Author Topic: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews  (Read 56883 times)

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Online EEVblog

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EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« on: January 07, 2014, 08:44:32 am »
Dave takes a look at two cheap USB microscopes to see how suitable they are for electronics works and soldering and inspection.
http://amzn.to/JEXuLH
Andonstar/Vividia 2MP 12mm diameter endoscope style USB microscope:
http://amzn.to/1cLfhHr
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/171176517011

 

Offline JoannaK

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 08:55:45 am »
I have one of those cheaper ones, or actually mine even has a brand name (otiez) on it so perhaps it's not the cheapest one available from hunglonchow. But anyhow the included stand is totally **** and totally useledd on aything. This one higher resoltuin camera (not much help with lag, though) and can zoom out all to way (could in theory even used as a webcam). the zoom/focus roll is quite stiff and the photo-button totally useless.   :-DD


http://www.oi.com.hk/node/20.html


(Image added)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 07:45:41 pm by JoannaK »
 

Offline gnif

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 09:41:49 am »
Did you try the software for the cheap on on the better one? Since no drivers had to be installed, they will both be standard WDM capture devices and should work unless there is a hard coded string check for the device name.
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Offline vampi-the-frog

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 09:59:14 am »
It kind of makes sense that there is a low framerate, since, for example, for 1024 * 768 * 24bpp * 30fps, you'd need 1024 * 768 * 3 * 30 = 70778880 = 67.5MB/s, whereas USB2.0 can only throughput effectively 35MB/s (according to wikipedia). JPEG or other compression might help though.

And with USB3.0, you have 4Gbit/s,or ~500MB/s which for could give you 227 FPS for 1024*768.

For 1920x1080, 24bpp, 30fps, you need 177MB/s.
 

Online Psi

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 10:40:40 am »
I wonder how well a cheap 2ndhand DSLR (like a canon 1000d) with some macro extensions and a cheap zoom lens would work.
You would use the cameras live TV out on a nearby monitor.
There wouldn't be any lag at all and the working distance could be a foot easy.

Resolution would be limited to composite TV, so 580 lines or whatever, but the good working distance would make up for it.
The optics would be much better too, so it would probably look sharper than a HD webcam with plastic lens.

Cheap broken/damaged 2ndhand cameras might work fine for this purpose if the fault was with some part of the camera you dont need. like the build in LCD, hot shoe, auto focus etc..
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 10:52:23 am by Psi »
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Offline zapta

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 11:12:43 am »
I have one like the metal pencil one. It has a very wide range of focus so you can go from very close (high magnification) to a regular web cam. When holding by hand, it's easier to keep the horizontal boom attached, easier to hold and keep the orientation. It's nice but not as good as a stereo microscope.

BTW, my dentist has something similar for many years. A small pen like video camera that Sony markets to dental clinics. When he tells you that you need a feeling, he also shows you the ugly stuff on a large screen so you cannot be in denial.

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Offline nowlan

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 12:02:43 pm »
Still curious about the lcd tv one dave used at the trade show.
Someone mentioned wanting to mimick some mount on amazon uk.
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 12:34:42 pm »
Could you post the VID:PID of the usb cams to check if supported by GNU/Linux?

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Offline MichaelW

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2014, 12:38:59 pm »
While watching the video, I had a thought. I wonder if that pencil one could be connected to a raspberry pi to output directly to a cheap LCD monitor, the pi could be mounted to the back of the monitor, perhaps to the vesa mounting holes.

I looked it up and it's about $99 USD, Dave mentioned a better one for a couple of hundred bucks, anyone got some brand suggestions for stand alone inspection microscope that might show up around $200 used?
 

Offline Dr. Frank

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2014, 01:06:00 pm »
It would be better to use the Andonstar microscope 180° horizontally turned around , so that the PCB is resting on the table, or an ESD mat, instead that the downside of the PCB, and its components scratch around on the stand plate.

Is it possible to turn that around?
And is the plate heavy enough that the stand does not tilt over? (One could put an additional weight on it..)

This microscope is quite interesting especially for people over 45..

I acquired the usual farsightedness since that time, so the SMD components virtually got smaller and smaller over the years  :-//
And the number of glasses, used as loupes, instead grew and grew.

I currently have to use this (real-time) 4x magnifier binocular loupe.
Quite expensive, but nothing gets in the way, and no delay, anyhow..

That USB microscope might be much more comfortable, though.


Frank
 

Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2014, 01:32:20 pm »
Hey Dave, great video. I am working on an in-depth review on about 6 of these USB type microscopes ranging from low quality to high quality units. Some of the higher quality units I have will easily do to 5MP stills with full 1280x1024 30FPS for video. I will try and get a list together later today and post the MFG and model numbers along with links for each one. I too a while back went through the cheap USB microscope phase and learned through trial and error, along with spending a bit more money on these trials than I wanted, about which ones were better quality and worked well.
Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
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Offline opablo

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2014, 01:41:33 pm »
Could you post the VID:PID of the usb cams to check if supported by GNU/Linux?
Alexander.

I have the first one that Dave reviewed and fyi his opinions matched mine after using it.
Bad selection to use while soldering... good selection for cheap geek toy.
I would have still buyed it now that I know how it works. Come on.. the price is ridicusly low...

And it's VID:PID-REV 1871:7670-0312... It smells like it would work on Linux... Didn't required drivers on Win8 and it got called "USB2.0 Camera"

« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 01:51:59 pm by opablo »
 

Offline baoshi

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2014, 02:51:25 pm »
I have the first one.
One unlucky day I notice some dirt on the lens, so I try open it up and clean... only to find there is a layer of sticky "jelly" on the lens, and the more I clean it, the dirtier it goes  :palm:

Correction: the jelly is on the CCD sensor, not on the lens
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 03:25:25 pm by baoshi »
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2014, 03:30:05 pm »
And it's VID:PID-REV 1871:7670-0312... It smells like it would work on Linux... Didn't required drivers on Win8 and it got called "USB2.0 Camera"

It seem to work under GNU/Linux with the UVC driver.

 http://www.ideasonboard.org/uvc/
Become a realist, stay a dreamer.

 

Offline baoshi

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EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2014, 03:31:10 pm »
Descendants found :d



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Offline KTP

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2014, 03:58:47 pm »
I just bought one on fleabay, thanks Dave.

The form factor looks perfect for mounting to my hobby laser cutter to inspect stainless steel parts I have cut out.  Currently I use my stereo microscope but this involves moving the parts from the cutter bed to the microscope.  It will be much cooler to just tell the cnc machine to move the part under the microscope for inspection, then I can proceed with future cuts without tearing down the setup.  Based on your images, it should look a lot better than what I have captured through my stereo scope on my digital camera (see attachment).  Maybe I can even put a 1064nm filter on the lens and capture the cutting in action...although the vaporized steel produces a very bright arc so a welding lens or something might be needed.
 

Online IanJ

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2014, 05:33:09 pm »
Hi all,

Alternative mount:-

Ian Johnston
www.ianjohnston.com
Manufacturer of the PDVS2 & PDVS2mini
 

Offline Winston

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2014, 06:05:35 pm »
Hey Dave, great video. I am working on an in-depth review on about 6 of these USB type microscopes ranging from low quality to high quality units. Some of the higher quality units I have will easily do to 5MP stills with full 1280x1024 30FPS for video. I will try and get a list together later today and post the MFG and model numbers along with links for each one. I too a while back went through the cheap USB microscope phase and learned through trial and error, along with spending a bit more money on these trials than I wanted, about which ones were better quality and worked well.

Looking forward to that. What kind of price range for the cameras you tested?
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2014, 06:35:14 pm »
I have the first kind, and it is usable as a microscope, and is somewhat reasonable. I will agree as to the junk stand, now looking at the second I think tomorrow i will take a trip down to the tool shop and buy a magnetic clamp, just for the base and the articulating arms, and use it as a stand. Must have a small steel plate around to use as a base, where I will leave it clamped as a base. Will have to paint it black.
 

Offline youbecha

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2014, 08:39:31 pm »
 

Offline jquinn11733

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2014, 09:06:34 pm »
FYI.............
I have found both IPEVO cameras (Ziggi and P2V) to
be better than the pencil-cams (mine was a EHEV1-200USBPLUS).
However, I would like to try their new VZ-1 VGA/USB.

However, today I really prefer my older Canon G10 (also had SX110IS)
on an old Luxo arm using Breezsys/PSRemote software with
Raynox macros lenses.

It is rare for me to use the old stereo-zooms or Lynx (similar to the Mantis),
they are just too big and in the way.

just my two cents.......
- Jim
 

Offline Rasz

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2014, 10:31:55 pm »
Both are pretty useless due to garbage cmos modules used :(
Proper usb cameras compress image data on the fly (they stream h.264/mjpeg) and do fullhd 30fps over USB 2.0, For example M$ LifeCam or logi c920

http://wiki.oz9aec.net/index.php/Logitech_HD_Pro_Webcam_C920

Even raspberrypee can do proper 1080p 30fps with its camera module and save to a file + stream over a network while displaying data over hdmi at the same time.

Nihaos are too focused on churning out cheap garbage to deliver good product. Meanwhile a combination of good camera module with decent optics sells for $1000 leaving huge gap between chinese rejects like they one Dave looked at and professional gear.

Basically some Chinese 'engineer' looked at available cmos modules and said we are gonna use this $2 one instead of the $12 one because no one would pay more for better product.
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Offline timelessbeing

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2014, 11:51:59 pm »
I have a cheapie like the first one Dave showed. On eBay they are marketed as anywhere from 1 to 3 megapixels. In reality, they are all 640x480 pixels (0.3 MP) sensors, and all the higher resolution modes are simply interpolated so no additional detail is gained.

I find that I can get a much better, higher resolution, less distorted, "microscopic" image by using macro mode on any point-and-shoot camera, and then cropping the image. The only advantage the USB gizmos provide, is a quick, convenient way to get magnified images/videos onto your computer using a live display.
 

Offline Winston

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Re: EEVblog #566 - Cheap USB Microscope Reviews
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2014, 12:21:22 am »
Did you try the software for the cheap on on the better one? Since no drivers had to be installed, they will both be standard WDM capture devices and should work unless there is a hard coded string check for the device name.
Same question I thought of.
 


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