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AD converter for ultrasound

  1. Jun 19, 2011 #1


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    I was building a simple bat detector for a child and also built one for me:
    Now I was wondering whether it would be possible to built a simple AD converter,
    which can be fed the amplified signal of the microphone before it enters the counter,
    so that the signal can be analyzed on the computer.
    Does anybody has an idea how to realize a cheap AD converter for that purpose?
    It should sample at at least 196 kHz to be able to resolve up to 100 kHz signals.
    Maybe there exist also ready to use USB devices for that purpose?
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  3. Jun 19, 2011 #2


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    It seems likely that there's a chip that does what you want:

    Would it not then have to sample at >= 200 kHz?
  4. Jun 19, 2011 #3
    A standalone ADC will need lots of additional circuitry to make it work. But instead, a micro-controller could be used which already has a built in ADC. I'd recommend a model with a bit of a punch such as the PIC 32 bit series. They come with ADCs that can do 1 MSPS sampling, and support USB.
  5. Jun 19, 2011 #4


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    The microcontroler solution sounds interesting, however, from what I found in the web, the programming of a PIC is not trivial, and I am quite an electronics beginner. I had hoped that someone might recommend me a ready to use ADC. I also found some links which I interpreted as claiming that even some ordinary sound cards can sample up to about 200 kHz.
  6. Jun 19, 2011 #5
    From the sound of the OP, I thought you wanted to build an ADC to PC interface.

    One can also get a ready made USB scope such as the pico-scope:


    The cheapest models have about 10 MHz bandwidth and 50 MSPS which should be more than ample to sample a 200 KHz signal.

    Edit: I guess you could also mod a sound card, they might have high sample rates. But I'm uncertain about the software needed to push it to maximum, and hardware mod to make it work. I assume sound cards have audio filters which you would have to remove.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  7. Jun 19, 2011 #6


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    Thank you, I think I shall opt for an oscilloscope. When I was last playing with electronics (about 20 years ago), a
    storage oscilloscope was prohibitively expensive. Is picoscope recommendable?
    Nevertheless I would like to know whether it is possible to modify an ordinary sound card.
    As I understand, the sampling rate would be sufficient, however, they have a built in low pass filter. Do you think it is possible to knock out the low pass filter?
  8. Jun 19, 2011 #7


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    There are "pro audio" soundcards (meant for computer music creation, not game playing) that sample at 192 kHz or even 384 kHz. For example http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile192.html [Broken]

    That card has more options than you need, but it's a fairly old design now and you should be able to buy one for about $100 to $150.

    The "built in" sound chipsets in most consumer-level PCs only run at the sample rate of CDs, i.e. 44.1KHz (or sometimes 48kHz) and you can't do any simple mods to change that.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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