Happy Holidays everyone! The image above is a nixie tube Christmas ornament project that I started last year but didn’t finish in time for Christmas. In typical fashion I did one or two revs to the PCB in late December and early January and then got busy and shelved the project until last weekend. It’s still not quite finished but the first two ornaments look pretty good!
Geiger Counter Kits are selling very quickly this year but there are still plenty in stock here and at Amazon.com, Elektor, and Sparkfun. There is still time to order before the holidays! These kits make great gifts!
This year marks the ten year anniversary of the MightyOhm Geiger Counter kit. To celebrate ten years of kits, Geiger Counter Kits will be 10% off for the entire month of September.
The year is 2011. It’s early summer. Mitch has been soliciting workshop ideas for Chaos Camp 2011. The Fukushima Daiichi disaster had just occurred in March of that year, so radioactivity and nuclear monitoring was on everyone’s mind. I had been working on a (still unfinished) project to detect cosmic rays, so I had some Geiger tubes and a bunch of AVR microcontrollers on hand.
When I packed the first 30 kits in my suitcase and flew to Berlin to give my first Geiger Counter workshop at Chaos Camp 2011, I had no idea how successful this kit would become. I did not expect that the kits would sell out within minutes of arriving at Camp. I certainly did not expect that I’d still be building and selling Geiger Counter kits ten years later, at least in part because Geiger tubes were in very short supply at that time.
Here’s a taste of Chaos Camp 2011, thanks to Maurice Wessling. Remember when quadcopters were new and 3d printers were made of wood?
Here’s a video of me demonstrating the kit at Camp:
Note that there is no case! There wasn’t time to design a case before Camp. Some of the workshop attendees learned the hard way that you get a mild shock if you touch the PCB in the wrong place – it rained a lot that year, which made things worse! By the end of camp I saw at least one 3d printed case, and when I got home I designed the laser-cut case that I still sell today.
The goals of the kit were to make it easy to assemble with simple tools, low cost, hackable/extensible, and completely open source. As a result, the kit has found its way into lots of other projects. The kit has been used in high altitude balloon projects, classes and STEM workshops at large universities, holiday lights, and cocktail-making robots. (Apologies for any broken links, the internet does not age well.)
Please share your projects in the comments!
I want to sincerely thank everyone who has purchased or built a kit over the past decade. It’s been a huge amount of fun, from the first workshop at Chaos Camp 2011 and the US debut at the NY Maker Faire to the years of online sales and subsequent workshops at Toorcamp, Congress, and Chaos Camp 2019.
Thank you to all of my distributors who have made the kit easier to source around the world, including Adafruit Industries, Amazon.com, Elektor, Hackable Devices, the Maker Shed, and Sparkfun Electronics.
Twitter user @joeyhagedorn recently posted photos of his hacked MightyOhm Geiger Counter kit. He added an OLED display from Adafruit, a LiPo battery, Particle Argon WiFi interface, and a battery monitoring circuit that uses an AD8244 high impedance buffer to avoid loading down the HV supply.
Interested in building your own open source Geiger counter kit? Geiger Counter kits are in stock and shipping now.
Note that the SBM-20 Geiger-Müller tube that normally ships with the kit isn’t sensitive to alpha particles. To detect alpha particles you’ll need to source a Geiger-Müller tube with a mica window, such as the LND-712. There are also several options available on eBay.
My Geiger Counter kits are on sale this month during quarantine. Visit the MightyOhm Geiger Counter product page to learn more and to place an order.