Author Topic: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown  (Read 52470 times)

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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« on: January 12, 2015, 01:41:10 am »
Nice system with microfocus tube and high-res detector :

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Offline krivx

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2015, 02:15:49 am »
Great video. Do you think penetration depth is enough to see if BGA packages have reflowed correctly?
 

Offline pickle9000

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2015, 02:54:51 am »
That looks really fun....and expensive.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2015, 02:58:39 am »
I love the combination of BGA FPGAs and TO-18/TO-3 transistors...
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2015, 09:39:21 am »
Great video. Do you think penetration depth is enough to see if BGA packages have reflowed correctly?
Probably not - there will be too much metal in the way - it could probably see a pad with incomplete paste.
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Offline dexters_lab

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 03:42:11 pm »
looks a nice bit of kit

guessing it's not just a random purchase like the baggage x-ray?

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 05:26:18 pm »
Thanks for the video Mike, I love seeing what goes into these special devices.
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Offline jaxbird

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 05:42:36 pm »
Such a beautiful machine, I'm very envious, just being able to peek through a multilayer board with ground and power planes with usable resolution should be worth a lot :)

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Offline krivx

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 06:00:22 pm »
Great video. Do you think penetration depth is enough to see if BGA packages have reflowed correctly?
Probably not - there will be too much metal in the way - it could probably see a pad with incomplete paste.

That's a shame, that would be a very useful application. I wanted to see a X-ray reflow movie...
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2015, 08:24:44 pm »
Is that camera a standard USB pc camera?  :P :P :P

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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2015, 08:50:31 pm »
It all started here  :)

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/x-ray-machines-technology-and-use-in-hobby-electronics/msg560053/#msg560053

I was fortunate enough to find a complete Faxitron MX-20 system including the all important PC.

These units are used throughout the world in hospitals, medical research labs and even grain quality assessment centres. The MX-20 is designed to operate at relatively low keV and to provide high resolution imagery. My unit has a 100mm x 100mm highly sensitive 'camera' array with 2048x2048 pixels (4MP). Doing the simple maths that is 20 pixels per mm or 0.05mm per pixel :-+ Perfect for PCB detail.

The Faxitron uses up to 35kVp to produce its images and the sensitivity of the imaging array compensates for the relatively low acceleration voltage. Sadly such a low voltage does mean that the photon beam is not able to penetrate dense metals to any great depth. However this limitation is offset by the superb clarity and resolution of the images. The 35kVp also means that the X-Rays are more easily contained and the unit is very safe to use. Soft X-Rays are still harmful if you or an animal is overexposed to such..... so no X-Raying of the pet hamster or cat !

At this point it is worth noting that testing has indicated that soft X-Rays have a greater detrimental effect on charge based memory systems than hard X-Ray. Worth noting if you intend to carry out a lot of X-Ray exposures on one particular DUT . I have never killed or corrupted a memory device over the many years that I have used X-Ray machines but I tended to use higher kVp so that may be why.

Back to the Faxitron purchase....

I found a Faxitron MX-20 in lovely condition and with all parts, tested and ready to use. It was for sale at GBP1000 from a medical recycling company. Now GBP1000 is not a small sum but these units cost almost $60000 when new. Half that cost is the digital camera unit and PC ! It was an easy decision for me and I made a purchase  ;D  I have also purchased an MX-20 that is designed for digital or film cassettes and so is without an integral digital camera. That unit came from a different recycling company and cost GBP250. I wanted it as a source of spare parts as I hope to have the Faxitron for many years to come.

Mike was understandably interested in the MX-20's capabilities as he had previously looked at such units, but the lower kVp was a concern with regard to what such a unit could achieve with a PCB. When another complete Faxitron became available to me I was tempted to have it as a spare but in the end sense prevailed and I let Mike know of its availability. I am very pleased that Mike now has a Faxitron as I feel sure he will make very good use of it. As you can see from his video, he has already dived inside it to reveal where all the magic happens  ;D  Some nice example picture at the end as well.

Some comments on buying such a machine:

1. It is an X-Ray generator and has the potential to cause harm. Look for damage to the case and treat it with respect.
2. Such machines are safe to use provided the interlocks are not disabled and it is used in accordance with the instructions.
3. The Faxitrons are common on the used / recycling market in the UK but less so in some countries due to safety regulations.
4. The cabinet weighs 70kg so be careful trying to lift it. This is light for an X-Ray machine but still a challenge to lift on your own. I lifted my unit onto its trolley so speak from experience !
5. The MX-20 uses a sophisticated camera array that comes with either a proprietary interface or USB 2.0. The proprietary interface version needs a dedicated interface card in the PC....it is almost a full size PCI card ! No source of these cards is known except in used systems.
6. The Faxitron software drives the cabinet via an RS232 link and communicates with the camera via the appropriate card or USB 2.0
7. The USB 2.0 camera enables use of a laptop instead of a bulky PC, provided the Faxitron software is transplanted. The units do not normally come with software installation disks.
8. As these systems are common in hospitals it is not unusual for the PC to become separated during the disposal process (it is consider IT rather than medical equipment so a different disposal process applies). If this is not the case, the hard disk (and so Faxitron software) has often been removed to meet DPA rules. Patient data is confidential. If you buy such a unit and it contains patient data, please respect privacy and delete it all as it is not vital to the software. The DB is Microsoft Access and the images stored in an easily identified Data file.
9. If you find a Faxitron without the PC, I must warn that the chances of driving the camera will be dictated by the interface used  and whether you can drive the system with some self written software. Faxitron will not supply the software or legacy parts. They are known to be VERY unhelpful. Thankfully the older Faxitrons up to circa 2011 are very reliable. 2011 onwards saw a reduction in reliability due to the parts used. Faxitron will challenge private owners on possession of one of their units. You have been warned.
10. If you are lucky like Mike and me, you will find a complete (with PC) Faxitron at a medical disposal auction. If complete, it is very likely to work but you need to check if the HDD is present.

For information here is the time line on the digital cameras and their available sizes:

2004 to 2007 Faxitron use Bioptics (Rad-icon Radeye) camera - Sizes: 2"x 2", 2"x 4", 4" x 4"

2008 to 2011 Faxitron use Hamamatsu camera- Sizes: 2" x 2" approx & 4" x 4" approx

2011 to Present Faxitron use Bioptics Rad-icon camera - Sizes: 4"x 4" , 4"x 6"


I will close here but am happy to answer questions on these superb bits of kit  :)

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 10:37:51 pm by Aurora »
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Offline firewalker

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2015, 09:11:07 pm »
Is it possible/worthwhile to change the voltage to the tubes, limit?

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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2015, 09:12:35 pm »
It all started here  :)
...so no X-Raying of the pet hamster or cat !
little chance of getting a cat to stay still inside for long enough anyway!

I am now looking out for dead bugs etc. every time I go through the garden...

 
Quote
At this point it is worth noting that testing has indicated that soft X-Rays have a greater detrimental effect on charge based memory systems than hard X-Ray. Worth noting if you intend to carry out a lot of X-Ray exposures on one particular DUT .
except the package will filter out a lot
Quote
5. The MX-20 uses a sophisticated camera array that comes with either a proparitary interface or USB 2.0. The propriatary interface version needs a dedicated interface card in the PC....it almost a full size PCI card ! No source of these cards is known except in used systems.
Any chance of a picture of your card?
I came across an older Hamamatsu sensor which had a simple, well-documented LVDS parallel interface that interfaces with a National Instruments card
Quote
6. The Faxitron software drives the cabinet via an RS232 link and communicates with the camera via the appropriate card or USB 2.0
Bear in mind that well-integrated software talking to the generator and detector isn't essential- the Faxitron generator can be driven from the front panel, and most detectors will have a simple trigger input option. I've not looked yet but I have little doubt that the RS232 serial interface on the generator will be any more than some obvious ASCII commands.
There is some driver software available for various Hamamatsu detectors, but I've not yet looked to see if it includes any software for standalone operation.
Quote
7. The USB 2.0 camera enables use of a laptop instead of a bulky PC, provided the Faxitron software is transplanted. The units do not normally come with software installation disks.
The Faxitron SW is node-locked to the MAC address of the PC, but this can be worked around  8)
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2015, 09:16:11 pm »
Is it possible/worthwhile to change the voltage to the tubes, limit?

Alexander.
I'm not sure why they would limit it to 35kv - could be that you need lead shielding above that, and it may also be a limitation of the working range of the detector.
An issue with microfocus tubes is that due to the small spot size, current needs to be reduced at higher voltages to limit power dissipation, so it could be that over 35kv, the possible beam current is too low to get above the detector's noise floor.
 
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2015, 09:17:22 pm »
I love the combination of BGA FPGAs and TO-18/TO-3 transistors...
I suspect the MX-20 generator design is somewhat older than the detector - early versions were probably used with film.
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2015, 09:43:23 pm »
@Mike,

I have some pictures of the interface card but they are too big to post at the moment. I will shrink them and upload later. Its a beast of a PCI card running the following chips:

1x Xilinx XC95144                                   CPLD
1x PLX Technology PCI9054-AC50PI      PCI Bus mastering interface
4x Cypress CY7C4235V-15ASC              FIFO
2x Lattice iM4A5-32                                CPLD

Camera produces 14 bit data and contains its own dedicated microprocessor.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 09:59:47 pm by Aurora »
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Offline ovnr

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2015, 10:50:32 pm »
We talking about beastly imager controllers?

Here's mine, from a 5MP Philips medical imager - some interesting FPGAs, including a $2200 Virtex 2 - with the option of fitting a 2nd one.


(Click for full res - 3.6 MB)
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2015, 11:23:22 pm »
Mine cannot come close to that  ;D

Mine is a beast because of its physical size when considering what it has on it. It almost appears to be a backplane board that can have different daughter boards fitted depending upon the application.

Picture soon.

Aurora
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Offline DJ

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2015, 04:22:26 am »
You guys are great, but hard on the wallet. Now I feel somehow incomplete without my personal box of bremsstrahlung  :D

One wonders what other instrumentation is next to be repurposed for the compleat home lab?

The Faxitron was on this list, with some useful brethren:
http://www.mdanderson.org/education-and-research/resources-for-professionals/scientific-resources/core-facilities-and-services/small-animal-imaging-facility/fees/fees.html
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2015, 04:37:37 pm »
@DJ,

To put things in perspective an X-Ray machine is a VERY unusual piece of equipment to find in the home electronics lab. My use of X-Ray in electronics thread raised the topic of whether there is a place for X-Ray capability in the hobby environment so I will not repeat myself here.

Over the years I have set up a very capable home electronics lab that will serve me well in my retirement. I am very fortunate to have worked for a VERY interesting employer who professionally  trained me in several specialisms that involved all manner of equipment and technologies. I decided that when I retired I would try to replicate as much of the lab equipment as I could afford so that I could maintain my present diagnostic capabilities. I have now succeeded in this goal as only the high resolution X-Ray capability was unrepresented in the lab. Yes it is a luxury and unusual equipment to find in a domestic environment, but I am used to having access to an Industrial Microfocus X-Ray any time I need it. I would miss that capability. I will be retiring early on 28 February this year at the grand old age of 47 so I have achieved two objetctives... 1. Retire, or at least Semi-retire. whilst I can still enjoy life with my wife, and 2. having a very capable electronics and engineering lab at my disposal.

I am not for one minute suggesting that hobbyists should place an X-Ray capability on their 'must have' list for a home lab. As I have said, its a luxury, but a very nice luxury to have  :)

I work a lot with CCD cameras, image intensifiers and thermal imagers so, to me, this is just another form of imaging technology that is both interesting to 'play' with and very useful when reverse engineering equipment enclosures and PCB's. Hidden enclosure fixings are the bane of my life ! Not any more !

I have detailed my X-Ray machine as a point of interest and discussion and I hope others find the topic an interesting read. I count myself most fortunate to have a patient wife and the availability of such exotic and once massively expensive test equipment, at an affordable price. Thank goodness for technology recycling companies..... you never know maybe I can buy a CAT scanner or MRI scanner next  ;D

Aurora
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Offline DJ

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2015, 06:06:23 pm »
Was not implying that xray was commonplace at all! As in your case, am semi-retired and very much enjoy the esoteric stuff that a few decades ago would have seemed impossible. The gains in technology (and affordability) of gear since I started are staggering. To think that we would have such tools in a personal lab would have been unthinkable in the 70's or earlier.

Fascinating stuff, and you and Mike are doing a splendid job of explaining and adapting these tools for the home shop. :)
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2015, 07:01:42 pm »
@DJ,

I have no problem with anything you have said  :) I just wanted to put the ownership of an X-Ray machine into perspective for readers as it is an unusual capability to have at home.

In days gone by X-Ray machines were not recycled in the way that we see today. Many ended up in scrap yards for harvesting of valuable materials. HSE in the UK have not, afaik,made efforts to avoid such equipment ending up in private individuals hands. The down side of X-Ray machines is normally safety and weight. Open source X-Rays such as used in Hospitals and Dental surgeries need very careful use. Cabinet X-Ray systems tended to be used for industrial quality control, medical biopsy analysis and security mail scanning. Many such units were/are horrendously heavy due to lead shielding. The Faxitron is unusual in that its lower kVp permits lighter shielding and so a much more manageable weight. My MX-20 weighs 70kg and I managed to lift it on my own. The Todd Research TR15 cabinet mail scanner that is arriving this week weighs over 200kg, and that's a relatively light unit !  Why do I need another cabinet X-Ray.....simple..... greater penetration of metals  ;D ... and it was offered to me for free  :-+

I hope that I can continue to contribute interesting topics that are fun to read. I have a lot of hobbies and even more projects awaiting my semi-retirement.

Aurora

« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 07:22:39 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2015, 08:16:54 pm »
Another thing about x-ray machines in particular is that the vast majority of  professional/industrial/medical outfits wouldn't touch an ex-ebay unit for potential liability reasons.
I've seen plenty of mailroom, dental and cargo scanning units relisted time & time again at small fractions of their original cost but still failing to sell until they get down to hobbyist price levels.
 

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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2015, 09:23:57 pm »
@Mike,

I concur.

One of my friends in the medical equipment recycling industry said that they do not sell the equipment to UK medical organisations or labs. Such organisations are not interested in such. His equipment is sold to enthusiasts and those with alternative uses for the technology such as me. Some of the equipment is in 'as new' or new condition and is just considered obsolete. I bought two brand new top of the line high resolution digital medical video glasses (like the Olympus EyeTrek but better) for GBP150 each. They originally cost over $10000 each !. There are some superb quality research grade microscopes to be had as well. My friend also said that a lot of the good stuff gets bought at auctions and from him for export overseas. There is some serious profit to be had selling some of the equipment internationally.

I am just pleased that my recycling  friends are willing to sell some of this equipment at prices that are just about within hobbyist budgets.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 09:33:34 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2015, 09:58:26 pm »
 A few years I went to a specialist medical auction a few times, a large number of the buyers were vets!
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2015, 10:34:48 pm »
@Mike,

....... and you thought the MX-20 was no good for X-Raying my cats  ;D

Only kidding. Yes I can imagine that some of the ex Human medical kit would be very useful to a Vet, and it saves them a pile of money. They need as much profit as possible to pay for the latest Range Rover Sport  ;)  I keep being offered really great condition ultrasound machines but sadly I can't think of any use for such in my lab  ;D

Aurora
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2015, 11:03:24 pm »
A great chunk of my time goes to tomography R&D, but at much longer wavelengths. I come across x-ray based systems all the time in literature and I find them truly fascinating. I mean, isn't x-ray vision - the ability to see through objects - on the list of superpowers kids of all ages wish for?

I will be retiring early on 28 February this year at the grand old age of 47

Most x-ray tubes on e-bay are older than that! :-DD
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2015, 11:22:44 pm »
Another interesting area is backscatter X-Ray and Terahertz imaging  ;) A very interesting area of personnel security.

I haven't got that capability .......yet  ;D

Aurora
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2015, 11:32:34 pm »
Terahertz imaging  (...) I haven't got that capability .......yet  ;D

This might take a bit longer - I knew a guy doing a project on THz tomography and he was going on and on about the poor efficiency in producing the THz radiation to begin with. Something about crystals melting...go figure.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2015, 11:47:50 pm »
Another interesting area is backscatter X-Ray and Terahertz imaging  ;) A very interesting area of personnel security.

I haven't got that capability .......yet  ;D

Aurora
Well the TSA were flogging some pornoscanner machines cheap not long ago - shipping probably a bit pricy though
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Offline ovnr

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2015, 02:22:53 am »
One of my friends in the medical equipment recycling industry said that they do not sell the equipment to UK medical organisations or labs. Such organisations are not interested in such.

That's been my experience as well. A local hospital is being scrapped as they built a brand new one next to it, and while they managed to sell off a fair bit of kit (... including one of the roofs, for reasons beyond me), they're scrapping all the X-ray units, including a 2006 vintage C-arm model - that's where the imager controller I posted above came from. I ended up getting to rip it to bits - they didn't even want any money for any of it. Only a lack of time and space prevented me from doing rude things to the other two slightly older models - this one was top of the line, with a shit-ton of control stuff (A total of 6 x86 servers/controllers of widely varying performance, 3 large VFDs, 2 large (as in 15kW) single-phase inverters driving the HV transformer, etc. Four full racks in total.). A lot of fun stuff.
 

Offline DJ

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2015, 07:25:07 am »
@Mike,

....... and you thought the MX-20 was no good for X-Raying my cats  ;D

Only kidding. Yes I can imagine that some of the ex Human medical kit would be very useful to a Vet, and it saves them a pile of money. They need as much profit as possible to pay for the latest Range Rover Sport  ;)  I keep being offered really great condition ultrasound machines but sadly I can't think of any use for such in my lab  ;D

Aurora

Ultrasound is great for having a look at plaque build-up in the carotid and other pipes. Maybe detect gaps/delaminations in composites? Aeration in shock absorbers?  Get a warmer for the coupling gel.  I would be all over a doppler ultrasound unit as a noninvasive flowmeter.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2015, 03:56:47 pm »
I have just come off the phone to one of my recycling friends and he is happy for me to introduce customers to his company in a controlled fashion. 

I have been receiving requests for obtaining Faxitron units from my recycling friends. I have no issue with receiving such requests but need to set some ground rules:

1. I have two friends in the Medical Electronics Recycling industry and I will not do anything to cause annoyance or harm to them. Please do not ask me to broker the deal in order to obtain discount.

2. The 'going rate' for an MX-20 in working order with PC & Software is >£1000. If this is too much for your budget, please do not approach me as I cannot negotiate price (see above)

3. I receive no, repeat no, commission or incentive from my friends to sell you these units.

4. The Faxitron MX-20's do come up for recycling quite often but many are without their PC. Such units sell for around £300 to £500 depending upon whether they contain a digital camera module.

5. If you ask me to keep you informed of any MX-20's that become available, I shall do so in order of requests being received. If the 1st potential buyer cannot proceed, I will contact the next in line. That is as fair as I can be.

6. The sellers are good chaps and honourable. I will provide the details of the recycler to the potential buyer and they may negotiate the deal directly with him and not via me.

7. The Faxitron MX-20's would normally be sold via ebay with substantial mark-up, but they are unlikely to make it that far since Mike and I raised their profile on here. Demand is greater than supply at the moment.

8. I am happy to provide comment on these units via this forum for the benefit of all. I am not, however, any form of support supplier for such units and cannot engage in detailed diagnostic discussions etc. I do have both the Installation, Technical and User manuals for the MX-20 and its associated software however.

Remember, I am not the seller, I am not on commission and I only place a potential buyer in touch with the seller. The seller is acting as a sourcing agent for you as he has the contacts to obtain the product that you desire.  There is significant cost in obtaining and transporting these units so £1000+ is not, IMHO, an unreasonable resale price.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 04:05:55 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2015, 08:04:20 pm »
Some teaser pictures of my latest arrival (it came off the lorry only 15 minutes ago) .........

AKA The Todd Research TR15

Brochure attached

Resolution is equal to or better than 0.13mm (7.7 lines/mm) over the whole imaging surface  :) 
Not as good as a Faxitron but just look at the imaging scintillator plate size. That's a big chunk of leaded glass above it as well. Na it can't be leaded as that would block the X-Rays getting to the scintillator layer ! Not sure why glass has been used for the bottom of the chamber. I shall investigate what lives beneath later.

It uses an internal micro PC so I hope to have it up and running quite quickly. Fun to be had with thicker materials than the Faxitron can handle.

It was built in 2006 and looks in pretty decent condition. Just a broken USB connector on the side to replace.


Aurora
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 01:16:45 am by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2015, 01:42:05 am »
Back to Faxitron matters.......

I have just taken a look at the software that Mike's Faxitron runs and can say that it is very different to the earlier software running on my unit.

My unit was built in 2005 whereas Mikes is a 2008 model. His unit uses a Hamamatsu USB camera and mine uses a Bioptics camera, with propriatary interface to the PC. I was interested to see whether the 2008 software had evolved much since my unit was made. The answer is simple......it is completely different. Since 2005 Faxitron have produced a more friendly GUI and a lot of automation to the operation of the unit. Manual operation is available however. The automation makes the unit more friendly to use but does it take better images ? I would suggest that the two machines are likely pretty equal in terms of image quality. I have to be careful to set the exposure time correctly whereas Mike's machine does that using automated test exposures.

It was interesting to read the software user manual for Mike's MX-20. Definitely an evolution on the 2005 release. He has a very nice unit. Beggars cannot be choosers though so if you want a Digital Faxitron MX-20 buy either version as they work very well.   

It is unlikely that Mikes later software will run on my MX-20........ the configuration files are very different indeed and I suspect this has much to do with the camera module used. The firmware on the control panel is also likely to differ as Mikes software has more automated control over the X-Ray Generator than mine.

If you see an MX-20 and want to know which era it belongs to ,just look at the cabinet I/O connectors. If you see USB A and RS232 9 way D type, it is the later Hamamatsu camera requiring Mike's SR software. If you find a high density micro D connector and an RS232 9 way D type, it is the earlier Bioptics camera machine like mine, and requires the special PCI card and DR software. There is also a pre 2005 MX-20 that uses a hybrid D type connector containing 3 coaxial connectors and some standard pins. I have no knowledge of that units interface requirements.

Aurora
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Offline aargee

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2015, 02:03:11 am »
If you are reading this in Australia, to own *any* sort of functioning equipment capable of generating ionising radiation you need a license.

From CT machines all the way down to steel XRay inspection gear and mail scanners.

I guess you can have one in the back shed, but if you are found using it...
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2015, 11:24:00 am »
From what Dave has said, they are rare as hens teeth on the Australian secondary market, your local  regulations may be the reason for that.

In the UK an employer has responsibilities to protect his/her staff when using Ionising Radiation but interestingly there is no reference to hobbyist, non-commercial use. It may well be that when the regulations were written it was pretty unlikely that a hobbyist would be able to get their hands on such equipment ? In the UK if challenged, I would just need to prove that I am operating a source of ionising radiation in a safe and controlled manner. I am pleased to say I meet that requirement. I have used X-Ray extensively so know the risks and safety precautions, it is a harmful radiation type and I have no issue with a country wishing to take precautions against misuse.

I live by the view that if I cannot see, smell or hear 'it' and 'it' is dangerous by its very nature...... I take the utmost care when in its company  ;)

Radiographers lead aprons are also available fro around $150. Worth the investment if you are concerned about potential leaks from an X-Ray source. This is why I like the cabinet systems though. Unless you over-ride the interlocks or badly damage the case, you are protected by the inspection chamber and its inherent shielding. My units were all licenced as safe designs so you just need to carry out a good inspection for damage or distortion of the case, especially around the door. A radiation survey is also a good idea if you have suitable equipment. As already stated, Geiger Counters tend to be to be of no use as they have a lower threshold of detection of around 40 to  50keV (they would not accurately read the levels coming from the Faxitron Generator. CCD based ionising radiation meters are recommended.

Aurora.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 12:51:40 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2015, 12:35:30 pm »
In the UK an employer has responsibilities to protect his/her staff when using Ionising Radiation but interestingly there is no reference to hobbyist, no commercial use.

I'm yet to be convinced that is actually the case. The wording of the regs uses the word "employer" in an ambiguous way which could be taken to mean "User of" as opposed to "used in the course of employment/business"
There seems to be no definitive guidance on the scope of the regs, or the definition of "employer".
There is a mention that duties of an "employer" also apply to a self-employed persion's duty to protect themself, which could be seen to imply the traditional definition.

I suspect though that as Aurora says, it's not something that was considered when the regs were written.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2015, 01:12:46 am »
Mike was understandably interested in the MX-20's capabilities as he had previously looked at such units, but the lower kVp was a concern with regard to what such a unit could achieve with a PCB. When another complete Faxitron became available to me I was tempted to have it as a spare but in the end sense prevailed and I let Mike know of its availability. I am very pleased that Mike now has a Faxitron as I feel sure he will make very good use of it. As you can see from his video, he has already dived inside it to reveal where all the magic happens  ;D  Some nice example picture at the end as well.

I've been looking for something like this for ages and have some watch lists, but nothing ever comes up in Australia  :(
If anyone does ever find one available (or for export here) I'd love to know.
 

Offline aroby

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2015, 03:29:37 am »

I'm yet to be convinced that is actually the case. The wording of the regs uses the word "employer" in an ambiguous way which could be taken to mean "User of" as opposed to "used in the course of employment/business"
There seems to be no definitive guidance on the scope of the regs, or the definition of "employer".
There is a mention that duties of an "employer" also apply to a self-employed persion's duty to protect themself, which could be seen to imply the traditional definition.

I suspect though that as Aurora says, it's not something that was considered when the regs were written.
 

It would probably be interpreted in the same way as the self-employed plumber who can no longer smoke in his own van.  I'm not a smoker, and I couldn't care less if the plumber does this.  Nor could I care less if you use an X-ray machine in your garage!
 

Offline aargee

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2015, 07:01:11 am »
Dave, I'm pretty sure that the Australian regulations are what's stopping us seeing anything on the second hand market. It's a type of birth to death tracking of XRay equipment. E.g.
http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/CD1BAEF49C606A61CA25796E001E00FA/$FILE/X-ray%20equipment%20disposal.pdf
Each state pretty much enforces the same national standards.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2015, 09:39:50 am »
Mike was understandably interested in the MX-20's capabilities as he had previously looked at such units, but the lower kVp was a concern with regard to what such a unit could achieve with a PCB. When another complete Faxitron became available to me I was tempted to have it as a spare but in the end sense prevailed and I let Mike know of its availability. I am very pleased that Mike now has a Faxitron as I feel sure he will make very good use of it. As you can see from his video, he has already dived inside it to reveal where all the magic happens  ;D  Some nice example picture at the end as well.


I've been looking for something like this for ages and have some watch lists, but nothing ever comes up in Australia  :(
If anyone does ever find one available (or for export here) I'd love to know.
As this unit doesn't have lead shielding due to the lower voltage, it isn't stupidly heavy, so shipping could be a viable option. I would expect surplus medical dealers in the UK are used to shipping overseas as there isn't much domestic demand for used medical gear. Suggest you talk to Aurora
I'm sure if you ask nicely you could get a dealer to take off all the x-ray stickers and re-label it as an oven or something to avoid issues with local regulations ;D
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Offline Stonent

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2015, 11:08:32 am »
It's just a microwave, that's all. Instead of 2.5GHz it operates in the PHz to EHz range :).
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Offline Chris Jones

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2015, 01:58:10 pm »
If you are reading this in Australia, to own *any* sort of functioning equipment capable of generating ionising radiation you need a license.

From CT machines all the way down to steel XRay inspection gear and mail scanners.

I guess you can have one in the back shed, but if you are found using it...

It is interesting though that they don't address the fact that inside (the tube of) a CRT TV set (especially projection CRT) there is just as much (actually a lot more due to higher beam current) x-ray power as in one of these Faxitrons. In both cases it is totally enclosed and essentially no radiation escapes the enclosure, and in both cases if you open the x-ray enclosure, it stops, in the case of the TV tube because the vacuum fails, and in the case of the Faxitron because multiple redundent interlocks turn off the power.

The authorities do not regard a TV set as an x-ray source, and by any logical reasoning, the faxitron would be in the same category. Unfortunately, due to its ability to make pictures and do something useful with the x-rays they would probably seek to stop you having it, or at least charge you for an annual licence fee, probably an inspection that they calculate to be more expensive than they think you can afford, and probably also seek to justify their past and future employment by making you write them a few reams of paperwork.

I guess it might be worth asking (especially if you don't *actually* have one in your shed!), since it would be interesing to know the official line on properly constructed cabinet systems. After all they allow 300mW laser diodes in DVD recorders even though they ban 2mW laser pointers.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 02:01:07 pm by Chris Jones »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2015, 02:02:34 pm »
I have worked closely with the Australian Customs offices and I would not wish to cross them or be caught smuggling a controlled product. They take no prisoners and I intend to visit Australian again the the future.

If I wanted an ex medical X-Ray machine in Australia I would talk to some equipment recyclers and also some of the agents for such equipment. Find out what would be involved in getting your hands in such a unit legally. Remember, Faxitrons are a licenced X-Ray containment system and contain no lead or oil. They do contain Berylium in the tube exit window, and they are harmful if abused. Weight is 70kg for the cabinet alone. + weight of the PC.

X-Ray equipment must be disposed of in some manner so it is just a case of finding the disposal route and establishing how a used unit may be procured and used in a licenced fashion.....just alike a Dentist has to do.

I cannot blame the Australian authorities treating X-Ray generators as hazardous items, they are. In the wrong hands they can do a lot of damage. Soft X-Ray can be more damaging to living tissue than hard X-Ray. The energy is absorbed in far greater quantities. That is why medical X-Ray units often contain an aluminium filter to block the soft X-Rays before they illuminate the patient. The Oil in early X-Ray generators can contain PCB's and that is nasty stuff. As for Beryllium....well that is bad news if you ingest or breath its dust. Yep X-Ray machine are hazardous with a capital H. Not for newbies without first learning about the correct usage and associated risks.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 02:14:20 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2015, 02:12:08 pm »
Now that we know a well respected and quality low kVp X-Ray cabinet model , it is just a case of finding them around the world.

I would start here:

http://www.faxitron.com/medical/contact/dealers

Talk to the local dealer and get a feel for the process of ownership in your locality. Ask about re-homing a used unit and the cost of such. Sometimes it actually costs the agent money to dispose of such equipment so they may be pleased to re-home one. I found dealers in Australia to be more helpful that in the UK. They often have a very different, helpful, attitude.

Next on my telephone list would be the equipment recyclers. They often buy whole batches of equipment and then sell what they are permitted to sell according to local regulations. The rest gets destroyed, scrapped.

http://www.cmaecocycle.net/lighting-electrical/

http://www.certifieddestruction.com.au/

I know Veolia well. They may be worth contacting for comment.

http://www.veolia.com.au/commercial/commercial-waste/hazardous-waste-treatment


Much medical equipment gets donated to Charity for use in 3rd world countries. There must be a process for reusing equipment that has been disposed of.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 02:23:19 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2015, 08:42:24 pm »
Next on my telephone list would be the equipment recyclers. They often buy whole batches of equipment and then sell what they are permitted to sell according to local regulations. The rest gets destroyed, scrapped.
..and of course the other route is people like scrap dealers  who don't have a clue what they are selling and/or have no idea that any regulation is involved !

Of course if all you want is the occasional x-ray of something, talk to local vets & dentists
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #47 on: January 20, 2015, 11:14:59 pm »
In the UK an employer has responsibilities to protect his/her staff when using Ionising Radiation but interestingly there is no reference to hobbyist, no commercial use.

I'm yet to be convinced that is actually the case. (...)

This is made clear in the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 Act, the legislation that covers use of ionising radiation in the UK.

Quote
"radiation employer” means an employer who in the course of a trade, business or other undertaking carries out work with ionising radiation and, for the purposes of regulations 5, 6 and 7, includes an employer who intends to carry out such work; (...) Radiation employers are essentially those employers who work with ionising radiation, ie they carry out:
     (a) a practice (see definition in regulation 2(1)); (...)

Quote
“practice” means work involving (...)
(b) the operation of any electrical equipment emitting ionising radiation and containing components operating at a potential difference of more than 5kV, (...)

Quote
Duty holder                                    Relevant regulations
Any employer                                 8(7), 11, 14, 15, 20 to 24 and 26
Radiation employer                          5 to 7, 8(1) to (6), 9 to 10, 12, 13, 17, 25, 27 to 30, 32(6 to 7)
Employer in control of an area
/who designates an area                  16, 18 and 19
Employer in control of equipment      32(1) to (5)
Manufacturer or supplier of articles    31(1)                               
Installer                                          31(2)

So the type of use we are discussing here does, according to the definitions in the Act, fall within the scope of the existing legislation.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #48 on: January 20, 2015, 11:36:45 pm »
I still think it's far from clear.
They do not explicitly say what they man by "employer", or "undertaking"

My initial reading of it made me think that "employer" meant "user of", however this paragraph in particular, and other references to employees seem to imply the "pays people to do a job" definition

Quote
an employer includes a reference to a self-employed person and any duty imposed by
these Regulations on an employer in respect of his employee shall extend to a self employed person in respect of himself;

The dictionary definition of Undertaking is  "a job, business, or piece of work"

IANAL but I can't see anything in the regs that would cover hobbyist use.
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2015, 12:00:35 am »
An interesting situation.

I am a specialist adviser in my present role and have to work to the 'plain English' rules when writing policy. There should be no doubt about what my policy is stating and who it applies to.

From what I have read, the UK HSE have not made the situation clear and obvious to the reader. A FAIL in my humble opinion. Unlike the Australian regulations that appear to treat the X-Ray machine as highly hazardous and so heavily controlled throughout its life. No such action in the UK or ebay would not be able to post auctions involving such equipment.

However, I have little doubt that if someone phoned the Ionising Radiation advisers at the HSE, they would 'play Safe' and say that ANY user of ionising radiation comes under the act. I suspect, however, provided a user is an individual with appropriate knowledge of using X-Ray equipment (as am I) then they will have better things to do with their time than chase every secondary market buyer of X-Ray equipment in the UK. There is certainly plenty of such kit for sale, much of it is the far more hazardous open X-Ray source type.

A most interesting situation but I certainly do not intend to open Pandoras Box and if the HSE are kept as busy as I am as an adviser, I suspect they would not thank me raising it with them ! Unless working with others (as an employer) I would suggest common sense applies.

Many weird and wonderful things happen inside peoples garages. Provided a person does not act irresponsibly and attract unwelcome attention, the authorities remain relatively disinterested. I speak from a position of knowledge  ;) In the UK we are overstretched and have bigger fish to fry.  Just do not go asking us for official comment as that is when we HAVE TO lay down the law. And no I have no connection with the UK HSE.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 12:21:28 am by Aurora »
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #50 on: January 21, 2015, 12:15:36 am »
What I am seeing is both definitions of employer being used, and the various regulations being applicable accordingly.

The interpretation of words is a game that can be played endlessly, the final interpretation is however up to the court.

Indeed the hobbyist is not explicitly covered, but I believe this is to his disadvantage. It would be great if there was a clause making hobbyists exempt or stating their duties, but not only is this not the case, it is also irrational thinking of what hobbyists are capable of. What is more likely is, having this legislation as a starting point a hobbyist would be classified as one or more duty holders under this legislation.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #51 on: January 21, 2015, 12:15:51 am »
An interesting discussion on legality here:

http://4hv.org/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?113063

It would appear that many UK hobbyists are 'experimenting' with X-Ray. The ones who would worry me are those regularly using an X-Ray tube without appropriate shielding.

Both my Faxitron and Todd Research units are licenced as X-Ray containment devices meeting UK regulations. Now whether I should have them regularly inspected is another matter. As I was an instructor of others in how to inspect and test an X-Ray machine, I guess I will trust myself as I now have the appropriate test equipment to do it at home. My conscience is clear and that guides me on such matters.

Readers of this thread should consider the legal implications and HSE regulations as they are there for a very good reason. Do not place yourself or any other living animal or person at risk.

Common Sense rules.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 12:23:14 am by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #52 on: January 21, 2015, 12:38:24 am »
An insightful quote from the above link:


"Steve McConner wrote ...

OK, so if you don't mind sharing, who were "they", the HSE? And how did they get onto you?

I think technically speaking, your use of X-rays would be classed as work, since you sell prints (very nice ones at that  )

Reply from Plasmatron (site owner in the UK):

They were indeed the HSE. Seemingly someone reported my activities to the local council, who informed them. Not that I have ever been secretive about what I do. In fact a couple of years back, my "happy" neighbour threatened to go to the Police about my activities (that she claimed were illegal), so on the advice of Proud Mary, I took a list of equipment and chemicals along to the Police, The local Pharmacist and my GP.

It would seem that openness is the way to go with these things.

Thanks for your compliment! I do sell prints, but not really often. The HSE accepted that what I do is a hobby, but stated they made an exception as it involves the use of ionising radiation.

The HSE's position on the whole thing is that they do not encourage people to build or use x-ray machines at home. Nor is that fact that mine passed their inspection, any kind of permission for anyone (including me) to do as they please.
They were quite clear that in this case there was no concern with my current activities. Which is to my mind a carefully worded way of saying "if you build another one in the future, it had better be as compliant too",but at the same time they are saying "we are not encouraging you to build one either".

As I alluded in my previous post, the whole thing is self contained, and is compliant above and beyond the recommendations set out in the IRR, and I can assure everyone here, that if it had not been, the HSE could and would, have had it removed, and probably at my cost.

It should be noted, that should you fall foul of any criminal injury proceedings (ie you irradiated a person or animal), the HSE will not defend you, even if they had inspected your setup. Like a vehicle MOT they are saying "on the day we inspected it...."

Their recommendations were to remove the references on my site to any x-ray activity that could be construed as careless or reckless (for example mentioning the fact I radiographed my fingers when I was a kid!).
For now, I have taken down the entire section. As I said, some bits will re-appear after they have been extensively rewritten, however there will be, no "instructions" or ""how to's" on this particular subject, which really, thinking about it, is very wise anyway.

So my stance on the matter has pretty much ended up like theirs. I can not condone anyone building one, nor will I give any instructions on how to do it. However, at the risk of being a nag, you can expect me to point out safety issues, and mistakes, as far as this forum goes.

It is one of those hobbies, that must be done by the book if we expect to continue doing it, but even that is no guarantee. The mere mention of the word "Radiation" is enough to instill fear in most people, and the subject will always be a political hot potato.

Les "

Short of asking the HSE for comment, I think Les's quote sums up the situation pretty well.

I personally would not want to experiment with an equipment that is not compliant with the required containment regulations. That is the joy of the Faxitron. Its a well designed equipment providing approved containment of the X-Rays. I am not intending to modify my unit but I suspect any modification would invalidate the original compliance licence until retested.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 12:40:18 am by Aurora »
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Offline aargee

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #54 on: January 21, 2015, 01:18:00 am »
This is why Radiographers carry radiation tags (or "Red you're dead" tags), radiation doses are cumulative. If you are exposed enough to this sort of radiation in your working life, there comes a time where you can't do it any more. Red you're dead refers to the tag which will/would change colour to red at an extremely hazardous cumulative dose.

Part of the X-Ray legislation here where I live (and in all other parts of Australia) is that if you work with this equipment, you wear the tag. Whether you use it or service it. The tags are collected on a routine basis and the cumulative dose readings are recorded. Presumably once you reach the threshold your license is revoked, having said that, if you follow all the safety rules and guidelines (lead smocks, shielding, stc) this should not happen in your working life.

If someone was using one of these higher powered units, the way I've seen a lot of 'hobbiests' use nasty stuff on You Tube, I would be concerned for their long term health and that of their close (physically) friends and relatives.
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #55 on: January 21, 2015, 10:24:33 am »
BTW this is Plazmatron's site : http://www.fineartradiography.com/index.html
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #56 on: January 21, 2015, 10:55:50 am »
Of course if all you want is the occasional x-ray of something, talk to local vets & dentists

Given that it's almost impossible to get one of these here in Australia, anyone have any clue who would operate one of these micron resolution machines in Sydney?
I assume that the regular vet/dentist xrays don't have that same resolution?
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #57 on: January 21, 2015, 11:11:35 am »
Of course if all you want is the occasional x-ray of something, talk to local vets & dentists

Given that it's almost impossible to get one of these here in Australia, anyone have any clue who would operate one of these micron resolution machines in Sydney?
I assume that the regular vet/dentist xrays don't have that same resolution?
No - dental tubes are around the 1mm spot size mark.
The Faxitron is used in hospitals for tissue analysis.
Could be worth asking  PCB manufacturers (inner layer inspection) or assemblers (BGA inspection), particularly anyone in high-reliability fields like medical.
Could also be worth asking the manufacturers if they know anyone with their machines who provides a service.
May be worth talking to these guys about exchanging some free publicity for the occasional x-ray
http://www.sinxray.com.au/

 
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2015, 11:14:08 am »
..and of course educational establishments can be a good place for access to cool toys without the commercial pressures of service companies :
http://sydney.edu.au/acmm/facilities/xray/index.shtml

May also be worth a chat with these people :  http://www.sdr.com.au/xray.php
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 11:16:18 am by mikeselectricstuff »
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2015, 11:42:16 am »
..and of course educational establishments

I second that, especially in medical research.

I see here a SkyScan micro-CT and to give you an idea is located in Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences.
http://www.skyscan.be/applications/electronics/electronics001.htm

Alex
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #60 on: January 21, 2015, 12:12:25 pm »
Could be worth asking  PCB manufacturers (inner layer inspection) or assemblers (BGA inspection), particularly anyone in high-reliability fields like medical.

Yes, I'll be visiting a big assembler down the road soon, if they have one I'll see if I can drop by any time and use it, that would be sweet.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #61 on: January 21, 2015, 12:22:33 pm »
@aargee,

Whilst you are on the right track, some of the detail is a little misleading in your post.

In the UK there is no such thing as a 'red your dead' badge, it is a passive cumulative dose badge and provides no instant indication of overdose. Other equipment, namely personal electronic dosimeters are fitted with an alarm set at a safe/unsafe threshold point and these do alert to the presence of excessive ionising radiation. Some also contain a digital display of CPS, uSv/h or accumulated dose in uSv since last reset.

I was required to be badged as I work with open source X-Ray which has the potential to illuminate me with backscatter or by accident. In the UK there is no requirement to be badged when operating X-Ray equipment that uses licenced containment as the unit is considered inherently safe with very low leakage as a detailed in the licence. The operators of X-Ray mail scanners are not required to be badged as a result. This is a key requirement for manufacturers as badging costs a significant sum per year.

For those unaware, an X-Ray dosimeter badge is just a piece of X-Ray film (and a scintillator layer) that has two attenuators in front of it. There are three zones recorded...

1) no attenuation (Alpha & soft X-Ray sensitive),
2) Aluminium attenuator (Beta & Hard X-ray)
3) Steel or Lead attenuator (Gamma & very high energy Hard X-Ray)

Every 3 months the badge 'film' is sent to Harwell in the UK for exposure. The level of radiation exposure is calculated from the relative exposures of the X-Ray film behind each attenuator. A very simple and effective method to measure accumulated dose.

It is true to say that no real time warning is provided to the wearer of the badge if overexposure occurs. You find out only when Harwell send back the badge report. That is why we also use real time dosimeters suited to the task. Note it is essential to use the appropriate dosimeter type for the type of X-Ray generator in use. Many will not respond correctly to pulse X-Ray as produced by many EOD open sources like the Golden X-Ray series. As already stated, a dosimeter often contains an alarm that is pre-set at a specific level so as to warn the wearer of any issues in good time.

Whilst it is true that the wearer of a badge may be taken off of Radiographic duties if the badge has recorded a cumulative dose that is considered excessive (but still safe) it is also an important indicator that equipment used by that person was either poorly deployed or indeed faulty in terms of containment. Sadly in the industrial arena it is possible to receive a radiation dose that is lethal when working with powerful sources like Isotopes or radiotherapy sources. The badge user in such cases will be aware of the dose well before the badge is developed as radiation sickness onset is pretty fast, in some cases a matter of hours. The badge then gives Harwell an idea of how much of a dose has been received and what, if any treatment is possible. Red your dead is a pretty nasty term but in truth you can kill yourself and be a dead man (women) walking until the full effects of the radiation(massive cell damage) take effect.

Before the readership charge off into the distance screaming that X-Ray machines are deadly, I must point out that industrial X-Ray in steel production is very hazardous but the sort of X-Ray found in your average Faxitron, Mail scanner or even a Dentist is far less hazardous due to the lower keV involved. You would have to try very hard to do yourself serious harm with a tube running at 35kVp or even 120kVp when it is properly contained. Medical Radiographers need to take precautions when operating open source X-Ray generators as they can be illuminated by back scatter and reflections within the room. They do many X-Ray exposures a day so do not wish to accumulate a large dose of radiation over a period of time. The body can deal with accumulated doses below a known threshold and a Radiographer can return to duty after a period of 'rest' if their dose is considered excessive in one particular monitoring period. They are NOT removed from radiotherapy duties for life.

There is NO 'safe' dose of radiation. Anyone who thinks so is kidding themselves. Radiation levels should be minimised wherever possible. But bear in mind that flying in an aluminium airframe at 33000 ft provides quite a decent dose of background radiation and cabin crew are exposed to this daily without being badged. It is not considered hazardous to their health. The hazard knowledge of radiation exposure on humans comes from early mistakes made by inventors and sadly the post mortem of accidents involving radiation. Much has been learnt from what were basically many mistakes over the years. Chernobyl was a major contributor of dose data as so many were exposed to differing levels of radiation. My condolences to the families of brave people who worked on containment of the fire and fallout in the early stages of the event. They died a truly horrible death due to massive overdoses of radiation. Some died within hours of exposure.

Please do not leave this post thinking that X-Ray is some sort of deadly death ray and so unsafe to operate in appropriate environs. I wish to grow old and have used open source and cabinet X-Ray for many years. On no occasion has my badge given an indication above background ! My employer takes the view that if your reading exceeds expected background levels an investigation into why ensues.

Cabinet X-ray equipments remain the safest form of X-Ray equipment that you can obtain. The containment must meet international standards in order to be sold in a country as a licenced equipment.

BUT

I strongly advise against building an X-Ray machine unless you are highly experienced in such as a job and have all of the correct equipment for testing its leakage. Even then I still recommend a commercial licenced cabinet that may be trusted as safe to use. When I see people firing up X-Ray tubes or abusing a vacuum tube to produce uncontrolled, non contained X-Ray, I cringe. Not because the radiation levels are so high as to cause death, but because I am indoctrinated with safe working practices and such experiments are very unwise and foreign to me. Remember - there is NO 'safe' level of radiation.

Some trivia for readers..... soldiers used to be equipped with NBC suits that included a small radiation cumulative dose recorder. The unit could only be read by a field deployable analyser. the reason...... HQ could determine how many soldiers were likley to fall due to radiation sickness and how many woudl still be in fighting condition. The soldiers could not tell if they had received a fatal dose so would just keep on going until they dropped  :( That is the hard truth behind military 'red your dead' thinking. Thankfully the world has not seen a need to use such equipment since WWII. Long may that remain the case.

I am happy to answer questions on dosimeters and badges etc as I am a long term user of such.

I attach a picture of some HARWELL Radiation Dosimeters and a BICRON micro Sievert survey meter that I own
 
Aurora
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 05:32:33 pm by Aurora »
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Offline aargee

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #62 on: January 21, 2015, 09:45:54 pm »
You are correct Aurora, my early days ('90s) in medical imaging the tags were colloquially referred to a "Red you're dead". I was assuming this referred to something on the tag, although it may mean something else altogether. I haven't heard the term for a while now, I'll go and talk to the guys at work.
Yes XRay isn't generally scary stuff if you're educated about it (not like me, eh  ::)) . Most modern medical imaging equipment is now producing images at much lower doses due to improvements in detector technology. Film, for instance, is fast disappearing, being replaced by solid state detectors.

Time for me to go and learn a bit more...
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #63 on: January 21, 2015, 10:07:22 pm »
@aargee,

The joy of this forum is that we can all learn from eachothers experience  :) I specialise in certain specialist topics but have learnt much from this forum on new topics. Do not take my comments as any form of criticism of you or what you have said :)

Aurora
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #64 on: January 22, 2015, 12:55:53 am »
Thanks to Mikes url for Plasmatron and the wonder of the Wayback machine it is possible to see the unsanitised version of the artists web site  ;)

The current (interesting but sanitised) front page:

http://www.fineartradiography.com/about.html

The unsanitised version:

http://web.archive.org/web/20090405040159/http://www.fineartradiography.com/about.html

I am about to retire so maybe I need to start a new hobby .... like artistic X-Rays  ;D

It is certainly interesting to see the unseen , just like my other hobby, thermal cameras !

The artists construction notes for a DIY machine are here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20081231064736/http://www.fineartradiography.com/hobbies/x-ray/index.html

I do not recommend this DIY path however....play safe ! Even the author thought it too risky to publish and has removed it from the current site. He appears to now know what he is doing whereas some readers may not.

This item appears to be the use of a unit similar to a Faxitron in terms of kVp:

http://web.archive.org/web/20081231115427/http://www.fineartradiography.com/hobbies/x-ray/telx.html


Now the pretty stuff:

http://www.fineartradiography.com/gallery.html

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 01:12:11 am by Aurora »
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Offline coppice

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #65 on: January 22, 2015, 01:55:30 am »
X-rays seem perfect for artists. Isn't the true artist supposed to see through the superficial surface of a subject, and show us their depth?  ;)
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #66 on: January 22, 2015, 08:20:14 pm »
For those wondering what the heck a Tel-X-Ometer is (mentioned by the artist), it is a training platform for Physics students:

http://www.telatomic.com/x-ray/

Take a look at the down loadable manual. It is interesting reading for those wishing to experiment with X-Rays.

The Tel-X-Ometer is a very strange looking beast.......it is apparently safe to use though. More support for the belief that <35kVp is a good place to work as it is easily contained without lots of lead.

There is one of these units for sale in Australia !

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Teltron-Tel-X-Ometer-580M-XRD-XRF-Spectrometer-for-Studying-and-Teaching-X-rays-/271744788030?pt=AU_Business_Industrial_Medical_Scientific_Equipment2&hash=item3f4540663e

Bit of a crazy price though.... supply and demand ?

No imager section or camera though, so not really very useful for electronics.

Aurora
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #67 on: January 22, 2015, 08:42:28 pm »
For those wondering what the heck a Tel-X-Ometer is (mentioned by the artist), it is a training platform for Physics students:

http://www.telatomic.com/x-ray/

Take a look at the down loadable manual. It is interesting reading for those wishing to experiment with X-Rays.

The Tel-X-Ometer is a very strange looking beast.......it is apparently safe to use though. More support for the belief that <35kVp is a good place to work as it is easily contained without lots of lead.

There is one of these units for sale in Australia !

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Teltron-Tel-X-Ometer-580M-XRD-XRF-Spectrometer-for-Studying-and-Teaching-X-rays-/271744788030?pt=AU_Business_Industrial_Medical_Scientific_Equipment2&hash=item3f4540663e

Bit of a crazy price though.... supply and demand ?

No imager section or camera though, so not really very useful for electronics.

Aurora
Talk about product longevity - manual is dated 1974!
I wonder how many they sell a year...
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Offline Chris Jones

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #68 on: January 23, 2015, 01:37:09 pm »
Thanks to Mikes url for Plasmatron and the wonder of the Wayback machine it is possible to see the unsanitised version of the artists web site  ;)

There is an even more completely unsanitised version:
http://www.qsl.net/k/k0ff/X-Ray%20Gen%20KIT/LesWrightProject/

Remember, there is a reason why it got sanitised, after he got a visit. I have a list of experiments that I am saving up, that I will only do if I ever find out that I already have some terminal disease. Anything with not-totally-enclosed x-ray sources goes on that list.

My way of looking at this is that if I can read about someone else doing these experiments then I have no need to do them for myself. By my reasoning, having these experiments on the web is a good way of saving people like me from the trouble (and possibly hazard, if appropriate precautions are not taken) of doing these experiments as I can just see the result from someone else doing it, at a very safe distance from me. In that spirit of enhacing safety, here are some more experiments that you now have no need to do for yourself:

http://www.teralab.co.uk/Experiments/X_Rays/X_Rays_Page1.htm
It looks like he was pretty careful about shielding.

http://danyk.cz/rtg2_en.html
In this one, although he doesn't discuss it much, all of the photos were taken with him a VERY long way from the tube and camera. I think he said something about some hacked camera firmware allowing remote operation. His last page:http://danyk.cz/rtg8_en.html says
Quote
The experiment was done only once and won't be repeated because ensuring the safety is complicated.
and then goes on to give a good list of links to other experiments we will not need to do.

Whilst in Australia it seems as though the procedures to get a licence to have x-ray equipment are difficult and expensive, like most things that are highly regulated in Australia this does not mean that the people with the licences will be any more competent or careful than the rest of us. A relative of mine had to have an medical x-ray. The clinic lost the film so he had to go back and be x-rayed again. The second time, the film came out all black, and I mean *all* black, as they had massively over-exposed it (and him) with far too high a dose of x-rays. So that was useless and he had to go back for a third time to be x-rayed. He received (2+N) times the required dose, where N is some unknown number much greater than 1. So that's the kind of people who get a licence to point these things at people. It makes one think that a hobbyist with a totally enclosed shielded x-ray cabinet is not all that dangerous when compared to a visit to the professionals, though probably a lot more likely to be punished.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #69 on: January 23, 2015, 02:03:36 pm »
@ChrisJones,

Wise words on safety. Why risk your health ?

This is why I am sticking to cabinet X-Ray with no structural or energy modifications.

I have seen many experiments using standard vacuum tubes as X-ray sources. The old Valve rectifier in colour TV sets had a screen and X-Ray warning on it for good reasons. Whilst I accept that some people like to take some risks and play with a device in a manner for which it was never designed, call me a coward if you like, but I prefer to stick with correctly sourced X-Rays in a controlled environment. As I have stated, I use open source X-Ray professionally but at least I know which parts and areas of coverage are safe and not safe with such equipment !

I have just procured some specialist monochrome CCD cameras that are used in SAIC EOD 'active' X-Ray plates....they are very different to the standard CCTV camera on which they are based ! They have a microprocessor controlling a longer exposure process. More on that later  :)

With regard to using standard CCTV cameras with X-Rays. I strongly suggest users do not use their favourite CCD based camera. Exposing a CCD to large doses of X-Ray will cause damage to it and negatively change the black level. A CCD should be protected from X-Ray energy using a suitable lead glass filter. If you can see sparklies on the images, you are getting X-Rays hitting the CCD chip or associated electronics. I bought a cheap 'Bridge' camera for my experiments inside the Mail Scanner. If I kill it, I lose only GBP30 and not my best camera.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 11:59:38 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #70 on: January 23, 2015, 03:08:14 pm »
Just in case anyone is interested I am providing some pictures of the SAIC camera that is fitted inside an SAIC EOD X-Ray imaging plate.

The imaging plate consists of an enclosure containing a scintillator plate, 45 Degree angled mirror, leaded glass X-Ray filter and a small high sensitivity machine vision camera that has been modified by SAIC for the intended purpose. The camera is triggered by a PC host and the CCIR images captured using a frame grabber inside the host PC.

The camera is actually a Sentec 1102A model that has been fitted with a small Atmel AT29C2051 microcontroller board in a separate housing on top of the standard units case. The modification enables the camera to produce correctly exposed images that appear on the scintillator plate when exposed to X-Ray.

I have stripped down one of the cameras to investigate the modifications and how to drive the unit. Note that the mods have been covered in silicone rubber. The Faxitron will make short work of revealing the hidden connection points without disturbing them or the silicone rubber. I will post an X-Ray next time I fire up the Faxitron.

Update: Sentec 1100 series brochure and manual added.

Chipset:

Sony CCD imager chip
Sony CXA1310AN  Single chip CCD camera processor
Sony CXD1267AN  CCD vertical clock driver
Sony CXD2408AR  Timing Generator for CCD progressive scan camera
Altera EPM7064S-TC44  Programmable Logic Device (PLD)

SAIC added PCB - Atmel AT89C2051-24PI  8 bit microcontroller with 2K Flash.



Aurora
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 10:27:54 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #71 on: January 23, 2015, 07:46:04 pm »

With regard to using standard CCTV cameras with X-Rays. I strongly suggest users do not use their favourite CCD based camera. Exposing a CCD to large doses of X-Ray will cause damage to it and negatively change the black level. A CCD should be protected from X-Ray energy using a suitable lead glass filter. If you can see sparklies on the images, you are getting X-Rays hitting the CCD chip or associated electronics. I bought a cheap 'Bridge' camera for my experiments inside the Mail Scanner. If I kill it, I lose only GBP30 and not my best camera.

Aurora
Or use a 45 deg mirror to bounce the image to a shielded camera
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #72 on: January 25, 2015, 04:56:27 pm »
For those who have been following this thread, you will be aware that I was gifted a Todd Research Basix30 (aka TR15). well I had a chance to look at it today....the news is not good  :(

It is a good example of a Todd Research machine that has been deliberately disabled to prevent re-use and made safe for scrap metal recovery (lead, lots of lead !).

I will provide pictures later but precis what has been done here:

1. Mains power cable disconnected from rear of power input socket
2. X-Ray Generator PCB removed from its socket (but thankfully left adjacent to it !)
3. Camera removed from its mount
4. Leaded Glass plate turned over so scintillator is on wrong side (weird thing to do !... read later)
5. X-Ray Generator removed, oil drained and then refitted (oil is hazardous waste during disposal)

The unit has been dropped on its front at some point in time. This has distorted the X-Ray Generator mounting plate (its a very heavy lead enshrouded generator) The leaded glass is very heavy and likely broke free of its retainers. I believe some reseated it but upside down !

What useful parts remain in the unit:

All parts are present, some would need work to return them to service. The generator can be refilled with a suitable HV oil and bent metal shelf can be straightened. Case is still straight and intact.

1. X-Ray generator looks in good condition and just requires filling with suitable oil.
2. All electrical control parts are present including the generator control PCB.
3. The Embedded Windows XP PC is present and is still fitted with its Solid State Drive. Content as yet unchecked.
4. Watec high resolution machine vision camera and frame grabber card present and in good order.
5. Scintillator screen is undamaged and still attached to the leaded glass.
6. Leaded glass is covered with aluminium foil on its top side that has been damaged but is easily replaced.

So what do I make of my free X-Ray mail scanner ?

If you are looking to buy yourself an X-Ray cabinet, ensure that it may be powered on and has not been decommissioned. It will save you a lot of time and heartache  ;D

I was given this unit as scrap, but it contains useful parts such as a complete scintillator imaging and capture/control computer  :-+ This may be used in other X-Ray cabinets. The units lead content has decent scrap value if stripped out of the cabinet.

I am undecided on the future of this unit. It may become one of my many retirement projects as returning it to working order and testing it for leakage is well within my capabilities. Obtaining the correct HV oil will be the first challenge and I very much doubt that Todd Research will want to tell me what they use  ;D Any commonly available HV oil suggestions welcomed.

If all else fails I will scrap the cabinet and keep the computer plus imaging system for future use in X-Ray related projects. The computer controls the X-Ray generator via a simple opto-isolator PCB and does all the exposure and image capture stuff automatically. The huge lump of leaded glass + scintillator will also be useful to have around.

I will give this potential project some thought before deciding the units fate.

Aurora

Pictures to follow later
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 05:08:31 pm by Aurora »
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #73 on: January 25, 2015, 05:10:09 pm »
You can probably use regular transformer oil, and just vacuum degas it before putting it in the unit, so it is gas free and dry. Contact one of the larger oil suppliers and ask for a transformer oil suitable for 132kV transformers, which will most likely only be available in a 25l drum at the smallest quantity, otherwise you will be buying a 210l drum of it. Sealed it will keep for decades though, and if you decant a small amount and flush the empty space at the top with dry nitrogen or argon ( pure argon welding gas, not a mix of Ar and CO2, though Ar and He mix will be fine) before replacing the bung it will still stay dry and oxygen free.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #74 on: January 25, 2015, 07:42:54 pm »
Thanks SeanB. I will do some investigating on the oil supplier front.

The unit runs at 80kVp.

I just fired up the embedded PC. It boots fine, only complaining that the "door is open"....... not surprising as it is out of the cabinet. It is running XP embedded and a keyboard gains me access to the BIOS set-up. The Todd BASIX software is still there and running fine  :)

Motherboard is a VIA EPIA-M
BIOS used is Phoenix-AwardBIOS V6.00PG
CPU is VIA C3 'NEHEMIAH' 1.0A (1GHz)
Ram fitted = 256Mb

http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/boards/81/1/EPIA_M_%28EOL%29.html

Not exactly a power PC  ;D

Manual is to be found here:

http://diagramasde.com/diagramas/otros2/UM_EPIA-M_150.pdf

The Via C3 Nehemiah CPU is an interesting little processor. Designed for low power rather than speed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VIA_C3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_VIA_C3_microprocessors

The PC's parallel and USB ports are used to interface to the X-Ray cabinet. A dedicated video capture card grabs the images from the Watec WAT902B CCD camera via the CCIR analogue signal.

There is an image stored on the SSD. It is a battery powered drill. The resolution of the image is less than impressive when compared to the Faxitron MX-20 images. My gut feeling is that mail scanner X-Ray machines that use analogue CCTV cameras such as the WAT902B will be found very lacking in image detail and sharp edges. It is likely possible to improve matters with a different camera and as there is nothing special about the Watec unit it should be possible to use a higher spec modern DSP unit. It just feeds a continuous video stream to the video capture card with no other control over the camera. The WAT902B is pretty sensitive however (570TVL - 0.003Lux @F1.4))

I am tempted to do a restoration of the BASIX30 unit as there is nothing irreversible about what has been done to it. Straightening the Generator mounting plate will likely be the greatest challenge. With the HV oil sourced I should be able to at least fire the unit up from a safe distance to see if there is still life in the tube and EHT circuits within the generator head. If not, its a bust and the Programmed PC will be the main 'win' in this scrap unit.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 09:37:29 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #75 on: January 25, 2015, 07:57:19 pm »
Might be worth asking on the UK tesla coil list if anyone has any tx oil, or knows where you can buy sensible quantities.
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #76 on: January 25, 2015, 09:34:47 pm »
Thanks Mike, will do.

I have some more detail to my post as well. The little PC is quite a fun little unit. Completely stock so I could use it as an embedded PC for other projects if the X-Ray use does not work out. I am also now aware of what a VIA C3 Nehemiah processor is and what it can do. Its an interesting CPU that has been tuned for embedded use and follows some of the RISC methodology in its design. Pretty clever of VIA to aim at a specific area of the market where they could produce what the target audience wanted without competing with the big boys AMD and Intel. It is still a very slow CPU by modern standards though. Good enough for an X-Ray machine however  :)

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 10:30:21 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #77 on: January 25, 2015, 09:47:40 pm »
Before putting any work in, probably worth at least checking that the tube filament is intact.
Probably little risk of it not being gas intact as it would be full of oil if not.
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #78 on: January 25, 2015, 10:26:59 pm »
Filiment already checked and OK :-+  Transforner in the head could be toast but that's a chance I will have to take. No access to the inside of the generator head is possible as it is a large lead box, soldered on all sides.

I found a decent company named eden oil who will supply transformer oil. I note from the specs that it is good to 40kV before drying and >70kV after. I have read that heating the oil before pouring it into the generator removes much of the moisture and adding a Vacuum is even more effective. Hot oil is nasty stuff though so I will need to do some planning. Is it worth the effort I wonder ? Hmmm not sure. I can likely get another mail scanner for not a lot of money so will not be spending much on this one.

http://www.edenoil.co.uk/store/6/transformer-insulating-liquid/order_desc?gclid=CJXcobeUsMMCFcSWtAod2y4ARg

I am looking at around GBP50 inc VAT for recycled transformer oil or GBP84 for new.

I am so spoilt with the high resolution MX-20 that my enthusiasm for low resolution X-Ray mail scanners has waned somewhat.

A project that will have to wait me thinks.

Readers of this thread looking for an X-Ray capability may wish to think carefully before buying an X-Ray mail scanner...... the resolution needed for electronics and detailed imagery is just not present in such units as it is not a necessity for the task that they perform. The FAXITRON products are high resolution for detail work and diagnostics. The down side is the poor penetration through metals.

I just checked what the lead is worth in the Mail scanner.....£0.60 per kg (2015 scrap price) and I reckon there is at least 100kg of lead in it. £60 scrap at worst  :-+

http://www.greengatemetals.co.uk/scrapmetal/prices/

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 10:39:40 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #79 on: January 26, 2015, 03:23:29 am »
I decided to invest approx £30 in the mail scanner unit to see if the X-Ray generator works.

After some investigation and searching on the WWW I tracked down a UK supplier of transformer oil in quantities of 5L  :) I have ordered it.

http://dwyforoils.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=210

GBP19 +VAT + Postage. Not too bad

I have also read that 100% pure mineral oil from a chemist will work up to 220kV with ease when used to insulate a  voltage multiplier ladder. But then distances between EHT p.d's may be greater on those. The pure mineral oil costs roughly £11 per litre, so the Dwyfor oil is actually a lot cheaper and I should have plenty spare for other HV projects.

My intended approach is to heat the oil to drive off any moisture and then let it cool before applying a low vacuum to the generator and then after an hour allowing the oil to be pulled in via a pipe connected to the second filler port. Should be good fun and a new area in which to gain experience. Fortunately I have the perfect vacuum pump as well. It uses an oscillating double ended piston that is driven by a field coil. It auto limits when its maximum vacuum has been reached (the piston just travels a shorter stroke until the vacuum is released again). I just knew I would find a use for that pump one day :)

As stated, this project isn't my highest priority at the moment but I don't think I am going to be able to keep away from it for long  ;D

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 03:33:45 am by Aurora »
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Offline coppice

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #80 on: January 26, 2015, 06:44:35 am »
I have also read that 100% pure mineral oil from a chemist will work up to 220kV with ease when used to insulate a  voltage multiplier ladder. But then distances between EHT p.d's may be greater on those. The pure mineral oil costs roughly £11 per litre, so the Dwyfor oil is actually a lot cheaper and I should have plenty spare for other HV projects.
Any oil will work up to 220kV is you have enough of it.  :) If the equipment has been built to be compact it has probably been built with the expectation of using a custom insulation oil. It might even require a silicone oil, which is usually used in the most compact systems (e.g my own experience with airborne radars). Insulation oils can be seriously hygroscopic, especially the silicone ones. Unless you seal the chamber well after drying the oil, your high voltage chamber can quite quickly regain a cheery glow when operating.  :)
My intended approach is to heat the oil to drive off any moisture and then let it cool before applying a low vacuum to the generator and then after an hour allowing the oil to be pulled in via a pipe connected to the second filler port. Should be good fun and a new area in which to gain experience. Fortunately I have the perfect vacuum pump as well. It uses an oscillating double ended piston that is driven by a field coil. It auto limits when its maximum vacuum has been reached (the piston just travels a shorter stroke until the vacuum is released again). I just knew I would find a use for that pump one day :)
I think you have to heat the oil a lot if you want that to drive off moisture. Low pressure is the key thing. If your high voltage chamber can stand the low pressure, you may be able to dry the oil out in place with a vacuum pump. We used to transfer the oil to a separate oil drying machine. It was basically a lower pressure chamber. It heated the oil while the vacuum was applied, but I think was just to speed things up by reducing viscosity on a cold day. I think only the vacuum was essential. That machine monitored what was coming out of the oil, so it could tell when the process had run to completion. It ran for quite a while, but it was years ago, and I can't remember just long it took.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #81 on: January 26, 2015, 10:46:35 am »

My intended approach is to heat the oil to drive off any moisture and then let it cool before applying a low vacuum to the generator
Do you know that the generator housing is designed to withstand a vacuum?
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #82 on: January 26, 2015, 01:37:28 pm »
@Mike,

Well it is certainly a hefty beast and I recall that it is steel, covered in thick lead so the outer case should be fine. The X-Ray tube sits in its own separate sealed section that is still filled with oil. I can see a small air bubble in the generator output window when the unit is inverted (not inside the tube though)  :)

I was intending to pull a low vacuum on it, not high enough to distort the case. The inductive linear piston pump I mentioned is not capable of such dramatic pressure differentials.

Thanks for thinking of that risk though.

Aurora.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 03:41:19 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #83 on: January 26, 2015, 01:41:19 pm »
@coppice,

Thanks for the information. I will not heat the oil as that was something I was not keen on. I will pull a light vacuum on the unit and capture moisture in an in line dessicant pack. I can leave the pump running for days if needs be as it is 24/7 rated. All good fun.

When all is said and done, if I fail, I have learned much and lost only £30  :) Plus I can still use the left over oil for voltage multipliers  ;D

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 03:39:34 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #84 on: January 26, 2015, 08:15:34 pm »
For those interested to see the internals of the Todd Research Basix30 mail scanner I attach some pictures showing the interior and damage to mine.
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #85 on: January 26, 2015, 08:17:50 pm »
 The Todd Research X-Ray Generator.....
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #86 on: January 26, 2015, 08:20:57 pm »
Saved image found on Todd Research Basix30 and captured with my camera viewing the LCD monitor so expect artifacts ! Gives an idea of the image detail, or lack there-of !
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #87 on: January 26, 2015, 09:04:42 pm »
For anyone needing a description of the Basix30 layout.......

Top down

X-Ray generator emitting downwards into inspection chamber
Inspection chamber for DUT
Scintillator plate
Lead glass plate screen for camera
Camera looking vertically through lead glass at image on scintillator plate
Power supply section for generator, PC & camera.
Embedded PC controlling Generator & image capture from camera

And that's all there is to it  :)

A camera viewing a scintillator plate that is illuminated by an X-Ray source.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 01:25:34 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #88 on: January 27, 2015, 04:14:43 pm »
Good service from the Transformer Oil supplier. 5 Litre container of EXOL insulating oil arrived this morning  :)
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 04:18:06 pm by Aurora »
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #89 on: January 27, 2015, 08:06:10 pm »
I needed 2l of oil a few years ago, so got the 25l drum. Finally have been using it as a light lubrication oil, and as an air mist lubricant for pneumatic parts at work. Finally got the last 5l drum nearly empty now. Even gave 10l to the metro guys one evening doing an oil change, as they were short on their 210l drum, having used all of it during the day on other jobs. Was either that or them leaving the job till the next day to fill, doing the routine filtering and dewatering of the transformer supplying the neighbourhood. You have some that sits in the filter and the vacuum boiler. Amazing the sludge that can build up at the bottom of the tank.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2015, 08:25:02 pm »
I was very pleased to be able to buy just 5L instead of 25L. I already have a stockpile of motor oil for my Moke etc and don't need a large tank of transformer oil at the moment. I believe that my supplier just decants 5L into their own bottle from a larger drum. It may cost a little more per litre but I am certainly happy.

This little project has caused me to do some on-line research on removing molecule level water from oil...... most interesting I must say. I now know that a vacuum is applied in order to lower the boiling point of the water so that less heat may be applied to evaporate out the water, leaving the oil unharmed or degraded. The vacuum dehydrators are specialist kit and said to be uneconomic for all but the most serious of oil users. It is also possible to remove the water by heating the oil to over 100C for a short period of time. Not without risk to me or the oil however. I will need to read the specs on the flash point etc. I have a laboratory hotplate that can go to 220C so maybe that would be of use. An air dryer is also used and air fed into the drying chamber to collect the water vapour. I have no such capability. I can either heat the oil to say 110C for a while and leave the water to escape, or I can place the oil in an air tight container, Vac it down as much as possible and heat that until water would easily boil off. I can do a test with just water in the vessel and watch it.

http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/503/removing-water-in-oil

I believe I would still need to vac down the Generator in order to ensure that the oil fills any air voids in the EHT transformer.

This is a job for a day when I have plenty of patience and time !

What a PITA that the oil was removed from the Generator  >:(  On a positive note the original oil would have been circa 2006 so the unit may benefit from  new 'dry' oil.

If nothing else, this Mail Scanner has introduced me to the world of dewatering transformer oil  ;D

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 04:33:43 am by Aurora »
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #91 on: January 27, 2015, 08:48:49 pm »
Get an old pressure cooker 9 a small one) and replace the vent with a pipe fitting that fits your vacuum pump, then fill with oil, place on a stove and heat to 100c then vacuum for an hour or two, then turn off the heat and leave under vacuum overnight. That should dewater it well, though you will have to be careful of it foaming up initially as it degasses. Then suck into the unit as you were going to and vacuum it as well. that should give a very dry oil. Tip during the transfer is to use a diesel fuel filter to remove solid components in the oil. New sealed filter used dry, and the new piping washed out with IPA to get the dirt out. That will clean it nicely.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #92 on: January 27, 2015, 08:55:20 pm »
Thanks SeanB  :-+  Great plan, and one that I will follow.

Aurora
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #93 on: January 28, 2015, 01:33:22 pm »
A useful little accessory for use with X-Ray machines arrived today

Gammex produces test grids and resolution test pieces for the testing and alignment of X-Ray machines. They are normally horribly expensive, and not very common on the secondary market.

http://www.goldwei.com/products/item.asp?itemid=118&catid=3

I saw such a test piece on e*ay and snapped it up as it can be used to check focus and also ensure that the resolution is at least as good as the test piece maximum lp/mm specification.

The test piece is constructed from a 0.1mm thick lead foil, encased in plastic. The plastic provides rigidity and protects the fragile resolution grating.

My test piece only goes down to 5lp/mm but is certainly adequate for my needs. DIY 'minimum wire gauge' test pieces may be built using various diameters of wire laid side by side on a rigid frame such as that used for 35mm slides. I have yet to get around to making one.

For interest I attach pictures of the test piece but please be aware that the image resolution is limited to 640x480 !

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 02:14:56 pm by Aurora »
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #94 on: January 28, 2015, 01:48:03 pm »
Just saw this interesting looking (but not cheap) Faxitron DX-50 on ebay, any good?
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/FAXITRON-X-RAY-DIGITAL-BIOPSY-SYSTEM-DX-50-DC-2-/231462884875
No PC it seems.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #95 on: January 28, 2015, 02:26:18 pm »
Sorry Dave, Walk away  :(

1. If it was all there (which it isn't) you would need the dedicated PC interface card to access the camera.
2. You would also need the Faxitron DR software that I am using... that could be arranged  ;)
3. The camera is the smaller version of my DC44. The DC2 is IIRC a 2"x 2" unit.
4. The real killer...... the DC-2 camera does not appear to be present. It would normally sit under that black square visible in the underside images. The missing bottom plate shows that it has been either raided for parts or decommissioned. The X-Ray tube could also be disabled or missing  :(

A heavy paperwight.... and an expensive one at that !

The DX50 was designed for very small biopsy work and the small size of its inspection chamber would be VERY limiting indeed. It is also completely PC driven and will not power the X-Ray generator unless commanded to do so via the software.  It is basically missing the front panel thathe MX-20 has.

Aurora
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #96 on: January 28, 2015, 03:02:32 pm »
Sorry Dave, Walk away  :(

1. If it was all there (which it isn't) you would need the dedicated PC interface card to access the camera.
2. You would also need the Faxitron DR software that I am using... that could be arranged  ;)
3. The camera is the smaller version of my DC44. The DC2 is IIRC a 2"x 2" unit.
4. The real killer...... the DC-2 camera does not appear to be present. It would normally sit under that black square visible in the underside images. The missing bottom plate shows that it has been either raided for parts or decommissioned. The X-Ray tube could also be disabled or missing  :(

A heavy paperwight.... and an expensive one at that !

The DX50 was designed for very small biopsy work and the small size of its inspection chamber would be VERY limiting indeed. It is also completely PC driven and will not power the X-Ray generator unless commanded to do so via the software.  It is basically missing the front panel thathe MX-20 has.

Aurora
Maybe worth PMing this guy :
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/help-faxitron-dx-50-specimen-x-ray-system/msg421306/#msg421306

I don't see a camera inside that unit - looks like it's been removed
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #97 on: January 30, 2015, 05:00:01 pm »
X-Ray DOSIMETER Choice


As has been stated already in this thread, correct procedures and equipment are important when operating X-Ray equipment. With this in mind I did a review of my dosimeters to ensure that they were appropriate for use with the Faxitron and Mail scanner.

The sad truth is that most Geiger Muller based dosimeters are pretty much useless when used with X-Ray energies of less than 30KeV and even that level is too low for many meters. It should be understood that a meter with a detection capability of >50keV will not provide any meaningful reading when exposed to a 30keV X-Ray field. Always look for the keV capability rather than just the uSv specification !

My dosimeters are right on the edge of detection at 30keV, so I decided it was time for something better that matches my Faxitron's output.

Some research pointed me in the direction of the Thermo EPD MK2 range of dosimeters. The standard version is designed to detect and measure Gamma, Beta and X-Ray radiation at energies as low as 15 keV, which is perfect for use with the Faxitron.  Various tests by official bodies have proven the EPD Mk2 unit to be very effective at low keV levels, unlike many other brands of unit. It uses three special pin diodes as the detectors rather than an ionisation chamber or Geiger Muller tube.

There are two down sides to the Thermo EPD however......

1. Price. They cost around $1000 each new.
2. Software configuration - the software costs $1000

Those prices are not hobbyist friendly but it is a health and safety device and such tend to be expensive.

I managed to find a new unit on ebay and negotiated a price of £200 which is still quite a sum but what value your health eh ?

Now to the software issue........ The Thermo EPD is quite a sophisticated device that can work stand-alone or as part of a monitored collection of units as in a  team situation. The software contains a database and graphing software showing dose readings over time. Pretty useful but not cheap at $1000. The other issue is that the software can configure the dosimeter and disable some menu options to prevent tampering. That is all very well until you buy a used unit that has had its menus disabled ! As standard, the EPD can be configured using its built in menus, if these have been disabled to prevent tampering, the unit is basically locked to a specific configuration.

The EPD Mk2 communicates with a PC vis an IRDA interface so hopefully that part of the software control is not a problem. My unit should come in standard unlocked condition but just in case it doesn't, I have managed to obtain the EPD software.

Once the unit arrives I will advise on the Thermo EPD performance and whether I can access it via the software version that I have. Watch this space.

If anyone is thinking of buying a decent low keV capable Dosimeter, look out for the Thermo EPD Mk2 and NOT the Mk1 which is an old Siemens version that is a nightmare to control.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 05:10:15 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #98 on: January 30, 2015, 06:19:28 pm »
Radiation test source

Further to my comments on a Dosimeter, it is also a good idea to have a radiation test source with which to check your dosimeter.

Some Dosimeters come with a test source but most do not. A used one is very unlikely to come with such. So where do you get one from ?

I have come across two easily obtainable radiation test sources

1) Fiesta Orange or Red crockery from Circa 1930 Uranium glaze  - Alpha emitter
2) The Americium 241 source installed in an ionisation smoke detector- Alpha emitter

The Fiesta crockery may be found on ebay for a few pounds per square inch, or maybe find some in a thrift / charity shops ? It is more common in the USA than UK.

The ionisation chamber of any ionisation type smoke detector contains a small gold coloured pellet of Americium 241 at the bottom of the chamber. You can extract the chamber and use it without the top shield as a test source. A word of warning, the bulk purchase of ionisation smoke detectors can attract the attention of your local authorities ! They are also a banned product in some countries due to their radioactive content.

The above freely available and safe radiation sources are legal to own and use but you must not ingest the source in any way as it is a harmful Alpha emitter, that once inside your body is very bad news.

Both are Alpha emitters but they also produce Gamma or Beta radiation as a bi-product. They work well when used with Geiger counters and other types of radiation dosimeters that can detect Alpha, Beta or Gamma radiation.

I understand that unused 'new old stock' gas mantles are also used as radiation test sources as they contain radioactive Thorium. I have not tested such however. The Thorium impregnated types are apparently now illegal in the USA.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 06:32:19 pm by Aurora »
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Offline TopLoser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #99 on: January 30, 2015, 06:41:50 pm »
I can never miss a chance!

Found one of these in a corner under my desk...

http://en-us.fluke.com/products/hvac-iaq-tools/fluke-481.html#techspecs

Detects radiation 7KeV and above.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #100 on: January 30, 2015, 06:57:02 pm »
About drying oil, my chemical experience tells me that this will be a rate based process, and that the process will be sped up by increasing the rate of mass transfer. For instance if you just leave the oil to sit under a vacuum, even with the encouragement of heating, the dissolved water will only be able to leave if it reaches the surface by diffusion. This will happen eventually, but it may take some time.

To speed up the process, stirring or agitation may help as it will expose new oil to the surface at a greater rate. If you bubbled dry gas through the oil the moisture would migrate into the dry gas bubbles (welding gas?) and be carried out and away with the escaping gas. The gas bubbles would also produce some mild agitation to promote mixing and bringing all the oil into contact with the bubbles. Obviously warming would also help to speed things up.

I have no actual experience of doing this with transformer oil, but theory indicates it would be a reasonable approach. Of course heating under vacuum may be quite satisfactory too. This is just an alternative to consider.

Note: For gas bubbling, efficiency is increased by having a large number of small bubbles (maximum surface area) rather than a few large ones. An aquarium bubbler might be a possibility. (Of course, gas bubbling might dissolve gas in the oil, which might also be undesirable. If the oil needs to be de-gassed, then vacuum, heating, and perhaps agitation will be the only solution.)
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 07:58:06 pm by IanB »
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #101 on: January 30, 2015, 07:49:52 pm »
@IanB,

Many Thanks for the comment on oil drying.

Aurora
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #102 on: January 31, 2015, 10:40:18 am »
I bought a lot of cheap gas mantles at the local China mall, and they are a little above background level. They were sub $1 per dozen, so you might want to go to the nearest Poundland and get a few packs of the cheapest mantles to try. About the only time you really want to get a counterfeit product.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #103 on: January 31, 2015, 10:54:40 am »
Thanks for the tip.
I have been doing some Googling on Thorium and its derivatives.
The down side to gas mantles is that the Thorium used in them has a half life of less than 2 years. An occasion when new old stock may prove unfit for purpose.
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #104 on: January 31, 2015, 06:30:16 pm »
Well the Thermo EPD Mk2 arrived today.

The quality is excellent, as you would expect with such a safety device. The unit is totally unlocked so all facilities and menus are present. The unit is pretty sophisticated in that it has two dose types, multiple alarms and user settable alarm thresholds. This combine with its ability to store accumulated H10 and H07 dose, total dose and dose rate. A comprehensive dosimeter that offers even more when connected to a PC for data downloading. I will connect to my PC once I find my trusty RS232 IRDA dongle that the EasyEPD software requires.

I attach the first pictures of my unit. Sadly there will be no tear down as these units are known to contain a lot of shielding that is not easily re-assembled without affecting performance of the unit. I have attached a couple of pictures from an e*ay sale of the similar EPD1 PCB.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 06:44:02 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #105 on: February 01, 2015, 12:22:21 am »
Well the easyEDP software test went badly.

I have the correct Actisys ACT-IR220L+ IRDA dongle but it turns out the software I have is for the earlier EPD1 dosimeter. The software just ignores the EDP2  :(

I have written to Thermo Scientific to ask whether a trial version of the easyEDP2 software is still available. I understand that such did once exist.

My unit will work fine in stand alone mode as I can configure it and zero the dose count etc, but I cannot produce dose trend graphs etc. No great shakes but a pity all the same.

If thinking of buying a EPD2 or any modern dosimeter, ensure that it is not locked down in any way as it would appear expensive software is needed for configuration on these things to remove such restrictions.

Aurora
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #106 on: March 03, 2015, 04:25:32 pm »
Uh Oh, I have been buying potentially dangerous stuff again  :palm:

I have just taken delivery of a Philips/Gendex Oralix AC 65S Dental X-Ray System, complete  >:D

I could not resist the unit because it comes with everything except the often missing Collimator tube. Not fussed about that as it is easy to build and of little use in my application anyway (it tightly contains the beam to minimise the X-Ray dose to which the patient is exposed. It is not my intention to ever be in the beam when the unit is operating !

This system design has been around a good many years and is a pretty good basis for experimentation. It is compact, relatively light and simple to operate. Maximum exposure level is safety limited to 3.5 Seconds and normal exposures are up to 2.5 seconds. The head runs at a fixed 65kVp with 7.5mA current through the tube. the output is filtered with aluminium to remove the soft X-Ray content. You can see the filter at the centre of the output port in the attached picture.

These units were originally named the Dens-O-Mat and made by Philips. They went on to be manufactured by the venerable Gendex of Milan, Italy. The controller bears the name Dens-O-Mat yet the head is named the Oralix  :-// Mine is the 65kVp version as already stated and so the ID is '65S'. Such systems still command relatively high prices on the secondary market. You are lucky to get a working one complete will all parts, in the UK, for less than £1000 ($1500). Repairing a faulty Oralix head is not something I would recommend. Messy and difficult. Another bit of good fortune is the fact that the user and service manuals are available for free download on the internet. Good for if/when things go wrong  :)

I won this one for a more budget friendly £237 via an e*ay auction  :) it was delivered by the seller in a Mecedes so no risk of transit damage. This is something to be considered when buying dental X-Ray heads...... they tend to be fragile and do not travel well if dropped !

The unit that I have purchased is the free standing version so it has a trolley rig that supports the articulated arm and associated X-Ray generator head. Its all counter balanced by strong springs in the arms so the head is light as a feather to move around. I will attach a picture of the full system that I found on the web. I have yet to put my trolley together. It all looks in very good condition and I believe the Oralix head is newer than the rest of the rig. The build date is 2005 yet the box shipping label states 2011. (Old stock ?) Either way, the head is in great condition with no damage.

It goes without saying that a dental X-ray head comes with some serious health and safety issues as there is no beam containment and and no safety interlocks to shut the beam off if a person walks into it by accident. As such, this is not a toy. It has to be used in accordance with Dental X-Ray best practice and this is easily found on the web. The room in which it is deployed must be a controlled space to prevent the innocent wandering in and being irradiated. The beam must not illuminate areas that contain life, including pets. In some cases the room is lead lined to meet this criteria. The user of such equipment must be educated in safe usage of such open site equipment (I am formally trained for using such equipment). The use of such equipment for experimentation can lead to accidental illumination of the user. For this reason I highly recommend that the user is either X-Ray badge monitored or equipped with a quality X-Ray dosimeter that works at <45KeV (Kev is less than kVp due to losses). OK that is the warning bit, I have to say it as these units are potentially bad for your health if misused and I wouldn't wish that upon you dear reader.

I will be taking the covers off of the units but the head is pretty uninteresting as it is basically a lead shielded cylinder with only the connections visible. I shall not be dismantling this perfectly good X-Ray generator any time soon. The control panel is not just a single timer. It contains the 'warm-up' phase pulse generator and a multi setting pre-set timer that can have its timings globally adjusted to suit the patient age and film speed. There is only the controller and the head in this system. No external power supply unit or other messy parts needed.

I intend to use this X-Ray generator in experiments illuminating various X-Ray intensifier screens whilst observing the performance via CCTV. I will also be experimenting with image capture using digital cameras and specialist analogue cameras designed for the task (Ex EOD equipment).

I may also be doing some tests on Geiger Muller tubes and meters but that is a low priority for me.

An open site X-Ray generator can be very useful if you have the correct environs and a suitable mobile detector plate. I lack the latter at the moment so will be developing my own using intensifier and electronic camera techniques.

Pictures of unit (as received) attached.

Aurora
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 04:54:35 pm by Aurora »
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Offline dexters_lab

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #107 on: March 03, 2015, 07:47:58 pm »
nice  :-+

i have looked at dental xray before, thankfully i always close the browser tab and say "no no no!"
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 09:50:44 pm by dexters_lab »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #108 on: March 03, 2015, 08:11:08 pm »
They are normally too expensive and incomplete for me to even consider. I am under no illusions that this is my most risky X-Ray source so it will be used with the greatest of care. As I have stated, I do not recommend open site X-Ray for casual use. The safer cabinet type X-Ray inspection systems are far better, as they are normally intrinsically safe. It should also be noted that this Dental X-Ray generator has a 0.7mm spot size, and so is not that good for high resolution imaging. i.e. it is not equipped with a microfocus tube.

Aurora
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Offline dexters_lab

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #109 on: March 03, 2015, 10:18:11 pm »
Radiation test source

Further to my comments on a Dosimeter, it is also a good idea to have a radiation test source with which to check your dosimeter.

Some Dosimeters come with a test source but most do not. A used one is very unlikely to come with such. So where do you get one from ?

I have come across two easily obtainable radiation test sources

1) Fiesta Orange or Red crockery from Circa 1930 Uranium glaze  - Alpha emitter
2) The Americium 241 source installed in an ionisation smoke detector- Alpha emitter

The Fiesta crockery may be found on ebay for a few pounds per square inch, or maybe find some in a thrift / charity shops ? It is more common in the USA than UK.

The ionisation chamber of any ionisation type smoke detector contains a small gold coloured pellet of Americium 241 at the bottom of the chamber. You can extract the chamber and use it without the top shield as a test source. A word of warning, the bulk purchase of ionisation smoke detectors can attract the attention of your local authorities ! They are also a banned product in some countries due to their radioactive content.

The above freely available and safe radiation sources are legal to own and use but you must not ingest the source in any way as it is a harmful Alpha emitter, that once inside your body is very bad news.

Both are Alpha emitters but they also produce Gamma or Beta radiation as a bi-product. They work well when used with Geiger counters and other types of radiation dosimeters that can detect Alpha, Beta or Gamma radiation.

I understand that unused 'new old stock' gas mantles are also used as radiation test sources as they contain radioactive Thorium. I have not tested such however. The Thorium impregnated types are apparently now illegal in the USA.

Aurora

thorium enriched mantles are hard to find now, enriched welding rods also have thorium in them, both often carry a radioactive premium price on ebay.

TBH if you want a decent source, just get some uranium mineral, i picked up a nice piece from ebay which was shipped for £25 from the USA. I have seen 8000CPM on mine with it right up against my mightyohm counter which has a exposed tube.

americium is a good sample to have, it's alpha particles are of enough energy to generate detectable xrays

uranium glass is sold on ebay without the 'radioactive premium' price as antique glassware, it's not particularly active, about 3x background

proper sources seem to be really expensive here in the uk it seems

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #110 on: March 17, 2015, 05:05:54 pm »
Whilst searching for something unrelated, I stumbled upon an interesting story about a radiation incident in Italy. It made fascinating reading and I thought readers of this thread might like to read it as well:

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2011/12/features/mystery-box/viewall

I have always considered isotopes something best avoided. After reading this story I suspect many will agree with me ! I know a couple of medical recycling companies and have already warned them about opening anything that may contain a radioactive isotope source. Nasty stuff if you you get an unexpected one in your auction lot ! The cost of correct disposal could bankrupt a small company.

Aurora
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 05:18:11 pm by Aurora »
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Offline TopLoser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #111 on: March 17, 2015, 05:21:37 pm »
Whilst searching for something unrelated, I stumbled upon an interesting story about a radiation incident in Italy. It made fascinating reading and I thought readers of this thread might like to read it as well:

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2011/12/features/mystery-box/viewall

I have always considered isotopes something best avoided. After reading this story I suspect many will agree with me ! I know a couple of medical recycling companies and have already warned them about opening anything that may contain a radioactive isotope source. Nasty stuff if you you get an unexpected one in your auction lot ! The cost of correct disposal could bankrupt a small company.

Aurora

This story always sends a chill down my back... it makes for incredible reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goi%C3%A2nia_accident

 

Offline jaxbird

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #112 on: March 17, 2015, 05:41:26 pm »
Analog Discovery Projects: http://www.thestuffmade.com
Youtube random project videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheStuffMade
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #113 on: March 17, 2015, 05:45:14 pm »
@Toploser

Indeed, I know that factual story well.

The part of it where child covers herself in the 'pretty blue glowing powder' shocked me to the core. Virtually certain death, as occurred. A really good example of what can happen when medical equipment containing dangerous Isotopes lose their management and are lost or stolen. The stuff of nightmares for scrap metal dealers receiving anonymous piles of scrap equipment or parts.

Makes my Faxitron a real pussycat by comparison but I still have the greatest of respect for its X-Ray output.

Aurora
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #114 on: March 17, 2015, 06:50:22 pm »
I think it's a great shame that we've ended up having the same symbols for x-rays and isotopes, as the potential hazards are so different, especially when outside their normal working environment.
It wouldn't surprise me if it's not even required to put the poison symbol on isotope sources, which might be a little more recognisable.



 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #115 on: March 17, 2015, 07:13:11 pm »
Mike,

There is a new sign designed for deployment inside equipment that contains hazardous isotopes. It is supposed to be a pictagram rather than a symbol. I have yet to see it in the real world but then I do not get involved with Isotope equipment now so no surprises there eh  :)

The new label is shown top left in the attached image.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at the meeting where that new sign was designed and agreed. My interpretation of the meaning is..... 'STUFF' is coming after you to turn you into bones....run rabbit run  ;D

Aurora

 
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 07:17:05 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #116 on: March 17, 2015, 08:37:02 pm »
I wonder how close an international symbol you could get for
"This thing will F***ing kill you and your family"
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #117 on: December 07, 2015, 11:56:59 pm »
As this thread does not have a set of internal pictures (rather than video) I thought I would add some.

I inspected the X-Ray generator of my spare Faxitron MX-20 and took the opportunity to take some photographs. This unit does not have the Digital Camera in the bottom as it is a 1999 film only unit. The cabinet and X-Ray Generator is the same as the later MX-20 Digital models.

I noted two inner cover screws were missing and and others were loose. I feared the unit had been tampered with but it was not the case. The missing and loose screws appear to be the result of a 'tech' fitting a new Microfocus X-Ray tube. The MX-20 was built in 1999 yet teh X-Ray tube is dated 2008. Obviously the tube has been replaced. It is a pity that the tech was less than professional when it came to reassembly. The unit works fine though.

Pictures follow:

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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #118 on: December 07, 2015, 11:59:28 pm »
More pictures
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #119 on: December 08, 2015, 12:01:21 am »
More pictures
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Offline kilohercas

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #120 on: January 30, 2017, 06:53:17 pm »


Here is my new toy
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #121 on: January 31, 2017, 09:09:35 am »
Thanks for taking the time to document the internal parts of your unit.

Fraser
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Offline LukeW

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #122 on: February 10, 2017, 03:30:57 am »
So I guess the UK is relatively liberal in terms of ownership of X-ray sources without licensing and regulatory paperwork?
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #123 on: February 10, 2017, 08:58:41 am »
So I guess the UK is relatively liberal in terms of ownership of X-ray sources without licensing and regulatory paperwork?
AFAIK there is no regulation in the UK covering ownership or sale of equipment.
The legislation is somewhat unclear over usage,  however consensus seems to be that use in a non-business scenario is not subject to regulation, though I'm not entirely convinced.
It's one of those things that so few people do as a hobby that nobody had addressed it. Classic case of keeping below the radar. I'm sure if someone did a video showing someone doing something stupid, they may get a knock on the door, but someone using an enclosed system is unlikely to have issues as these are inherently pretty harmless.
 
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Offline KE5FX

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #124 on: March 05, 2017, 07:18:07 am »
I don't suppose anyone has played with the RadEye sensors used by some of the MX-20s?  There are data sheets out there, but they're wrong in at least one respect (the frame-start input is active low, not active high).  Curious to hear what other surprises might be expected. 

Edit: this turns out not to be true.  Some other differences between the sensor's observed behavior and its data sheet gave rise to misleading measurements...
« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 01:13:00 am by KE5FX »
 

Offline calmissile

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #125 on: January 07, 2018, 03:45:11 am »
Mike,

I don't see an option for being able to send PM's.  Could you please email me at calmissile@gmail.com.  I am about to purchase an MX-20 and have a question.

Thanks

Doug
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #126 on: January 07, 2018, 03:44:07 pm »
Doug,

What is your question ? Maybe I can help as I have worked with the MX20 for a while.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/projects/the-x-ray-image-thread-by-aurora-various-electronics-via-x-ray-imaging/

If it relates to software....... there are options available depending upon the exact model of MX-20 and associated camera array.

Fraser
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 03:48:54 pm by Fraser »
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Offline mark88

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #127 on: March 07, 2018, 10:26:53 am »
Hi Fraser,

I just bought a second hand TR15 from 2011 circa cheap at an online auction. Apparently I should be able to see wires of up to 36AWG (0.12mm diameter) but I am worried it won't be as good as the Faxitron-M20 in terms picture zoom/quality. According to this video, resolution doesn't seem so bad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq6YPxQRVDE. I hope it doesn't have the same watec camera as yours =). Do you think a camera upgrade would be possible? I am just thinking ahead aka. plan B. Comitronics doesn't seem to have any decent high resolution cameras.

Cheers,

Mark 
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #128 on: March 07, 2018, 11:15:33 am »
I know the TR15 well from my working life as well as my hobby.

It must be understood that the Todd Research bag and post scanners are intended to discover unusual shapes and suspect wires inside packages. They were never intended for true high resolution X-Ray imaging. The resolution is much lower than the Faxitron MX-20 due to the technology used in the bag and mail scanners. On the up side, the TR15 has a large imaging plate and high X-Ray energy level.

To the technical stuff.....

The TR15 uses a conventional Toshiba X-Ray tube running at 75kVp. It is not a microfocus type tube so spot size is larger.

The imaging plate in the TR15 is a very thick piece of leaded glass with the scintillator sheet on the top surface. There is a layer of aluminium foil on top of the scintillator sheet. Both are easily damaged so are protected by a cover sheet. The scintillator sheet is nothing special and is the type commonly found in fluoroscopes because that is what the TR15 really is.

The image on the scintillator plate is captured using a high Sensitivity camera. The camera needs to be of high sensitivity and not just your average cctv module. Water produce such cameras, hence why such is used in the TR15. The composite video signal is passed to the embedded PC that contains a video capture card. You effectively have a sensitive CCTV camera and standard composite video in the image collection path. This limits the image resolution achievable.

IIRC, the embedded PC is running Win XP on an 4GB SSD module. The Todd Research software sets the capabilities of the particular model of X-Ray cabinet and features are activated via password protected options. The embedded PC is nothing special and the USB ports connect to the various control boards, keyboard and mouse.

The TR15 is an evolution of the standard Todd Research X-Ray fluorescence for which that company is well known. They have just added a sensitive CCTV camera and PC in place of the users eyes directly viewing the scintillator plate output.

My TR15 was dismantled by me and scrapped. It was just too large and heavy to keep. It had also been dropped on its front causing internal damage. I still have the Toshiba X-Ray tube, Embedded PC, Watec Camera and the interface board if spares are needed. The unit should serve you well for spotting hidden screws and the layout of PCB traces but do not expect too much from it. You can get optical magnification by moving the DUT closer to the X-Ray generator port but remember it is a cone of energy illuminating the imaging plate so DUT size is limited the higher you go in the cabinet.

Finally, BE CAREFUL ! The TR15 generates X-Ray using around 75kVp. It uses a lot of lead to contain that energy. Leaks can be dangerous if it is damaged.

Fraser
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Offline mark88

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #129 on: March 11, 2018, 11:38:17 pm »
Hi Fraser,

I have done some tests and the TR15 is not as bad as I thought. It goes through a 14 layer board in a breeze. I think the XRAY generator is ok for PCB reverse engineering however the scintillator/CCTV combo is a PITA as the pictures are really low in quality. Even though the generator is not micro-focus, you should be still able to get a sem-decent picture on the range of 0.1mm resolution with the right kit. Even when the board was almost next to the XRAY generator the picture was zoomed and out of focus. I own a Faxitron M-20 from 2005 with an EZ240 NBT XRAY scanner (http://www.ntbxray.com/products/digital_x_ray_scanner_technical_data.html) which is not as good as the Hamamatsu (less sensitive) but it can take energies of up to 160kV. I think not even a WATEC 1/2.8" WAT-2200 (http://www.wateccamerashop.com/watec-products/hd-sdi-camera/watec-wat-2200) would generate a semi decent picture. I will install the EZ240 inside the TR15 and use it to take pictures bypassing the Todd’s scintillator. I will let you how it goes. 
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #130 on: March 12, 2018, 12:06:58 am »
I know that EZ240 ...... the seller of such a unit asked me for advice on getting it running in the MX-20 he was selling. An interesting product that mechanically drives a linear X-Ray detector array across the imaging area of the X-Ray beam. A sort of X-Ray detector flat bed scanner idea.

Have you got the interface boards and PC for your EZ240 or maybe it is the unit I was asked to assess that only had the ribbon cables and scanner ?

I would be interested to hear how you get on with that scanner. I almost bought the EZ unit from my friend but common sense prevailed as I do not need it.

Fraser
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #131 on: March 12, 2018, 12:17:43 am »
On the topic of cameras etc.....

Any television or CCTV related camera will either be too insensitive or too low resolution for use in the TR15. A possible alternative is to remote control a Digital SLR or Bridge camera. Such needs to have a 'Bulb' capability with remote control. Older models are relatively cheap on eBay, especially Bridge cameras as there is not the issue of a separate and sometimes expensive lens. The scintilator should have reasonable resolution.

The built in camera is only composite video and around 470 TVL feeding into what is basically a CCTV composite video capture card. It is little wonder that the image produced is a little 'soft'. It us worth checking the focus on the Watec camera though. They can require minor adjustment to get the best possible focus.

The TR15 does offer the advantage of decent materials penetration as you have seen. 75kVp can produce a reasonably hard X-Ray energy beam.

Fraser
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 04:05:45 am by Fraser »
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Offline chris_leyson

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #132 on: March 12, 2018, 12:44:48 am »
Completely off topic but I was once asked if I wanted to invest is an x-ray source ? It got me wondering until I found out it was stables for an ex-racehourse  :palm:
 

Offline mark88

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #133 on: March 12, 2018, 09:57:04 am »
Hi Fraser,

I own the whole set: Faxitron MX-20, EZ240 -> flatbed scanner, power supply, ribbon cables, PCI card and software. The PITA is the 35kV generated by the MX-20. Not powerful enough to analyse some serious latest gen multi-layer boards. With regards to the camera focus, I think your theory is correct; probably the camera focus is optimised for objects located at circa 1m away from the source. Adjusting the focus shall probably give out better results.
 
re:”EZ240 inside TR15” my only worry would be how to pass the ribbon cables out the main chamber. One ribbon cable is used for data transfer whilst the other for power which is connected to an external power source. The TR15 door is quite tight so I either risk damaging the cables or creating a leak which I honestly wouldn’t want. If you have any ideas let me know.

Even if this problem is solved, another one would be to adjust exposure time so that the scanner has time to scan the area. Current time is set to roughly 6 seconds. However, this can solved by installing a small application controlled via ethernet which would send serial commands directly to the XRAY board modifying exposure time. A quick look at your pics suggest communication protocol is serial over USB. But I might be wrong.
 
I literally got the TR15 last week. I only did a couple of tests with it. I am going to wait for a Todd engineer to come over and check it out first. Just making sure it doesn’t have any leaks and it’s safe to use.   
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 10:05:43 am by mark88 »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #134 on: March 12, 2018, 12:25:50 pm »
Regarding the inspection of the unit by Todd...... a most excellent and sensible idea 👍 When dealing with a second hand X-Ray machine, it pats to be careful and have it checked for leaks.

Regarding the camera focus...... the lens is usually 'locked off" with the focus point at the surface of the scintillator (not the bottom of the 1" thick lead glass plate). The distance of the DUT from the X-Ray generator does effect DUT optical magnification, but you do lose definition. This is basically a shadow projection system so best image quality will occur at the closest point to the scintillator plate. The MX-20 is capable of providing both optical magnification and excellent image definition thanks to its Microfocus tube and high resolution imaging plate (camera array) the array is only 120mm x 120mm though. Your TR15 is creating an image of a far greater area and this will understandably reduce the available detail. My MX-20 produces a 2048 x 2048 pixel image over a 120mm x 120mm plate. Your TR15 is producing a maximum 640 x 480 pixel image over an area many times that of the MX-20 camera.

It should also be understood that the Hamamatsu X-Ray camera in the MX-20 employs scintillator coated pixels. That is to say, each of the light sensitive pixels has its very own coating of scintillator material in contact with its face. This provides maximum image quality from the array. The older Bioptics X-Ray camera used a more conventional scintillator sheet that was coupled to the light sensitive pixels using a micro channel light pipe plate. This still produced a very high quality imaging array but the losses and pixel crosstalk issues in the system were greater.

The ribbons coming out of the scanner head are a challenge. The TR15 has a tight fitting access door for goor reason. As stated, there is a lot of lead used in the area around the inspection chamber and that includes the door. Modifications to any part of the chamber or door are inadvisable unless you know exactly what you are doing and can test the unit afterwards. Cables and connectors can be added to the chamber walls but they need to be well shilrged with lead sheet to prevent X-Ray energy egress. To illustrate that point. Even the steel screw heads within the inspection chamber are covered in lead shielding.

The lower section of the cabinet is not lead lined as the X-Ray energy is contained within the inspection chamber using the lead sheet and thick leaded glass. The makes the lower section of the cabinet a relatively safe area for well thought through modifications. Any modification to the TR15 will cause Todd Research concern however and invalidate the cabinets design licence.

Fraser
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Offline mark88

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #135 on: March 12, 2018, 02:10:53 pm »
K so either the detector gets close to the XRAY source or the other way around =). This to avoid structural modifications which I would definitely not do. So I have two options here:

1) Buying a second hand micro-focus dental XRAY generator (65kV-75kV range) and remotely operate it whilst it’s inside the todd apparatus. Obviously the generator would stay really close to the detector. The TDR cage would absorb all XRAY energy.  This could be done with or without the EZ240.

2) Raise the EZ240 closer to the XRAY generator and have a mini-itx board just below with the PCI card installed. All cabling would be self-contained. A “small” battery would need to be used to keep power going to the mini-atx board and to the detector during the picture acquisition phase.

I will think about it.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 02:17:54 pm by mark88 »
 

Offline holko

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #136 on: December 22, 2018, 02:15:20 am »
Hi, apologies for hijacking this thread but I am still in the research stage so I'll try my luck here first.

So a few years ago I acquired a Faxitron MX 20 from a friend (I believe it is 2000-2003 vintage) and of course there was no computer ISA/PCI controller board supplied with it.

The main processing board consisting of primarily two CPLDs, some serial bus transceivers made by AMD ADCs and support circuits for two Kodak  KAF-1001 witch is epoxied to what I presume is a fibre optical splitter and scintillator.

Could anyone who have a similar system that match my description post a few pictures of the controller? A copy of the software would also help allot.

I'll post pictures of my system when I get home and finally have managed to dig it up from my basement.

Thanks a bunch!

Regards
Christian
 


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