DIY Geiger Counter Detects Radiation With a Raspberry Pi and Steampunk Twist

(Image credit: Chris Crocker-White)

Looking for a Raspberry Pi project that looks as good as functions? This Pi-powered Geiger counter (opens in new tab) by Chris Crocker-White (opens in new tab)definitely fits the bill. On top of being able to measure radioactive emissions, like alpha and beta particles and gamma rays, it lives inside handmade, steampunk-themed housing complete with working Nixie tubes.

Crocker-White used a Raspberry Pi 3A+ to make the Nixie tubes and LEDs react to feedback from the radiation detector. 

On the software side, the Pi uses InfluxDB (opens in new tab)to log data used by Grafana (opens in new tab)(a data monitoring and analysis application). When a pulse is detected, the LEDs and Nixie tubes respond.

(Image credit: Chris Crocker-White)

Small micro boards called Exixe control the Nixie tubes. Each board has its own microcontroller.

This Raspberry Pi project also features a mechanical counter that relies on a servo motor to increase the count.  

All of this retro hardware comes together in a nicely finished wooden case, and yes, it actually works!

If you want to create this project at home, you're in luck. Crocker-White went above and beyond with a complete how-to guide (opens in new tab) that features pictures and hardware links along the way. Be sure to follow him on Reddit (opens in new tab) for more projects and future updates on this one.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.

  • Matt_ogu812
    I like!
    Can one imagine the day when someone makes a kit that will detect harmful viruses?
  • cryoburner
    Potentially useful, until you actually need a geiger counter and find that radiation has fried the raspberry pi. At least it will still look nice on your desk.