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102

Elektor Electronics 7-8/98


Used with care, this circuit can
provide a small degree of stim-
ulation for muscles. Two elec-
trodes are fixed on the skin cov-
ering the muscle area. The dis-
tance between the electrodes
has to be between 1 cm and
about 5 cm. The circuit gener-
ates voltage pulses at an
adjustable rate of between
0.6 Hz and 4 Hz. The output
voltage level is also adjustable
between 0 V and 250 V. The
highest pulse energy supplied
by the circuit is limited to a
value of about 0.4 mJ, which is
generally believed to be safe.
The TLC555, IC1, is wired in
astable multivibrator (AMV)
mode. Its output signal fre-
quency is adjustable with preset
P1. Transistor T1 and preset P2
form an adjustable voltage
source which charges capacitor
C4 (via resistor R3) to the volt-
age level set with P2. Using the
capacitor energy expression
[0.5*C*U
2
], it is found that C4
contains a fairly accurately
defined amount of energy which
is smaller than or equal to
0.4 mJ. By charging C3 via R3,
a simple and safe means is avail-
able of limiting the maximum
power to be transferred to the
muscle. As regards the on-time
of the pulses, the output resis-
tance of the TLC555 in combi-
nation with the value of C3
cause transistor T2 to conducts
just 0.5 ms. During that time, T1
connects the low-voltage wind-
ing of Tr1 in parallel with C4,
enabling the energy stored in the
capacitor to be transferred to the
electrodes, and from there, to the
muscle tissue. LED D3, finally,
indicates the pulse activity. The
printed circuit board shown here
is unfortunately not available
ready-made from the Publishers.
WARNING. Not medically
approved to any standard, this
circuit should not be used by
people suffering from heart ail-
ments or epilepsy. The circuit is
generally safe for use on arm
and leg muscles, but not for
heart stimulation. In case of
doubt, see your GP.
(984037-1)
low-impact muscle stimulator
0
6
4
IC1
DIS
THR
OUT
555
TR
CV
2
7
6
4
R
3
5
8
1
TLC
C1
100n
C3
470n
C5
10
16V
C2
10
16V
C4
10
16V
BT1
9V
P1
100k
P2
10k
R2
1
0
k
R1
1
0
k
R3
4k7
D2
1N4001
D1
1N4001
T2
BC337
T1
BC547B
D3
TR1
6V 230V
1VA5
984037 - 11
S1
(0.4 mJ)
(0,4 mJ)
9 8 4 0 3 7 - 1
( C ) E L E K T O R
C1
C2
C
3
C4
C5 D1
D
2
D3
H1H2
H3 H4
I
C
1
OUT
P1 P2
R
1
R
2
R
3
S1
T1
T2
TR1
-
+
984037-1
9 8 4 0 3 7 - 1
( C ) E L E K T O R
COMPONENTS LIST
Resistors:
R1,R2 = 10k
R3 = 4k7
P1 = 100k preset H
P2 = 10k preset H
Capacitors:
C1 = 100nF MKT (Siemens)
C2,C4,C5 = 10F 16V radial
C3 = 470nF MKT (Siemens)
Semiconductors:
D1,D2 = 1N4001
D3 = LED, high efficiency, red
T1 = BC547B
T2 = BC337
IC1 = TLC555CP (must be
CMOS type)
Miscellaneous:
Bt1 = 9V PP3 block, with clip-
on leads
S1 = on/off switch
Tr1 = mains transformer, 6V,
1.5VA, Monacor/Monarch*
type VTR1106
* No UK distributor, item avail-
able from C-I Electronics or
Stippler Electronics.