Author Topic: USB Microscope for Soldering?  (Read 2655 times)

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Offline Rofflesaur

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USB Microscope for Soldering?
« on: February 13, 2018, 08:56:53 pm »
A new workbench is being built in the spring. When that time comes, I'm going to purchase an AmScope Simu-Focal microscope. I don't have space for that right now. I do however, need to replace a tiny QFN IC on my MacBook Pro. I was thinking about using a cheap USB microscope as a quick and dirty solution in the meantime. Are these suitable for soldering and SMD rework? I mainly see people using them for inspection, so I have no idea what the working distance is like.

Here's one I was considering:

http://www.amscope.com/stereo-microscopes/usb-microscopes/800x-hd-720p-3d-digital-zoom-8-led-microscope.html

..and is it worth the extra coin to move up to this model?

http://www.amscope.com/stereo-microscopes/usb-microscopes/10x-45x-track-mounted-stereo-zoom-microscope-with-dual-lighting-1.html

The second one appears to have much better illumination, and substantially more height adjustment, but does not appear to list a magnification range. Hmm.

Edit: Just realized the magnification range is in the URL, but listed nowhere on the website that I can tell.  :palm: 10-45x should suffice, yes?

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 09:00:56 pm by Rofflesaur »
 

Offline ChrisLX200

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 09:52:17 pm »
I would buy a decent illuminated head magnifier for now, you'll still find uses for that even after you have bought the bench microscope.
 

Offline ogden

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 10:52:23 pm »
First one is just expensive toy or demonstration microscope for classrooms, most likely will not work for soldering. Specs of UHM350-11 looks nice, but it's price is comparable to decent optical microscope which definitely is way better choice. Using proper microscope 1) you are not looking away from where your hands are 2) you can use peripheral vision 3) you don't waste computer display or buy dedicated one.

If you can afford it:
http://www.amscope.com/stereo-microscopes/7x-45x-trinocular-stereo-zoom-microscope-on-single-arm-boom.html
Don't forget LED ring accessory.

For light/hobby use this one could be good enough (have no experience with such):
http://www.amscope.com/10x-20x-led-binocular-stereo-microscope-boom-arm-with-gooseneck-light.html
 

Offline ransonjd

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2018, 12:52:24 am »
Be aware that Amscope build quality isn't amazing. I bought an Amscope with an articulating arm. It seemed nice to start, but after a few months, the joints no longer hold the microscope head level. This isn't terrible for viewing with your eyes, but it means I can't set up the camera flat to a board. I have no experience with Amscope's boom arm or these little scopes.

Also, the adapter ring for the LEDs comes in two varieties. The first that I received was plastic, and the cast threads could slip straight in and out of the mating threads on my barlow lens. I ended up returning it for replacement, and received a metal adapter with properly cut threads.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy amscope. Rather, just expect that you might have an issue or two crop up.
 

Offline ogden

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2018, 01:44:55 am »
Be aware that Amscope build quality isn't amazing.

Sure - you mostly get what you pay for. If you want Zeiss, Leica or Nikon quality - buy Zeiss, Leica or Nikon. BTW boom stands of Amscope SM-series seems to last long. One I know shows no wear after couple of years heavy professional use.  Jessa Jones and Louis Rossmann uses Amscope too :)
 

Offline xzswq21

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2018, 08:17:51 am »
I could build one with 100X zoom by my hand!  :box:
I'll show you the complete instruction in future and you can build one with your facilities.
these are the first pic I have taken at the first test
I have zoomed in on MicroZed Board  :-DD
images are sharp, clear, high resolution
28X and 100X
even I can tune the lens to have a better zoom but it's very sensitive at 100X.


« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 08:30:09 am by xzswq21 »
Thanks
 

Offline ogden

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 09:23:20 am »
28X and 100X

What is working distance at 28x magnification? It shall be at least 80..100mm. You don't want to smell fumes of your camera plastics while you solder, right?

Don't get too excited about high magnification ratios. 10x is most useful magnification for soldering, max 20x. Even low-end Amscope SE400-Z functionally will beat any digital 2D microscope in it's price range. Before going digital way, I suggest to look into any stereo microscope, see how important is stereo vision, and only then decide.
 
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Offline xzswq21

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 07:08:16 pm »
28X and 100X

What is working distance at 28x magnification? It shall be at least 80..100mm. You don't want to smell fumes of your camera plastics while you solder, right?

Don't get too excited about high magnification ratios. 10x is most useful magnification for soldering, max 20x. Even low-end Amscope SE400-Z functionally will beat any digital 2D microscope in it's price range. Before going digital way, I suggest to look into any stereo microscope, see how important is stereo vision, and only then decide.
as you see in above pics it has a cover and you don't see the main lens (not camera lens).
I can tune the lens and distance to have any desired magnification and safe distance.
also microscopic inspection is very important and I can do it very easily.
it's necessary to say 28X magnification of my system is optical zoom not digital.
when you are working with stereo Microscope it can cause pressure behind the eye along with vision changes and eye pain.
I didn't lose anything but I could build one with 100X magnification by my hand and it's good at-least for myself.  :popcorn:
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 07:10:23 pm by xzswq21 »
Thanks
 

Offline ogden

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 09:01:50 pm »
as you see in above pics it has a cover and you don't see the main lens (not camera lens).
I can tune the lens and distance to have any desired magnification and safe distance.

What is distance (range) from lens to subject you are looking at?

Quote
it's necessary to say 28X magnification of my system is optical zoom not digital.

It's not about zoom but sampling and display  :-DD  Your "microscope" is still digital and 2D.

Anyway I like your idea and it can be useful in many occasions when you suddenly need magnification. Please share info on final "product" when it's ready.

Quote
when you are working with stereo Microscope it can cause pressure behind the eye along with vision changes and eye pain.

Sure - for heavy, all-day professional work with microscope you better use (ask your company) hi-end stuff like Mantis:


 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 09:48:00 pm »
It is very important to have low latency - a USB microscope into a PC or tablet may not be acceptable in this respect.
I bought a cheap unit with built-in display a while ago for on-site use and the latency is too high - it can introduce an artificial hand tremor as the brain tries to compensate for movement but overshoots due to the delay.
 
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Offline Rofflesaur

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 10:01:03 pm »
I would buy a decent illuminated head magnifier for now, you'll still find uses for that even after you have bought the bench microscope.

I have an Opti-Visor which is usually suitable for most of the work I do. However, I currently need more magnification than that can provide.

First one is just expensive toy or demonstration microscope for classrooms, most likely will not work for soldering. Specs of UHM350-11 looks nice, but it's price is comparable to decent optical microscope which definitely is way better choice. Using proper microscope 1) you are not looking away from where your hands are 2) you can use peripheral vision 3) you don't waste computer display or buy dedicated one.

If you can afford it:
http://www.amscope.com/stereo-microscopes/7x-45x-trinocular-stereo-zoom-microscope-on-single-arm-boom.html
Don't forget LED ring accessory.

For light/hobby use this one could be good enough (have no experience with such):
http://www.amscope.com/10x-20x-led-binocular-stereo-microscope-boom-arm-with-gooseneck-light.html

The AmScope optical microscope I have on my wishlist right now is around $500 without the LED ring and camera. Probably will be close to $750 shipped. The USB microscopes (even the more expensive one I’m looking at) cost a fraction of that. I need something with a decent camera for the YouTubes. Just seemed like a cheap all-in-one solution for light use.

I’m currently using a Sony camera through an external interface, which is then digitally cropped from a 4K image and fed into a monitor. It’s workable, but complex and involves a lot of setup and cables. I just want something where I can sit down and flip a switch lol.

Be aware that Amscope build quality isn't amazing. I bought an Amscope with an articulating arm. It seemed nice to start, but after a few months, the joints no longer hold the microscope head level. This isn't terrible for viewing with your eyes, but it means I can't set up the camera flat to a board. I have no experience with Amscope's boom arm or these little scopes.

Also, the adapter ring for the LEDs comes in two varieties. The first that I received was plastic, and the cast threads could slip straight in and out of the mating threads on my barlow lens. I ended up returning it for replacement, and received a metal adapter with properly cut threads.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy amscope. Rather, just expect that you might have an issue or two crop up.

I know AmScope isn’t the best. If I wanted the best, I’d probably buy a Mantis or something. The feature set AmScope offers is pretty good for the price. Their warranty seems good too, although I’m not sure how well they stand behind it.


I’m kind of leaning towards the UHM350-11. There’s not a lot of information about it out there, so maybe I’ll do a video review?



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Offline Rofflesaur

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 10:07:21 pm »
It is very important to have low latency - a USB microscope into a PC or tablet may not be acceptable in this respect.
I bought a cheap unit with built-in display a while ago for on-site use and the latency is too high - it can introduce an artificial hand tremor as the brain tries to compensate for movement but overshoots due to the delay.

That’s something a didn’t really consider. I’d imagine it would be similar to a webcam with a slight delay, which could make precision soldering difficult. The camera on the AmScope UHM350 has an HDMI live feed. Hopefully that would have little to no latency if it’s just an uncompressed sensor readout.


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Offline amanda1

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« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 08:34:03 pm by amanda1 »
 

Offline RayRay

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2018, 10:01:11 am »
I'd suggest you get this Andonstar:
https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10041165/9620913-andonstar-a1-i-b-500x-magnifier-usb-digital
In terms of price/quality, it's exceptional!

Also, Dave did a review about it a while back:
 

Offline xzswq21

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2018, 07:20:09 pm »
I'd suggest you get this Andonstar:
https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10041165/9620913-andonstar-a1-i-b-500x-magnifier-usb-digital
In terms of price/quality, it's exceptional!

Also, Dave did a review about it a while back:
Dear
I had fallen in love to Andostar before  but I asked others in this website and they told me their experiences about Andostar.
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-566-cheap-usb-microscope-reviews/msg1376148/#msg1376148
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-566-cheap-usb-microscope-reviews/msg1376244/#msg1376244
(page 5 and page 6)
anyhow it's interesting to watch this video:
Thanks
 

Offline Rofflesaur

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2018, 06:09:20 am »
I decided I would try the AmScope UHM350-11. It should arrive tomorrow, and hopefully I will have a video review for anyone else who is interested.  :-+
 

Offline janoc

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2018, 07:38:05 am »
I decided I would try the AmScope UHM350-11. It should arrive tomorrow, and hopefully I will have a video review for anyone else who is interested.  :-+

Seriously, for that price you should have bought a normal stereo microscope. What you have bought is good for inspection and documentation but you will be swearing up a storm trying to solder under it (lack of depth perception and having to look elsewhere than where your soldering tip is are the largest killers).
 

Offline Rofflesaur

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2018, 11:45:33 am »
Well, like I said... I do most of my work though an opti-visor or without any magnification whatsoever. This purchase is mainly for the camera so I can film repairs, but also for inspection. There may be a couple one-off repairs where I will actually need to use it to solder. That’s why I wanted to buy a USB microscope. Right now I’m using a setup similar to what xzswq21 posted, except that I need to break it down every time as I use the camera for other things. This will replace the camera and allow me to have a semi usable microscope.

In a few months I’ll be purchasing an actual stereo microscope with the works:

http://www.amscope.com/7x-45x-simul-focal-stereo-lockable-zoom-microscope-on-dual-arm-boom-stand.html

http://www.amscope.com/accessories/illuminator/80-led-lighting-direction-variable-microscope-ring-illuminator.html

http://www.amscope.com/12mp-usb3-0-bsi-c-mount-microscope-camera-with-calibration-silde.html

It’ll probably cost around $1200 out the door with 0.5X Barlow lens and such. The UHM350 costs about 20% of that, so I have no problem spending that in the meantime, and I’m sure I’ll still have a use for it after I buy the new one. Hopefully it doesn’t suck!  :D
 

Offline Electro Fan

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2018, 03:33:24 pm »
A while back we had some threads that dealt not specifically with USB microscopes but with microscopes in general, magnifying lamps, and visors for viewing while soldering - lots of discussion about working distance and appropriate magnification:

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/please-recommend-a-microscope-for-up-close-pcb-work-$200-$50-or-so/

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/magnifying-lamp-for-soldering/

« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 03:41:13 pm by Electro Fan »
 
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Offline amspire

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Re: USB Microscope for Soldering?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2018, 04:05:51 pm »
I am really happy with a stand like this:

Very reliable and solid.

Much cheaper then the boom stands, and gives pretty good clearance. If I want the stand base out of the way, I reverse it, put a weight on it and swing the microscope to the front.

The photo shows a typical microscope position when focussed on a PCB.

I don't leave it on the desk. When I am not using it, I can pick it up with one hand and put the microscope somewhere else. Only takes about 10 seconds to pick it up from under the desk and plug the lamp in.

At the time I got my microscope from AliExpress the prices were (on special)
Stereo Microscope head + 0.5 Barlow (no trinocular fitting): A$250
Stand: A$116
Ring LED Lamp: A$18

all with free postage to Australia.
Stand: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-shipping-Super-Large-Microscope-Table-Stand-with-Focusing-Rack-ST2-A1/32661045448.html

Simul Focal Trinocular Head + 0.5 Barlow (39% discount): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-3-5X-45X-Simul-Focal-Trinocular-Zoom-Stereo-Microscope-Head-WF10X-20-SZM0-5X/32661017928.html
« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 04:50:26 pm by amspire »
 


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