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Magnifier/microscope

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by colin, May 21, 2006.

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  1. colin

    colin Guest

    Hi,
    Im having trouble soldering those ever so more itsy bitsy and teeny weeny
    components, especialy those chip scale packages wich dont even have any
    reference marks for the conections when viewed from the top.

    I have a X20 pocket microscope but is handheld so only good for looking for
    shorts and and reading the SMD codes
    (i have good close up eyesight - i can just about read a 0603 code directly)

    Ive done 2 of these packages so far using gouge technique to make the pcb,
    and one with dead bug technique, ive found adapting a scalpel to take two
    blades cuts 2 lines 0.5 mmm apart wich is just the right pitch. its tricky
    but I need to be able to see it a bit better to get the lines exactly on
    pitch.

    But trying to line up the packages when you cant see where the leads are
    underneath is a bit of a nightmare, So whats the most convenient and cost
    effective magnifying device ?

    bench microscope ? .. seem to be quite expensive for a good one, cheap ones
    seem a bit to cheap and I havnt found much inbetween yet, and image would
    need to be correct way up
    Ive even thought a usb microscope camera wich seem surprisingly cheap might
    do,
    or just an eye glass ?
    or binocolar magnifiying glasses ?
    or would those round flourescent desk lamps with large magnifiying glass in
    the middle do quite well ?

    Colin =^.^=
     
  2. Guest

    You can't beat a full-blown stereoscope for this problem. I use a Kyowa
    stereo with a relatively modest max. 10X magnification but you'd be
    *amazed* how much difference that makes and lower magifications =
    brighter images and better depth of field (all other things being
    equal). Any kind of hand-held magnifier is a waste of time; you need as
    many hands free as you can get even if you just want to inspect stuff.
     
  3. They have some on e-bay, though 'stereoscope' gets more Viewmasters
    than microscopes. Stereo microscope, or stereo dissecting microscope,
    gets a lot of them. I've used one to repair some very fine-pitch pc
    board connectors, and they're great. It helps if the microscope is
    boom-mounted, so that it can hang independently over the work.
    Otherwise, you'd need to somehow position the work on the microscope
    stage.
     
  4. John  Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    I'd vote for a Mantis as even better than a regular stereo microscope.
    But the swing-arm magnifier/lamp things are pretty good if you don't
    want to spend a lot of money.

    John
     
  5. Phil Hobbs

    Phil Hobbs Guest

    I know the problem. Two things I can recommend: drugstore reading
    glasses for larger stuff and an old Zeiss surgical microscope for
    smaller stuff. Eye loupes will give you headaches.

    Cheers,

    Phil Hobbs
     
  6. René

    René Guest

    Same here. Drugstore glasses in the strongest prescription you can get
    (stronger than you need for just reading).
    My solution for soldering 0603's and fine pitch IC's.
    I am 49, and wear varyfocus glasses normally; I put the reading
    glasses just over them for soldering.

    I do have a (quite expensive) lamp with magnifier combination. Fine
    for inspection, bad for soldering as the soldering iron interferes
    with the lamp most of the time.

    For the real hi-density stuff I do use a 10x binocular microscope.

    And a nice Weller pencil-style iron with fine tip and temp control,
    together with a normal weller with coarse tip for desoldering and
    other heavy duty work.

    For looking at close objects you need to focus and slight cross-eye
    vision. The glasses solve the focus issue. I can do the cross eye
    trick effortlessly, but I know people who cannot sustain this without
    incurring a blazing headache. If you are one of those, the microscope
    might be the only option as it allows parallel vision.
     
  7. mc

    mc Guest

    Same here. Drugstore glasses in the strongest prescription you can get
    To be precise, the "prescription" is the reciprocal of the focal length (=
    working distance) in meters. Thus +3.00 is 1/3 meter, a little more than a
    foot.

    These can be worn over your regular glasses.
     
  8. colin

    colin Guest

    Thanks for the reply, ive been looking on ebay and found some at about $800
    wich is quite a bit of money if you cant try it out before you buy. theres
    probably some cheaper, I can solder the 1 mm pitch ics ok so I gues a mag of
    2 would even do.

    Colin =^.^=
     
  9. colin

    colin Guest

    yeah eye loupes kinda make you squint.
    Im fairly short sighted so I just take my glasses off, 1mm pitch ICs/0603
    stuff is quite easy.
    not sure what effect reading glasses would have on me.
    I thought about getting one of those lamps, but I'm getting one of those
    realy cheap magnifying glasses on an arm with a couple of spare arms with
    crocodile clips to hold stuff, from ebay, claims 6x maginification although
    im sceptical but might just be enough and cheap enough not to worry if it
    isnt.
    I recently got a nice small weller tcp, but I find the fine point tips seem
    to take ages to heat the joint up, usualy i can get away with a relativly
    large wedge tip if its got a nice square corner. unfortunatly the tip style
    I loved to use with my old weller TCP isnt stocked. (smallish long cone with
    an angled flat)
    focusing for me is ok down to 200mm without my glasses, but with a series of
    fine lines at 0.5 mmm pitch my eyes or brain just doesnt seem to have the
    resolution and strangly it seems much more than twice as hard to see .5 as
    1mm pitch, my eyes cant help jumping from one line to the next.

    Colin =^.^=
     
  10. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    I have an OptiVISOR by donegan optical co. that I've had for close to
    30 years.

    ...Jim Thompson
     
  11. David Harmon

    David Harmon Guest

    On Sun, 21 May 2006 20:05:35 GMT in sci.electronics.design, "colin"
    Yes, take off my glasses and hold the board about two inches away
    from my eyes. However, I do not like to solder in that position.
     
  12. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    I'll vote with JT here to recommend that the OP at least start with an
    OptiVISOR. The "regular" 5 diopter (2.5 mag) is great for general close
    work and there's a swing-down booster loupe available.

    DO NOT get a cheap "tool warehouse" clone with the cast acrylic lenses.
    Be kind to your eyes and get the real thing w/the ground glass lenses.
     
  13. colin

    colin Guest

    2 inches is close for comfort, when I was young I once got a solder splash
    in my eye from pushing a stiff pin through a pcb with a soldering iron, when
    the pin snapped out .. splash .. ouch, hurt like crazy, think it might of
    been just hot flux as no solder was found at the hospital ! fortunate was no
    long term harm. my contact lense saved me from the similar thing once too.

    I just make sure I close my eyes or have protection if im doing anything
    that requires any force at all with molten solder.

    soldering onto a terminal I thought I had disconected but was in fact still
    live with an earthed soldering iron was a bit scary too, solder splashed up.

    Colin =^.^=
     
  14. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Colin,

    If you can get used to looking into another direction than where your
    work is (I have no problem with that) try a camera and monitor. Many
    cheap cameras come with a cable to display photos on a TV and some put
    out video while turned on. You may be able to try that out without
    buying anything.

    What I don't know is whether a typical digital camera can withstand to
    be turned on for a long time. At least I'd try to turn off its LCD if it
    can be controlled.

    The nice thing happens when you find something that you want to record.
    Like a mis-stuffed part, a broken trace or simply to document rework.
    Click, done.

    Regards, Joerg
     
  15. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

     
  16. René

    René Guest

    Aside, most webcams with manual focussing have remarkable macro
    vision. Not much good for soldering, but nice for inspection and
    documentation of problems.
     
  17. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    How about one of these:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=visor+magnifier

    Good Luck!
    Rich
     
  18. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello René,

    How about the HP PP136? The sensor is only 352*288 but the thing retails
    or $25 at Walmart. Might need another lens though.

    Regards, Joerg
     
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