Where to get a microscope for electronics repair?

Hello, my name is Kyle, i’m a 31 yo who’s been soldering mainly video game systems & components for the last 3 or 4 years. One thing i’d like to get to make things easier on myself for the smaller things I need to solder is a (digital) micropscope. I’m wondering where a good place would be to look for these & what I might expect to pay for a low-end to midrange microscope. Is there any microscopes in particular that are specifically for small electronics repair or are they pretty universal? Thank you for taking the time to read this and any help I can get is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Kyle.

Can I ask what your budget is?

Also is there a reason your limiting yourself to digital? in order for digital to not only be useful for soldering but also come close to optical would cost pretty much the same as an optical scope to begin with… albeit with digital retaining all it’s shortcomings such as lack of perspective, hand eye coordination suffering, clarity and a smaller field of view etc

I purchased an AMscope a while ago (8years). This is not a digital scope. The pricing was reasonable and it works well. Mine is binocular. There are many models to choose from.

Dan

I am also using an Amscope and quite happy with it - it’s not digital but does a pretty good job for me.

Hello, my budget would be $200-500 (Canadian). I mentioned digital because I thought that it would be the best option to go with for electronics soldering, I honestly don’t really know much about microscopes tbh. Any help is really appreciated, thanks.

Looking at the amscope microscopes. What would be a good model to get for soldering small (mainly nintendo handheld) components on a circuit board?
I’m currently looking at the compound microscopes.

I’d go for something like this, optical scopes are superior in every way vs a digitial microscopes for electronics work (and more)

you’ll probably be able to find one quite a bit cheaper than this with some searching(don’t worry about it beng Eakins branded or not)… think I paid about 160 GBP delivered a few years ago

The stand is junk but you can upgrade that at a later date or find one which comes with a decent cast iron stand (at the cost of shipping) or alternatively just screw it into a workbench. The microscope itself is identical to the Amscope/Swift equivelents (theyr’e just US/EU distributors) with idential optics… The only thing you’ll be missing vs going with Amscope or other is quality control, for example, my scope had metal shavings in the focus adjust mechanism etc but easily resolved and is fine considering the huge cost difference

With it being trinocular you have the option of installing a camera later on if for example you want it to double up on an LCD or want to capture the footage

I wish i would have find this post couple of months ago, while i bought a microscope that doesn’t have exchangeable lens. It works great overall, but the space in between the lens and the board isn’t enough to work comfortably. It is doable, but definitely not that easy. Probably my next investment after a good soldering iron for sure. What do you think about the stand that include the silicon mat with ?

They’re pretty much the same, just with the addition of the common (and availiable elsewhere for a few $) blue silicone mat draped over the pressed and lightweight sheet steel base

These cheap stands are functional but maybe a bit rickety, but you can always screw it directly into a bench instead… my biggest gripe with them is there is no bearing blocks for the holllow chromed tubes, which means to slide the microscope head in and out is annoying… but again functional… pivoting left/right is fine.

A better solution for stands is the following,

Which is using pretty much (give or take a few differences) the same base as the Amscopes, but at the expense of shippping costs due to the cast iron bottom, they use bearing/bushings for the rods so it’s nice and smooth. The alternative would be to manually make a bush/bearing block for the cheap stand then use a smaller rod (say 8mm for example) to index everything within a secondary bearing… unfortunately I don’t have a CNC or accurate drill press otherwise I’d have modified it already :smiley:

Interesting idea, because i do have a press (my father was a car mechanical and a welder, so bearings and rods was something usual for him :slight_smile: ). I will try to convince him to think about something for me :sweat_smile:

Out of interest is your microscope the same model as these?

and if anyones wondering, yes much like the trinocular scopes above, these two binocular microscopes, aswell as the ones from China are all identical and use the same head and optics, with the only difference being a few subtle differences to the base/stand between the distributors

Many years ago I had the Swift version, it had metal shaving dust in the eyepeices (so much for that quality control I mentioned) but I had the same issue of space and zoom ability…but as it uses a non typical objective lens and the price to swap it wouldn’t of made sense… I just returned the scope for a refund and got the trinocular from China instead which uses standard fitting lenses, and it actually worked out cheaper

Haha good call, If you’ve got the tools, then just need a chunk of steel and a couple of holes drilled in it and then press the bearings in, shouldn’t take more than 15 mins :smiley:

I might have to wait until I get a decent drill press… I’m not sure I can drill such a large diameter hole straight and true freehand… I suppose I could 3D print them instead but I’m not sure it will be strong enough or as sturdy as steel

Well, i am a bit shamed to tell you but this is what i bought back in the days i started to fix my really first Nintendo Switch :
https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B08B8KS7LC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1, then i placed such a led ring around :
https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B011BGH2YI/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And finally extracted the lens module and mounted on a stand for microphone like that :

I am not complaining (too much) overall, it is working ok, just as i said not much space in between the lens and the board i am working on, the light management which is funky by moments. Last little complain, the focus range is really great, but the focus point is really not that extended. What i mean is that being out of focus isn’t even a matter of 5 millimeter one way or the other, and this is a bit annoying sometimes, but you learn to work with, not sure it would be that different with an optical “better” device even. In the future once i finish my house and have more time to work on boards, i will probably move to something like you posted above, a trinocular one, so i can have a camera with it as well.

No no, I think we all make this mistake, my first microscope was a crappy digitial with mini LCD and it had barely any height range so barely any working room as a result… I then made the mistake again when I got that binocular Swift (which was crap in hindsight)

I see, so if I’m understanding right, you’ve stripped off the camera and LCD section of it and are just using the optical lens?

I think there is about 15/20CM working distance on my trinocular, and you can easily adjust the focus with the dial (which changes the height of the head) and once it’s in focus it won’t change unless you alter the optical zoom, but the focus only then needs slight adjustment

Yeah, good shout

There is the way I am working as of today

I will see how to deal with that when time to change will come.

Oh yeah, your setup seems more than useable, and your working height seems about on par with a trinocular

btw I’ve got that very same Aoyue station somewhere, I found the pump was a bit lacking and noisy but I found a seperate vacuum pen hookup ror larger bga very handy, and really like the physical airflow indicator on the front

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Yeah more than usable, if you feel the working height is about on par with a trinocular, maybe we should compare some when and get some measure, overall as i said, i don’t complain (too much) about my setup, i am able to get things done, just the exposure management of the lens which is a bit funky by moment especially when i am close the the aluminum shield with a lot of reflection or when i am quite close and there is flux that also creates reflection, then it is a bit annoying that it becomes a bit dark.

Quite handy for the more than 10 years that i have it, no much complain either besides the noise agreed. But now that you are talking about it, i am sadly thinking my hot air is dying, yesterday i tried to mount a M92T, and got a very difficult time to solder it with leaded solder and the same settings as i usually use. Even soldering the top left capacitor of the M92 was a pain, the ground pad wasn’t melting easily. I will have to look at that if it can be repaired or will open a thread to ask what should i go for :disappointed_relieved:

I recall having to change the element in it a couple of times as it just wears out, like any other.

This is going to be sacrilege to a lot of people, and on the contrary to a lot of other peoples opinion… but I use a fan in handle style station for portable devices 99% of the time, it’s quieter, less vibration, the wire is smaller as a result which makes it easy to move about etc etc… for the bigger boy consoles the quick (forget the model) or Atten equivelent is the most llikely choice

Do we agree that you are talking about something like that when saying fan in handle style station :

Noob question:on , why is it sacrilege ?

Yeah pretty much along them lines

General feeling is (and it’s correct) is the small fan can’t deliver the heat from the element efficiently… so on higher mass boards it might be ineffective or slow… but for portable devices it’s more than capable and has the added benefits I mentioned earlier.

Understood, but i guess then from my side that if really i want to exchange my Aoyue, i will go for a classic Atten or Quick, as it is more a side job for me and therefore, i should target the hardware equipment that can cover as much use case as possible, right ?