OT: microscope source?


Brad Thompson
 

Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
 privately.

On  a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad  AA1IP


Paul Amaranth
 

Personal preference and all that yada yada, but I have a Mantis that I
really like. They're pricey unless you get lucky though.

Paul

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 09:36:49PM -0400, Brad Thompson wrote:
Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
 privately.

On  a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad  AA1IP








!DSPAM:607798c9317801478281690!
--
Paul Amaranth, GCIH | Manchester MI, USA
Aurora Group of Michigan, LLC | Security, Systems & Software
paul@AuroraGrp.Com | Unix/Linux - We don't do windows


Shirley Dulcey KE1L
 

I don't have any personal experience with scopes of that type. I do know
that Louis Rossman, a notable YouTuber who is an expert on repairing Macs
(including SMD repair; see his videos), has endorsed Amscope:
https://youtu.be/C_eQrbop-J4

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 9:37 PM Brad Thompson <brad.thompsonaa1ip@gmail.com>
wrote:

Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
privately.

On a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad AA1IP








Clark Foley
 

I have purchased a few things from AMScope; two eye pieces, focus rack and a simple boom/base. The sale prices were fair, but I have seen better deals at auction houses (Dove Bid and the like, not ebay) for high-quality optical stereo microscopes. Having purchase mostly heavy hardware from AMScope, I did not risk anything. Their shipping packaging was barely adequate but nothing was damaged.
These days, camera based inspection style systems without direct-view optics are very reasonably priced. That's why the all optical microscopes are being scrapped by the truckload.


Ken Eckert
 

Hello;

I use a microscope everyday for 0402 component work at work. I use a Meiji
EMZ-5 on a boom stand. Light from a cold light using a fibre optic ring
light.

Is it the cheapest option, no. Does it give you a great visual work space,
you bet.

No matter what you buy a boom stand is a must from my viewpoint. The
coldlight with a ring light is great lighting, there are ring lights with
LEDs that are good too.

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 6:52 PM Clark Foley <clarkfoley@msn.com> wrote:

I have purchased a few things from AMScope; two eye pieces, focus rack and
a simple boom/base. The sale prices were fair, but I have seen better
deals at auction houses (Dove Bid and the like, not ebay) for high-quality
optical stereo microscopes. Having purchase mostly heavy hardware from
AMScope, I did not risk anything. Their shipping packaging was barely
adequate but nothing was damaged.
These days, camera based inspection style systems without direct-view
optics are very reasonably priced. That's why the all optical microscopes
are being scrapped by the truckload.






stevenhorii
 

I think you have a couple of alternatives. I have used a surplus Bausch &
Lomb Stereozoom. These used to be very pricey, but have gotten much less
expensive. They made a 4X zoom range and a 7X zoom range. I have found the
4X zoom range very sufficient. I use this for working on watches. I don't
build them, but I do replace batteries, etc. On eBay, they range from about
$100 to much more - a lot of the price seems to be in the stand. The ones
on a stand that gives you quite a bit of room to work are more expensive.
The stands tend to be heavy to ship.

Maybe more flexibility would be with a pair of head-mounted magnifiers:

I use an Optivisor (just search on Amazon or a general Google search). They
can be had with interchangeable magnification lenses and are reasonably
priced. However, I found a better alternative and have been using it
instead. It is called the Carson Optical Pro series MagniVisor like this
one:

https://carson.com/product/cp-60/

It comes with interchangeable magnification lenses. I like the absence of
the opaque frame around the lenses that the Optivisor has. The LED
illuminator may seem frivolous, but having a light source centered between
your eyes helps reduce the problem of shadowing if you have a light off to
one side.

With both the Magnivisor and Optivisor, the lenses are plastic, so they can
be scratched more easily than glass. For electronics work, there is the
potential for solder spatter. The lenses would protect your eyes, but would
likely be damaged by hot solder blobs.

I learned something from my surgical colleagues. They use surgical loupes.
The ones they use are very expensive. They used to have a fiber optic
illumination source, but the newer ones use an LED and head-mounted
battery. While the battery increases the weight, it is usually set over the
back of your head so it tends to counterbalance the weight of the loupes in
front. The light source for these is very much closer to being centered
between your eyes which really reduces any shadowing problems. They have
gotten much less expensive because use by non-surgeons has increased (and
they are being made in China). I have not yet bought a set, but I've been
looking. Just search Amazon for "surgical loupes". There is a wide range of
types and prices. Some have lights and some are just the loupes. They
generally have a medium range of magnification about 3-4X. For working on
wristwatches, I find that about 3X is sufficient.

I have not done any SMD work, so I can't tell you if loupes would be a
solution. But I did put on the MagniVisor when I was pulling components
(desoldering discrete stuff from old boards) and it helped a lot. I have
had cataract surgery and had lenses put in that cover my working distance
(about 12 inches to almost 30 inches). For close work, I need the
MagniVisor.

The nice thing about the head-mounted solutions is that it gives you a
large working area - you are not constrained by how far a stereomicroscope
stand will move - and keeps both hands free. You don't need to use one hand
if you need to refocus the microscope (though working on a flat circuit
board you would not have this problem).

Good luck! I hope you find a solution that works for you.

Steve Horii

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 9:37 PM Brad Thompson <brad.thompsonaa1ip@gmail.com>
wrote:

Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
privately.

On a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad AA1IP








 

I don't have any personal experience with Amscope, but looking over their products on Amazon the prices are very reasonable, and the quality looks good (or, at least, there aren't any glaring signs of cheapness). Specifically the stands all look sturdy, even for the sub-$100 models.

-- Jeff Dutky


Bruce Griffiths
 

Looked at Amscope but purchased a Leica A60F on a flex arm instead.

Bruce

On 15 April 2021 at 14:59 stevenhorii <sonodocsch@gmail.com> wrote:


I think you have a couple of alternatives. I have used a surplus Bausch &
Lomb Stereozoom. These used to be very pricey, but have gotten much less
expensive. They made a 4X zoom range and a 7X zoom range. I have found the
4X zoom range very sufficient. I use this for working on watches. I don't
build them, but I do replace batteries, etc. On eBay, they range from about
$100 to much more - a lot of the price seems to be in the stand. The ones
on a stand that gives you quite a bit of room to work are more expensive.
The stands tend to be heavy to ship.

Maybe more flexibility would be with a pair of head-mounted magnifiers:

I use an Optivisor (just search on Amazon or a general Google search). They
can be had with interchangeable magnification lenses and are reasonably
priced. However, I found a better alternative and have been using it
instead. It is called the Carson Optical Pro series MagniVisor like this
one:

https://carson.com/product/cp-60/

It comes with interchangeable magnification lenses. I like the absence of
the opaque frame around the lenses that the Optivisor has. The LED
illuminator may seem frivolous, but having a light source centered between
your eyes helps reduce the problem of shadowing if you have a light off to
one side.

With both the Magnivisor and Optivisor, the lenses are plastic, so they can
be scratched more easily than glass. For electronics work, there is the
potential for solder spatter. The lenses would protect your eyes, but would
likely be damaged by hot solder blobs.

I learned something from my surgical colleagues. They use surgical loupes.
The ones they use are very expensive. They used to have a fiber optic
illumination source, but the newer ones use an LED and head-mounted
battery. While the battery increases the weight, it is usually set over the
back of your head so it tends to counterbalance the weight of the loupes in
front. The light source for these is very much closer to being centered
between your eyes which really reduces any shadowing problems. They have
gotten much less expensive because use by non-surgeons has increased (and
they are being made in China). I have not yet bought a set, but I've been
looking. Just search Amazon for "surgical loupes". There is a wide range of
types and prices. Some have lights and some are just the loupes. They
generally have a medium range of magnification about 3-4X. For working on
wristwatches, I find that about 3X is sufficient.

I have not done any SMD work, so I can't tell you if loupes would be a
solution. But I did put on the MagniVisor when I was pulling components
(desoldering discrete stuff from old boards) and it helped a lot. I have
had cataract surgery and had lenses put in that cover my working distance
(about 12 inches to almost 30 inches). For close work, I need the
MagniVisor.

The nice thing about the head-mounted solutions is that it gives you a
large working area - you are not constrained by how far a stereomicroscope
stand will move - and keeps both hands free. You don't need to use one hand
if you need to refocus the microscope (though working on a flat circuit
board you would not have this problem).

Good luck! I hope you find a solution that works for you.

Steve Horii

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 9:37 PM Brad Thompson <brad.thompsonaa1ip@gmail.com>
wrote:

Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
privately.

On a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad AA1IP











Thomas Garson
 

Believe it or not, the camera in a better quality cell phone, with the addition of a magnifier app, makes a reasonable substitute for a microscope.

With progressive eyeglass lenses, a good set of head worn stereo magnifiers AND a large glass lens equipped bench lamp do a pretty good job for most things, but I was surprised at how much more effective the 16Mb camera and display in my Moto G5 were when used as a magnifier.

One could probably use a holder intended for "selfies" to attach a cell phone to a stand, or maybe a dial caliper holder intended for use with a machine tool.

Thomas Garson
Aural Technology, Ashland, OR
By my calculation, the dynamic range of the universe is roughly 679dB,
which is approximately 225 bits, collected at a rate 1.714287514x10^23 sps.

On 4/14/21 7:59 PM, stevenhorii wrote:
I think you have a couple of alternatives. I have used a surplus Bausch &
Lomb Stereozoom. These used to be very pricey, but have gotten much less
expensive. They made a 4X zoom range and a 7X zoom range. I have found the
4X zoom range very sufficient. I use this for working on watches. I don't
build them, but I do replace batteries, etc. On eBay, they range from about
$100 to much more - a lot of the price seems to be in the stand. The ones
on a stand that gives you quite a bit of room to work are more expensive.
The stands tend to be heavy to ship.
Maybe more flexibility would be with a pair of head-mounted magnifiers:
I use an Optivisor (just search on Amazon or a general Google search). They
can be had with interchangeable magnification lenses and are reasonably
priced. However, I found a better alternative and have been using it
instead. It is called the Carson Optical Pro series MagniVisor like this
one:
https://carson.com/product/cp-60/
It comes with interchangeable magnification lenses. I like the absence of
the opaque frame around the lenses that the Optivisor has. The LED
illuminator may seem frivolous, but having a light source centered between
your eyes helps reduce the problem of shadowing if you have a light off to
one side.
With both the Magnivisor and Optivisor, the lenses are plastic, so they can
be scratched more easily than glass. For electronics work, there is the
potential for solder spatter. The lenses would protect your eyes, but would
likely be damaged by hot solder blobs.
I learned something from my surgical colleagues. They use surgical loupes.
The ones they use are very expensive. They used to have a fiber optic
illumination source, but the newer ones use an LED and head-mounted
battery. While the battery increases the weight, it is usually set over the
back of your head so it tends to counterbalance the weight of the loupes in
front. The light source for these is very much closer to being centered
between your eyes which really reduces any shadowing problems. They have
gotten much less expensive because use by non-surgeons has increased (and
they are being made in China). I have not yet bought a set, but I've been
looking. Just search Amazon for "surgical loupes". There is a wide range of
types and prices. Some have lights and some are just the loupes. They
generally have a medium range of magnification about 3-4X. For working on
wristwatches, I find that about 3X is sufficient.
I have not done any SMD work, so I can't tell you if loupes would be a
solution. But I did put on the MagniVisor when I was pulling components
(desoldering discrete stuff from old boards) and it helped a lot. I have
had cataract surgery and had lenses put in that cover my working distance
(about 12 inches to almost 30 inches). For close work, I need the
MagniVisor.
The nice thing about the head-mounted solutions is that it gives you a
large working area - you are not constrained by how far a stereomicroscope
stand will move - and keeps both hands free. You don't need to use one hand
if you need to refocus the microscope (though working on a flat circuit
board you would not have this problem).
Good luck! I hope you find a solution that works for you.
Steve Horii
On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 9:37 PM Brad Thompson <brad.thompsonaa1ip@gmail.com>
wrote:

Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
privately.

On a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad AA1IP








Thomas Garson
 

The carson.com thing looks promising, and at a reasonable price. It looks like the lenses are properly shaped, spaced and aligned. A lot of the head worn magnifiers have the lenses too far apart and little or no convergence, making you walleyed and dizzy as your eyes try to hold focus. I can't recall the brand of my good set, but they cost about $200.00, although that is mostly justified because the frame is made of decent steel and they have very clear glass lenses.

Thomas Garson
Aural Technology, Ashland, OR
By my calculation, the dynamic range of the universe is roughly 679dB,
which is approximately 225 bits, collected at a rate 1.714287514x10^23 sps.

On 4/14/21 7:59 PM, stevenhorii wrote:
I think you have a couple of alternatives. I have used a surplus Bausch &
Lomb Stereozoom. These used to be very pricey, but have gotten much less
expensive. They made a 4X zoom range and a 7X zoom range. I have found the
4X zoom range very sufficient. I use this for working on watches. I don't
build them, but I do replace batteries, etc. On eBay, they range from about
$100 to much more - a lot of the price seems to be in the stand. The ones
on a stand that gives you quite a bit of room to work are more expensive.
The stands tend to be heavy to ship.
Maybe more flexibility would be with a pair of head-mounted magnifiers:
I use an Optivisor (just search on Amazon or a general Google search). They
can be had with interchangeable magnification lenses and are reasonably
priced. However, I found a better alternative and have been using it
instead. It is called the Carson Optical Pro series MagniVisor like this
one:
https://carson.com/product/cp-60/
It comes with interchangeable magnification lenses. I like the absence of
the opaque frame around the lenses that the Optivisor has. The LED
illuminator may seem frivolous, but having a light source centered between
your eyes helps reduce the problem of shadowing if you have a light off to
one side.
With both the Magnivisor and Optivisor, the lenses are plastic, so they can
be scratched more easily than glass. For electronics work, there is the
potential for solder spatter. The lenses would protect your eyes, but would
likely be damaged by hot solder blobs.
I learned something from my surgical colleagues. They use surgical loupes.
The ones they use are very expensive. They used to have a fiber optic
illumination source, but the newer ones use an LED and head-mounted
battery. While the battery increases the weight, it is usually set over the
back of your head so it tends to counterbalance the weight of the loupes in
front. The light source for these is very much closer to being centered
between your eyes which really reduces any shadowing problems. They have
gotten much less expensive because use by non-surgeons has increased (and
they are being made in China). I have not yet bought a set, but I've been
looking. Just search Amazon for "surgical loupes". There is a wide range of
types and prices. Some have lights and some are just the loupes. They
generally have a medium range of magnification about 3-4X. For working on
wristwatches, I find that about 3X is sufficient.
I have not done any SMD work, so I can't tell you if loupes would be a
solution. But I did put on the MagniVisor when I was pulling components
(desoldering discrete stuff from old boards) and it helped a lot. I have
had cataract surgery and had lenses put in that cover my working distance
(about 12 inches to almost 30 inches). For close work, I need the
MagniVisor.
The nice thing about the head-mounted solutions is that it gives you a
large working area - you are not constrained by how far a stereomicroscope
stand will move - and keeps both hands free. You don't need to use one hand
if you need to refocus the microscope (though working on a flat circuit
board you would not have this problem).
Good luck! I hope you find a solution that works for you.
Steve Horii
On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 9:37 PM Brad Thompson <brad.thompsonaa1ip@gmail.com>
wrote:

Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
privately.

On a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad AA1IP








Tom Gardner
 

Welcome to that club :(

The choice is going to be very personal; what suits my eyes and working habits may not be suitable for you.

Since you /will/ end up doing some experimentation, I suggest it might be worth some quick and cheap experiments to help you decide on your equipment. In that vein, I suggest you try these https://www.amazon.co.uk/COVVY-Magnifier-Magnifying-Detachable-Electronic/dp/B07P957H9Z


* cheap enough to be regarded as disposable
* very widely available under many brand names from many sources
* work with your spectacles
* no problem getting a soldering iron between the lenses and the UUT
* flux residue not deposited on lenses
* work at any angle, including peering sideways into equipment cases
* multiple magnifications
* useless LED light

On 15/04/21 02:36, Brad Thompson wrote:
Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
 privately.

On  a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--


 

There's only one microscope you should be buying and it's the exact
one Louis Rossmann sells, bought directly from Louis Rossmann. He has
a special version that isn't sold anywhere else. He explains it in his
videos at some point, hell if I can find them.

If someone can point to a better scope, at this sort of price, I'm all ears.

Here's a trick though. My vision isn't that great either. But I can
solder 01005 without a problem. How?

I have some large windows looking out into the northern sky
(important), and I solder on the window sill. The light is just so
much better than any artificial source you can get, and it improves
your vision dramatically. Do yourself a favor and try this trick.

Cheers

On Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 10:36 AM Tom Gardner <tggzzz@gmail.com> wrote:

Welcome to that club :(

The choice is going to be very personal; what suits my eyes and working habits
may not be suitable for you.

Since you /will/ end up doing some experimentation, I suggest it might be worth
some quick and cheap experiments to help you decide on your equipment. In that
vein, I suggest you try these
https://www.amazon.co.uk/COVVY-Magnifier-Magnifying-Detachable-Electronic/dp/B07P957H9Z


* cheap enough to be regarded as disposable
* very widely available under many brand names from many sources
* work with your spectacles
* no problem getting a soldering iron between the lenses and the UUT
* flux residue not deposited on lenses
* work at any angle, including peering sideways into equipment cases
* multiple magnifications
* useless LED light



On 15/04/21 02:36, Brad Thompson wrote:
Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
privately.

On a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--





SCMenasian
 

I have a Baush&Lomb Stereozoom, which works well for me, except when it's (relatively) fixed position prevents me from looking into equipment. I got used to it when I ran a semiconductor quality assurance/materials analysis lab.

On a recent trip to my dentist, I observed that he had magnifying loupes which attached to his glasses. A search on Amazon revealed that some (Chinese?) were quite inexpensive (around $50, if I recollect correctly). On my next trip to the dentist, I asked which brand he used and what the cost was. It was in the $3000 range. So, I guess that there is a large range for these and it might be a bit of "you get what you pay for". I did find some others (on Amazon or elsewhere?) in the $200-$300 range and that might be the sweet spot.


bill koski
 

I have a Dino Lite USB microscope similar to this one.
I has pretty good focal length and depth of field on lower powers.
And will go to X230 but you need to be in close at that power.
I bought mine for setting up the rake angle on phono cartridges
(as per Michael Fremer of Stereophile) but have used it for other things too
My boss was impressed with it and bought one for us at work as well.
We have a couple of stereo microscopes and they have their uses but often we find it more convenient
to use the USB for many things.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FOPZETS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Oz-in-DFW
 

I have a couple of StereoZooms with 0.5X Barlow lenses on them to extend the working height to something more comfortable for electronics. It halves the magnification, but it turns out the resulting range is a bit better for working on SMD parts.

--
Oz (in DFW) N1OZ


Mark Goldberg
 

I have an Amscope SE400-Z. That has a nice long working distance, so plenty
of room for tools. I use the 10X for assembly and the 20X for inspection.
The stereo is a huge help with visualization compared to a monocular
camera. The eye relief and exit pupil are such that I don't need my
glasses. The illuminator is good. A Mantis is better, but usually very
expensive.

My qrz.com page has links to my setup.

Regards,

Mark
W7MLG

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021, 6:37 PM Brad Thompson <brad.thompsonaa1ip@gmail.com>
wrote:

Hello--

Given shrinking component markings and deteriorating vision, I'm
interested in purchasing a stereo microscope with long working distance.
I stumbled across a company (Amscope) that offers a range of scopes that
look promising.

Has anyone in the group purchased from that company? Please reply
privately.

On a broader level, what's the group's experience and recommendations
for peering, say, into a plug-in's innards?

Thanks in advance, and 73--

Brad AA1IP








Paul Amaranth
 

I have a couple pair of the Chinese loupes that were in the 35-70 range.
I use one pair at 3.5X quite a bit. They have a long working distance and the magnification is good for small work.

I also have a 10x pair but that's too high a power for head mounted gear. They bounce with every heartbeat.

I also have a headband magnifier along with the Mantis. They all have their place. Some work better for some applications than others.

The Mantis is the coolest though.

To say which is best is like saying you only need one scope :-)

Paul

On Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 06:16:25AM -0700, SCMenasian wrote:
I have a Baush&Lomb Stereozoom, which works well for me, except when it's (relatively) fixed position prevents me from looking into equipment. I got used to it when I ran a semiconductor quality assurance/materials analysis lab.

On a recent trip to my dentist, I observed that he had magnifying loupes which attached to his glasses. A search on Amazon revealed that some (Chinese?) were quite inexpensive (around $50, if I recollect correctly). On my next trip to the dentist, I asked which brand he used and what the cost was. It was in the $3000 range. So, I guess that there is a large range for these and it might be a bit of "you get what you pay for". I did find some others (on Amazon or elsewhere?) in the $200-$300 range and that might be the sweet spot.







!DSPAM:60783cb46304409463872!
--
Paul Amaranth, GCIH | Manchester MI, USA
Aurora Group of Michigan, LLC | Security, Systems & Software
paul@AuroraGrp.Com | Unix/Linux - We don't do windows


 

Regarding Amscope, their microscope units are pretty good, not Zeiss or Olympus optics level,
but completely adequate for SMD work. the hardest issue is getting mag factors in the best range,
4-20x, with roughly 10x being optimal. This is not easy, because most eyepieces are already 10X
(or greater), and a 1X or lower objective is large and costly. Variable objectives at low factors are
often the perfect solution for this task. High end purists sometimes scoff at vendors like Amscope, but
not everyone can afford $5K optics, so it really comes down to what you find satisfactory.

I prefer the Olympus models as they are so flexible and re-configurable, and often reasonably priced.
I have a nice collection of them now, in every style. Through-the-lens illumination is a HUGE help
for any kind of metallurgical observation (the industry term for top surface, not through viewing).

I have camera based units as well, but to be candid, they are not ideal for re-work or assembly,
but are great for inspection. Most people find it very hard to co-ordinate eye-hand work to a monitor,
and the stereo microscope often works better because it feels more like your natural vision, just better.

anyway, just my $0.02 worth on this topic, happy to discuss further off-list.
all the best,
walter  (walter2 -at- sphere.bc.ca)

--
Walter Shawlee 2
Sphere Research Corp. 3394 Sunnyside Rd.
West Kelowna, BC, V1Z 2V4 CANADA
Phone: +1 (250-769-1834 -:- http://www.sphere.bc.ca
+We're all in one boat, no matter how it looks to you. (WS2)
+All you need is love. (John Lennon)
+But, that doesn't mean other things don't come in handy. (WS2)
+Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us.
We are not the only experiment. (R. Buckminster Fuller)


Daniel Koller
 

Hey Brad,   
   I use a microscope every day, both at home and at work.   I actually haven't used it too much to repair scopes, per se, because I have not had to repair them too often, but I use a microscope for electronics work often enough.  My recommendation, if you are planning to be using a microscope a lot, is to get a GOOD one.
  I know nothing about Mantis or Amscope optics, but the traditional leaders in the business are Olympus, Nikon and Leica.   At work, no one farts around with anything else - the assemblers need GOOD microscopes.   I personally prefer my Nikon SMZ-2, an older model, over most of the Olympus microscopes at work.  I purchased it for about $250 on e-bay  and it was said to be new.   It came in a sealed plastic bag, and sure looked new, so whether or not the seller's claim was true is irrelevant.   The boom was an additionally $100 or so, purchased separately.   You pay for good optics and solid mounts.  
   My Nikon has a 0.9-4x variable zoom head, and I typically use x10 eyepieces (9-40x net magnification).   However, this is TOO MUCH for most work under the scope, so I bought a 0.5x objective lens for it (4.5-20x net).   I also have 20x  eyepieces with a graticule in them if I want to measure something really small.    Often however, I wish I had *lower* magnification and more working space.
   The Leica microscope I have at work is something like 3-60x net zoom and it is optically superior in every way to any other microscope I have ever used.  It is a NICE microscope.  It lacks the boom, but at work I don't need it as much.  Used, it still cost about $1000.  Many people at work have used it, and now I see Leicas popping up on other work benches, so others seem to like it too.  Ideally, this is the zoom range you should use for electronics repair and assembly, especially the low end of 3x.
   For working on electronics, I would say a good heavy boom is useful.  You can swing the scope to the side, or bring it to the edge of the bench to work there, and raise and lower it a good deal more than a microscope with a fixed base.   You can for example, use it on an instrument in situ, then swing the boom out of the way as necessary.  My microscope is centered on my shop bench, indicating how important it is.
  For soldering under the microscope, DEFINITELY get some sort of objective lens or neutral filter to screw over the lenses.   You can etch away the objectives with acrid solder smoke.   Having  a fan on also helps draw smoke away from the lenses.   
  Don't be distracted by cheap electronics and microscopes with built in cameras.  As was mentioned, a typical cell phone has a better camera than anything you typically find in a microscope and if someone comes out with a great microscope with built in camera, well, next year's next generation of cell phones will blow that camera's resolution out of the water.   Instead, I built  an adapter that slides over one of the eyepieces and snaps on to my ancient Canon A720 camera, which has manual controls for exposure, aperture and focus.  I used a lathe to make part of the adapter, but I bet you can also 3D print one.  There are some available commercially I am sure.  The setup takes great photos and my optics are not compromised by extra elements needed to pull light out for a camera port.
Hope this helps.  Dan

Heh heh.... just reading Walter's reply before I send.   Yes, I an a "high end purist!!"   But I got them by low-end scrounging on e-bay.  I'm not afraid to dumpster dive for what I want.
Illumination:   My setup is the original Nikon lamp, single axis, mounted off to the side of the objective.  It has a hallogen bulb that gets hot.  This is not Ideal and I often find myself adding another spotlight source to the side.  A ring light would be better.  Good lighting is also expensive.  I have not tried some of the cheap LED ring light assemblies sold on e-bay.   My guess is they are a bit "blue" and will drive me nuts ("Purist!!").  At work I have a ring light fed by a quartz lamp in a shoebox sized illuminator connected by fiber optic about 18" away.   A fan cools the lamp.    It is a nice setup, but they are a bit expensive.   I've maybe seen some for under $200 on e-bay, but have not looked recently.   Ring lighting is useful for photography, and you can often enhance the view by shadowing part of the ring and moving the light around that way, with a card.
Another poster made the point about lighting, and north facing windows.  I think this is also a very good point, with regard to eyesight in general.   As we get older, we need more light!!  I have not got much light coming in through my shop windows (a single south facing French door on the end) but when my wife insisted I take out the hideous vanity lamps in the bathrooms, I mounted them on the ceiling of my shop.  I screwed in an assortment of old CFL and LED lamps.  It's where my old CFLs go to die and I test various new LED lamps.  So there is a variety of color temperature bulbs, and a LOT of them (~12x >60W equivalent spread out over ~~400 square feet).  But with a lot of light and a good pair of glasses, you just might not need the microscope for one particular task, yet.

On Thursday, April 15, 2021, 09:39:53 AM EDT, Paul Amaranth <paul@auroragrp.com> wrote:

I have a couple pair of the Chinese loupes that were in the 35-70 range.
I use one pair at 3.5X quite a bit.  They have a long working distance and the magnification is good for small work.

I also have a 10x pair but that's too high a power for head mounted gear.  They bounce with every heartbeat.

I also have a headband magnifier along with the Mantis.  They all have their place.  Some work better for some applications than others.

The Mantis is the coolest though.

To say which is best is like saying you only need one scope :-)

  Paul

On Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 06:16:25AM -0700, SCMenasian wrote:
I have a Baush&Lomb Stereozoom, which works well for me, except when it's (relatively) fixed position prevents me from looking into equipment. I got used to it when I ran a semiconductor quality assurance/materials analysis lab.

On a recent trip to my dentist, I observed that he had magnifying loupes which attached to his glasses. A search on Amazon revealed that some (Chinese?) were quite inexpensive (around $50, if I recollect correctly). On my next trip to the dentist, I asked which brand he used and what the cost was. It was in the $3000 range. So, I guess that there is a large range for these and it might be a bit of "you get what you pay for". I did find some others (on Amazon or elsewhere?) in the $200-$300 range and that might be the sweet spot.







!DSPAM:60783cb46304409463872!
--
Paul Amaranth, GCIH            | Manchester MI, USA             
Aurora Group of Michigan, LLC  |  Security, Systems & Software
paul@AuroraGrp.Com              |  Unix/Linux - We don't do windows


Renée
 

I have a couple of the cheap ones focal length 17 inch and 14 inch..bad thing is depth of field...gee go figure more mag shallower depth, and one of the biggest for me is attaching them to the glasses with regard to the weight. i have not spent time to convert them to a headband style holder that can be pushed out of the way.....quality of lenses is not great but sufficient to do some very fine work...takes time to get it all adjusted...and it does not always hold said adjustment......most of the time the B&L 3x headband works for the larger parts....
hope this helps
Renée

On 4/15/21 6:16 AM, SCMenasian wrote:
I have a Baush&Lomb Stereozoom, which works well for me, except when it's (relatively) fixed position prevents me from looking into equipment. I got used to it when I ran a semiconductor quality assurance/materials analysis lab.

On a recent trip to my dentist, I observed that he had magnifying loupes which attached to his glasses. A search on Amazon revealed that some (Chinese?) were quite inexpensive (around $50, if I recollect correctly). On my next trip to the dentist, I asked which brand he used and what the cost was. It was in the $3000 range. So, I guess that there is a large range for these and it might be a bit of "you get what you pay for". I did find some others (on Amazon or elsewhere?) in the $200-$300 range and that might be the sweet spot.