Geiger Counter & Graphing Program Milestone

Just recently I was able to complete one of the biggest parts of my Geiger Counter project, the actual assembly of my geiger counter. The geiger counter that I am using is from MightyOhm, and it is powered by a small ATTINY microcontroller, which uses a Muller geiger tube to detect alpha and beta particles. The geiger tube consists of 2 electrodes, one with a wire that goes through the tube, and another connected to a metal outer shell of the tube itself. Between the two is an inert gas, and when an alpha or beta particle comes into contact with the tube, a short jump of high voltage electricity passes through the inert gas, and causes a circuit to be completed, which is then picked up by the microcontroller. The microcontroller itself outputs the data in a two ways. First, every time it detects a particle of radiation, it outputs a short buzz and lights up an LED, in addition to outputting a short pulse to a “Pulse Out” port. In addition, the microcontroller also stores the most recent data, and based off of that outputs a Counts Per Second, Counts Per Minute, and an equivalent dose (expressed in µSv/hr) through a serial port. To this serial port I was able to connect an XBee transceiver, which transmitted the signal wirelessly to another XBee connected to my computer. Once I had received the signal, I wrote a sketch in processing to graph it, as well as log the data to a file for later use.

For more information, I posted the code on Github here: http://techietrekkie.github.com/Geigeriffic/

and here is a video I made of the project:

Dillon’s Multimeter Starter Project

For my starter project here at BlueStamp, I decided to make myself a Digital Multimeter kit from Sparkfun. This project was fascinating for me for reasons much greater than the simple practical applications. First, I really wanted to learn how exactly a multimeter functions, as it is one of the most helpful tools in designing mechanical things, and the knowledge of how one works is invaluable in problem solving with other projects. Secondly, this project included the widest assortment of basic parts, including voltage amplifiers, regulators, resistors, capacitors, displays, and microcontrollers, the knowledge of which will serve me well in my advanced project, as well as all my projects outside this program. More information and a more thorough explanation of each part is available in this video:

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