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Home Instrumentation CDV700 Pro Geiger-Müller Counter A Low-Cost, Super-Sensitive Paint Can Scintillation Probe for the Prutchi CDV700-Pro
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A Low-Cost, Super-Sensitive Paint Can Scintillation Probe for the Prutchi CDV700-Pro

 

Shanni Prutchi Paint Can Scintillator PMT www.diyphysics.com

We just finished constructing a low-cost, yet highly sensitive gamma-ray scintillation probe for our CDV700-Pro counter.  The probe is based on a Philips XP5312/SN photomultiplier tube (that is available from Sphere Research) and a piece of scintillation plastic.  The probe yields a background count of approximately 1,000 counts/minute (cpm) in our lab, and 7,400 cpm from a 137Cs 6.7 µCi exempt source at a distance of 30 cm.  The probe’s sensitivity, portability and rugged construction make it an ideal choice for surveying.

We documented the build and are providing full construction details in the following pdf document:  Prutchi Paint Can Scintillator.  The surplus availability of specific PMT models is very variable, so for the benefit of our readers, we decided to base this design on the XP5312/SN – a PMT that is currently widely available in the surplus market from Sphere Research (who kindly provided the PMT for this project).

Pinout of the Philips XP5312/SN PMT Photomultiplier Tube Prutchi www.diyPhysics.com

The tube used by Philips uses a custom flying-lead pinout that is different than the one shown in datasheets for retail versions of the XP5312. It took some experimenting to figure out the correct pinout for the Philips XP5312/SN, but it was easy to assemble the probe once we sorted that out.

Abigail Prutchi cutting foam retainers for the PMT/scintillator assembly

We enclosed the probe inside a paint can.  The PMT/plastic scintillator assembly is protected and held in place within the can by polyurethane foam.  Abigail helped us make foam inserts from pre-scored foam blocks that we had available.

Prutchi diy PMT plastic scintillation probe for the CD-V-700 Pro Geiger Counter

Paint Can Scintillation Probe for the Prutchi CD-V700-Pro Geiger Counter

The average background count of the probe is around 1,000 counts/minute in our home lab where a Polimaster PM1703M counter measures a dose rate of 5 µR/hr. The count rate using the paint can scintillation probe is 7,400 cpm from a 137Cs 6.7 µCi exempt source (originally 10 µCi, manufactured in 1995) at a distance of 30 cm, where the Polimaster PM1703M measures a dose rate of 20 µR/hr.

The high sensitivity and convenient portability of this probe make it ideal for radioactive mineral surveying, as well as for “urban surveying” to find miscellaneous gamma-ray sources.

PS. Jan 13, 2013 - George Dowell, owner of GeoElectronics, and moderator of the Yahoo! GeigerCounterEnthusiasts group told us that he has scintillation plastic available for sale to experimenters.  He has over 40,000 square inches of plastic scintillator, all 1 1/2″ thick, lengths up to 7 feet long.  Look for George as eBay® Seller GeoElectronics, or contact him through the GeigerCounterEnthusiasts list.

PS. #2 Jan 13, 2013 - Walter Shawlee 2, President of Sphere Research Corporation asked me to pass along that if you mention DIYPHYSICS, Sphere will sell you the XP5312/SN for $49!

Click here for the pdf file containing complete instructions on how to build this probe.

Shanni R Prutchi assemblying PMT/Plastic Scintillator probe for the CD V700 Pro Geiger Counter

Please visit www.diyPhysics.com for other cutting-edge d.i.y. projects, and remember to check out our new d.i.y. Quantum Physics book:

 
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10 Comments  comments 

10 Responses

  1. Randall

    You folks are awesome !

  2. [...] Prutchi has just put together a DIY Gamma-Ray Probe using a Philips XP5312/SN photomultiplier tube and a piece of scintillation plastic. A paint can [...]

  3. Theremino Geiger & MCA kits

    You can build or buy a sensible and cheap #theremino Geiger or MCA hw kit. Look at http://www.theremino.com/contacts/price-list

    The #theremino #radioactivity modules have millivolt ripple. Look at the elusive Potassium K40 in the gamma spectrum http://www.theremino.com/blog/gamma-spectrometry/images

    Thanks for your attention,
    Roberto Cena

    The Theremino team

  4. [...] conduct research in the fields of Radio-Astronomy and Quantum Physics. Together, they came up with an affordable, yet very sensitive, gamma-ray scintillation probe for their customized Civil Defense V-700 radiation survey meter. [...]

  5. [...] conduct research in the fields of Radio-Astronomy and Quantum Physics. Together, they came up with an affordable, yet very sensitive, gamma-ray scintillation probe for their customized Civil Defense V-700 radiation survey meter. [...]

  6. [...] conduct research in the fields of Radio-Astronomy and Quantum Physics. Together, they came up with an affordable, yet very sensitive, gamma-ray scintillation probe for their customized Civil Defense V-700 radiation survey meter. [...]

  7. [...] in the subjects of Broadcast-Astronomy furthermore Portion Physics. Unison, they came up beside an affordable, yet very sensitive, gamma-ray scintillation search for their customized Mannerly Argument V-700 radiation oversee rhythm. [...]

  8. That’s a really nice project. How much current do you really need to operate the PMT? We’ve finished a simple Raspberry PI Geiger-Mueller interface and were wondering if we could use our high voltage principle (inductive kickback) to drive a PMT and connect that to a Raspberry PI as well. What do you think?

    • Thank you for your kind comments.
      You can get away with a dynode voltage divider that will draw around 10 microAmps at the typical 1,250V just for counting low-activity sources. However, you will need higher current and low ripple to be able to perform any kind of spectral analysis.
      Cheers,
      David

  9. Cool, thanks for the feedback. Then I’ll try to get a PMT. It’s a pity though, that the shipping costs to Germany are so exorbitant. DIY ghetto-style spectrum analysis would be the kicker but I think starting with simple counting using a PMT like in the article’s description would be a logical first step to get to know PMT’s better :)




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