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OT: Geiger Counters

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  • OT: Geiger Counters

    Since there seem to be some members who are founts of wisdom on ANY subject, if I were looking at geiger counters, what features or qualities should I pay attention to? I note that they're available in different models, price ranges, as kits or as computer peripherals. Anyone have some experience, since I don't?

    Jan
    .
    "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

  • #2
    What do you need it for?
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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    • #3
      To count geigers........of course......... He.He
      RPease

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      • #4
        Geiger Counters

        TMT...I got mine at a State surplus sale. It came in an old Civil Defense kit that used to be in the basements of all State buildings. The kit contains two counters. One is for massive radiation (we call that one the deadman's meter) and the other is a Victoreen low level counter. I got it because I was working on carbon beam columators that were used in high energy experiments in the tandem Van De Graff accellerator. I was concerned that the carbon could become radioactive and I didn't want to be breathing any of the dust if it was. I had the radiation safety officer calibrate it and it works perfectly. Now days they have much fancier models that use less battery power.
        Jim (KB4IVH)

        Only fools abuse their tools.

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        • #5
          interesting point

          was looking around at a nearby cleveland machinery supplier
          (well known), and a guy came in sporting a geiger counter.
          He liked to buy up all kinds of heat treating furnaces,
          and was walking down a row of them, stuffing the counter
          inside as he went.
          Found out some refractory is radioactive, or gets radiaoactive.
          Yes it's the "can't penetrate the skin kind" but a local salvage
          yard set off the truck detector with a used furnace, and
          it got sent back and smashed up. The point here is the firebrick
          was smashed, and it created allot of dust. The smasher guys
          were told it was harmless, they were not told about breathing
          in the dust.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TGTool
            Since there seem to be some members who are founts of wisdom on ANY subject, if I were looking at geiger counters, what features or qualities should I pay attention to? I note that they're available in different models, price ranges, as kits or as computer peripherals. Anyone have some experience, since I don't?

            Jan
            The fusor forum is full of people who know about this kind of thing
            www.fusor.net - after all they are into Amateur Atomic Fusion - no kidding! They actually fuse Deutrium atoms and create Helium in their basements using high voltage and vacuum kit. Their experiments generate X-rays, and other radiation such as neutrons and are into radiation measurement.

            The vacuum apparatus is made out of welded and machined stainsless steel. That means alot of them are also into home machining and TIG welding, so they are kindred spirits.

            Derek

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            • #7
              Without knowing what sort of radiation must be detected a meaningful answer isn't possible.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Evan
                What do you need it for?
                Actually a friend asked what I could tell him about them, and I said, not much but I'll try to find out. He, or someone he knows is doing some checking for a story. I could only surmise, but I do bear in mind that we're in Karen Silkwood territory .

                I appreciate the several pointers here, and if my friend can be more specific and STILL needs more answers I'll fling the net out again.

                Thanks.
                .
                "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

                Comment


                • #9
                  I bought one of these for a customer last week-

                  http://www.geigercounters.com/Monitor4.htm

                  Detects Alpha,beta,gamma and x-ray all in one.

                  He is in the scrap biz and buys oilfield salvage and medical equipment so he needed alpha and gamma capability.
                  I just need one more tool,just one!

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                  • #10
                    That looks like a good deal, especially if you build it yourself and save over $100. I used to work in the Nuclear business in the 60's for a summer and was in charge of quality control in the geiger counter department. The circuits have changed but the general principles haven't. I have two, my ancient laboratory Lionel Ratemeter-Scaler and a portable I designed and built myself.

                    The big item that that handheld has is the ability to detect alpha radiation. It's so weak that it can only travel a foot or so in air. One thing to keep in mind is that we are surrounded by natural radiation. Everything from "ground level events" during a solar storm to the natural uranium content in a granite surface plate. The average background radiation which is not related to atomic testing or other man made radiation averages about 16 counts per cubic inch per minute. That means that you are being bombarded by natural radiation at the rate several million atomic bullets per day.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan
                      That looks like a good deal, especially if you build it yourself and save over $100.
                      "Also note that your kit provides for do-it-yourself calibration that will not rival the quality of calibration performed on a factory built Monitor 4, and instead give you accuracy of only ± 20%, versus ± 10% for the factory built and calibrated Monitor 4. "
                      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by derekm
                        The fusor forum is full of people who know about this kind of thing
                        www.fusor.net - after all they are into Amateur Atomic Fusion - no kidding! They actually fuse Deutrium atoms and create Helium in their basements using high voltage and vacuum kit.
                        Thanks for that link Derek -- that site/group is fascinating. They're building Hirsch-Farnsworth electrostatic fusors (of recent Robert Bussard fame)! Apparently there have been 24 amateurs so far that have successfully fused deuterium -- amazing!

                        One of their leading guys is in Austin -- I'll have to look him up and see if he could use some free machine-shop time
                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Evan
                          That looks like a good deal, especially if you build it yourself and save over $100. I used to work in the Nuclear business in the 60's for a summer and was in charge of quality control in the geiger counter department. The circuits have changed but the general principles haven't. I have two, my ancient laboratory Lionel Ratemeter-Scaler and a portable I designed and built myself.

                          The big item that that handheld has is the ability to detect alpha radiation. It's so weak that it can only travel a foot or so in air. One thing to keep in mind is that we are surrounded by natural radiation. Everything from "ground level events" during a solar storm to the natural uranium content in a granite surface plate. The average background radiation which is not related to atomic testing or other man made radiation averages about 16 counts per cubic inch per minute. That means that you are being bombarded by natural radiation at the rate several million atomic bullets per day.
                          We tested it at work on my buddy who I am sad to say has been fighting liver cancer for the last six months.He recieved the new micro sphere
                          (SIRT) implant procedure about a month ago.He asked what it was when I was putting the battery in it,told him it was a geiger counter and he perked up and said"check me"!
                          Normal background in the shop was 1 or 2 counts every 15-20 seconds,he was reading .15mrh in the area of his liver and that was about 2-1/2 weeks after the treatment.His comment was gee,they have been giving me something other than koolaid.

                          http://www.webmd.com/video/sirt-for-liver-cancer
                          I just need one more tool,just one!

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                          • #14
                            I'm surprised to see the current price of Geiger-Mueller tubes - in 1958 or 1959 a neighbor kid and I built a counter and the tube was just a few dollars, new, though we had to walk through the Posey Tube in Alameda to Oakland, CA to get it. It was battery operated and used a simple audio transformer and interrupter to cause the rectified secondary to charge a capacitor until it reached sufficient voltage to activate the tube. Kind of like an automobile spark coil but very much smaller scale and lower voltages. When the tube would trigger, the current from the capacitor traveled through headphones and through the tube. Very simple and quite fun to build.

                            Also down that memory lane: Oakland had a couple big electronics retailers, and out near the Oakland airport there were a bunch of really great surplus stores. Man, the stuff we used to be able to get, then.
                            Last edited by dp; 06-06-2008, 12:39 AM.

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                            • #15
                              "Also note that your kit provides for do-it-yourself calibration that will not rival the quality of calibration performed on a factory built Monitor 4, and instead give you accuracy of only ± 20%, versus ± 10% for the factory built and calibrated Monitor 4. "
                              That is a non issue. Anybody that can count and read a clock can calibrate it in counts per minute. The default readout for the US model is counts per minute. As for calibration in Sieverts or rads, no gieger counter is very accurate as it is very dependent on the energy of the source radiation which varies by isotope and distance from the source. Note that they indicate this since the best the unit can do is +- 10% and even that will be further qualified in the fine print.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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