The continuous respiration olfactometer (CRO) was designed as a respiration-synchronous method for delivering odorants during recordings of brain electrical activity, providing control and monitoring of the timing of the delivery as well as the quantities of odorant involved. The CRO incorporates a purpose-built electronic system designed with very specific temporal and quantitative characteristics, and is composed of four main parts: the respiratory monitoring apparatus, the odorant/air delivery system, the serial interface device and the respiratory monitoring software. Tests were undertaken to determine the performance of the system with reference to the accuracy and precision of timing and control of odorant delivery. Tests were also undertaken to determine the effects of variations in natural respiration between subjects on the capability of the respiratory monitoring system, using a group of 50 subjects, to test the success of a variable gain control to optimize the range of the digitized respiratory output. The delivery system was able to provide information concerning quantities of air or odorant delivered, and the stimulus timing information required for integration with neurophysiological recording techniques.