Counter project complete.

This area is for discussions involving any fusion related radiation metrology issues. Neutrons are the key signature of fusion, but other radiations are of interest to the amateur fusioneer as well.
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Richard Hull
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Counter project complete.

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:25 pm

This relates to a counter suitable for interfacing to any nuclear detection system.

I have been playing with a new counter with giant digits since May of this year and finally had the time to complete the on going effort this past weekend.

I attach some images. All that remains is to get my hands on a suitable sized ruby red filter from a local plastic place. I hold a small piece I have to show the effect in one of the images.

The unit uses large 2" tall LED 7 segment readouts. I decided to go retro and hand wired the 238 connections of 26 TTL ICs in an old school design. This is simple counter and not made to do any frequency counting or necessarily fast work. 10khz is the most any amateur would need but this tracked an HP pro unit count for count up to nearly 5 megahertz. I was stunned the hand wiring worked to that speed. The most I have had need of is about 1000hz in neutron counting. I assembled it in an old discarded 19" rack case that was dumpster bound here at work.

This will replace the cool old HP nixie tube unit that was in the rack seen in the HEAS 2010 images. I opened the lab door, went outside against my neighbor's fence and could easily read the digits from about 40 feet away.

Just an infrastructure item but no one will have trouble in a crowd reading the count.

Richard Hull
Attachments
MVC-001F.JPG
MVC-001F.JPG (50.61 KiB) Viewed 2108 times
MVC-003F.JPG
MVC-003F.JPG (62.82 KiB) Viewed 2108 times
MVC-004F.JPG
MVC-004F.JPG (75.43 KiB) Viewed 2108 times
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Mike Beauford
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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Mike Beauford » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:40 pm

Hi Richard,

Nice package job! Now that's what I call durable construction. It looks like you could roll a truck over it and it would still work.

Mike Beauford
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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Tyler Christensen » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:07 pm

Very nice build. I've done similar things with both 4026 chips cascaded with LED segment displays (although I must say, you certainly beat me in digit size!) as well as 4017 chips with nixie tubes, both count with plenty of speed, up to the mhz range.

I'm curious, what chips did you use? I see you said 26 IC's, that is far more than I used in my designs (one per digit).

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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:39 pm

Each digit has 4 IC's 7490, 7475,7447 and a 16 pin dip with 8 X 330 ohm resistors as segment limiters. The other 4 ICs are input shapers and monostables, etc.

Like I noted, an old school effort clubing one's way to a counter. A lot of the older Intersil "ICL" prefix number 40 pin chips were full counters, decoders all in one, but I liked the durability of the ancient, power hungry logic that was pretty static and noise impervious over the modern nmos/cmos stuff or the even more modern roll your own MPU chip stuff. Although, I am currently dipping lightly into the new Parallax Propeller developer board after playing with the basic stamp for years. On most of this modern stuff I am leaving the field to the younger guys so that they can spend their careers learnlearning 20 or 30 codes for this that and the other latest and greatest what-not, like I did back in the day. I figure I'll let the 'prop' be my last gasp at this sort of thing.

At lunch, I just picked up a large chunk of the deep ruby filter plastic and will post an image of the finished beast in the fusor control rack tomorrow.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Jerry Biehler » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:09 am

Way to be counter productive!




OK, I will go now...

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Richard Hull
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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:17 pm

Here are the promised images of the counter integrated into the fusor instrument rack and fully finished with the new filter.

Picture one is a close up of the rack and gear. The top two LED displays (Voltage and Current), are a full 1" display giving an idea of just how large the new counter's digits are.

Next is an overall shot

Finally a shot from about 12 feet back. The other instruments are a blurb in the low res image, but not the new counter.

Richard Hull
Attachments
MVC-009F.JPG
MVC-009F.JPG (59.86 KiB) Viewed 2108 times
MVC-003F.JPG
MVC-003F.JPG (61.61 KiB) Viewed 2108 times
MVC-007F.JPG
MVC-007F.JPG (66.49 KiB) Viewed 2108 times
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Mike Beauford
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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Mike Beauford » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:31 pm

Hi Richard,

Once again, nice work. Very clean.

Mike Beauford
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Rich Feldman
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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Rich Feldman » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:09 pm

Very pretty, Richard, and the retro -implementation- is well appreciated.
Using great big digits emphasizes that among all the instrument displays, this one represents the fusor payout!
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

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Richard Hull
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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:10 pm

Interesting comment about the payout.........So it is a big scoreboard in the game of fusion so that all the spectators can see how the home team is doing during the game.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

Richard Hester
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Re: Counter project complete.

Post by Richard Hester » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:33 am

I saw it as a counter for us old geezers with bifocals, heh, heh. Can't laugh too hard, though, as I got my bifocals a long time ago... It's a splendid possible use for the TTL that otherwise might as well be shoveled into my coffin (or urn) when I kick it. I have a set of large 5X7 LED matrix displays that have lacked purpose for quite a few years. This might become their purpose in life. It would be nice also if they had something to count, but that's another matter altogether.

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