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Re: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope

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  • David Buckley
    I bought two different ones from Maplin in the UK and had to send both of them back for a refund as the software failed to show any video using several
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 11, 2013
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      I bought two different ones from Maplin in the UK and had to send both of them back for a refund as the software failed to show any video using several different XP machines and existing software which connects well to web cams couldn't find any video either.
      I then bought a microscope camera with an inbuilt screen which expects the object to be too close to be able to do any soldering or anything.
      DAvid
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:21 PM
      Subject: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope

       

      I'm doing more SMT soldering these days, so I'm thinking about buying a USB
      microscope to do a better job of inspecting my work. Plus as I get to using
      finer pitch parts, I'm going to need help seeing during assembly.

      Does anyone have experience with them? I've been reading Amazon reviews and
      one of the considerations is magnification range. I'm guessing that the
      camera mount is also important. I'll need room for a soldering iron between
      the microscope and the board. Anybody have any other thoughts as far as
      recommended features and models, and more importantly, models to stay away
      from? I'm running Windows 7.

      Thanks.

      Robert

    • arioch2k1
      This is the one I use, it works perfect for SMT soldering, http://www.saelig.com/TSTEQM/VI023.htm I used this stand with it
      Message 2 of 14 , Aug 11, 2013
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        This is the one I use, it works perfect for SMT soldering, http://www.saelig.com/TSTEQM/VI023.htm
        I used this stand with it http://www.saelig.com/product/VA007.htm , I unscrewed the vacuum mount base that is almost useless and tapped a 6mm hole in the top of my PCB soldering stand and mounted the camera there to look down at the PCB while I'm working on it.


        --- In SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Dyer" <robert@...> wrote:
        >
        > I'm doing more SMT soldering these days, so I'm thinking about buying a USB
        > microscope to do a better job of inspecting my work. Plus as I get to using
        > finer pitch parts, I'm going to need help seeing during assembly.
        >
        > Does anyone have experience with them? I've been reading Amazon reviews and
        > one of the considerations is magnification range. I'm guessing that the
        > camera mount is also important. I'll need room for a soldering iron between
        > the microscope and the board. Anybody have any other thoughts as far as
        > recommended features and models, and more importantly, models to stay away
        > from? I'm running Windows 7.
        >
        > Thanks.
        >
        > Robert
        >
      • Peter Balch
        ... I have one from Maplin which works OK. I can t remember what the focal-distance is like - whether you can get a soldering iron under it. Neither can I
        Message 3 of 14 , Aug 12, 2013
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        > I bought two different ones from Maplin in the UK ... the software failed
        > to show any video

        I have one from Maplin which works OK. I can't remember what the
        focal-distance is like - whether you can get a soldering iron under it.
        Neither can I remember where I've put it. If I find it, I'll measure the
        distance.

        I decided instead to make some high power binocular glasses.

        I posted a picture of them to SRS in 2012. I've attached it to this post.
        Here's what I said back then:

        > I made some from two pairs of 3.5 dioptre "reading glasses" from my local
        > branch of Poundland (a store where everything costs £1 - i.e. $1.50).
        >
        > I hope it's clear from the attached photo how they're made. The bridge of
        > one pair is bent so that the top surfaces of the lens rims touch and can
        > be
        > soldered together. Choose a pair with spring hinges that "click" open. The
        > ends of the arms (the "temple tips" or "ear pieces") are bent out at 90deg
        > so they can be soldered along the top surfaces of the lens rims of the
        > second pair.
        >
        > Even though the lenses are cheap plastic, the heat of the soldering
        > doesn't
        > damage them - if you're reasonably quick. I don't know what the metalwork
        > of
        > the glasses is but it soldered OK. Glasses with "painted" metalwork
        > seem to solder better than shiny anodised ones.
        >
        > For £2, they're a great pair of close-up binocs and only take a couple of
        > minutes to make. They're lighter and much higher-power than the usual
        > headband magnifiers.

        Using them, I can solder chips with 0.5mm pitch leads.

        I also use a jeweller's loup for close-up inspection (but not during actual
        soldering).

        Peter
      • jamericanfreddy
        AT my work we do a lot of inspecting and SMT work SO i designed one using a microscope and board camera and lens relay and tv monitor ALSO made a second that
        Message 4 of 14 , Aug 12, 2013
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          AT my work we do a lot of inspecting and SMT work
          SO i designed one using a microscope and board camera and lens relay and tv monitor

          ALSO made a second that was much harder,they are easy to make
          and doesnt need high precision unless your design needs it
          board camera you get from supercircuits ,lens relay or camera to microscope adapter from edmund scientific and if you need usb
          simple video to usb adapter

          if you need to compare the images like in one design for work i did
          need to design software or use roborealm like i did

          Cost depends on what its needed for and precision needed

          --- In SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com, "David Buckley" <david@...> wrote:
          >
          > I bought two different ones from Maplin in the UK and had to send both of them back for a refund as the software failed to show any video using several different XP machines and existing software which connects well to web cams couldn't find any video either.
          > I then bought a microscope camera with an inbuilt screen which expects the object to be too close to be able to do any soldering or anything.
          > DAvid
          >
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Robert Dyer
          > To: Seattlerobotics@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:21 PM
          > Subject: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope
          >
          >
          >
          > I'm doing more SMT soldering these days, so I'm thinking about buying a USB
          > microscope to do a better job of inspecting my work. Plus as I get to using
          > finer pitch parts, I'm going to need help seeing during assembly.
          >
          > Does anyone have experience with them? I've been reading Amazon reviews and
          > one of the considerations is magnification range. I'm guessing that the
          > camera mount is also important. I'll need room for a soldering iron between
          > the microscope and the board. Anybody have any other thoughts as far as
          > recommended features and models, and more importantly, models to stay away
          > from? I'm running Windows 7.
          >
          > Thanks.
          >
          > Robert
          >
        • David Buckley
          No doubt that presumes one already has a microscope suitable for viewing SMT work, in which case I probably wouldn t need the camera. DAvid ... From:
          Message 5 of 14 , Aug 12, 2013
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            No doubt that presumes one already has a microscope suitable for viewing SMT work, in which case I probably wouldn't need the camera.
            DAvid
             
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 12:59 PM
            Subject: [SeattleRobotics] Re: USB Microscope

             

            AT my work we do a lot of inspecting and SMT work
            SO i designed one using a microscope and board camera and lens relay and tv monitor

            ALSO made a second that was much harder,they are easy to make
            and doesnt need high precision unless your design needs it
            board camera you get from supercircuits ,lens relay or camera to microscope adapter from edmund scientific and if you need usb
            simple video to usb adapter

            if you need to compare the images like in one design for work i did
            need to design software or use roborealm like i did

            Cost depends on what its needed for and precision needed

            --- In SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com, "David Buckley" <david@...> wrote:
            >
            > I bought two different ones from Maplin in the UK and had to send both of them back for a refund as the software failed to show any video using several different XP machines and existing software which connects well to web cams couldn't find any video either.
            > I then bought a microscope camera with an inbuilt screen which expects the object to be too close to be able to do any soldering or anything.
            > DAvid
            >
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: Robert Dyer
            > To: Seattlerobotics@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:21 PM
            > Subject: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope
            >
            >
            >
            > I'm doing more SMT soldering these days, so I'm thinking about buying a USB
            > microscope to do a better job of inspecting my work. Plus as I get to using
            > finer pitch parts, I'm going to need help seeing during assembly.
            >
            > Does anyone have experience with them? I've been reading Amazon reviews and
            > one of the considerations is magnification range. I'm guessing that the
            > camera mount is also important. I'll need room for a soldering iron between
            > the microscope and the board. Anybody have any other thoughts as far as
            > recommended features and models, and more importantly, models to stay away
            > from? I'm running Windows 7.
            >
            > Thanks.
            >
            > Robert
            >

          • Robert Dyer
            Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Seeing Peter s solution makes me wish I still had all those broken reading glasses I ve discarded over the years. (We
            Message 6 of 14 , Aug 12, 2013
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              Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Seeing Peter's solution makes me wish I still had all those broken reading glasses I've discarded over the years. (We have the Dollar Store and Dollar Tree instead of Poundland.)

               

              When I want to do really close-up work, I clip a jeweler's eye-loupe I got from Harbor Freight for $5 onto my glasses. http://www.harborfreight.com/165x-jewelers-clip-on-eye-loupe-94364.html The problem is the focal distance is way too short for anything but inspection. There's no way I want to get a soldering iron this close to my face. That's why Peter's glasses would be much better.

               

              However, I rarely use a piece of equipment for one thing. A USB scope would provide a lot more flexibility and the ability to record what I'm seeing, so any other suggestions regarding imaging/camera/video hardware would be much appreciated.

               

              I searched back through our Yahoo! Group emails and didn't see anything else there. If you know a time when this was previously discussed here, let me know when that thread appeared.

               

              Thanks.

               

              Robert


              From: "Peter Balch"

              <*>[Attachment(s) from Peter Balch included below]

              > I bought two different ones from Maplin in the UK ... the software failed
              > to show any video

              I have one from Maplin which works OK. I can't remember what the
              focal-distance is like - whether you can get a soldering iron under it.
              Neither can I remember where I've put it. If I find it, I'll measure the
              distance.

              I decided instead to make some high power binocular glasses.

              I posted a picture of them to SRS in 2012. I've attached it to this post.
              Here's what I said back then:

              > I made some from two pairs of 3.5 dioptre "reading glasses" from my local
              > branch of Poundland (a store where everything costs £1 - i.e. $1.50).
              >
              > I hope it's clear from the attached photo how they're made. The bridge of
              > one pair is bent so that the top surfaces of the lens rims touch and can
              > be
              > soldered together. Choose a pair with spring hinges that "click" open. The
              > ends of the arms (the "temple tips" or "ear pieces") are bent out at 90deg
              > so they can be soldered along the top surfaces of the lens rims of the
              > second pair.
              >
              > Even though the lenses are cheap plastic, the heat of the soldering
              > doesn't
              > damage them - if you're reasonably quick. I don't know what the metalwork
              > of
              > the glasses is but it soldered OK. Glasses with "painted" metalwork
              > seem to solder better than shiny anodised ones.
              >
              > For £2, they're a great pair of close-up binocs and only take a couple of
              > minutes to make. They're lighter and much higher-power than the usual
              > headband magnifiers.

              Using them, I can solder chips with 0.5mm pitch leads.

              I also use a jeweller's loup for close-up inspection (but not during actual
              soldering).

              Peter

              <*>Attachment(s) from Peter Balch:

              <*> 1 of 1 Photo(s) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SeattleRobotics/attachments/folder/108418907/item/list
              <*> P1000481.JPG
            • Peter Balch
              ... I finally found mine hidden in the back of a drawer so I was able to measure it. It s just a usb webcam with a lens that you can adjust the focus to give
              Message 7 of 14 , Aug 31, 2013
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                > From: Robert Dyer
                > I'm thinking about buying a USB
                > microscope
                > ... magnification range.
                > ... I'll need room for a soldering iron between
                > the microscope and the board.

                I finally found mine hidden in the back of a drawer so I was able to measure
                it.

                It's just a usb "webcam" with a lens that you can adjust the focus to give a
                high magnification.

                The lens is set well back into the body so that when the rim of the body is
                set flat against a piece of paper (i.e. "clearance = 0mm") the lens is about
                60mm away from the paper.

                If you then adjust the focus, you find the field width is 6.5mm.

                If you move the camera away from the paper you can then adjust the focus and
                see a bigger field. The (approximate) measurements I made are:

                Clearance Field_width
                0 6.5
                60 20
                100 27
                170 39

                Which gives a formula of about
                field = clearance*0.2 + 6.5

                So if you set the clearance to 100mm you'd be able to get your soldering
                iron under and get reasonable magnification. However, the depth of field is
                around 4mm - fine for a flat pcb but no good for a 3D "specimen".

                With a USB 1 port it gave a frame rate of 2 fps. With USB2 it seemed around
                30 fps. The picture is 1024x768.

                It has 6 white LEDs which illuminate the field well.

                > I'm guessing that the
                > camera mount is also important.

                Rather annoyingly, it has no mount at all. That's why it was in the back of
                a drawer. It would be useful for soldering if I ever get around to making a
                mount of some sort.


                How does that compare with a standard webcam? I just tried a very typical
                one and found that it would focus down to 20mm (depth of field = 4mm) and
                the field width is roughly equal to the clearance. Clearly, the microscope
                is more like a "telephoto" lens - you can hold the camera further away from
                the object for the same magnification. But 30mm clearance, 30mm field width
                is perfctly reasonable for soldering. Is it worth paying extra for a
                "microscope"? I reckon maybe 25% extra is OK but if it's double the price
                then just get a decent webcam.


                Sorry if this information comes too late to be of use.

                Peter
              • David Buckley
                Peter It may be too late for Robert, but for me - on the contrary. I never thought to try a web cam which seems a much better option. Maybe I could add another
                Message 8 of 14 , Aug 31, 2013
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                  Peter
                  It may be too late for Robert, but for me - on the contrary.
                  I never thought to try a web cam which seems a much better option. Maybe I could add another lens in front as well.
                  DAvid
                   
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 11:08 AM
                  Subject: Re: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope

                   

                  > From: Robert Dyer
                  > I'm thinking about buying a USB
                  > microscope
                  > ... magnification range.
                  > ... I'll need room for a soldering iron between
                  > the microscope and the board.

                  I finally found mine hidden in the back of a drawer so I was able to measure
                  it.

                  It's just a usb "webcam" with a lens that you can adjust the focus to give a
                  high magnification.

                  The lens is set well back into the body so that when the rim of the body is
                  set flat against a piece of paper (i.e. "clearance = 0mm") the lens is about
                  60mm away from the paper.

                  If you then adjust the focus, you find the field width is 6.5mm.

                  If you move the camera away from the paper you can then adjust the focus and
                  see a bigger field. The (approximate) measurements I made are:

                  Clearance Field_width
                  0 6.5
                  60 20
                  100 27
                  170 39

                  Which gives a formula of about
                  field = clearance*0.2 + 6.5

                  So if you set the clearance to 100mm you'd be able to get your soldering
                  iron under and get reasonable magnification. However, the depth of field is
                  around 4mm - fine for a flat pcb but no good for a 3D "specimen".

                  With a USB 1 port it gave a frame rate of 2 fps. With USB2 it seemed around
                  30 fps. The picture is 1024x768.

                  It has 6 white LEDs which illuminate the field well.

                  > I'm guessing that the
                  > camera mount is also important.

                  Rather annoyingly, it has no mount at all. That's why it was in the back of
                  a drawer. It would be useful for soldering if I ever get around to making a
                  mount of some sort.

                  How does that compare with a standard webcam? I just tried a very typical
                  one and found that it would focus down to 20mm (depth of field = 4mm) and
                  the field width is roughly equal to the clearance. Clearly, the microscope
                  is more like a "telephoto" lens - you can hold the camera further away from
                  the object for the same magnification. But 30mm clearance, 30mm field width
                  is perfctly reasonable for soldering. Is it worth paying extra for a
                  "microscope"? I reckon maybe 25% extra is OK but if it's double the price
                  then just get a decent webcam.

                  Sorry if this information comes too late to be of use.

                  Peter

                • Robert Dyer
                  Information valuable as always, Peter. Do you have a Brand and/or Model Number? Robert ... From: Peter Balch Sent: Saturday,
                  Message 9 of 14 , Aug 31, 2013
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                    Information valuable as always, Peter. Do you have a Brand and/or Model Number?

                    Robert


                    From: "Peter Balch" <peterbalch@...>
                    Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 3:09 AM
                    To: SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope


                     

                    > From: Robert Dyer
                    > I'm thinking about buying a USB
                    > microscope
                    > ... magnification range.
                    > ... I'll need room for a soldering iron between
                    > the microscope and the board.

                    I finally found mine hidden in the back of a drawer so I was able to measure
                    it.

                    It's just a usb "webcam" with a lens that you can adjust the focus to give a
                    high magnification.

                    The lens is set well back into the body so that when the rim of the body is
                    set flat against a piece of paper (i.e. "clearance = 0mm") the lens is about
                    60mm away from the paper.

                    If you then adjust the focus, you find the field width is 6.5mm.

                    If you move the camera away from the paper you can then adjust the focus and
                    see a bigger field. The (approximate) measurements I made are:

                    Clearance Field_width
                    0 6.5
                    60 20
                    100 27
                    170 39

                    Which gives a formula of about
                    field = clearance*0.2 + 6.5

                    So if you set the clearance to 100mm you'd be able to get your soldering
                    iron under and get reasonable magnification. However, the depth of field is
                    around 4mm - fine for a flat pcb but no good for a 3D "specimen".

                    With a USB 1 port it gave a frame rate of 2 fps. With USB2 it seemed around
                    30 fps. The picture is 1024x768.

                    It has 6 white LEDs which illuminate the field well.

                    > I'm guessing that the
                    > camera mount is also important.

                    Rather annoyingly, it has no mount at all. That's why it was in the back of
                    a drawer. It would be useful for soldering if I ever get around to making a
                    mount of some sort.

                    How does that compare with a standard webcam? I just tried a very typical
                    one and found that it would focus down to 20mm (depth of field = 4mm) and
                    the field width is roughly equal to the clearance. Clearly, the microscope
                    is more like a "telephoto" lens - you can hold the camera further away from
                    the object for the same magnification. But 30mm clearance, 30mm field width
                    is perfctly reasonable for soldering. Is it worth paying extra for a
                    "microscope"? I reckon maybe 25% extra is OK but if it's double the price
                    then just get a decent webcam.

                    Sorry if this information comes too late to be of use.

                    Peter


                  • Peter Balch
                    ... No I ve thrown away the packaging. It uses the standard Windows camera drivers so no CD either. It s like this one
                    Message 10 of 14 , Aug 31, 2013
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                      > Do you have a Brand and/or Model Number?

                      No I've thrown away the packaging. It uses the standard Windows camera
                      drivers so no CD either.

                      It's like this one
                      http://walyou.com/web-enabled-digital-microscope-camera-for-things-you-cant-see/
                      http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/444233177/2013_new_USB_Digital_Microscope_holder.html
                      Note how the wire comes out of the side (there's a button on the top for a
                      snapshot).

                      If you google USB microscope images then almost all of them look very, very
                      similar but have the wire coming out of the top. Here's a review
                      http://www.toddfun.com/2012/02/26/usb-microscope-review/


                      Is it better than my home-made binocular glasses? I don't think so. Because
                      the microscope field is so small, you'd be continually moving the pcb. But
                      if I had to hand-solder the little RN-42 Apple co-processor authentication
                      chips we're using in our current project I'd probably use it - the entire
                      chip is 2mm square!

                      Peter
                    • Kevin Ross
                      Honestly, if you are soldering, a microscope is extraordinary overkill! Get a good HD webcam (Microsoft Cinema 1080p works for me). You can position it about
                      Message 11 of 14 , Aug 31, 2013
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                        Honestly, if you are soldering, a microscope is extraordinary overkill!

                        Get a good HD webcam (Microsoft Cinema 1080p works for me). You can position
                        it about 3-5 inches from your work area. I do mine right in front of my
                        computer. It will give you about 10x magnification just because you are
                        taking a small area and increasing it to the size of your computer monitor.
                        I have a 23" diagonal monitor.

                        Depth of field on a true microscope is very poor. The only way to get things
                        to focus is for the lens to be directly above your work and perpendicular to
                        the work surface. Not the right tool for this job.

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com
                        [mailto:SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Peter Balch
                        Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 9:24 AM
                        To: SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope

                        > Do you have a Brand and/or Model Number?

                        No I've thrown away the packaging. It uses the standard Windows camera
                        drivers so no CD either.

                        It's like this one
                        http://walyou.com/web-enabled-digital-microscope-camera-for-things-you-cant-
                        see/
                        http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/444233177/2013_new_USB_Digital_Microscope_
                        holder.html
                        Note how the wire comes out of the side (there's a button on the top for a
                        snapshot).

                        If you google USB microscope images then almost all of them look very, very
                        similar but have the wire coming out of the top. Here's a review
                        http://www.toddfun.com/2012/02/26/usb-microscope-review/


                        Is it better than my home-made binocular glasses? I don't think so. Because
                        the microscope field is so small, you'd be continually moving the pcb. But
                        if I had to hand-solder the little RN-42 Apple co-processor authentication
                        chips we're using in our current project I'd probably use it - the entire
                        chip is 2mm square!

                        Peter






                        ------------------------------------

                        Visit the SRS Website at http://www.seattlerobotics.orgYahoo! Groups Links
                      • arioch2k1
                        This is the US Distributor: http://www.saelig.com/VIM/VI021.htm
                        Message 12 of 14 , Aug 31, 2013
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                          This is the US Distributor: http://www.saelig.com/VIM/VI021.htm

                           



                          --- In seattlerobotics@yahoogroups.com, <peterbalch@...> wrote:

                          > Do you have a Brand and/or Model Number?

                          No I've thrown away the packaging. It uses the standard Windows camera
                          drivers so no CD either.

                          It's like this one
                          http://walyou.com/web-enabled-digital-microscope-camera-for-things-you-cant-see/
                          http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/444233177/2013_new_USB_Digital_Microscope_holder.html
                          Note how the wire comes out of the side (there's a button on the top for a
                          snapshot).

                          If you google USB microscope images then almost all of them look very, very
                          similar but have the wire coming out of the top. Here's a review
                          http://www.toddfun.com/2012/02/26/usb-microscope-review/


                          Is it better than my home-made binocular glasses? I don't think so. Because
                          the microscope field is so small, you'd be continually moving the pcb. But
                          if I had to hand-solder the little RN-42 Apple co-processor authentication
                          chips we're using in our current project I'd probably use it - the entire
                          chip is 2mm square!

                          Peter
                        • Mark Kenworthy
                          I picked up one of these to help us inspect parts and document issues under high magnification. Works great for that purpose. Haven’t tried using it for
                          Message 13 of 14 , Sep 4, 2013
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                            I picked up one of these to help us inspect parts and document issues under high magnification.  Works great for that purpose.  Haven’t tried using it for soldering.

                             

                            From: SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of r2d2@...
                            Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2013 10:18 PM
                            To: SeattleRobotics@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: RE: Re: [SeattleRobotics] USB Microscope

                             

                             

                            This is the US Distributor: http://www.saelig.com/VIM/VI021.htm

                             



                            --- In seattlerobotics@yahoogroups.com, <peterbalch@...> wrote:

                            > Do you have a Brand and/or Model Number?

                            No I've thrown away the packaging. It uses the standard Windows camera
                            drivers so no CD either.

                            It's like this one
                            http://walyou.com/web-enabled-digital-microscope-camera-for-things-you-cant-see/
                            http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/444233177/2013_new_USB_Digital_Microscope_holder.html
                            Note how the wire comes out of the side (there's a button on the top for a
                            snapshot).

                            If you google USB microscope images then almost all of them look very, very
                            similar but have the wire coming out of the top. Here's a review
                            http://www.toddfun.com/2012/02/26/usb-microscope-review/


                            Is it better than my home-made binocular glasses? I don't think so. Because
                            the microscope field is so small, you'd be continually moving the pcb. But
                            if I had to hand-solder the little RN-42 Apple co-processor authentication
                            chips we're using in our current project I'd probably use it - the entire
                            chip is 2mm square!

                            Peter

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