Sound Card Oscilloscope - Build Better Electronics Projects
Author: Steve Garratt
An oscilloscope for a few dollars? Yes it's true
This is a dream come true and an opportunity that you can't miss. If you don't have easy access to an oscilloscope then you must get a copy of this book. Use it to guide you through the construction of your very own PC based oscilloscope complete with calibrator and signal generator. All it takes is a few cheap components and a small amount of your time. A small price to pay for such awesome test gear.
The book reveals in detail how I built my oscilloscope circuits into nice enclosures so that you can reproduce it and use it on all of your projects. I've documented each step in the process, even down to how to drill holes in the enclosure to mount the parts.
What people are saying about "Sound Card Oscilloscope"
Excellent Project Book
Read. Build. Learn.
Very useful guide on building a very cheap oscilloscope
I was able to follow the author's instructions easily.
You've found an exciting electronics project. You've built it and can't wait to see it in action. You switch it on and then what?...
Maybe it works first time which would be great but it might not be working quite how you expect.
More often than not your circuit will not work correctly first time, mine rarely do, so what do you do then?
You are going to need test equipment. A multimeter is essential and cheap but it will only take you so far. What you really want is a digital oscilloscope, the ultimate tool of any electronics engineer or hobbyist.
Make this the next project that you build and you will be able to use it to fault find and explore all of your future circuits. But oscilloscopes are expensive, aren't they? Yes they can be but this is a solution that everyone can afford.
Full construction projects:
You can build yourself a Sound Card Oscilloscope to use with your PC and it will cost a fraction of a commercially made scope.
The electronics projects detailed in this book are likely to be amongst the simplest that you will ever come across which is surprising considering how much they can do for you. This isn't one of those quick and easy circuits that you build once. They are certainly simple circuits but you will want to use them over and over again.
But if it's really that cheap and easy to build then how good can a DIY oscilloscope really be? After all, the PC sound card is limited to 20kHz bandwidth isn't it?...
That's exactly what I thought until I came across an excellent piece of PC software, free for private use, that turns your computer's sound card into a full blown and very capable PC based oscilloscope. It was at that moment I realised that you can make a cheap oscilloscope that is surprisingly useful and it can be built by just about anyone.
It's surprising what you can do even when limited to measuring audio frequencies.
What you will learn from this book:
This book is about how I built a dual trace sound card oscilloscope, calibrator and signal generator project from start to finish. I've recorded my steps in detail so that you can build it too. I describe all the circuits as well as how I built it into a small enclosure. I tell you where you can buy the components and where to download the computer oscilloscope software.
I describe the software, how to use it and what you can use it for. It's a tutorial that compliments the official user's manual. If you are wondering what oscilloscopes do, what they are used for and how they can help you with your electronics projects then I've done my best to answer that question.
I present two examples of Windows™ PC based oscilloscope software in the book. The first one is very easy to use and free for private use so it's the one I suggest that you start with. The other is a little more difficult to get used to but it also does a lot more for you even though it is completely free. They are both impressive and very capable applications.
The computer based sound card oscilloscope is a powerful piece of equipment and will make a great addition to your tool kit by itself but there is more. Not only can it measure and display waveforms the software is also capable of generating audio signals at the headphone socket. It has its own signal generator and so building an output driver to take advantage of this feature makes sense.
The second project in the book details the design and construction of a unit to calibrate the oscilloscope functions and to interface with the waveform generator output.
The calibrator/signal generator is a slightly more complicated project but it is still quite simple.
The oscilloscope calibrator will allow you to measure AC voltages more accurately on your new PC oscilloscope and the signal generator can provide useful signals to help you build future projects.
Not only do these projects provide you with amazing electronics design and test tools they are also great educational aids. Learn about how to use an oscilloscope, waveforms, frequency analyzers, phase shift, Lissajous figures and more.
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