Nuclear Pioneer MCA Multichannel Analyzer with 18x40mm NaI(Tl) scintillation probe

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Nuclear Pioneer MCA for Gamma Spectroscopy and Scintillation Counter. MCA unit with small 18x40mm NaI(Tl) scintillation probe. Adjusted for energy range 26keV-2000keV.

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. 

Nuclear Pioneer MCA can work with small and big volume NaI(Tl) crystals probes. The unit adjusted with the included 18x40mm scintillation probe for energy range 26keV-2000keV. Typical resolution of the probe is <9% at 662keV. The probe made with new Hamamatsu photomultiplier tube and NOS 18x40mm NaI(Tl) scintillation crystal. 

If you replace the probe, 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 supporting internally installed tiny Geiger Counter. The GM sensor CPS readings can be used in scintillation mode during prospecting in high radiation areas. 

The MCA unit comes with internally installed CR2032 RTC battery for date/hour keeping and with LiPo 3.7V 2000mAh rechargable battery. Battery can be charged with USB cable 5V input. Full charge time is about 7 hours, 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 
  • Unit with 18x40mm NaI(Tl) probe
  • 400V high voltage for an internal Geiger Counter
  • Include tiny internal Geiger Counter sensor
  • Adjustable gain & pulse shape pre-amplifier
  • 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
  • Real time activity calculation (beta since 4.07 firmware)
  • 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
  • Micro SD card for data storage, include SD card
  • RTC (include installed CR2032 battery for date and time keeping)
  • Internal temperature sensor
  • Bluetooth BLE module
  • 12Mbit USB port for programming, calibration or data transfer
  • Easy firmware update via USB and friendly bootloader
  • Power supply: 3.7V LiPo battery, battery current consumption 250mA-350mA, LiPo included
  • 3.7V LiPo battery USB charger, software low battery alert
  • UPC number: 634154871201
  • SKU: RH-MCA-4-probe1830

The performance of the gamma spectrometer is strictly depending on 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. 

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
RIID f(x) - identification tolerance menu
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)

DOWNLOAD PDF MANUAL for firmware 4.09



current version 4.09

What is new in 4.09 firmware:

  1. Added Eu-152 isotope to the library
  2. Improved Cs-137 identification in case of weak activity or shielded source behind Compton
  3. Temperature sensor readings moved to the main MCA window
  4. Added RIID f(x) menu for identification tolerance adjustment

What is new in 4.08 firmware:

  1. Fixed background file load error that was happen after powering off the device
  2. Added more crystal sizes for correct energy compensated doserate (63x63mm, 10x40mm, 40x40mm)
  3. Added activity calculation geometries for 63x63, 40x40, 25x25 and 10x40 crystals
  4. Now you can set your crystal size by selecting correct type of the NaI(Tl) in activity menu, instead sending serial monitor command
  5. Added U-235 to the library. Improved auto-identification.
  6. Added sound notification when activity is calculated or when isotope detected
  7. Added service serial monitor command to set fast/slow scintillator May be useful if you are using slow CsI(Tl) scintillator with SiPM and external pulse shape amplifier.

What is new in 4.07 software:

  1. Improved search mode with sound alert for 3 sigma CPS deviation
  2. Introduced activity menu for 51x51mm NaI(Tl) crystal and 3 types of geometry (still in beta mode)
  3. Fixed minor bugs 
  4. Added serial monitor command to get files name list saved on SD card

What is new in 4.06 software:

  1.  Optimized and faster peak detection
  2.  Fixed false positive detection triggering in some scenarios 
  3.  Improved Ba-133 and Lu-177 detection
  4.  Improved Cs-137 FWHM% resolution calculation
  5.  Added 3 minutes warning for warm-up period after power up
  6.  Added energy calibration hints with markers and energies list for the selected scheme
  7.  Added Co-57 I-131 energy calibration scheme

All previous bug fix and updates from 4.01-4.08 are included in 4.09

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

Isotope Library Include: Cs-137Ra-226Th-232, Bi-214, Ba-133Am-241Lu-177, Eu-152, K-40, Co-60, U-235

Package Include:

  1. 1pcs of Nuclear Pioneer MCA assembled into enclosure
  2. 1pcs NaI(Tl) scintillation probe 18x40mm
  3. 1pcs BNC cable ~50cm 

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

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

How to use activity calculator in Nuclear Pioneer:

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

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