Author Topic: Tools for magnification for surface mount?  (Read 6679 times)

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Offline cybergibbonsTopic starter

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Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« on: June 19, 2010, 10:02:40 am »
So, now that surface mount is well within the realms of hobbyist electronics (take a step back 15 years, and see if you could imagine it!), I should imagine most of us need some form of magnification. Oddly I don't find I need much help when making up PCBs - it's when I'm working with existing PCBs that I need help. Things like repairing broken tracks and adding probe wires, especially to commercial products.

When I worked in electronics, we had long reach stereo microscopes with a good working distance. They cost a lot of money though!

So, what do people use for magnification?

I've tried a magnifying glass, which is great for inspection but not whilst working.

I got this:
http://maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=219971

And it was a pile of crap - the review on the page is mine.

I've tried those magnifying lens with lights as well, and the optical quality is so poor it just isn't worth it.

Currently I have a jeweller's loupe which is OK for short periods.

So what do other people use and recommend?
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2010, 12:46:29 pm »
I keep saying it ! NEVER NEVER NEVER buy anything from Maplin other than raw materials and basic parts, if you do find anything decent it will be horribly overpriced. Really I've had more luck on ebay than with maplin, Maplin makes eBay look like Jesus's own table top sale !
 

Offline slburris

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2010, 01:09:02 pm »
 

Offline TheDirty

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Offline cybergibbonsTopic starter

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2010, 03:41:10 pm »
I keep saying it ! NEVER NEVER NEVER buy anything from Maplin other than raw materials and basic parts, if you do find anything decent it will be horribly overpriced. Really I've had more luck on ebay than with maplin, Maplin makes eBay look like Jesus's own table top sale !

The same one is for sale on eBay for more, and I wouldn't have got my money back next day with eBay.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2010, 04:04:38 pm »
well my thinking goes like this: on eBay I have the feedback system and my own common sense, with Maplin I have a so called reputable retailer who basically buys stuff cheaper than your average ebay seller and sells it at twice the price, I have found out right cons from Maplin. Next day money back you say ? I bought a digital caliper on sale at £10 and LOST that money, oh I got it back eventually but not after travelling back to the shop to try and return it where they refused because it began working again and then packed in again. After i spent money on petrol trying to return it and pay for the delivery of it as I bought it online I lost more than i got back. With ebay at least you can file a claim and get a refund, thats if your silly enough to get caught. I sincerely wish Maplin goes out of business (not that it is likely with their prices) they don't give a shit about quality are less and less of an electronics retailer and if you ask the staff a question they would not know the answer anyway. really i get so pissed off every time i deal with them which i have to from time to time but as little as possible
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2010, 04:09:41 pm »

The same one is for sale on eBay for more, and I wouldn't have got my money back next day with eBay.

I agree with you , I got my system locally , and I saved lots of cash  ( shipping costs ) .
Those devices are heavy like 3-4 kilos ...  

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=570.0
 

Offline cybergibbonsTopic starter

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2010, 04:31:43 pm »
well my thinking goes like this: on eBay I have the feedback system and my own common sense, with Maplin I have a so called reputable retailer who basically buys stuff cheaper than your average ebay seller and sells it at twice the price, I have found out right cons from Maplin. Next day money back you say ? I bought a digital caliper on sale at £10 and LOST that money, oh I got it back eventually but not after travelling back to the shop to try and return it where they refused because it began working again and then packed in again. After i spent money on petrol trying to return it and pay for the delivery of it as I bought it online I lost more than i got back. With ebay at least you can file a claim and get a refund, thats if your silly enough to get caught. I sincerely wish Maplin goes out of business (not that it is likely with their prices) they don't give a shit about quality are less and less of an electronics retailer and if you ask the staff a question they would not know the answer anyway. really i get so pissed off every time i deal with them which i have to from time to time but as little as possible

I agree that they are overpriced, the staff aren't trained, and the customer service poor on the whole. There is however one next to the tube station, so if I need something that evening, or if I think I'll return it (they seem OK with returns at this one), I'll get it from there. For everything else, it's Farnell, who have excellent customer service, and free next day delivery (I've ordered at 1900 and it's been there the next day).
 

Offline cybergibbonsTopic starter

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Offline Simon

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2010, 04:48:30 pm »
well my thinking goes like this: on eBay I have the feedback system and my own common sense, with Maplin I have a so called reputable retailer who basically buys stuff cheaper than your average ebay seller and sells it at twice the price, I have found out right cons from Maplin. Next day money back you say ? I bought a digital caliper on sale at £10 and LOST that money, oh I got it back eventually but not after travelling back to the shop to try and return it where they refused because it began working again and then packed in again. After i spent money on petrol trying to return it and pay for the delivery of it as I bought it online I lost more than i got back. With ebay at least you can file a claim and get a refund, thats if your silly enough to get caught. I sincerely wish Maplin goes out of business (not that it is likely with their prices) they don't give a shit about quality are less and less of an electronics retailer and if you ask the staff a question they would not know the answer anyway. really i get so pissed off every time i deal with them which i have to from time to time but as little as possible

I agree that they are overpriced, the staff aren't trained, and the customer service poor on the whole. There is however one next to the tube station, so if I need something that evening, or if I think I'll return it (they seem OK with returns at this one), I'll get it from there. For everything else, it's Farnell, who have excellent customer service, and free next day delivery (I've ordered at 1900 and it's been there the next day).

Yea i use them for stuff like wire, basic components and maybe a tube of flux i forgot to order when i made my last order from farnell/RS but I would never buy a peace of equipment their ever again
 

Offline djsb

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2010, 09:32:57 pm »
Hi,
I use Cricklewood electronics in London and Farnell

http://www.cricklewoodelectronics.com/Cricklewood/home.php

Cricklewood sells small quantities of components where sometimes you have to buy 10 or more at Farnell.

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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2010, 03:07:33 am »
I use a cheap $20 security camera with the lens adjusted such that it focuses at a very short distance. Then I plug it into my monitor and get a nice, big view of whatever I'm trying to examine. Especially useful if a whole group needs to look at it.

For reverse engineering, take a good picture of the board (two if double sided) and look at the image closely on a PC. (SLRs work great for this, but a pocket camera can work as well.)

BTW, at TAMU, some engineering classrooms and labs have a device called a "microcam" which is really just a fancy webcam on a stand along with some lights. The item to be examined is placed on it and the camera can be adjusted to get a good view of it.
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Offline Simon

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2010, 06:51:58 am »
if we are talking cameras an SLY fitted with macro tube makes for a good magnigier plus device that can record a photo of it  ;D
 

Offline MAN

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Re: Tools for magnification for surface mount?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2010, 12:16:59 pm »
I found it uncomfortable to solder behind lens too. For PCB inspection (hand make PCB w/o mask etc) I use next simple technique. I look through PCB at bright light source. I've found trace breaks and shortings w/o any difficulties. But this technique works good on 2 layers PCB and w/o poligons on the opposite side.
 


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