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Need a cheap "radiac" for Haloween

Discussion in 'Beginner Electronics' started by Chip G, Oct 16, 2003.

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  1. Chip G

    Chip G Guest

    I am somewhat of a laymen when it comes to electronics but hope that you can
    point me in the right direction. I want to build a "radiac" as part of a
    Haloween prop.

    Basically, I intend to put a few cheap components inside a small cardboard
    box with a handle... paint it yellow and put the familiar magenta radiation
    symbology on the box. Then I intend to use an old curly phone cord to
    connect to a paper towel tube to simulate the "sensor" for the radiac.

    I poked around at my local Radio Shack and came up with a Piezo Buzzer that
    blows at about 90db using a 9V battery which is plenty loud... almost too
    loud but I figure I can muffle it when I mount it in the box. I think I can
    just put a simple push-button in line with the 9V battery and the buzzer for
    that part. However, I would prefer to have another sound as well... the
    sound of a Geiger counter... click-click-click... needs to be fairly loud so
    people can hear it in the din-of-party-noise or as I go door-to-door...
    preferably with a thumb wheel to raise/lower the periodicity between the
    clicks as I wish.

    I am open to working with simple things... capacitors, resistors, speaker,
    switches, etc... and a little solder but don't want to spend much money on
    this project. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Lenroc

    Lenroc Guest

  3. Chip G

    Chip G Guest

    Great thought... though it takes the fun of the do-it-yourself-aspect out of
    it. Still may build my own but am tempted to buy it anyway. Shipping is a
    bit steap for my area though.

  4. Lenroc

    Lenroc Guest

    Hehehe... just trying to give you the idea. That was the first result with
    a picture from a simple search for "geiger counter" on eBay.
  5. Chip G

    Chip G Guest

    And a great idea it is! Now I know that I can get the real-thing and some
    dosimeters to boot if I cave on the DIY portion... definitely more realistic
    doing it your way... but I am still intrigued by the original concept...
    though now I have a cost reference to know if I am spending too much. Looks
    like they go for about $10 on ebay... $20 with the dosimeters.

    Do you happen to know if those things actually contain a radioactive
    component? Wonder if I would have to worry about exposing the kids (or
    adults for that matter) at Haloween?
  6. Spudley

    Spudley Guest

    An old smoke detector has a radio active element, but I don't know
    that a geiger counter would be sensitive enough to pick it up above
    normal back ground radiation. * Warning donot play with Radio Active
    substances *
  7. Lenroc

    Lenroc Guest

    There was a brand of plastic (toy?) plates made a while back that was
    radioactive. Can't remember if it was the paint or what...

    I know there are others but can't think of any at the moment.
  8. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    Scrape your thumb across a plastic comb and tape-record it.
  9. tim kettring

    tim kettring Guest

    I am pretty sure that glow-in-the-dark watch-hands have slight radioactivity .

  10. Chip G

    Chip G Guest

    They definitely do. When I was in "nuke" training, I made the mistake of
    placing my glow-in-the-dark watch face directly against the probe of a
    radiac while I was waiting for a class to begin. It immediately set off the
    alarm... and of course... being brand new... I had no idea how to make it
    stop alarming so I started flipping switches and dials in hopes that noone
    outside the room heard. Of course, a group of instructors came into the
    class room almost immediately... applauding... laughing... and telling me
    that they always have a pool to see how long it will take for a newbie to
    setoff the radiac out of curiosity!
  11. Overlord

    Overlord Guest

    You could always throw together a cheap audio oscillator for the
    sound. Slowed way down it would give you the ticking sound you want.
    Since you're using a phone cord for the probe..... wire it into the
    oscillator circuit and put a little pot in the "probe" for when you're
    finding something hot. If your phone cord has 2 twisted pairs, wire
    the other into the piezo buzzer and a momentary contact switch, also
    in the probe. Some very minor sleight of hand with the probe and you
    can be designating things as hotter than others. A little more minor
    sleight of hand and you can have the women setting off the buzzer.

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  12. Chip G

    Chip G Guest

    Thanks! Great suggestion on detecting "hot" spots too.
  13. Jimmy

    Jimmy Guest

    Built a device one time that if you squeezed a handle it would tell if you
    were a man or a woman. It got all of the men right and most of the women.
    The handle was all for show and to get you to stand in the right place.
    Actually there was an infrared detedtor that detected whether or not you
    were wearing a dress. This was during the hayday of mini skirts so accuracy
    wasnt too bad. Not a bad thing to have in a bar to collect a few quarters.

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