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Sound Card Oscilloscope: Build Better Electronics Projects - Companion

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Sound Card Oscilloscope - Build Better Electronic Projects is in the Kindle store now.

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Sound card scope and calibrator units stacked on laptop keyboard

You can build an oscilloscope cheaply and quickly

When I realized that the sound card on your PC can be used as the input for an oscilloscope application I felt compelled to build one. Not because I needed an oscilloscope because I already had a good one. I wanted to make sure that this wasn't one of those "too good to be true" stories.

It does sound like it I admit but I can tell you that it isn't anything of the sort. You really can build yourself an oscilloscope for a handful of dollars. Yes it is limited by the capabilities of the sound card but I've managed to find many uses for mine since I built it.

I'm so excited by the power and simplicity of this device that I've written a book about it. I've included everything that you need to know to enable you to build an oscilloscope and calibrator and an impressive signal generator into the bargain. The book is called "Sound Card Oscilloscope - Build Better Electronics Projects" and it has turned into a substantial work that is now on sale in the Amazon Kindle store.

Once you get your hands on this ebook you need never be caught without an oscilloscope to probe your circuits with ever again. It makes full use of the excellent software provided by Christian Zeitnitz which is completely free for private use and fully described in the ebook.

I also describe the more sophisticated but a little more difficult to use Visual Analyser software. This software is also free to use so you can have both applications on your computer.

The main project is an improved version of the PC sound card probe design together with a detailed description of how I built the circuit and housed it in a small plastic enclosure. The box measures only 87 x 57 x 39mm (3.5 x 2.2 x 1.5 inches) and sits nicely on the desk next to your PC.

The cost of building the Sound Card Oscilloscope is very low. I got most of my parts from Rapid Electronics in the UK because that's where I live. It cost me less than you might pay for coffee and cake in town. You can however get all the parts you need from Amazon if you want to. Click to see the parts list now.

But it doesn't stop there. Also in the ebook are detailed designs for an oscilloscope calibrator and a signal generator. You don't have to build this additional project to use the Sound Card Scope probe effectively but if you do it will complement your setup nicely providing you with some formidable test gear for very little money.

You will also learn something about oscilloscopes, what they can do and how you can use them to help design and/or build working electronics circuits. The ebook is packed full of detailed explanations, practical experiments and case studies to illustrate why the Sound Card Oscilloscope is such an indispensable tool to have around.

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Comments (14)

Topic: Sound Card Oscilloscope Book
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star 4.5/5 (4)
die Dauphin (Mexico) says...
I have just bought the book, and I think is good .. I am currently building the circuits, I have a question, though .. Does anyone know if it is possible to use the SoundCard Oscilloscopio of Christian Zeitnitz in Virtual Box if I use Ubuntu 18.04 as host and Windows 10 as guest? I am not sure if I might have issues with the Audio Input .. I am using Virtual Box 5.2
20th September 2019 10:38pm
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Ranjith Seneviratne (Sri Lanka) says...
The Calibrator and probe parts are listed, the probe circuit also shown but the calibrator circuit diagram not shown.
11th February 2019 7:04pm
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Ranjith Seneviratne (Sri Lanka) says...
I am not good in electronics, please explain clearly
17th January 2021 12:24pm
garry (New Zealand) says...
Hi Steve
Seems to be only Kindle format and saved to kindle cloud. Any other formats available?
24th May 2016 8:07am
Steve says...
Hi Garry,

Sorry but it's only available in Kindle format. You can read it on almost any device using Amazon's free players though.

25th May 2016 11:17am
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Leslie (Australia) says...
In reviewing the circuit diagram contained in your book Prior to building the oscilloscope I am wondering why you use two probe connections for the common ground? Is there any reason why the probe connections couldn't just be a three hole arrangement and also any reason the strip board can't be built using a common strip instead of jumper connections?
Fantastic book, very clear and easy to follow with a very practical approach to explaining the project. Highly recommended. Regards
22nd August 2015 11:44pm
Steve (UK) says...
Hi Leslie, Thank you for your kind words. You are quite right about the two ground connections. You do only need one but I know that it is very useful to have a spare ground connection sometimes. I'm always trying to find somewhere to clip the -ve probe of my multimeter for instance. I was also thinking that some people may purchase and adapt standard leads that might then have two ground connections. It's easier if there are two screw connections to secure the wires into. I use two ... Read More
23rd August 2015 8:58am
Leslie (Australia) says...
Steve thank you, that makes perfectly good sense to me and I will follow your advice. I have built the circuit on a breadboard(one channel) and it worked exactly as expected. Only change I made was using a 5k pot instead of a 4.7k pot as the latter size while available in Australia wa around the $40 mark while the 5k was only a couple of dollars. I felt the slight increase in resistance at the high end would have negligible effect. Hope you agree.
23rd August 2015 4:45pm
Steve (UK) says...
Hi Leslie,

The exact value of the pot is not critical so you are ok using the one you have chosen. I'm pretty sure that I used the ones that I could find cheaply here in the UK too.

24th August 2015 12:41pm
Leslie (Australia) says...
Hi Steve, I have built and now have working the SCO and have really enjoyed the project ( I am a beginning amateur). I was now thinking of building the Calibrator and Wave Form Generator but am a bit confused by the instructions in the book. I understand that you recommend building both the WFG and the Calibrator into one enclosure but not sure if that means two circuits on the same stripboard or if the two circuits are integrated into one circuit? I am also confused by the 2 schematics you ... Read More
31st August 2015 5:48am
Steve (UK) says...
Hi Leslie, Yes I do mean building both circuits on the same piece of stripboard. It avoids having to worry about how to mount two boards instead of one. They are still two separate circuits though. The circuit of the calibrator could be a little clearer now that you point it out. C1 and C2 are NOT connected, the wires just cross over each other. I should have drawn a little bridge or something and added dots where all the connections are made. Sorry about that. Mental note to do better next ... Read More
3rd September 2015 3:15pm
Peter (Australia) says...
Before I commit to buying this book, I would like to know if it has probes suitable for a valve amplifier. Thanks
10th July 2015 2:37am
Steve (UK) says...
Hi Peter,

The probe design is suitable for low voltage applications less than approximately 30V. Valve amplifiers tend to run from higher voltages so you would have to be very careful not to overload the oscilloscope probe.

You could modify the design to accept higher voltages but you should only attempt this if you know what you are doing.

I hope that this helps.
11th July 2015 12:35am
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sundaram (India) says...
a good circuit for osciloscope
6th December 2014 12:05pm

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