Connect with us

Helping hands with magnifier

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by timothy48342, Apr 27, 2012.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. timothy48342

    timothy48342

    218
    0
    Nov 28, 2011
    I know this has been talked about. (recently even)

    I'd like to buy one of these helping hands with magnifier
    [​IMG]

    I see that there are plenty to choose from in the $5 to $15 range?
    Will I get better quality if I pay a little more?
    If anyone has a cheap one that they are happy with, I'd like to hear about it.
    If anyone has a more expensive one and they think it was worth the extra cost, I'd like to hear about that, too.

    My experience with stands for telescopes, camras, and lighting equipment is that sometimes the joints don't lock real tight and then things move and that's no good. But all those are larger carrying more weight. Is that a quality concern for these smaller joints carrying a lot less weight?

    I'm also concerned about the lense. Not so much about the magnifying power, but the clarity. I don't want it blurry of course. Also, it would be nice if the lense was large enough to look through with both eyes to get the binocular effect, rather than closing one eye.

    I think I also want it to be tall, for times when I want to look at something thats not right down on a table, but it's not a real big deal. If it was good in all the other ways, I could figure out a way to position it if I had to.

    I am thinking maybe I should buy one of the cheap, cheap, cheap ones and then I'll know more what to look for, but I am betting you guys already know.

    --tim
    (First thread of my own. Whoopieee!!)
     
  2. KJ6EAD

    KJ6EAD

    1,114
    157
    Aug 13, 2011
    I have this $7 one from Harbor Freight.

    [​IMG]

    The magnifier is too weak so I got a more powerful lens.

    It has 2 white LEDs but they're near the back of the lens housing pointed the wrong direction so I'm building a full ring of LEDs into the lens housing along with an adjustable current source.

    The screw clamps don't have enough bearing surface so they slip unless tightened to the point of bending or breaking. I'm planning to add some polyacetal or nylon bushings to create a close-fitting cup for the ball joints to solve this.

    The alligator clips don't have the right grip characteristics for most work and they mar plastics, wire insulation and circuit boards so I'll be getting some silicone caps to sleeve them.

    The soldering iron holder is useless since I use a station with it's own. I'll probably use it's mounting hole on the base for a ground strap attachment point.

    I have a Panavise and large fluorescent magnifier lamp so this is just desirable for it's compactness and portability after I complete the re-engineering.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  3. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    I have use the dirt cheap ones and the better quality ones as well... The alligator clips on the cheap ones are cheap, but once replaced they work just as well as the more expensive devices... I generally heat shrink one of the clips so that I can use it to hold LEDs and the sorts without scratching... Also some of the cheaper ones have smaller bases, since I don't use the magnifier glass it's not a concern of mine but it might be with the glass installed to prevent tip overs...

    Personally I don't like the ones with built in magnifier glasses, I much prefer a lighted desk top magnifier... Like this...

    [​IMG]

    And I would be nekkid without these, I have several... They have become a must have tool for checking fine pitched solder joints and reading the less than stellar imprints on some chips... It's a Carson Minibrite, but Radio Shack sells it for less under their name as well... Ironically Radio Shack sells both their rebrand for $9 an the Carson one for $14

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0046HI42E...e=395261&creativeASIN=B0046HI42E&linkCode=asn

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3353493

    [​IMG]

    The lens on this little device works very well held right up to the eye with the part a few inches away... The bright white LED with fresh batteries provides plenty of crisp light... I simple can't recommend it enough...

    BTW I have tried several similar hand held mini magnifiers devices, this one has proven to be the best thus far...
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  4. jackorocko

    jackorocko

    1,284
    1
    Apr 4, 2010
    I agree entirely. I bought the exact same one and the first thing I did was remove the iron holder. Useless. My magnifying glass (2x) with LED works well, but I don't use it on the helping hands. I use it to search through my parts bin.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  5. timothy48342

    timothy48342

    218
    0
    Nov 28, 2011
    Thanks guys.
    I might wait on the helping hand until I find it in a store where I can open the box and play with the screws when the shopkeeper isn't looking. Then pay a little more when I find one I like.

    Until then, I think The radio shack item will cover me nicely. I like that it is rectangular. I think I might be able to lean it up against something when I want that extra hand. I'm using a handhelp magnifier that I got free and it's frustrating. It ties up one hand to hold it. It is unlighted and cast a shadow unless I position it just right, isn't all that strong, and top of that, blurry up close. Ha! (But it was free, ya know)
    [​IMG]
    Recomendation accepted, CocaCola. (...and I don't even have to shop around for the best price.)

    Thanks again,
    --tim
     
  6. jackorocko

    jackorocko

    1,284
    1
    Apr 4, 2010
    if you are looking for a helping hand, then I don't see how this little device is helpful. :(
     
  7. timothy48342

    timothy48342

    218
    0
    Nov 28, 2011
    The magnifier without helping hand is useful in a different way. The helping hand was what I wanted info on. Anyway Harbor Freight Tools and Radio Shack and right down the street from each other, so I went ahead and bought the helping hand, the slide magnifiier, and a 50x to 100x microscope and more.

    Man, once I get in those places, I'm like a kid in a candy store... with a credit card.

    --tim
     
  8. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    As I stated I don't like the attached magnifier glass mounted on the helping hands, and for me any version of the hands that has a magnifier lens isn't what I would use or recommend... But I still like the magnifier glass handy thus this suggestion as a companion tool...
     
  9. timothy48342

    timothy48342

    218
    0
    Nov 28, 2011
    CocaCola,
    Thanks for the suggested Radio Shack magnifier as a companion tool. I bought it. I love it. This wasn't what I thought I was looking for, but I was frustrated by my free/substandard hand-held magnifier, and so this is a nice upgrade as far as hand-helds go.

    The Helping Hand the KJ6EAD mentioned, I would not have bought from what he said, but when I got to Harbor Freight I did open the box and play with the screws when no one was looking and they are not too bad. (I didn't check the quality of the magnifier.) On top of that, I had a coupon for 20% off coupon and another coupon for a free LED flashlight and they let me use both coupons, so I got both for $5.93. I couldn't pass it up. I imagine that the screws will get weak as I use it, but it was so cheap! (This will help me figure out what I want in the long run.) ((And I use the LED flashlights at work. I already have 2 and I mispalce them, and the batts run down, so it's nice to have a third. And it came with free batts already in place!))

    The magnifier on the HFT HH was actually better than the free one I had been using, so I happy with that, but I will probably get someting better down the line. (And actually when I got it home and looked through it, it's not so bad. I see what KJ6EAD was saying about how the LED is not directed quite right, but it'll do.)

    As a side note, I purchased a microscope from Radio Shack, too. It was an impulse purchase. I saw it and I said to myself, "I want that!" It is 100x max zoom. I looked at individual paper fibers. I looked to see if there was anything crawling around on my skin. (nothing) I looked at the LCD display on my celly and I wish I could have taken a pic. I could see the individual things that light up. I suppose they are LED's. Very cool. And then the LED stopped working on the microscope after about a half an hour and you can't see anything at all without the LED, so that is going back to Radio Shack. I tested the batts and they are fine and swapped the batts from another device that was working and nothing. (Still got my receipt.)

    So, my shopping experience was mostly successful. Gong to keep everything but the microscope.

    I would like to build a poor mans Helping Hand at some point inspired from what KJ6EAD was saying about the mods he was doing.

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for all your responses. I think my own workstation is well underway. Now if I could just figure out where to put all this other stuff to make some room.

    --tim
     
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day

-