Make an ECG with your sound card

[Marcus] sent in his work on making ECGs. His first one was inspired by [Jason]‘s. Believe it or not, you can build this thing for under $5. After getting it semi-functional, he decided to pick up a cheap one and mod it for PC input via the sound card. (There are plenty of sound card oscilloscope projects that will work for this.) Remember kids, don’t go sticking electrodes on anyone unless you know what you’re doing: correctly placed electrical shocks (even low power ones) can be deadly.


  1. Jon says:

    I think you meant incorrectly placed electrical shocks.

  2. Michael says:

    I think ‘incorrectly’ would imply that you intended to shock someone in the first place, while ‘correctly’ may imply that the initial shock may be unintended, but in just the right place to cause damage. Or maybe it’s like the half full, half empty thing…

    I was just curious about this kind of thing recently, and I found this really interesting… I probably wouldn’t really trust it with my life, but it would be very interesting to do…

  3. Chris says:

    I’m not sure about the numbered leads, but we have colored leads at work. We use Lifepac 12s. The standard for every EKG/ECG I’ve ever seen is White on the right, Smoke over fire, and green is the last remaining line.

    White lead, right arm(or upper right part of chest). Black is the same as right, just inverted. Red is the left leg lead(or the lower left part of the abdomen). The green is the same as red, just inverted.

    Now the rest of the twelve lead is a numbered system. The leads start at the sternum wrap around the left breast to the mid axillary line.

    On another note, the connector looks quite similar to that of the Lifepac’s. It may very well be the same connector. The Lifepac cables are (colored as mentioned)well labeled and easy to read(RL=Right leg, LA=Left Arm)

    I have seen this exact model of ECG at a local hospital(in some random place, not being used of course).

  4. Chris says:

    I just found a potentially informative video on youtube. This link at least tells you what lead is ground, which is positive and negative. It also gives you proper placement techniques.

  5. Harvie says:

    BTW If you want to use this ECG on GNU/Linux, you can try “xoscope” software… It is also in Debian…

  6. Marcus says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I believe that I have now correctly identified the leads, and will give it a go (to see if it traces) tomorrow.
    Thanks especially to the people who have emailed me with suggestions and their thoughts.

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