[time-nuts] Working with SMT parts.

Bob Camp kb8tq at n1k.org
Fri Aug 12 09:14:26 EDT 2016


You can get a pretty good microscope new for about $1,000. Getting them used is a hit or 
miss process. A lot of this stuff actually works very well when in good condition with all the 
parts (The Mantis is one example). Without all the parts they don’t work or work poorly. 

For most of what you do, there is no need for anything fancy. There is a Mantis in full working
condition at work. It never gets used. Magnifier lights get used a lot. Low magnification 
microscopes with really good halogen / fiber optic ring lights seem to be the most 
popular option. 


> On Aug 11, 2016, at 8:06 PM, Steve <steve65 at suddenlink.net> wrote:
> Can anyone compare the stereo microscope to a camera/monitor for use with SMT? I have a cheap stereo microscope that I would like to replace with either a much better stereo microscope or a camera/monitor. Is there a marked advantage(s) of one versus the other?  I have no "floaters" to contend with.
> Steve, K8JQ
> On 8/11/2016 4:06 PM, Chuck Harris wrote:
>> Lots of good suggestions have already been made, but for
>> me, a boom style stereo microscope, with a distance between
>> the objective, and the focal point of at least 3 inches works
>> fairly well...
>> One other thing that may force your decision, if you are
>> older, your eyes will likely have lots of "floaters", which
>> are debris that floats around in your eyeballs.  This debris
>> floats in and out of the center of your field of view, and
>> looks like a bunch of translucent worms, or shadows.
>> Your brain, the magnificent organ that it is, tries to compensate
>> for your eye's degradation, and as long as your eyes can move
>> about in your field of view, it effectively removes the floaters
>> from the scenes you are viewing.
>> However, if you use a stereo microscope, your eye position
>> is fixed by the very limited amounts of off axis motion
>> that will allow a through optical channel.  This lack of off
>> axis motion will emphasize your floaters in a great way, and you
>> will see *every* *single* *one*, clearly, as if it were something
>> you really wanted to view.  Some times, the floaters will cover
>> the exact thing you need to see clearly, and you will have to
>> move it off axis by moving it on the microscope stage.
>> The only answer to this problem, is to either have perfect eyes,
>> or to use a microscope where you are looking at a screen, rather
>> than through a pair of oculars.  This way, your eyes can dart
>> around, and inspect what they need to see clearly, and the
>> floaters will be ignored by your brain.
>> As far as I know, there is only one optical microscope built this
>> way, and it is the very expensive Mantis.
>> Because of the great expense of flat screen optical microscopes,
>> most modern SMD viewing equipment is going to the trivially cheap
>> method of using a CCD/CMOS color video camera and an LCD screen.
>> You can do a lot with a cheap USB camera mounted to a boom, a fiber
>> optic light source, or a ring light, and a laptop computer to
>> display the image.
>> -Chuck Harris
>> Bob Albert via time-nuts wrote:
>>> What are the important parameters regarding purchase of a stereo microscope?  I
>>> see some on ebay for around $50; are those good? Bob
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