Lightning Detector using RadLog

3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #4471 by GetSirius
As you can see my lightning detector is nothing fancy. Just a circuit board clamped to a metal shelf unit. The detector is just a 500 foot coil of #34 wire, exactly as it came from eBay. This detector is vertically polarized as I did not want it to be directional. I am guessing the steel box behind the coil affects directionality a bit. I think the coil resonates at about 16kHz. Yes, I do have a website where I upload the graphs:

I have to keep the lightning detector and Geiger counter well spaced. The geiger counter's high voltage circuit generates pulses that works very well to test lightning detectors. Works so well that I built just the HV oscillator on a board for testing and comparing sensitivity of my lightning detectors.

I have a few similar lighting detectors that I can use where I happen to be at home or work. Just build circuits dead bug style on copper clad board, run them with 9V batteries. Sometimes I insert a small ferrite rod that seems to make them more sensitive, also lowers the resonant frequency. I am currently working on a couple of packaged lightning detectors that I intend to sell in our shop (we are glass artists). One has a small copper clad box with a piece of clear glass poking out the top that has a lightning bolt sandblasted into it. The other will have a 2 inch solid glass sphere with some color inside, on top of a length of 5/8" diameter clear glass rod. Both will be lit by LEDs and use the glass similar to fiber optics, you only see the light flash in the sandblasted lightning bolt, or the color and air bubbles in the sphere on top of the glass rod. I have another lightning detector at home that has an edge lit, etched glass photo of Nicola Tesla with lightning bolts that flash behind him. Three layers of glass, Tesla and two lightning bolts. Having problems packaging that one so it just sits on a shelf for now.

The smaller detector coil in the photo is the same wire, as much as could be wound on a small, clear plastic sewing machine bobbin, purchased from the local Ben Franklin store. Works almost as well as the larger coils and the ferrite rods just happen to fit perfectly in the center of the bobbin.

My SBM-20 Geiger Muller tube is inside a small length of thin wall 3/4 inch PVC pipe. Sealed on end with an end cap properly glued on. The end where the wire comes out is an end cap with a hole in the center just large enough for the RG-174 (I think) coax that runs to the circuit board. The coax run is about 15 feet. I also have a STS-6 tube mounted on the slider bar of my truck that is fun to take on road trips to states like Utah and Colorado where there is more uranium in the ground, and less atmosphere above. The old uranium mine tailings really stand out when driving dirt roads in Utah, 1000-4000 CPM instead of the normal 80-120. We pass on camping in those places..

Both lightning and radiation detectors use an Audio to USB connector from GQ Electronics:

Coil used for lightning detector: eBay item 254201875440
Ferrite rods: eBay item 263800036113 Oops, just received an order of those rods and they are not what I used before.
The rods that fit sewing bobbins are "10 ea Ferrite Rod Core 0.25x1.00" Fair-Rite 4077276011 2000u Perm Plain Slug 77" eBay item 253602531263(ended). The other (eBay 263800036113), larger rods should work, but too big for the bobbins. Mouser appears to have the smaller rods:

Mineral Point radiation/lightning monitor:
Last edit: 3 years 7 months ago by GetSirius. Reason: correct ferrite rod info
The following user(s) said Thank You: mw0uzo, Simomax

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