More Arduino based GM counters - this one is Oled

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Richard Hull
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More Arduino based GM counters - this one is Oled

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:40 am

In a quest for sensitive , ever smaller GM counters here is my recent effort using one of Marlin P. Jones 128X64 Oled displays. The Adafruit software libraries drive it perfectly. Main advantages - smaller size and thinner, also a power reduction over the 9 volt 80ma drain of the 4X20 backlit LCD model. Drain on this model is a much more manageable 9volt @ 32 ma.

The unit displays 5 things of value to the user, as do all of my counters. Total counts, CPM, Dose rate, total absorbed dose, (at the GM tube), and the current battery voltage. The total count and battery voltage update every 0.2 second with the other three values update every 6 seconds.

The Oled display is amazingly bright with very sharp characters, though not great for older failing eyesight. I am 72 now and have to take my glasses off to read the display (near-sighted). It may be me but I get the impression of much more crisp display with a lot of contrast over the much larger characters on the LCD. The assembly time in packing the components, just so, in the slim Hammond case, far exceeds that of the much more capacious and voluminous LCD counters that I have made and sold of years now. In general, it is not the electronics but the GM tube which forces a minimum size of these efforts. This assumes you want decent sensitivity and no separate hand held probe with dangling cable in a complete, all-in- one, hand held unit.

Looking back, I have made 5 different models for sale since 2014 starting with selling only kits. Then moving to finished counters, each better than the last and usually smaller.

The Oled counter is very labor intensive and I doubt I will sell this model as I can't make a decent price point on it due to its one-off, labor intensive nature. Still, it is a nice little item and I enjoyed the effort.

The kits died a natural death as no one wants to do or assemble anything any more. I learned this fast at hamfests as the old duffs who could and have assembled stuff all their lives, have failing eyesight and shaky hands that small electronics challenge. The younger folks are just lazy and realize they just as soon pay more for a working, finished and functional article. I adapted to the times.

As usual, click on image to enlarge.

Richard Hull
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