Saturday, February 12, 2005
Geiger counter photos
The clicker unit attached to the geiger counter
I made the clicker unit with robust design in mind. Therefore, I epoxied everything to the case and it looks really crappy, but it's not going to fall apart in someone's pocket. You can see the basic circuit--9 volt battery switched, which powers the counter through the phone jack. The detection indicator is a negative voltage swing on another line from the phone jack, which switches a PNP transistor. The transistor opens to allow current to flow through the potentiometer, the headphones, and the speaker. The LED is controlled directly by the indicator pulse, without transistor switching.
What's wrong with the design? The headphones should be bypassed when they aren't plugged in, but they aren't, so the speaker does not click without headphones. And, when the headphones are in, there isn't enough oomph to drive the 8 ohm speaker. I tried bypassing the headphones, but I didn't try until after I had assembled the unit, and everything was too cramped to solder.
P.S. What software tools do you use to generate nice schematics? Preferably free or open-source.