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Nuclear Pioneer MCA Multichannel Analyzer Electronic Module only

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Nuclear Pioneer MCA Multichannel Analyzer Electronic Module only. 

The MCA can work as a robust Gamma Spectrometer and as a Scintillation Counter Survey Meter. It has high count rate performance for spectrum mode and for scintillation search mode.

The board has regulated high voltage circuit with adjustable output of 600V-1000V postive polarity that allows to connect a NaI(Tl) probe with BNC cable. Probes with high impedance divider of ~50Meg-120Meg are supported. The pulse pre-amplifier set for an optimal gain, however you can re-adjust it if required.

The MCA can detect Gaussian shape peaks in real-time. It has small library of radionuclides for hobby Gamma Spectroscopy.

The counter calculate energy compensated doserate or can subtract previously saved background data file from the spectrum in real-time during spectrum acquisition. 

The RH-MCA-4-Module SKU is for Nuclear Pioneer electronic module only. The package include fully soldered electronic board with BNC connector and encoder. To use the MCA you need to add NaI(Tl) scintillation probe, BNC cable, LiPo battery, CR2032 battery and MicroSD card. Calibration of hardware and software is required to set a correct gain for your NaI(Tl) probe.

Nuclear Pioneer MCA can work with small and big volume NaI(Tl) crystals probes. You may need to re-adjust high voltage with small screwdriver after connecting the probe to set the total gain of the analog circuit. Pulse pre-amplifier circuit is set for optimal pulse shape and gain, however in some circumstance you may need to re-adjust the pre-amplifier gain ratio (manual is included).

Channel-to-Energy scale polynomial calibration can be done with selecting a scheme from the menu and simple picking 3-points on spectrum. Automatic calibration of CPS standard deviation for scintillation mode can be triggered from the menu. Other software settings are changed through serial port commands in UART-USB terminal. The MCA has full speed 12MBit/sec USB port for calibration or spectrum data download.

Any further firmware updates can be done with friendly Arduino Teensy bootloader by connecting USB cable and selecting ready hex file to upload.

The board has additional 400V high voltage circuit for connecting 400V Geiger Counter. The board has space to install a tiny SBM-21 sensor. Any 400V GM tube is electrically compatible. The GM sensor CPS readings can be used in scintillation mode during prospecting in high radiation areas. 

The MCA unit require to add CR2032 coin battery for date/hour keeping. The MCA unit require LiPo 3.7V rechargable battery for powering. Battery can be charged with USB cable 5V input. The MCA consumes 250mA-350mA current, depending on LCD backlight level settings.

Nuclear Pioneer MCA Video:

MCA ver.4 specifications:

  • ARM Cortex-M4 microprocessor
  • 12-bit 4096 channels ADC
  • TFT LCD 3.5” 480x320 with adjustable backlight level
  • Rotary Encoder for controls
  • 600V-1000V adjustable high voltage for photomultiplier probe positive polarity (NaI(Tl) probe is not included)
  • 400V high voltage circuit for Geiger Counter connection
  • Adjustable gain & pulse shape pre-amplifier for an external photomultiplier probe
  • Gamma Spectrometer Mode (tested up to 10.000 CPS)
  • Scintillation Counter Mode with PMT and GM Sensor
  • Easy Channel to Energy calibration with selectable scheme and channels pick
  • Real time background subtract mode for gamma spectrometer
  • Real time gaussian peak detection
  • Linear or Logarithmic spectrum viewer
  • Energy compensated dose rate
  • 0.30 uSv/h doserate alert and 2-sigma CPS alert in scint.mode
  • CPS standard deviation calibration for scint.mode
  • Mute / Alert / Clicking in scint.mode
  • Spectrum LCD zoom 512-4096 channels
  • require Micro SD card for data storage
  • RTC (require CR2032 battery for date and time keeping)
  • Internal temperature sensor
  • Bluetooth BLE module (optional, please inquiry before ordering)
  • 12Mbit USB port for programming, calibration or data transfer
  • Easy firmware update via USB and friendly bootloader
  • Power supply: require 3.7V LiPo battery, battery current consumption 250mA-350mA
  • 3.7V LiPo battery USB charger, software low battery alert
  • UPC number: 634154871201
  • SKU: RH-MCA-4-Module

The performance of the gamma spectrometer is strictly depending on your NaI(Tl) scintillation probe specifications and hardware/software calibration of the unit.  Please avoid shorting high voltage on BNC socket and do not use hot plug of the probe because HV arcing across the BNC jack can ruin sensitive electronics. Recommended BNC cable part number CT2942-100. Recommended BNC jack for probe is 31-221-RFX.

Menu description:

RETURN – return from menu to current working mode display
RESTART – restart a new spectrum
SAVE SPECTRUM – will safe CSV file to uSD card with name XXXXXXXX.CSV, For example, 19051207.CSV file from 19 May 12:07 local time
VIEW SPECTRUM – load CSV file from uSD card
LCD ZOOM X – change LCD spectrum zoom 512-4096 channels
LCD SCALE Y – toggle between linear and linear+log scale
BACKGROUND – set or turn on/off background subtract mode
UNLOCK CALIBRATION – allows to unlock 3-points channel-to-energy calibration and to select calibration scheme
SPECTRUM TIME – set time in seconds for spectrum acquisition
BACKLIGHT – change LCD backlight level
BLE icon (on/off) – power on/off internal Bluetooth module
SIGMA icon (on/off) – activate CPS standard deviation calibration for scintillation mode
MCA icon – toggle gamma spectrometer mode
SCI icon – toggle scintillation counter mode
GM Tube icon – toggle internal Geiger Counter circuit (active in SCI mode only)


Current firmware version 4.02:


What is new in 4.02 software:

Added boot screen to allow viewing of all saved constants
Added click sound for Geiger-Muller counter in scintillation mode
Improved averaging procedure of Geiger-Muller CPS counter, now it show the correct result faster
Added serial command to make a training data of isotopes for better and faster identification, see manual for details
Added serial command to set crystal size, 51x51mm or 25x25mm
Improved doserate energy compensation calculation
Fixed bug of non correctly saved mean CPS to eeprom memory

You must to recalibrate LLD, HLD, doserate factors, timestamp and energy scale after making firmware update

Older firmware files:


What is new in 4.01 software:

Better and faster Cs-137, Am-241 and Ra-226 RIID detection. Reduced the number of false detection events
Added few BLE commands for calibration through smartphone terminal application, see user manual for more details
Changed starting position of a channel pointer during energy calibration
Minor changes in battery voltage monitoring and initial ADC configuration


Release hex file  4.00

Package Include:

  1. 1pcs of Nuclear Pioneer MCA electronic module

Energy scale have to be calibrated for your NaI(Tl) probe. For brief demonstration how to make energy calibration of the MCA please refer the video below.

How to make energy scale calibration:

How to use background subtract function for low activity samples when you don't have a lead castle:

The product can be shipped only with Fedex Priority / DHL / EMS. Please select courier delivery in shopping cart. 

If you need Nuclear Pioneer MCA assembled into enclosure with battery included please check the SKU: RH-MCA-4

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