DIY tDCS Start Here

New to DIYtDCS? This is the ‘start here’ collection of articles and posts.

  1. DIYtDCS Feed, last 50 articles
  2. My Twitter feed focuses on breaking tDCS research. @DIYtDCS
  3. My Reddit account, where it’s okay to explore the fringes. DIYtDCS
  4. Recommended device? (29V / 2mA model. Promo code ‘diytdcs’ for discount)
  5. Best instruction video for C3/Motorcortex & F3/DLPFC electrode placement.
  6. Is this (tDCS for depression in pregnancy) the first ‘killer app’?
  7. Cognitive Enhancement with Noninvasive Brain Stimulation (video) Roy Hamilton MD
  8. Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources.
  9. Marom Bikson & Peter Toshev ‘Your Electric Pharmacy‘ (pdf excellent overview/intro).
  10. My podcast interviews, deep dives into tDCS with key players (iTunes link)
  11. tDCS SubReddit is where the action is. Now with tDCS FAQ!
  12. Dr. Brent Williams’ DIY device and protocol.
  13. Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus
  14. Better Living Through Electrochemistry
  15. Clinical tDCS trials seek volunteers. All. Search. (Example: “tDCS AND Los Angeles”)
  16. Neuroscience: Brain buzz Nature Magazine
  17. DLPFC / F3 Locator (you’ll need a tape measure with Centimeters)
  18. 3d tDCS Placements Guide Model
  19. NEW! Searchable database of tDCS studies
  20. 10–20 international system
  21. Kadosh The Stimulated Brain: Cognitive Enhancement Using NIBS

18 thoughts on “DIY tDCS Start Here

  1. Dear John,
    I started reading about neuromodulation for the treatment of depression and insomnia.
    After being in touch with a clinic for getting rTMS treatment, they did a qEEG and suggested tdcs treatment before trying rTMS.
    As I was unfamiliar with tDCS I started reading on the internet and bumped into your great blog which convinced me to buy my own tdcs device (I live in Belgium where no neuromodulation technique is covered by insurance which means it’s very expensive).
    The other day I learned about CES (eg. the Fisher Wallace device) and now I’m confused. The FW device is FDA cleared for the treatment for several conditions, amongst which depression. It seems like both techniques are very similar yet there must be a difference?
    Could you explain where lies the difference? One uses direct current and the other uses alternating current? Do these weak currents (2mA) even pass the skin barrier?

    Many thanks for your advice!

    Best regards, Vicky

    • Hi Vicky. The simplest way to avoid confusion in regards tDCS vs. the Fisher Wallace device is to consider that tDCS has been very widely studied in a scientific setting, specifically for the treatment of depression. Which isn’t to say there is no clinical research related to the Fisher Wallace device, there are a few papers. ‘FDA Cleared’ is a confusing term and shouldn’t necessarily convey any FDA oversight for a specific device. It’s complicated, but CES, which in itself is a vague term, the details of which can be proprietary or defined by the individual manufacturer (i.e. how exactly the alternating current is pulsed-creating the individual waveform), was ‘grandfathered’ into FDA regulation when new regulations went into effect in 1976.
      May I suggest you have look through the tDCS subReddit on the subject of depression? There you will hear from individuals who are treating their own depression with tDCS.

  2. Hi,

    I have a little problem and a question regarding tDCS montage.
    There are 2 points of hypoperfusion in my brain, one around Fz area and one in CP2.
    I did 11 sessions of tDCS with a professional with a montage +Fz and -Oz (everything ok). I was told that +Fz can attentuate the hypoperfusion.

    Then I bought my own tDCS device and did something wreckless. I did 3 sessions on my own with anode in Fz and I put the cathode in Pz instead of Oz (I think Pz is the second area of hypoperfusion and I just made it less excitable, which I don’t think is desirable, for this are to be “understimulated”). I feel little slower to think right now.

    I am not asking for a professional medical advice. All I am asking about is how would somebody reverse the changes made with that wrong montage? Should one reverse the anode and cathode and do again 3 sessions or just put the anode at Pz and attach the cathode to the arm?
    Could anybody who knows the solution contact me at hppd90[theATsighn] please?

    I could not find an answer to this anywhere online.
    Thanks in advance!

  3. Is there a place or meetup in the nYc area where I might try tDCS under the supervision of someone who knows what they are doing? I am particularly interested in using tDCS to induce flow.

  4. The link to the podcasts leads to a page full of code. I was able to find the mp3 files amid the mess of code, but most probably wouldn’t bother.

  5. Thank you for your article. I am having an extremely difficult time figuring out which electrode is the anode/cathode. I see all of these diagrams -example(1)- online and they almost always show positive as the anode, yet in a discharging galvanic cell such as a 9 volt battery that anode is “negative”(2).

    The cables of my device are marked as red/positive and black/negative
    I am using a system with a 9 volt battery. What is the your final answer to my problem?

    Thanks for your previous post and help!

  6. They suggest tDCS can both treat diseases like depression and ….. And there was a time when scientists thought lobotomies cured people too.

    • They did indeed – 75 years ago. The science of mind has made vast advances since then. Comparing tDCS to lobotomies is absurd.

  7. I’m so excited- I said a decade ago that we would be able to transmit thoughts via sign language but not this soon! Awesome I’m working on a sign language recognition/animation system and long-term goal was to do what I just mentioned, but I didn’t expect this could be done this year! Great I kinda thought so anyway. Looking forward to collaborating with my group of masterminds for this along with the openEEG project probably

  8. Hey John, thanks for your Twitter response this week. I appreciate you’re facing a lot of time pressure at the moment, but if you have time and it feels right, get in touch with me by email. I’m ramping up a project that looks at activist responses to novel disruptions to our experience of rhythmic time–you can see a tiny piece of it here –and I’m wondering if tDCS activism might be a good topic within the broader project.


  9. The Brain Stimulation Clinic in Atlanta provides a home use program for transcranial direct current stimulation.

    Longer tDCS protocols provide more robust response as evidenced by Dr. Colleen Loo’s study utilizing tDCS for treatment-resistant depression, but 30 daily treatments over 6 weeks becomes expensive and logistically difficult, especially for out of town patients. tDCS is easy to do and without side effects enabling self administration which is the anticipated mode of administration. Home use of tDCS is currently available at the Brain Stimulation Clinic in Atlanta. Evaluation, training, stimulator and at-home supervision via Skype, e-mail and telephone allows for longer and multiple protocols conveniently done at home. The lifetime cost is $2,400 which is less than a 1/4 of a single rTMS protocol. 3 years of home use tDCS treatment have demonstrated benefit and safety.

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