Author Topic: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions  (Read 4574 times)

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Offline PrimeTopic starter

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SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« on: August 29, 2023, 01:20:00 am »
I've read up on various threads and I'm looking for some updated information on a good Microscope for SMT work for the office.

It's going to be used for assembling the occasional prototype and for reworking existing boards to specific customer requirements.

We have an old manual binocular microscope on an arm but it's awful to work through and the optics are distinctly average.

We also have a Suba which is used for inspection. The image quality on the Suba is reasonable but the build quality is rather average and it's fiddly to get the contrast right. I don't love the idea of trying to use it to do SMT soldering.

So far I've narrowed it to

https://mektronics.com.au/products/bernstein-stereo-microscope-200-x-150-mm-with-articulated-arm (I don't love this. it's very similar to our current one and has no camera option.
https://hawkerrichardson.com.au/product/mantis-pixo/
https://mektronics.com.au/products/tagarno-fhd-zip-digital-microscope-system

but I'm open to other suggestions based on peoples' own experiences.
 

Offline jfiresto

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2023, 08:29:31 pm »
Have you looked at the Meiji Techno EMZ-series? They have a dealer in Sydney.
-John
 

Offline jayx

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2023, 09:41:33 pm »
Each one of those you've listed is different type, I think first you need to decide which type you want. Anyway, out of these you've listed:
First one don't seem to have variable magnification, it's quite usefull. Working distance seems to be a bit small, but perhaps can be increased with extra Barlow lens.
Second one (Mantis) I have no experience with, but working distance seems to be a bit small.
Third one is good, but expensive. Check this:

Meiji Techno EMZ-series is something I can recommend if you want to go for this type. I think it's expensive, but very good quality. Other one similar to Meiji is Kyowa, but this company don't exist anymore so only available second hand.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2023, 09:51:51 pm »
If its going to be used for assembly and rework, then IMO, a camera based unit like the tagarno is not great. Although I know some people here are OK with that. Depends on preference.
As jayx said, first one is overpriced for what you get, no zoom.
Mantis can be good, some of us here don't like them. As mentioned, working distance is not great, and FOV is not good. Get a demo unit or go try it somewhere if you can.


"We have an old manual binocular microscope on an arm but it's awful to work through and the optics are distinctly average. "

Unless its a cheap piece of garbage, damaged, or dirty, the optics won't make much difference for electronics work.
Why specifically is it awful to work through? Maybe you need better lighting? Ergonomics?
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Offline Solder_Junkie

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2023, 08:52:24 am »

We have an old manual binocular microscope on an arm but it's awful to work through and the optics are distinctly average.

While I have no experience of the models mentioned, I recently bought a Swift S41-20. The cost is a fraction of those suggested types. It only has fixed x10 and x20 magnification. The working distance with the x10 is great for SMD work down to at least 0603 size Rs and Cs. The two adjustable "swan neck" LED lights provide very good lighting too. Optically I cannot fault it.

Maybe it's more hobby/budget but it is very solidly built and more than adequate for my SMD work/rework.

SJ
 

Offline PrimeTopic starter

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2023, 01:49:05 pm »
I haven't. I'll give them a look over.

Each one of those you've listed is different type, I think first you need to decide which type you want. Anyway, out of these you've listed:
First one don't seem to have variable magnification, it's quite usefull. Working distance seems to be a bit small, but perhaps can be increased with extra Barlow lens.
Second one (Mantis) I have no experience with, but working distance seems to be a bit small.
Third one is good, but expensive. Check this:

Meiji Techno EMZ-series is something I can recommend if you want to go for this type. I think it's expensive, but very good quality. Other one similar to Meiji is Kyowa, but this company don't exist anymore so only available second hand.

I'll take a look at the Eakins... Potentially it could work with a trinocular setup or be used stand alone as required.

In terms of what I'd like, what appeals to me with the mantis is that I don't have to have my eyes pressed to it. That is the single biggest annoyance with a binocular microscope on an arm. The viewing area is tiny which also makes it awkward to move it around on an assembly.




If its going to be used for assembly and rework, then IMO, a camera based unit like the tagarno is not great. Although I know some people here are OK with that. Depends on preference.
As jayx said, first one is overpriced for what you get, no zoom.
Mantis can be good, some of us here don't like them. As mentioned, working distance is not great, and FOV is not good. Get a demo unit or go try it somewhere if you can.


"We have an old manual binocular microscope on an arm but it's awful to work through and the optics are distinctly average. "

Unless its a cheap piece of garbage, damaged, or dirty, the optics won't make much difference for electronics work.
Why specifically is it awful to work through? Maybe you need better lighting? Ergonomics?

The lighting could be better but it's passable. It's the ergonomics and small viewing area that seals it.

Magnification is 10 and 30x. At 30x, you are so close to the work piece that it's almost useless.

It's going to be used exclusively for prototype assembly and rework. We have a dedicated rework setup.

 

Offline jfiresto

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2023, 03:04:35 pm »
I haven't. I'll give them a look over.
I don't think you can go wrong with a Meiji Techno, if that is what you are answering. Here are some vendor evaluations out of America.

Does your present binocular microscope have 30mm high eyepoint eyepieces (usually with little eyeglass symbols on them)? That took care of viewing problems for me, and I wear glasses which reduce the viewing envelope longitudinal. Yesterday, I spent some time inspecting and photographing a somewhat awkward, fiber optic illuminator for damage, at minimum and maximum magnification, and did not notice the eyepieces. I have attached a couple pictures for your amusement. I would say it was dropped.
-John
 

Offline ajb

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2023, 09:54:16 pm »
Mantis scopes are really cool, but definitely get a demo first to make sure you like the experience.  We have an elite as well as a basic trinoc that each have their pros and cons.  Mantis is better for situations where you need to look at the subject from different angles, but the price is a big downside, and the fixed zoom is a bummer.  The Elite does have a turret that lets you fit two objectives, and the objectives are easy to swap with a thumbscrew retention, but the non-elite version IIRC you have to unscrew the objectives to swap.  Elite also has a wider viewing area.

IME a 7-45x zoom with a 0.5x barlow lens (so ultimately 3.5x-22.5x) is the sweet spot for rework.  The barlow halves magnification but doubles working distance, and on the rare occasion that you need to get a REALLY close look at something you can take the barlow off and use the full magnification.  Get a trinoc (and preferably a simul-focal) and you have the option of fitting a camera later on.  Make sure the stand has a focus rack so you can adjust the focus height easily. 
 
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Offline thm_w

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2023, 10:25:17 pm »
Yeah fixed 10x/30x zoom is terrible. 3x-25x as mentioned above is a good range.

Mantis is definitely the best in terms of usability with glasses on and being away from the eyepiece.
But if you have a proper stereo microscope at the right height, with ergonomically angled eyepieces, its just as good if not better for long periods of use IMO. Also a boom stand which is better than the mantis one is <$300.

The Elite does have a turret that lets you fit two objectives, and the objectives are easy to swap with a thumbscrew retention, but the non-elite version IIRC you have to unscrew the objectives to swap.  Elite also has a wider viewing area.

Compact has a horrific viewing area, then there is the old Mantis and the updated Elite which are somewhat similar. A cheap stereo microscope with standard WF 10x/22 eyepieces is better FOV than either. https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/disappointed-in-mantis-elite/

FOV spec for 2x zoom: compact = 45mm, old 56mm, elite = 57mm
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Online nctnico

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2023, 10:38:23 pm »
I like working with a Mantis but not at high magnification. 4x is ok. As I have no room for a Mantis I'm using a 'Daylight' magnifier lamp with a 2.25 (5 diopter) lens. It works good downto 0402 and general inspection. Both Mantis and the magnifier lamp give a lot of freedom of movement with a good field of depth. Somehow I fear this will be more limited by using a microscope which is typically made for far greater magnifications than you need for electronics work. For further magnification I use a simple magnifier lense.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2023, 10:43:48 pm by nctnico »
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Offline loki42

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2023, 03:09:46 pm »
I tried the Mantis for a little bit at a trade show and it works well with glasses,  but I prefer the continuous zoom from my Carl Zeiss.   
Focus is more comfortable as well. 
 
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Online wraper

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2023, 03:25:34 pm »
Digital microscope is good for inspection. However no matter how good it is, it will suck for soldering. Doable but no anywhere comfortable as a half-decent entry level stereo microscope.
 
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Offline alligatorblues

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2023, 08:24:21 am »
I use a camera usb microscope. Never had a problem.
 

Offline MR

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2023, 10:22:56 am »
Digital microscope is good for inspection. However no matter how good it is, it will suck for soldering. Doable but no anywhere comfortable as a half-decent entry level stereo microscope.

Maybe this is a user preference thing.
I have no problem to solder under a HDMI microscope I have nearly 30-40cm free space between the microscope and the table.
While I have a binocular microscope as well - Its nice and the 3d experience is there but the digital hdmi microscope is standard.
It's important that the camera has at least 60fps, I saw a 30fps digital microscope in the university nearby - it sucked.
 

Offline ANTALIFE

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2023, 11:41:40 pm »
At my previous work we got the one Dave reviewed in EEVblog #1125 and found it to be really good for inspection. Rework wise it was not that bad either.

At my current work I am looking at getting the next model up (?) from the same supplier (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001034470355.html), but I just found that we can't buy from AliExpress :(

Offline m98

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2023, 11:15:31 pm »
With trinocular microscopes, you need to be aware that the light of one ocular is permanently splitted 50% to the camera port. So if you just want a microscope to work under, get a binocular microscope.
Regarding the Mantis, always thought this was a brilliant concept and was convinced to buy one from Dave's review ... until we got an older Mantis Elite from another department at work. Build quality is probably inspired by Fischer Prince, and it's even more bulky in person than it comes across on screen. Optics, especially the FOV are quite average, and the missing zoom gets annoying if you work on a variety of different stuff. Definitely try one out before you buy. If you want something in that price bracket, take a look at the Leica A60.
I just bought a Zeiss Stemi 305, made by Motic (they also have fitting accessories for 1/6 the Zeiss price), so maybe I can do a small review when it arrives.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2023, 01:06:58 am »
With trinocular microscopes, you need to be aware that the light of one ocular is permanently splitted 50% to the camera port. So if you just want a microscope to work under, get a binocular microscope.
Regarding the Mantis, always thought this was a brilliant concept and was convinced to buy one from Dave's review ... until we got an older Mantis Elite from another department at work. Build quality is probably inspired by Fischer Prince, and it's even more bulky in person than it comes across on screen. Optics, especially the FOV are quite average, and the missing zoom gets annoying if you work on a variety of different stuff. Definitely try one out before you buy. If you want something in that price bracket, take a look at the Leica A60.
I just bought a Zeiss Stemi 305, made by Motic (they also have fitting accessories for 1/6 the Zeiss price), so maybe I can do a small review when it arrives.

Trinocular just means three ports, it doesn't mean all three must be active at the same time. The trinoculars I've used all have a slider to allow you to enable or disable the camera port, the style you are referring to might be called "simultaneous trinocular" or similar. Or they might not differentiate the two, which is a good point to look out for.

Agreed on the mantis build quality.
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Offline jfiresto

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2023, 07:22:51 am »
I have not seen a simple word to describe how a trinocular splits it light. Amscope and some other Chinese brands keep using simulfocal for a constant 50:50 split between camera and eyepiece, but I do not think that word means what they think it means.

Generally, you see a brief description, for example in this case, a "50:50 photo port with permanent splitting" (Meiji Techno) or "direct light to all three ports simultaneously" (Zeiss). A variant to watch for has a lever you can flip that will send all the light to both eyepieces when you are not using a camera. EDIT: The latter is more nice to have if you have an LED light source with good thermal management, find yourself pushing the limits of the microscope and either want or need another f-stop of brightness. It can be a bigger and more general win with a high power, halogen light source if halving the brightness means replacing bulbs significantly less often.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2023, 10:24:22 am by jfiresto »
-John
 

Offline mon2

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Re: SMD Rework Microscope suggestions
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2023, 03:01:27 pm »
We have this one and will be purchasing at least one more of the same model. Be sure to source the proper fittings for room of the solder tools. The vendor is very knowledgeable - they are the factory.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003450437164.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.main.1.3e5c770de4ugsq&algo_pvid=9f83d548-c07d-409b-b714-40b3b01f6d17&algo_exp_id=9f83d548-c07d-409b-b714-40b3b01f6d17-0&pdp_npi=4%40dis%21USD%21239.25%21177.04%21%21%21239.25%21%21%402103223416965178837673448e7ee8%2112000025846424199%21sea%21CA%21104657229%21&curPageLogUid=sxx27KPeX0KV

Watch the video. Have only seen a small glitch where the video view locks up after many hours of idle time into 50/50 (fixed; moveable). Just recycle the power to restore. Not an issue for us.

The quality of the video / optics is unbelievable as per the video. Do purchase the ring LED light.
 


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