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Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator

This design came from RED Free Circuit Designs. According to the information associated with this schematic:

"CES is the most popular technique for electrically boosting brain power, and has long been prescribed by doctors, mainly in the USA, for therapeutic reasons, including the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chemical dependency. CES units generates an adjustable current of 80 to 600 microAmperes that flows through clips placed on the earlobes. The waveform of this device is a 400 milliseconds positive pulse followed by a negative one of the same duration, then a pause of 1.2 seconds. The main frequency is 0.5 Hz, i.e. a double pulse every 2 seconds. Some people report that this kind of minute specialized electrical impulses contributes to achieve a relaxed state that leaves the mind alert."

"Obviously we can't claim or prove any therapeutic effectiveness for this device, but if you are interested in trying it, the circuit is so simple and so cheap to build that an attempt can be made with quite no harm."

We agree with the last part and besides, won't you look sharp with this device attached to your earlobes. The following notes are from Red's site:

IC1 forms a narrow pulse, 2.5Hz oscillator feedings IC2. This chip generates the various timings for the output pulses. Output is taken at pins 2 & 3 to easily obtain negative going pulses also. Current output is limited to 600µA max. by R2 and can be regulated from 80 to 600µA by means of R3. The LED flashes every 2 seconds signaling proper operation and can also be used for setting purposes. It can be omitted together with R4, greatly increasing battery life.


  • In order to obtain a more precise frequency setting take R1=1M2 and add a 500K trimmer in series with it.
  • In this case use a frequency meter to read 2.5Hz at pin 3 of IC1, or an oscilloscope to read 400msec pulses at pins 2, 3 or 10 adjusting the added trimmer.
  • A simpler setting can be made adjusting the trimmer to count exactly a LED flash every 2 seconds.
  • Earclips can be made with little plastic clips and cementing the end of the wire in a position suited to make good contact with earlobes.
  • Ultra-simple earclips can be made using a thin copper foil with rounded corners 4 cm. long and 1.5 cm. wide, soldering the wire end in the center, and then folding it in two parts holding the earlobes.
  • To ensure a better current transfer, this kind of devices usually had felt pads moistened with a conducting solution interposed between clips and skin.


R1 1M5 1/4W Resistor
R2 15K 1/4W Resistor
R3 100K Linear Potentiometer
R4 2K2 1/4W Resistor
C1 330nF 63V Polyester Capacitor
C2 100µF 25V Electrolytic Capacitor
D1 3mm. Red LED
IC1 7555 or TS555CN CMos Timer
IC IC2 4017 Decade counter with 10 decoded outputs
IC SW1 SPST Slider Switch
B1 9V PP3 Battery Clip for PP3 Battery

Two Earclips with wires (see notes)

TAGS: Components
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