlled for export by the United States. Sending it to other countries may still be possible, but will require additional information prior to shipment.
Note: This product is for educational purposes and should not be directly relied upon for determinations regarding one's health or safety.
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