Author Topic: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread  (Read 9086 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« on: June 10, 2016, 06:39:42 AM »
I'm getting into SMD work, starting with hand-soldering:  acquiring equipment, knowledge, skills and supplies.  I bought this inexpensive, new-on-the-market inspection microscope with LCD display so that I could see what I was soldering.  I'm very pleased with it and thought I'd share my findings.  Below are some comments that I've written for the forum, followed by a cut and paste of my personal notes that I've collected about the unit.

--Bill



============================================================
Andonstar HDMI Microscope
BF Introductory Comments, 9-JUNE-2016
============================================================

Brief Description:
A compact, $200USD inspection-style microscope with metal stage, rack and pinion column, two high-intensity LED lights on goosenecks, nicely focusable lens, built-in LCD display.  Lights and camera are powered from a single, dual-port USB power adapter. Can record video and stills on an SD card.  Can send video to an external monitor via supplied HDMI cable.

Bottom-Line Opinion:
o I bought this for SMD hand-soldering work. Except that the stage is too small and slippery (which I imagine I can rectify with a DIY solution) I have found this to be well-built, an excellent performer and highly satisfactory -- at a very reasonable price.

Camera Features:
o Based on automotive dash cam technology.
o 1080P max resolution.
o Auto white balance (AWB).
o Auto exposure.
o HDR feature (what does this do?).
o Digital zoom up to 4x.
o 3" diagonal LCD display.
o HDMI output to external display.
o SD card slot.
o Record video (with optional audio) to SD card.
o Record still photos to SD card.

Review Comments:
o LED lights are bright, white, not obviously bluish.
o Focus control is excellent!  Smooth and precise.
o Overall construction is very solid.
o There is lots play in the knobs that move the camera up/down the column. But the camera stays where you put it, the focus stays where you put it, and the LED goosenecks stay where you put them.
o Display is clear and colorful.
o Color is natural.
o Video noise is subdued and is only noticeable with the lights off or the lens covered.  In normal lighting you'll never see it.
o The Auto exposure and auto white balance work quite well.
o The digital zoom works well, displaying sharp, detailed images on the screen.
o Video is displayed on either the camera screen or an external monitor, but not both at once.
o Video and still recordings are clear and detailed.  Color is natural.
o Video lag is very low.  Noticeable only if you look for it.  Close enough to real-time.
o Distance from object to lens leaves enough space to get tweezers and soldering iron in to do SMD work.


Issues:
o No manual!!!  The dash-cam-style camera has 7 buttons with inscrutable modes and functions.  Lots of trial and error needed to figure it out.
o The metal stage is too reflective.  It's a nicely textured, silver metal. It looks great.  But those LED lights really create a distracting glare.  It would be better if it were very dark or black.
o The metal stage is too small:  When working on an 85x55mm SMD soldering practice board, often half the board would be off the stage as I moved it around to position various parts for hand-soldering.
o The metal stage is too slippery.  Despite the texture I found the above SMD practice board would slide around a bit, with the movement magnified under the microscope.
o The HDMI feed to my external monitor stopped working after a few days.  At one point I could plug/unplug the HDMI cable and the image would switch between the camera's screen and the external monitor.  Then this stopped working and I don't know why.  I don't completely trust my monitor, so I can't with certainty blame the microscope.



============================================================
Andonstar HDMI Microscope
BF Personal Notes
============================================================

____________________________________________________________
PURCHASE

Purchased 22MAY16 via eBay from "tech-seeker" for $199 (free shipping).

Titled: "New Andonstar HDMI microscope digital microscope for PCB repair tool"


____________________________________________________________
SHIPPING

Received 12 days after ordering, via USPS.

Item was packed in fitted foam, in a printed cardboard box, wrapped with bubble wrap, further wrapped in a clear plastic bag.

Received in excellent condition.

____________________________________________________________
SETUP

Unpacked and set up in about 5 minutes. 

Set base on table, attach lens to ring with pre-installed set-screws, plug USB cables from lights and camera into two-port USB power adapter, plug power adapter into 120VAC power socket.

Optionally connect camera to a TV monitor with included mini-to-normal-sized HDMI cable.

Press power button on lights cable to turn on lights.  Press power button on lower-right side of camera to turn on camera.

After a short camera boot-up the unit is operational.

The only glitch is that the camera comes with the 2-minute screen saver mode enabled:  so the screen will turn off after 2 minutes of use.  After going into the settings menu and turning off the screen saver the screen stayed on indefinitely.

There was no instruction manual.  The mechanical setup is easy to figure out.  The camera operation can be figured out if you have experience with Chinese dashcams, but even so there are features you might never figure out. 

The lack of a manual is the only big negative I have found with this product.

____________________________________________________________
MECHANICAL PARAMETERS

CAMERA AT LOWEST POSTION ON POLE
Horizontal field of view approx 9mm
Vertical field of view approx 5mm
Height of lens-rim above stage approx 35mm
Tallest focusable object height approx 8mm
Depth of field approx 1mm

CAMERA AT LOWEST POSTION ON POLE
Horizontal field of view approx 33mm
Vertical field of view approx 18mm
Height of lens-rim above stage approx 146mm
Tallest focusable object height approx 130mm
Depth of field approx 10mm near stage, approx 5mm near lens

WORKING AREA
Distance from pole to center of lens approx 60mm
Stage length from front to pole approx 120mm
Stage width approx 80mm

LIGHT INTENSITY
Lights as far as possible from object, approx 60Klux
Lights as close to object as possible, approx 200Klux

____________________________________________________________
GENERAL OPERATION

Basically, they have taken a 1080P dashcam, added a special lens on the front, and mounted it on a (rack and pinion) pole attached to a metal stage, and added some LED lights on goosenecks.

CAMERA
o Fast, high-resolution video.
o Only a very short lag between object movement and video updates.  Perfectly useable for soldering or inspection.
o HD feed to external monitor via HDMI cable.
o 3" diagonal video display screen just above the lens, titled towards you so it's easy to see.
o Video recording onto an SD card (supplied by user).
o Time and date stamping.
o Auto exposure, white balance, etc.

LENS
They've done a great job on the lens.  There's a tall, nicely textured focusing ring that rotates very smoothly, with just the right amount of drag.  A pleasure to use.  The lens is very easy to focus, which is good because the depth of field is shallow and you'll be focusing a lot.

STAGE, ETC.
The stage is a thick aluminum plate on rubber feet.

The two LED goosenecks are mounted securely at the back.

The camera is mounted on a metal pole with a rack and pinion for moving the camera and lens up and down. 

The design and construction of all this is solid, attractive, and well done.  An excellent consumer-grade product, but should last forever if taken care of.

IMAGE
The image is clear, bright, excellent color, excellent sharpness across the entire visual field.

LIGHTS
The LED lights are so bright, particularly when reflecting off the bright silver stage, that they produce a lot of glare in the lab (although not through the lens).  Consider covering the stage with a matte black covering: e.g. a piece of black construction paper.

There are two LED lights on separate goosenecks.  As a photographer I prefer this to ring lighting because I can adjust the postions of the lights to throw profiles into relief, giving me more control over the sense of dimensionality for each object.

The goosenecks generally work well. Out of the box they are a bit stiff.  No doubt they will loosen up with use -- hopefully not too much.  They do a good job of holding whatever position you put them in.  But I do wish they were about 2 inches longer so that I could get them about 1 inch farther away from larger objects.

POWER
The camera has a detachable 56" long USB cable.

The stage has an attached 83" long USB cable, with an inline power button about 24" from the stage.

Both plug into the supplied, two-port AC adapter.

The AC adapter is a white cube, just a little bigger than the Apple ones.  It has 2 USB ports.  It says it is designed by "PowerBlue" and is made in China.  Each port claims to deliver up to 2.1Amps.  It says it can handle input voltages from 100-240VAC.

EXTERNAL VIDEO
The camera image can be fed to an external video monitor with the included 60" long, mini-to-fullsize HDMI cable.  The camera claims to be 1080P.  Maybe the video export is too?

The image on an external video monitor is good.  There is noticeable noise in the image, but not it does not affect readability of the image.

Note that when you plug the HDMI cable into the camera, the camera screen turns off.  Unplugging it turns the camera screen back on.

VIDEO RECORDINGS
Each video recording is in a separate ".MOV" file.  Filenames are formatted as YYYY_MMDD_HHMMSS_XXX.MOV.  The camera may automatically break a long recording run into a series of (say) 5-minute recording files (as is typical of dashcams) but I didn't test this.

IMAGE RECORDINGS
Appearently you can take snapshots and have them recorded as files on an SD card.  If so they are probably stored as JPEGs.  But I haven't tested this.

____________________________________________________________
CONTROLS (documenting these is a work in progress...)
____________________
OPERATING MODES

o In general, pressing the "Mode Select" button cycles through the modes.  This button is on the right side, second from the top.

LIVE-VIEW-WITH-VIDEO-RECORDING MODE:

LIVE-VIEW-WITH-STILL-IMAGE-RECORDING MODE:

PLAYBACK MODE:
o Use the "Power" button (lower-right) to advance through the recordings.  The icon in the upper left corner of the screen will be a filmstrip for a still image or a right-arrow for a video recording.

o For video recordings, use the "OK" button (top-right) to start it.  Don't know how to stop, advance or rewind.


____________________
POWER BUTTON (lower-right)

WHEN CAMERA IS OFF:
o Press and hold a few seconds: camera will boot up.

IN ANY LIVE-VIEW MODE:
o Click to toggle microphone mute on/off.
o Press and hold a few seconds: camera will shut down.

IN PLAYBACK MODE:
o Click to advance to the next (still or video) recording.
o Press and hold a few seconds: camera will shut down.

____________________
LEFT-SIDE-MIDDLE BUTTON:  MODE SELECTION

o The first click gives you the settings menu for the current mode.

o If you click a second time (before clicking any other button) you get the general settings menu.

GENERAL-SETTINGS MENU:
o Date/Time
o Beep on/off
o Language (10 to choose from)
o Video Frequency (50Hz/60Hz)
o Screen Saver
o Format the SD card (if any)
o Reset all settings to their defaults.
o Display version number.

LIVE-VIEW-WITH-VIDEO-RECORDING-MODE MENU:
o Resolution (1080P down to VGA)
o HDR on/off
o Exposure (range of +/-2, steps of 1/3)
o Record Audio on/off

LIVE-VIEW-WITH-STILL-IMAGE-RECORDING-MODE MENU:
o
o
o

VIDEO-PLAYBACK-MODE MENU:
o Delete
o Protect
o Slide Show

STILL-IMAGE-PLAYBACK-MODE MENU:
o
o
o

____________________
ALL LIVE-VIEW MODES

LEFT-SIDE-TOP-BUTTON: Zoom in in 16 steps up to 4x.

LEFT-SIDE-BOTTOM-BUTTON: Zoom out in 16 steps down to 1x.


============================================================
 
The following users thanked this post: gofaster

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2016, 07:18:59 AM »
Here is a picture of the product.  I'll follow with some pics made with the unit. but I'm having trouble with file sizes.
 

Online wraper

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 6359
  • Country: lv
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 07:21:49 AM »
Good for inspection. But if you find it good for soldering, then you never used half decent optical stereo microscope. Regardless of lacking stereo vision, working distance is way too small for using various tools, especially hot air station.
 

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2016, 07:22:22 AM »
The microscope saves JPEG still images to the SD card that are typically 3.5MB in size.  I had to re-save them at 50% JPEG quality to get them below the forum's 1MB limit, and post only two at a time to stay below the forum's 2MB per post limit.  See the filenames for explanations.
 

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2016, 07:23:36 AM »
The microscope saves JPEG still images to the SD card that are typically 3.5MB in size.  I had to re-save them at 50% JPEG quality to get them below the forum's 1MB limit, and post only two at a time to stay below the forum's 2MB per post limit.  See the filenames for explanations.
 

Online wraper

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 6359
  • Country: lv
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2016, 07:25:50 AM »
Also stand is completely useless. If your board is anything other than tiny, you won't be able to inspect anything other than edges.
 

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 07:26:26 AM »
The microscope saves JPEG still images to the SD card that are typically 3.5MB in size.  I had to re-save them at 50% JPEG quality to get them below the forum's 1MB limit, and post only two at a time to stay below the forum's 2MB per post limit.  See the filenames for explanations.
 

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2016, 07:32:58 AM »
...if you find it good for soldering, then you never used half decent optical stereo microscope.

True.  I researched optical stereo microscopes and found that new ones are generally way more than I can afford, and I do not have the experience to knowledgeably shop for a used one.

...working distance is way too small for using various tools, especially hot air station.

I've found it fine for using a soldering iron.  I have also purchased an SMD rework station with hot-air pencil and a hot-air blower(?) with various tips.  I find that I have to hold each of these vertically above the board.  I can't imagine an optical stereo microscope (or any microscope) that could be located high enough above the board for this.  What am I missing?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 07:35:23 AM by billfernandez »
 

Online wraper

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 6359
  • Country: lv
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2016, 07:43:50 AM »
My microscope has 18 cm working distance. Also I don't hold hot air gun completely vertically, it's just difficult to do and of course impossible to see what's underneath. I hold it at about 60-65o angle which of course is impossible with your microscope.
 

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2016, 08:08:50 AM »
My microscope has 18 cm working distance. Also I don't hold hot air gun completely vertically, it's just difficult to do and of course impossible to see what's underneath. I hold it at about 60-65o angle which of course is impossible with your microscope.

Thank you for making a point of this.  It forced me to go back and see how well I could do.  It turns out that I can raise the microscope on its column enough to put the lens about 15cm above the stage.  At that height, and given that the lens barrel is so narrow, I can use my hot air blower angled about 5 to 10 degrees from vertical.  Perfectly useable for soldering/desoldering small parts -- although not vertical enough to desolder a large rectangular chip using a 4-sided blower nozzle.  Also I can digitally zoom in up to 4x, which gives me a highly magnified view, yet with a crisply detailed image.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 02:58:02 PM by billfernandez »
 

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2016, 08:11:51 AM »
Also stand is completely useless. If your board is anything other than tiny, you won't be able to inspect anything other than edges.

True.  I hadn't the experience to anticipate this problem with I ordered it.  I'll have to find some way to mount it on a longer arm over a larger stage.  Maybe I can find a good used inspection microscope arm...
 

Offline ebclr

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1544
  • Country: 00
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2016, 10:21:30 AM »
" Also stand is completely useless. If your board is anything other than tiny, you won't be able to inspect anything other than edges.

 microscope has 18 cm working distance. Also I don't hold hot air gun  "

Both totally false

This microscopes works far a way from that ignore post's from Latvia always negative for good products pointing only for the 50K plus products that very few people can buy,  it's ridiculous

Check this video

 

Offline billfernandez

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 132
  • Country: us
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2016, 01:48:21 PM »
ebclr: 

What a great idea, mounting it upside down!  Thank you for sharing that. 

I watched your video and saw your question about aspect ratio.  I have a true 1080P monitor, and it displays images with the correct aspect ratio and does not have the problem you showed.  So maybe as you surmised it is your monitor.
 

Offline altaic

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 45
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2016, 11:46:41 AM »
Would you kindly post some pics of the camera from various angles? Also, is the imaging section detachable to, for instance, get access to an SDI interface or some sort of raw image data?

I'm thinking of getting two of these, running it through a dual SDI -> HDMI 3d converter, and using it on a passive 3d monitor/tv. It would probably take a bit of rigging to get it to work well, but ~$900 (3d converter is ~$500 from quick googling) wouldn't be too bad for such a setup.
 

Online wraper

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 6359
  • Country: lv
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2016, 12:04:58 PM »
This microscopes works far a way from that ignore post's from Latvia always negative for good products pointing only for the 50K plus products that very few people can buy,  it's ridiculous
Ridiculous is BS you like to write. First of all I don't own and never wrote about 50K equepment. Secondly your imagination is beyond shameless. Like baselessly saying I'm keysight ebay seller (therefore should be biased) or giving a hint I'm being Nazi. You actually already should be banned for that. Although your previous post had some useful info (finally) instead of just diluting the treads. Mostly you produce a lot of useless posts, and although your account is old, 95% of your shitload of posts is produced in less than a month. Also I didn't say that product is useless, just pointed out what it is good for but for what not.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 12:20:41 PM by wraper »
 

Offline ebclr

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1544
  • Country: 00
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2016, 01:22:57 PM »
Let's suggest together to implement a function on the forum that you can't see post from a specific user , i will be glady to block you, And I'm sure you also be gladly to block me.
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 24743
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2016, 01:35:35 PM »
FYI, I've had the microscope for some time, and am thinking of selling it along with some custom improvements.
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 24743
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2016, 01:41:40 PM »
FYI
Field of view is 36mm at the maximum stand working distance of 160mm (it can go higher, but the stand can't)
 

Offline wilfred

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4577
  • Country: au
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2016, 03:53:47 PM »
Let's suggest together to implement a function on the forum that you can't see post from a specific user , i will be glady to block you, And I'm sure you also be gladly to block me.

If you go into your forum profile you can set a list of users you want to ignore. Profile-->Forum Profile-->Modify Profile-->Buddies/Ignore LIst

 

Offline ebclr

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1544
  • Country: 00
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2016, 04:34:54 PM »
Tks
 

Offline ElektroQuark

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1162
  • Country: es
  • I was EdoNork
    • ElektroQuark
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2016, 05:09:23 PM »
Has anyone tested it with a cheap HDMI to VGA adapter?


Online wraper

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 6359
  • Country: lv
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2016, 06:30:20 PM »
Has anyone tested it with a cheap HDMI to VGA adapter?
It's VGA to HDMI adapter on the picture. Edit: it is  :palm:, have almost exactly the same. The only issue can likely appear, such adapters consume current, expect 100-200 mA. Therefore the device must be able to supply it.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 07:38:48 PM by wraper »
 

Offline ElektroQuark

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1162
  • Country: es
  • I was EdoNork
    • ElektroQuark
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2016, 06:34:37 PM »
That's a generic image.

I think those adapters have a USB port to be powered.

Online wraper

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 6359
  • Country: lv
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2016, 06:40:36 PM »
That's a generic image.

I think those adapters have a USB port to be powered.
They don't.
 

Offline wilfred

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4577
  • Country: au
Re: The Andonstar HDMI Microscope thread
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2016, 07:26:55 PM »
I use one with a Raspberry Pi. No USB port involved.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf