Magnifiers on spectacles

wrote:


http://www.quicktest.co.uk/acatalog/Head-worn_Magnifiers__binocular_-_surgeon_s_type.html
Another good link, thanks. Now I have too much choice! I do have a couple of the "Peer" visors, but sometimes I am looking into big gearboxes in situ, so the surgeon's "telescope" types with their larger working distance come into their own. Apart from looking cool when I'm trying to justify our consultancy rates. Changing the subject slightly, I just bought a USB microscope from this guy
http://shop.ebay.co.uk/merchant/merseaelectronics
and it really isn't bad for 40. Easier to cart this plus a small laptop around plant than a binocular microscope plus lights plus camera!
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newshound wrote:

>

Thanks, that's a very interesting device. Even though I don't have a use for one, I can definitely feel the pull!
But perhaps we pay too much attention to the specifications of the optics and not enough to practical convenience. Although my electronics workbench has a stereo zoom microscope on a swinging arm, for most close-up work still I find myself using a cheap pair of +4 reading glasses in front of the bottom (magnifying) part of my varifocals - simply because they are so convenient.
They don't block my view of the work, they let me move my head around to change viewpoints, and instantly let me re-focus onto the wider world - and all of that is completely hands-free. Only the Zeiss magnifiers that Andy mentioned share all those advantages, but the non-prescription reading glasses are far cheaper of course. Rimless letterbox shaped lenses are in fashion at the moment, so now is a good time to buy - or at the very least, to try them in the drugstore.
Another option for a true head-up display might be an old video camera mounted above the bench. Some of the bigger, older ones have excellent zoom lenses. In a quick trial, ours gave a very good magnified view of a PC board from about a metre distance - it was wonderful to have a completely open work area above the board and need no special glasses at all. However, a true HUD would need a dedicated flat-screen monitor on the wall, right in front of where I sit to solder, and I don't do enough SMD work to justify that expense... or not yet.
BTW, along with the need for magnification is the need for a good work light. This 3W white LED from IKEA is excellent: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/50128708
The icy blue-white light would be awful for reading, but gives superb definition for close-up work. The LED housing is very compact and doesn't get in the way - it can be clipped onto an over-bench shelf or even onto the arm of the microscope, and then is easily positioned with the swan neck. Highly recommended.
--
Ian White

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I have an old Intel QX3 USB microscope (three objectives on a barrel) that's good for this. x200 is hard to use as there's no depth of focus, but x30 has really good depth and is great for inspection work. It's better than any video camera I've had, and it's easy enough to dedicate an old PC these days.

I bought a couple of "Tritronic" LED pocket / book lights for a couple of quid each from Cheapo DIY (part of Homebase?). 3 AAA battery box and a nice triple LED head on a flex gooseneck. Two are now fitted under my stereo bench microscope (x36). Battery life is so long I haven't even bothered to mains power them yet.

"May not be used as bed lamp, it may fall down and cause a fire." 8-) Think they need to update their boilerplate.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Inspection work and assembly/repair work are two very different applications. Navigating a hot soldering iron puts much more emphasis on both depth and breadth of field, but requires less magnification. For assembly this typically balances out at 5-10x.
For really desperate SMD repair jobs (where the full value of some expensive piece of kit is hanging in the balance) I use the stereo zoom microscope. When soldering it is backed right down to 7x, and lit from a raking angle to create as much 3D effect as possible. When the iron is safely back in the stand, the magnification can be cranked up to 20x to check for gaps and solder bridges.
Other kinds of inspection may need much higher magnification, of course.

BTDT, already 4 in the workshop and none left over :-)

Tried some similar ones before settling on the IKEA. The single large LED is truly in a different league.

Think so... the metal lamp housing is a heat sink for the LED, but it only runs warm.
--
Ian White

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By "inspection" here I really mean mechanical stuff or '60s electricals, rather than modern electronics, so the scale and need for depth is more like your soldering example. Electronics stopped being fun when everything went SMT, I haven't really done any in years.
(Although the Arduino seems to have re-engaged a bit of my interest.)
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On Mon, 27 Apr 2009 22:40:19 +0100, "newshound"

Looks useful. What kind of working distance does it have?
Regards, Tony
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It focusses back to infinity but has a fairly narrow angular view, about 18 degrees; when zoomed out the "long" frame width is about three times the working distance. When focussed in the plane of focus is more or less at the bottom of the clear section, which is 20 mm deep. There are four white LEDs but you can switch them off and use external angled illumination. It comes with a removable but transparent "lens cap" that doesn't cause much distortion in the centre of the field (although there is some flare around the periphery from the LEDs if they are on,) so it is quite a flexible little beast. The only slight glitch at the moment is that on one machine it seems to insist on reinstalling the drivers each time, but I expect it's something I have done. Also, there's a nice smooth and sensitive (manual) focus on it. All I need now is an excuse to use it on something (like so many of my tools and gadgets!)
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