Soldering Microscope

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by LutherBaker, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. LutherBaker

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2012
    I'm a newbie to electronics work - I've got a couple of old analog synthesizers that I'd like to work on. My first project involved a few chips in the Roland Juno 106.

    I dug in, picked up a Weller WES51 as well as a Hakko 808 desoldering tool, got the chips out and have put them back in - but along the way, realized my eye-sight wasn't what it used to be. I have a little alligator clip thingie from Radio Shack with a microscope but recently saw eevblog's microscope and would like to get something similar. Not the video camera bit mind you, just the scope.

    I don't need any fancy bells or whistles. Just need to be able to view ... maybe 4x up to about 20 or 30? Problem is, googling for stereoscopes brings back several vendors that appear a bit, less than ideal. I see quite a few no-named scopes in the $300 ~ $500 range and I'm just afraid I'll end up with something plastic. I like ebay ... but can't tell if the Muller brand on here is reputable ... or if it would even work -- how would I have placed the Juno 106 MOBO on there? eevblog's scope seems to have a wider, flatter seat.

    How about these ... or these boom mounted scopes ?

    Can anyone speak to a good brand, a good price and some minimum features to look for. I could see someone suggesting a lower-end boom simply because it can be used on larger boards. From a practical standpoint - are most project smaller ... and small enough to fit on the little pedestal style scopes?

    Compared to a car purchase, I want to avoid the sunfire given to the 16 year old. Nor do I want the Benz that the 40 year old purchases. I'm looking for the Altima or Maxima. The 30 something's car with a bit of spunk and the ability to haul folks around while still getting good gas mileage and not breaking the bank each month. I think I'd love a used Olympus like eevblogs ... but for everything I've seen on ebay I see surprising few scopes like that for sale.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Welcome to AAC!

    Being a brand new user, your links triggered our automoderation. I have approved the thread. When you get past 10 posts it will not be a problem, but until then when you put links into your posts there is a chance it will happen again.
  3. cork_ie

    Active Member

    Oct 8, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  4. Dyslexicbloke

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Have you considered a good illuminated desk magnifier, there seem to be several available with 5X magnification.
    If you need vastly more than that then magnifying glasses in conjunction with the above may be the way to go. Defiantly much cheaper than a microscope, other than a USB one.

    More light will be a huge help and the better the range of colours the better you will see.
    Tri-Phosphor CF's are great for close work, look for daylight lamps
  5. BMorse

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 26, 2009
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    I have an old Bausch and Lomb 'scope similar in size to the HSZ6-PL on your link. It is quite useful when soldering nearly anything tiny.

    A boom scope is more useful as you can swing it over a larger item to see the piece you want.

    I don't have it handy to check the magnification I use, but I typically leave it on the lowest setting.
  7. chrissyp

    Active Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Take a look at their Mantis Elite stereo microscope .I use one of these and it is far more comfortable and easy to use than those antique designs you are looking at
  8. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
  9. LutherBaker

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2012
    Thanks! Those all seem like great suggestions.

    The Mantis stuff is cool, but just a tad out of my price range :) At least, until I start mass producing synths :)

    I really like the notion of the USB cameras -- but I wonder about camera quality, flicker and maybe more so, looking up at a monitor while my hands are somewhere else. I'd really like to try one of these ... although they don't seem too expensive. Maybe it would be nice to actually record what I'm soldering in case I need to I post a video here when I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

    I'm mostly intrigued by the headgear and lamps on the Grainger link - I've seen those before but didn't make the connection. That looks like a good way to get started without shelling out for a real scope quite yet.

  10. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    Have a look in the homewares discount stores and large supermarkets/officesupplies for arm-type desk lamps. You can often get them for $10 or $15 and put a few on your desk, and adjust the height of th earm and angle of the light. It's a cheap way to get a lot of light where you need it, and can then just push the arms out of the way when you don't need it.

    A couple of arm desk lamps and a decent head mounted magnifier and you can do SMD easy enough for hobby level anyway.
  11. chrissyp

    Active Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    You would get used to looking at a monitor while your hands are working somewhere else ,after all you do it all the time using a computer or driving a car . My only reservation about using a low quality usb camera is that the image may have delayed refresh and not be real time .My Mantis usb camera is good for inspection ,but i dont know if i would want to solder relying on it ,I prefer to look in the scope when soldering.
  12. mogwopjr

    New Member

    Sep 20, 2012
    The guys over at Null Space Labs set up a bunch of microscopes and hot plates at a show I attended in 2010. They used 10x AmScopes. The optics are not the top of the line but the price is right, and for SMD work they are more than capable.

    Less than $200 for a binocular microscope that is great for electronics. If you go to the website go to the Low Power Microscope - Stereo: Binocular section and at the top of the page click on the page 5 link - those are the scopes.