Some very talented people have come up with software (sometimes requiring a little auxiliary hardware) that enables a Windows PC to do many of the tests that required hardware test instruments in the past. This is particularly true for testing in the audio frequency range as the PC sound-card/device is the basis for most of the applications. Listed below are links to some of these PC test instrument applications for Windows. Look around on these sites as some of them list other software that may be of interest. Many thanks to the authors of these applications for all their work and for making them available free of charge.
To the best of my knowledge at the time of the creation of this page all of the links are to freeware or free for non-commercial use sites. As I have only used a few of these I make no recommendations - the listing order does not indicate any preference. You are on your own in choosing those which best meet your needs and work OK on your computer.
The PC Sound Card as a Signal Generator or Oscillator:
Audio Frequency Signal Generator - 100Hz to 15 KHz sine waves only
Digital Signal Generator - sine wave, square wave, trigon wave, beat wave, swept sine & white noise
FreeSound Test Tones.mp3 - Login
required to download
The NCH Tone Generator v1.03 - Later versions are not freeware
SigJenny - a flexible and powerful audio signal generator
PC Based Oscilloscopes:
BIP Electronics Lab Oscilloscope - 3.0 - small file, low freq. scope
Two Scope download links on this page - No details shown
Spectrum Analyzers for the PC:
Spek – Acoustic Spectrum Analyzer
RightMark Audio Analyzer - tests the quality of analog and digital paths of audio devices
EIS Spectrum Analyzer - a program for analysis & simulation of impedance spectra
Baudline - A time-frequency browser designed for scientific visualization of the spectral domain.
- an audio frequency spectrum analyzer - Be sure to get the freeware v.
DL4YHF's Spectrum Analyzer with Waterfall Display & real-time audio processing
Zelscope - a low-frequency oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer
SeaWave - Sound Emission Analyzer
PC Based Test Meters:
RLC Meter - Requires minimal external hardware
Another RLC Meter - Requires some external hardware - Ideas and links only. The board is unavailable.
Multi functional ++:
Visual Analyzer - It can't solder, but otherwise it should be a really great electronics helper.
Cobracom - Oscilloscope, Realtime
spectrum analyzer, Impedance meter, RLC bridge & signal
electronics-lab.com - Four pages of test gear downloads. Somewhat like this site.
Andrew Steer's Soundcard Audio Tools and Toys - Audio Generator, Freq. Meter and Spectrum Analyzer
ADIGA - Software for radio spectrum measurements
David Taylor's Audio Oscillator and Sweep
Generator - and a tone burst generator on the same
Weak Signals - Spectran and TCube
On-line Tone Generator - Select four different waveforms: Sine, Square, Sawtooth and Triangle
WaveSurfer - an Open Source tool for sound visualization and manipulation
Frequency Analyzer - analyzes a sound and splits it into its component frequencies (Unavailable 11/11/2018)
Simply Noise - White noise on line
Autocord - the environmental audio monitor
Please contact me about other applications of this type and about any corrections to the information on this page.