Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Microscope for the bench

I have fought long and hard, mostly with my own pride and have finally admitted to myself that my eyesight is not what it once was.  The first indication of that came with my driver's license and airman's medical that reads "Must have corrective lenses available for near vision" on the back.  Oh sigh...

Trying to work with SMT electronics has been mostly an exercise in frustration simply because I cannot sufficiently see what I am doing.  So, I recently aquired a binocular microscope for the bench.

Man, what a difference this makes!  I can now actually see what I am doing even whilst soldering TQFP or other dense, fine pitch SMT components.  Even with corrective lenses, I have trouble with anything smaller than 1206 SMT components.  Since most of my components are 0805, this is a problem.

This is such a simple solution.  It actually has made homebrew electronics pleasurable for me again.  If you are struggling as I have with changes in vision as I have grown "wiser" (older) don't waste another minute pondering the purchase.  Invest the money in such a device and see what you are doing, or at least what you have been missing!  They are not cheap, but believe me, they are worth every penny you spend and will repay itself many times over.


  1. I like to stick smd components onto paper with paper adhesive. Then you just solder the components together, and add wire links with a strand of copper from a multi-strand wire. Then you can just wash off the paper and adhesive.
    I don't think it would work too well with ic's though and even smd transistor can be a little troublesome.
    I have a free numerical optimizer for LTSpice IV if you are interested: http://evospice.site88.net/

  2. This is a great device! I found some more information on this website: http://www.medicalexpo.com/medical-manufacturer/binocular-microscope-2267.html