How to build your own Geiger Counter


Here’s a very interesting project, with a very worthy motive behind it, reports Technabob. Some engineers at Libelium, a wireless sensor network company, decided to help the people of Japan, around Fukushima, determine levels of radiation for themselves.

The result was an Arduino-based device that would detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation, apparently integrating any Geiger Tube which works in the range 400V – 1000V. (It seems that getting the brass tube, which helps serve as the radiation detector, is the most expensive part, but these are available).

You can read full details of the project on For example, the team write that the electronics used in the radiation board can be divided into five main parts:

  1. High voltage power supply (using a circuit based on an oscillator connected to a voltage multiplier made with diodes, transistors, resistors and capacitors)
  2. Adaptation circuit for the Geiger output (based on a NPN transistor, which will trigger the interrupt pin in the microcontroller and activate the piezo speaker and LED indicator)
  3. Piezo speaker and LED indicator (the LED will blink with each pulse and the speaker will sound with each pulse of the adaptation circuit).
  4. LCD screen (connected to the microcontroller using 4 data lines in addition to RS, Enable and RW control lines).
  5. LED bar (made with five standard LEDs, 3 green and 2 red)

Pictured above is the Radiation Sensor Board with the SBM-20 Geiger Tube

They write in their ‘manifesto’:

The main finality of the Radiation Sensor Board for Arduino is to help people in Japan to measure the levels of radiation in their everyday life after the unfortunate earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March 2011 and cause the nuclear radiation leakages in Fukushima. We want to give the chance to measure by themselves this levels instead of trusting in the general advises which are being broadcasted. The usage of this sensor board along with the affordable and easy to use Arduino platform helps people to get radiation values from specific places.

Credit to them, and hopefully they have played some useful role!

See the device in action:

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