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Author Topic: Microscope for SMT work  (Read 6294 times)
K0IZ
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« on: April 19, 2012, 06:58:40 PM »

For SMT repair work (and some new construction) I have seen some comments about using a microscope.  I would appreciate some ideas and recommendations as to type/brand.  Don't want to spend big bucks, but want something that will help my SMT efforts.
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N5VTU
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2012, 07:06:18 PM »

I can't help you with the microscope aspect, but I use a digital camera set to "video" mode and connect it to my PC to get a "live" and greatly magnified view of whatever the camera sees.  You probably already have a suitable camera lying around somewhere.  I use some spring clamps that look like giant alligator clips to hold the camera above the work surface.

Stephen
N5VTU

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KE3WD
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2012, 08:18:58 PM »

I use a headband magnifier and good lighting. 

Microscope is way overkill.


73
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K5LXP
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2012, 08:50:06 PM »

Mantis microscopes are popular for SMT.

http://www.smtinspection.com/Inspector-Mantis.html


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KA4POL
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 10:01:42 PM »

Just for repair work a magnifier lamp is sufficient. They are available in 3 to 5 diopter versions.
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TANAKASAN
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2012, 01:30:09 AM »

Two options:

1) Grab a couple of SMT chips and head off to your local optician. Once they see the size of the components you're working on they will appreciate the problem and set you up with a pair of glasses that have strong lenses. My reading glasses are 2.2 diopter but my SMT glasses are 9 diopter and with a focal length of four inches or so I can read the smallest of writing on the chips.

2) Find a cheap and nasty webcam that has variable focus, the modern autofocus ones won't work here. By playing around with the focus setting under a strong light you should be able to use it as a simple microscope with the image displayed on the screen of your PC. This particular idea was in QST a couple of months ago and it works well.

Tanakasan
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K9FV
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2012, 02:36:13 PM »

If you plan doing much SMD work, you WILL want a stereo microscope - for $300 to $500 you can get a VERY nice setup. Precision World is a pretty good source.  They also have an ebay store.  Both ebay and website have free shipping.  The 800 phone number works really good - the folks there are VERY helpful and seem to know their stuff.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/7X-45X-Boom-Stand-Stereo-Zoom-Microscope-56-LED-Light-/400292050926?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d3343f7ee#ht_6487wt_1165

http://store.amscope.com/sm-2b.html is a 7 to 45X which is about right for SMD work - from 0403 to 1206 ($350 or so).

http://amscope.com/Stereo-Zoom.html is the website itself

Don't bother with the USB camera - I got a 3 meg camera and it just doesn't do what I was hoping.

If you wish I can give a bit more detailed info - I've got OptiVISOR magnifiers that work good.  I think they are about 3 or 4 power and really help, but for real SMD, my stereo scope is very much needed.

Good luck and have fun,

73 de Ken H>
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 02:39:25 PM by K9FV » Logged
KA5IPF
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 11:22:13 AM »

I use a Nikon SMZ-1 binocular zoom microscope. Works very well with 10-30 power.
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WD4MTW
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 03:46:32 PM »

I use a 30 y/o+ Wolfe (Kyowa Optical) inspection scope with a boom if I need it, but it takes up a lot of room and a royal pain to work with. Most of my work is done with a bench mount magnifying ring light or an inexensive magnifying headset with inserts.  My wife uses a set of binocular eye glasses made by Craftoptics that seems to work a lot better then a headset or the scope. They're a bit pricy, but there are other companies that make similar ones for less. Madeltech has several available specifically for SMT work for about 1/3 of what my wife's cost.

http://craftoptics.com/

http://www.madelltech.com/loupes.html
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K9FV
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 08:56:01 PM »

I guess the OP has forgotten or lost interest in the thread, but this posted link: http://www.madelltech.com/loupes.html has made the thread worth while.  I had wondered where to find those type eye wear.  I have the  OptiVISOR and just checked, it is a +5 Magnification, not the lower power I mentioned before.  the hassle with it is the close working distance - about 6" while the Madelltech show up to 18" working distance.  That would be NICE..... of couse $30 vs $150 is a bit of difference also.

I guess I'll make do with what I got for a while.  The microscope makes all the difference.

73 de Ken H>
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