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Build a Seismograph.

seismograph pickup coil

Any 5 gallon plastic bucket can be turned into a sensitive seismograph.

Page under construction. 02-27-2021.


With just a few extra parts, and some construction, you can have this seismograph working in less than 2 hours of build time.

seismograph glass beads parts
seismograph hole in bucket
Drill two half inch holes for an aluminum rod to go thru to support the mass weight and magnets.
seismograph aluminum rod
Push the aluminum rod thru the holes. It should fit very tightly.
seismograph tie off the cap
Punch a small hole in the center of the plastic lid. Use a toothpick to support the string so it does not pull thru the plastic cap.
seismograph tie off cap close
seismograph top of tie off cap
How the lid looks tied with 2 feet of string.
seismograph magnets in bottom
Put the magnet or stack of magnets for higher sensitivity, in the bottom of the glass bead plastic container.
seismograph glass beads back in
Put the glass beads back into the container and place the lid back on.
seismograph align sensor in bucket
Use a flashlight to shadow the sensor on the wall of the bucket so you can see where to drill 4 holes to zip-tie the sensor to the wall of the bucket securely.
seismograph mark hole points
seismograph tie wraps
seismograph tie wraps on
Pull the zip ties tight, and run the wires down the side under as shown.
seismograph tie wraps inside
seismograph sensor directly under aluminum support
seismograph sensor mounted in bucket
seismograph wrap up the cable tie wraps
Loop the wires once around the bottom zip-tie.
seismograph box under mass weight temporarily to help tie it
Place a small box under the mass weight to help you tie it off, without having it slip around. The magnet should align with the center of the sensor for highest gain.
seismograph Remove box allow mass to spin to strech cord.><br>Remove box and allow mass to spin around to strech out the cord. It will stop spinning in about 1 minute.</center>

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Place the mass close to the sensor for highest sensitivity.
seismograph adjustment
Place the mass away from the sensor for less sensitivity.


A small dish of water shortens the time it takes for the seismograph to stop swinging after detection. Olive oil can also be used for quicker settling time.


Run a cable from the sensor's two wires to your data logger.

Black is signal ground. Red or White goes to the input.

You can tune the sensor. 66 uF tunes to 7 Hz, allowing detection of higher frequency vibrations.

The swing frequency of your mass will be around 1 Hz, so you will see both high and low frequencies.

To tune closer to 1 Hz, use a 100 uF capacitor across the sensor wires.

You can use the sensor untuned, but the capacitor gets rid of potential out of band electronic noise.


Its easy! Just connect the sensor directly to a PC data logger having millivolt input sensitivity for instant operation! No other amplifiers or power supplies or batteries! ELF waves are too low for human hearing, so it is best to view them on a PC chart-recorder.

Set your recorder's sample rate at 20 samples per second, this will allow viewing waves up to 10 Hz.

We suggest using the model # Di-2008 data logger from www.dataq.com.

We suggest using the model # Di-2008 data logger from www.dataq.com.

This data logger can be setup to record new 24 hour long files, saving the file names automatically as the new date. This makes it easy to find recordings of daily events.