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K106 BORG+plus w/SBT-11A Geiger Counter

by Atomic.dave Atomic.Dave@yahoo.com
This is a one of a kind custom hand-made Geiger Counter built by Atomic.Dave. It is based on a kit designed by the original creator of the DIY Arduino based Geiger Counter Kit- Brohogan. For over 3 years, I
have built and sold about 100 of these kits, with very good results, and fantastic feedback by ebay customers. All information for this kit is available at the developers website and its a good idea to visit the site
from time to time as the software and other parts of it may change, upgrade or improve. As I have said before, this is more of a kit for someone who knows a little bit about electronics but doesnt have the time or patience to build it, or would rather someone else do all the dirty work. Having been built by me, of course there
will be some imperfections, although as minimal as possible. These instructions will help you to understand the basic operation of this meter. Once you
have used it a couple times, it should be pretty easy for you to operate.
OPERATION
On the face of the unit starting from the top are 3 vent holes, LCD
backlit display, 2 LEDS, 2 momentary buttons, and 4 triple pole slide
switches. Follow the label to locate the listed switches below:
VENTS (Three grilled holes just above the display)
Starting from left is the event piezo where the sound comes out for every radiation event. Middle vent is the
IR for the wireless remote control, so when operating the remote, try to aim it to this general location. Then
on the right is the piezo for the meters alarm which will sound off when your meter reaches a user selectable
amount controlled by either the remote or the mode switch.
LEDS
After powering the GC on, you will hear the beeping of the piezo as your SBT-11A GM tube picks up radiation events. The GREEN LED is for radiation events and coincides with the beeping piezo which can be
muted with the SND switch. The RED LED will only light up when a set alarm threshold is reached. The piezo
for the alarm and events are located beneath the grilled vent below the display. Both LEDS can be turned off
for indiscreet radiation monitoring. The two switches for this operation are the two in the center of the four.
LTS and ALM Middle postion is off.
SWITCHES
A. MODE momentary switch does 4 things. 1- Alarm control. 2- Scaler mode start/stop. 3- Alarm 30 second mute.
4- Menu reset.
1. When you first power on the unit, you will see:
Atomic.Dave K105
SBT-11A v10.3C
This customized first welcome window can easily be changed if you want, by doing a little programming in Arduino. Refer to the DIY site for directions at the SOFTWARE section. But the default is now set to my name, Kit
106, and the second line is the Geiger Counter Tube and the version of software that the AT328 chip is running
which is v10.3C.
Then a second window will come up with the first line showing the current set uSv to CPM conversion
rate.
318 CPM=1 uSv/h
Running at 5.24V
The second line refers to the current voltage that your system is running at. This is a 5 volt system. The
3200mAh 3.7v lipo battery is boosted to 5v with a pololu booster. Everytime you start up your GC (geiger
counter) it will show you this so you will always know your current voltage.
The third window will show this:
Alarm Set ?
Now at 500 CPM
At this point, you can push the MODE button to incrementally change the Alarm threshold number. Once
you stop holding down the button and wait, it will be set to the current number shown on the screen and will
stay there until you change it either again restarting and waiting for this part, or by using the included remote
control to change it. You can also choose from units of measurement such as CPM or uSv/h for the Alarm
with the remote.
2. It also acts like a stopwatch starter for the scaler mode. It has two preset times of 1 minute and 10 minute averaging. You can change this with the remote, or the sketch when connected to pc. Although it is much easier
with the remote obviously. Push the button and the timer starts where the first line is counting down from 60
seconds. The numbers on the left are the current total events during this timed one minute. The numbers on the
right is the seconds counting down from 60 to 0. Same thing goes for the second line, but for 10 minutes.
3. When your alarm goes off you can tap this button to mute the alarm for 30 seconds.
4. After programming your unit with the wireless remote, if you want to reset it to default settings. Hold down
this button while the unit starts up.

Please do not put any sharp objects into


these vents as damage will occur to the
GM tube mica which is behind this grill.

USB Power
Switch

Audio
Output

Charging
Status LED

B. PWR Power switch controls the power and charging of the GC. Up turns it on the GC with battery power,
Middle turns it off, and Down position is for charging the unit. To charge the GC, push down the USB power
switch on the left side of the GC, as well as have the PWR switch down. When you do this, a RED LED to the
right of the USB port will remain constant RED while charging, and will turn BLUE when charging is complete. If you wish to power the unit with the USB in, and bypass the batteries for extended periods, put the
Power switch in the middle position, and push the USB power switch UP. Always keep the USB power switch
in the middle (OFF) when powering the unit with the batteries.
C. LTS This is the Light switch that controls both the GREEN Event LED and the LCD Backlight. Up turns on
both, Middle turns both off, and Down turns on just the LED, and turns the Backlight off for power saving.
D. ALM The Alarm switch controls the Alarm RED LED and Piezo. Up for both on, Middle for both off, and
Down for LED only on. This makes for a silent visual alarm.
E. SND The Sound switch controls the Event speaker. Up for tone mode, Middle for mute, and Down for
Standard Click Mode. More on Tone Mode later.
F. NULL This button is used in "Tone Mode" where clicks are replaced by a tone which varies in pitch based
on the CPM. When pressed, a new baseline is created for the pitch so if you are moving to an area with a
higher background the pitch will still indicate changes at the new level.
DISPLAY IN DEPTH:

SCALER SCREEN

The top line shows the CPM (updated every 5 sec. by default) and a quick response bar graph (updated
20 times / sec.). The bargraph will be replaced with ALARM if the displayed CPM exceeds the alarm threshold. It is also replaced by Vcc when it drops below 4.2V. The second line shows the dose unit and the calculated
dose. The dose unit and the dose ratio (CPM to dose unit) are settable in the menu (controlled by the wireless
remote or via arduino). Pressing the Select button while in this screen will switch to the Scaler screen . . .
Two scalers are provided, each with its own period. The scaler on the top line is fixed at one minute and
the scaler on the bottom line is set to a programmable period from the menu. Each scaler has two modes counting and ongoing. The screen on left shows both scalers counting. A running total of the counts is displayed, along with the amount of time left for the scaler period. The screen on the left shows that the one
minute scaler finished the counting mode and is now showing the average CPM and dose rate for the period.
These values now become a moving average. The bottom scaler can also be set to "Infinity" in the menu by
setting it below 2. This is a special mode that shows the total accumulated dose since the scaler screen was
first started. Pressing the Select button while in the scaler screen will bring you back to the main screen.
However both scalers will still be accumulating counts, so you can go back and forth between the main
screen and the scaler screen and still see meaningful data.
OTHER SWITCHES, BUTTONS, PORTS, DIALS
A. Just to the right of the NULL switch is the LCD contrast dial. As the LCD is used, it might get to a
point for you to readjust the contrast for it. Not a big deal, while the backlight is on, gently take a small screwdriver and turn it to the left or right until it appears to have the best contrast.
B. Located on the lower left side is the OUTPUT multi-port used for Geiger Bot (with the included G-Bot
cable), and for Geiger Graph (with the optional USB cable) Just plug in the Geiger Bot cable into this with the
3 conductor plug, and the 4 conductor into your iphone or ipad. It also serves as a mono audio output for
silent listening with headphones, or with any 3 conductor to 3 conductor M-M audio cable, you can run sound
based data logging software or amplify the clicking.
C. Just to the left of the MOD button is the USB power and charge control switch. If you want to power the GC
without using the batteries- 1. Turn off the GC battery by switching PWR to middle position. 2. plug in the USB
cable, and other end to any 5v source such as a wall charger, cigarette adapter, pc, mac or laptop usb output. 3.
Flip switch to the Up POWER position. To charge the GC- 1. Push PWR switch down to CHARGE position. 2. Plug
into USB source. 3. Push USB switch to the down CHARGE position. When you do this, a RED LED comes on to
the right of the USB port and will remain RED till it is done charging, then the RED LED will become BLUE. During
normal operation with battery, keep this switch in the middle OFF position.
D. On the lower right side is the Mini USB FTDI output/input for programming in Arduino. This also is used
to charge the internal Lithium Ion battery (with the power switch in the bottome position.) Or it can be used to
power the GC for extended periods, however when you power it this way, I would advise to turn off the LCD
backlight. But its ok to turn it on once in a while, but I wouldnt leave it on for extended periods. When uploading
any new changes to the program sketch, you will need to have the USB PWR switch in the up position white it
is plugged into your pc with the USB cable. This same USB is used for an output to two different usb based
FREE Radiation Logging softwares. Both are PC based and not available for mac.
http://radmon.org/
http://radiohobbystore.com/radiation-logger/

REMOTE CONTROL SYSTEM


This adds some conveniences such as the ability to adjust certain things on the GC without the need to plug into your PC or mac. It is already setup to work. All you have to do is point the remote towards the IR window (above the display behind the steel speaker grill), and push the
power button on the remote to start. As soon as you do that these options will pop up. Use the channel button to move thru each option, and use
the volume buttons to move up or down within those options. You can also use the number pad to input numbers rather than using the up down of
the volume. After you reach the desired amount you push ENT to enter it into the system.
The keys on the SONY Remote Control perform these functions:
GREEN POWER BUTTON enter or exit the menu system. "DISP PERIOD (MS) is the first prompt you will see.
CH + moves to the next menu option
CH moves to the previous menu option
VOL + increments the value already set for the current option or toggles an option
VOL decrements the value already set for the current option or toggles an option
ENT finalizes the entry in the current menu option if changes were made. When used out of the menu, it acts like the "null" button to reset the tone.
Digits 0-9 for direct entry of values (instead of Volume or Arrows) must use Enter after using digits.
Decimal Point - enters a decimal point - used when setting the ratio.
Mute used when out of the menu mutes the speaker
MENU OPTIONS
Initially, the menu options are set to defaults. Settings made will be stored in EEPROM on the ATmega328, so they will be in effect when you
power back on. Pressing and holding the Select button at power on will reset all menu settings back to their default settings. Here's a brief description of each menu option along with its default setting:
DISP PERIOD (MS) - The number of milliseconds before the display refreshes. 5000 (5 sec.) is a good setting.
(Display counts are based on a "running average" I do not recommend settings of less than 5 seconds.)
LOG PERIOD - Interval to write the CPM, 'dose', and MCU voltage to the serial output. Default = 1 minute Zero means logging is turned off.
CPM->[DOSE] RATIO - Sets that ratio for the type of GM tube used. Default = 175.43 CPM and 100 CPM to dose unit (uSv) Note this ratio will depend
on the dose unit being displayed - see DOSE UNIT. Also note that 2 ratios can be stored. The second ratio can be selected by the Tube Switch. Depending on the position of the switch this menu option will set the value for either the 1st or 2nd ratio. 175.43 is the common default for the SBM-20 and
100 for the LDN 712. The DEC PNT or AV/TV key on the remote can be used to enter a decimal point.
ALARM THRESHOLD - When the CPM or DOSE units is greater than this value the alarm is triggered. Default = 500 CPM This can be either in
CPM or the dose unit selected see ALARM UNIT. Zero means the alarm is turned off. Unlike using the Select button, any value may be entered. The alarm will stop when activity drops back under the alarm threshold. You can also silence the alarm for 30 seconds by pressing the Select button when the alarm is sounding.
DOSE UNIT - Use the arrow keys to select the name of the unit for the dose value - "uSv/h", "uR/h" or "mR/h". Default = uSv/h
ALARM UNIT - Sets whether the alarm is based off of CPM or the DOSE unit. Use the arrow keys to select. Default = CPM
SCALER PER (MIN) - Sets the period for the second scaler. Default = 10 minutes If scaler period set to "Infinite" (setting below 2) , the accumulated dose rate is displayed on the scaler screen.
BARGRAPH MAX CPM - Sets the CPM that will give a full scale reading on the bar graph. Default = 1000 CPM Also see the Tone Mode section
for how this option affects tone mode.
TONE SENSITIVITY - Determines how sensitive the tone is to changing activity. Default = 4 Low numbers are more sensitive. (see below)
USE RADLOGGER? - When "Yes" serial output is compatible with Radiation Logger and RadLog applications. Default = OFF
REG. VOLTAGE - Displays the voltage powering the MCU (Vcc). To a large degree, this represents the state of the battery.
Note that each menu setting has a minimum and a maximum setting. Entries that are out of bounds will revert to the minimum or maximum.
ABOUT DOSE UNITS
The menu allows you select the name of the dose unit that appears on the display. However, to be clear, there is no built in conversion between
them. Instead the CPM->(unit) is adjusted depending on the name of the DOSE UNIT selected. For example, 175.43 is the default set for the
SBM-20 with uSv as the dose unit. Suppose you pick "mR" as the dose unit name, and want to measure in milirems. ("mR" more correctly abbreviates as milliroentgens but is used to save display space.) The rem is defined as .01 seivert, and 1uSv = 0.1mR. Therefore, to use the same ratio
that was designed for the tube, you would multiply that ratio by 10. You would enter a CPM->(unit) as 175.43 x 10 or 1754.3. Likewise if you
wanted microrems ("uR") you would divide the ratio by 10 and enter 17.54.
If you do want to use roentgens ("exposure" - used in older instruments) this source states that they are .96 rem in soft tissue. So the CPM>(unit) for actual mR would be 175.43 x 10 x .96 or 1684.1. (for uR it would be 16.84)
TONE MODE
Instead of the usual 'clicks', tone mode produces tones that vary in frequency with the current activity - much like a metal detector. There is also
an associated "null" button that resets the scale to the current activity. Tone mode is very responsive to changes in activity, and the change in
pitch is much more noticeable than a change in the rate of clicks. It was primarily designed for field surveying. The sensitivity of the tone mode is
set by the TONE SENSITIVITY menu option. Sensitivity refers to the 'bandwidth' of the tone. When set to low numbers, say 4 (the default) only a
small increase in activity is needed to produce higher tones. When dealing with more sensitive GM tubes, decrease the sensitivity by using a
value of say 8 or 10. Experiment with values that suit your ear.
The BARGRAPH MAX CPM menu setting also affects tone mode by defining the CPM that will produce the highest frequency of tone. Normally
this is set to highest CPM for situation and tube being used. In order to get the best spectrum of tones, tone mode is based on a logarithmic progression rather than a linear one. This fits with the fact that radiation intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the
source. The "null button" resets the range of tones so that the low notes are set back to the current activity. This is a useful feature when switching
from a low to a high background for instance. The null button removes the higher background so increased activity may be more easily discerned.

SETTING UP TONE MODE


1. Set the proper conversion ratio for your tube. With the proper ratio set, the null point will automatically be set when the counter is powered on
so normal background radiation is ignored. 2. Place a sample of the mineral or other radioactive item you are trying to detect approximately one
inch from the detector. Note the CPM reading after it has stabilized. 3. In the menu, set the BARGRAPH MAX CPM to the CPM value you noted
in step 2. 4. Adjust the tone sensitivity setting to suit your preferences. For most mildly radioactive items (such as red Fiestaware), sensitivity settings from 1-5 work well. The ideal value varies depending on the activity level of the target object, the tube, and the distance. Lower settings
cause the tone to increase in frequency faster in response to smaller changes in the count rate. Higher settings cause the frequency to increase
much more slowly for changes in count rate. When the sensitivity setting is 0, the frequency will jump very rapidly from the lowest frequency to
the highest one. This setting is useful to quickly scan an area to determine if there are hot spots. You will likely want to change the setting to a
higher number to help locate the hot spot.
LOGGING
Logging is provided in the form of serial output through the FTDI connector at 9600 baud, N,8,1. The frequency to send the serial output is determined by the LOG PERIOD menu setting.
The default format has a header on the first line with each line of data in comma separated values for CPM, Dose. and Vcc. For example,
36,0.2052,4.79<CR/LF> (36 CPM, 0.2052 dose, 4.79V) When USE RADLOGGER? is set, no header is created, and only CPM is output. This
setting is used when connecting the serial output to the Radiation Logger application.
SOFTWARE SWITCHES
If you are willing to load the software, modify it, and upload it, you can set #defines to change certain behavior or add special features to the program. In general all the common features are enabled and you don't have to mess with it. But if, for example, you want to use a 2x8 LCD, you simply change a #define, and upload the new release.
All user based #defines are located at the beginning of the sketch and may change based on the version. Below is a list of the most interesting
defines in the current version.
EIGHT_CHAR - formats for 2x8 LCD when true
DOGM_LCD -DogM LCD used for display (SPI interface)
IR_RC5 - use Phillips RC5 IR protocol instead of Sony
ANALOG_METER - support for analog meter output - REQUIRES HARDWARE - see this project
TONE_POT_ADJ if set, a 100k pot can be used to set TONE SENSITIVITY instead of the menu option.
SELF_TEST - adds one to each counter every 167ms - simulates a ~360CPM count
There are step by step instructions on installing the Arduino IDE and uploading new software.
GEIGER BOT SUGGESTED SETTINGS: (You may have to play with it to get it just right) GO TO: https://sites.google.com/site/geigerbot/

Select options

Select Geiger Counter

Select LND712 CS137

Adjust Conversion
factor to your tube:
123 for LND712
175 for SBM-20
360 for LND7317
Select I/O Settings

Auto Adjust OFF


(you may need to play
with this setting)
RMS Window 1
Delay Window 30
Volume Thresh 20000

Ultrafast Rates ON

ARDUINO Software and Serial-USB connection information:


ON the cd you will find the FTDI driver and Arduino program version 1. Install both and restart your mac. Copy the Geiger Sketch folder to the
same folder as your Arduino program is and remember where that is as that will be where you go to save your sketch everytime you make a
change to it. There will also be a Library folder that will also need to be in the same folder. Just remember that the folder has to be the same exact
name as the sketch name is. And also within Arduino, you will have to go to preferences and show Arduino where your default sketch folder is.
ARDUINO SETTINGS: Brohogan Software system version 10.3C
1. Open Arduino
2. Open the saved sketch .ino file, connect your Geiger counter to the USB with power switch off.
3. Verify the file by clicking the little check mark icon.
4. Click TOOLS, and Select Board type as Arduino UNO, and select serial port as the top tty choice.
5. Click Serial Monitor (top right looking glass icon). Set Baud rate to 9600 and you should see the CPM, uSv and geiger counter voltage data coming
up once per minute.
For more info go to website under Software section on the DIY geiger counter website. Or go to Arduino.cc

PLEASE REFER TO THE DIY GEIGER COUNTER DEVELOPERS WEBSITE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
http://www.sites.google.com/site/diygeigercounter/
HARDWARE
1. DIY Geiger counter kit V5.3 by Brohogan, Running operating system 10.3
2. SBT-11A Geiger Muller Tube (New Old Stock from Russia)
3. Power System by Panasonic, Sparkfun and Pololu (please charge the unit until the RED light turns BLUE)
A. You can power the Geiger in a couple different ways
1. With internal Lipo battery
2. With PWR switch OFF (middle), USB cable plugged into USB port on bottom panel of GC then plugged into:
a. Computer or laptop USB
b. Wall charger block- This is the fastest way to charge the battery.
c. Standard 5v USB Cigarette adapter
d. To power and operate the unit this way for long periods, I would suggest to TURN OFF BACKLIGHT to conserve the life of the LCD.
POWER and OTHER SYSTEM ITEMS: This system is capable of producing 900+ volts, so be careful or you may get zapped when handling the system while it is powered on.
A. Panasonic Lithium Ion battery - 3.7v 3400mAh
Full charge provides approximately 20 hours constant use of geiger counter with backlight off.
Charge with PC/USB will take about 5 hours or more.
B. USB Lithium Polymer battery charger
C. Pololu 5V Step-Up Voltage Regulator U1V10F5 http://www.pololu.com/product/2564
D. Sparkfun 5V FTDI Basic Breakout
Russian Geiger TUBE Counter SBT-11A For alpha, beta and gamma
GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS
Voltage of start of counting
260-320 V
Operating Current each section (uA)
0.5-1.1
Recommended Operating Voltage
400 V
Plateau Length/ Inclination 80V/0.5%/V
Own Background (Pulses/s)
0.6
Dimensions
55 mm x 29 mm

ENCLOSURE: Serpac H75


Dimensions: 182.9mm X 92.7mm X 30.5mm
http://www.serpac.com/h75.aspx
REPAIRS:
If the unit fails for some reason within 6 months of purchase, I will be more than happy to
do any maintenance you need at no charge except for parts and shipping. The SBT-11A is
sold AS IS and is not warranted under this repair.
PACKAGE CONTENTS:
In your package you will find:
BORG Geiger Counter, Lead Pig w/ Sample, Sony RM-EZ4 Remote Control, (3) Cables:
Geiger bot 3 to 4 conductor, Long and Short Mini USB to standard USB2. CD with program
sketch, photos, documents, Manual, RAD sticker, and extra faceplate labels. FREE UV keychain flashlight with batteries while supplies last.
THE GEIGER KIT IS NOT INTENDED TO GUIDE ACTIONS TO TAKE, OR NOT TO TAKE,
REGARDING EXPOSURE TO RADIATION.
THE GEIGER KIT AND IT'S SOFTWARE ARE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
DO NOT RELY ON THEM IN HAZARDOUS SITUATIONS!

MOD

PWR

LTS

ALM

SND

NULL

ALARM
SELECT
SCALER

ON
OFF/USB
CHARGE

ON
OFF
LED ON

ON
OFF
LED ON

TONE
OFF
CLICK

TONE
MODE
RESET

SBT-11A

USB

PH

AL

OUT

A
B
E TA G

K105

atomic.dave

RADIATION DETECTOR

3
3v
LI
PO
LIPO

ON
OFF/USB
OFF/
/USB
CHARGE
CHA
ARGE

ALARM
Threshold
Timer
Timer

POW
WER
POWER

SELECT

EEVENT
VENT
LED

G
2
4
6

1
3
5

ON/ON
OFF
ON/OFF

5v in+

Batt+

Pololu 2119
5v Boost REG
Up/Down

LIPO
CHARGER

5v in

LCD Diode
Voltage
Limiter
Voltage
o
Band to left

Batt

300 OHM
RESISTOR
RESISTOR

C
LIGHT
AL
ARM
ALARM
LED

H
300 OHM
RESISTOR
RESISTOR

ON/ON
OFF
ON/OFF

ALARM

3.5mm
SSocket
ocket

1K OHM
RESISTOR
RESIST
OR

ALARM
PIEZO
PIEZO

.1 uF C
ap
p
Cap

56K OHM
M
RESISTOR
RESIST
OR
R

.1 uF C
ap
Cap

TONE
OFF
CLICK

SOUND

F
1

TONE
Reset

NULL

13

FTDI

ON
OFF
LED ON
ON

A
B
E TA G

SBT
-11A
SBT-11A

IR SENSOR

CHRG
CHRG

OFF

ON

USB
POWER

K
6

TONE
MODE
RESET

USB

NULL

TONE
OFF
CLICK

SND

atomic.dave
dav
RADIATION DETECTOR

OUT

ALM

ON

LT
S
LTS

OFF
LEED ON
LED

BORG
+plus3
BORG+plus3

PWR

ON
OFF/USB
CHARGE

ALARM
SELECT
SCALER

B C D E

MOD

AL