Author Topic: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown  (Read 52830 times)

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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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Online Fraser

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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.
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

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
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
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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 »
Cogito, ergo sum
 

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 »
Cogito, ergo sum
 


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