Overview of Kits

General:
Geiger Kits provide the electronics needed to run, and detect events from a GM tube. The events are counted and displayed as CPM and dose rate by a microprocessor running pre-loaded software. Counts can also be output to a PC via a serial connection.
 
Assembly requires moderately good soldering skills, and the ability to read and follow the Build Instructions supplied. Geiger Kits are not an "instant Geiger counter" ready for field use. They do not include a GM tube, battery, case and the switches and buttons you may wish to put on a case. These you must supply on your own. However, with these additions they are a fully functioning Geiger counter.
 
The kits will work with GM tubes that require high voltage in the range of 350-940V (which is most tubes.). For a list of tubes that have been successfully used with the kit, see GM Tube Info.
 
The GK-B5 kit uses an ATmega328P. The GK-Plus kit uses a larger ATmega1284P. Both have all pins broken out and an FTDI connector that will allow it to be programmed with the Arduino IDE if desired. A jumper connects the microprocessor to the interrupt from the Geiger circuit, so basically it is a standalone Arduino compatible. See the Software page for more info.
 
Check out the Gallery of finished kits to see what others have done with this kit.

Knock-Offs:
If "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" then I am truly flattered! But I should first define what I call a knock-off (clone is another word).
 
From the beginning, the software I've written for the kit is open source, and the circuit is thoroughly defined. I did this thinking that people who wanted to build their own could reference what I have. Of course there were some who just wanted to sell a kit, and I expected they would build on my ideas by adding their own ideas and create something new and different. This has happened in a few cases. However, there are some who apparently just want to "cash in" by taking the design, software, hardware and even the documentation and the name, and adding little if anything to the project. These, I call "knock-offs" or more politely "clones". If you want to see a fun video on this subject check out EEVblog #333 - Unwritten Rules of OSHW.
 
Have you been reading "Sour Grapes" ? Honestly, not really - that's just the way it is. Should you buy a clone? Of course that's up to you. My only advice is that you consider the differences. Looking at what is here should help you make the best choice. I should be the last person on earth to point them out, but if you'd like my opinion on a particular point, let me know. No matter what, enjoy your Geiger counter. They are surprisingly interesting.

Types of Kits Available:
Until recently,only one model of Geiger Kit was available - the GK-B5. Now a more advanced kit is also available - the GK-Plus. In addition there are add-on kits that provide logging and connection to the internet. Each has their own page and description available from the sidebar on the left. Below is a snapshot of each. 
(Click images to open them full screen.)

Geiger Kit GK-B5 
This is by far the most common model of Geiger Kit. Over the years it has evolved and improved through 5 major revisions to its latest design.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/GK%20v4.0/GK-B4%20%2B%20Disp.JPG

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/GK%20v5.2/GK%20v5-2%20done.JPG


The video below should help you understand the basic functionality of the GK-B4 Geiger Kit. 
  • ATmega386 microprocessor is Arduino “Uno” compatible with all I/O pins
  • standard 2x16 LCD display simply plugs into provided headers 
  • runs with a 9V battery or AA batteries  
  • high voltage power supply – adjustable from 200 to >940 volts 
  • miniature speaker instead of piezo for a classic Geiger counter sound
  • FTDI connector outputs activity to serial port  
  • interfaces to various graphing programs and the free “Geiger Bot” phone app 
  • optional Logging Shield for data logging to microSD card with GPS location
    • highly evolved Version 10.3 software pre-installed
      • display in CPM and choice of uSv/h, uR/h or mR/h
        • uses a running average for count display along with a fast acting bar graph
          • two scalier displays for 1 minute and user defined accumulated counts
              • alarm for high counts with settable threshold triggers off of either CPM or dose
                • Setup Menu - configure parameters and features with a TV remote
                  • Tone Mode - optionally set speaker to produce a tone that varies in pitch with activity. (like a metal detector)
There are more details and videos on the Geiger Kit - GK-B5 page.

Geiger Kit GK-Plus
The GK-Plus provides all the features of the GK-B5 with the Logging Shield (SD card, clock, GPS), plus a graphic display and larger processor.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/Website%20Images/GK-Plus%20Screens/Plus%20Main%20screen.JPG

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/GK-Plus%20v2.1/GK%2B%20Done2.JPG



This kit uses one surface mount part that is not to difficult to solder. The TV remote and SD card are not included.
There are more details and videos on the Geiger Kit - GK-Plus page.

GKnet Kit
This little kit attaches to the serial port on your Geiger Kit GK-B5 or GK-Plus  It reads the output and sends it to monitoring websites like Xively or Radmon.org. 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/GK%20Net%20v2/GKnet%20V2%20w%20GK.JPG
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/GK%20Net%20v2/GKnet%20w%20ENC28J60.JPG
This kit is not to difficult to assemble. The Ethernet module is not included.
There are more details on the GK-net - Kit to Internet page.

Logging Shield
The Logging Shield is a daughter board that fits on top of the GK-B5 Geiger Kit. It provides logging to an SD card, real time clock, and GPS connections. 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/Website%20Images/GS%20Screens/GS%20complete.JPG


https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3572198/GS%20v5/GS%20v5%20top%202.JPG

This kit uses some surface mount parts and requires some careful soldering. The TV remote and SD card are not included.
There are more details and videos on the Logging Shield Kit page.
Subpages (1): GK-B5 Downloads
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John Giametti,
May 11, 2011, 2:27 PM
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