Lighted Magnifying lamp diopter power for SMT circuit board soldering

Thread Starter


Joined Nov 24, 2014
I'm trying to assemble a altimeter flight computer to put in my rocket. This is the first time soldering such small SMT parts. I just bought a Harbor Freight magnifying lamp 1.5X that just doesn't seem strong enough. Can anyone suggest a how much magnification is needed to make soldering these small parts easier. There are three, five and eight power magnifying lamps available

Thx in advance.

Last edited:


Joined Jan 18, 2008
How small are the SMD parts? There is a wide range. My visior is #4 Optivisor (about 2x) and works very well for me down to 603 size parts. I haven't tried smaller. Of course, as an older person who wears reading glasses (1.75 diopter) with the visor, the total is higher. A younger person with accommodation could get by with that visor unaided. The strongest of my jeweler's loops is marked 10 X and works fine without glasses, but of course, the working distance is much less. Roughly, (diopter/4) +1 = times magnification.

One thing I would recommend with a visor is to spend a little extra and get glass lenses. I have had mine for a long time (>20 years) and the lenses are still not scratched. Moreover, a little flux splatter is easily removed with solvent without worrying about ruining the optics.


Joined Feb 22, 2014
I had a magnifier lamp for a while, but very quickly got frustrated with it, the cheap ones at least have a very limited area in the lens that you can look through without distortion, and the tubes did not actually provide much light. Not tried the visor solution myslef I ended up opting for a boom microscope which has been fantastic.. but a bit pricey at about $500.. it was a bit like this one:,searchweb201602_10,searchweb201603_53

I was actually quite suprised by how good quality it was!

Thread Starter


Joined Nov 24, 2014
The SMT parts are as small at 0402. I think a 3X or 5X magnification lamp might be the two choices to choose from, and I'm leaning towards the 5X. To often these situations are a personal choice. Wish me luck.



Joined Oct 8, 2019
I use reading glasses. One pair for reading (+1.5), another for soldering through hole parts (+2.5) and another for SMT (+3.75). Very important to me is the lighting. A simple fluorescent lamp is not bright enough for me. I have a small halogen fixture that is very bright. Yes - age is an important factor.