Microscope recommendation needed

I followed @voltlog’s suggestion and have that sitting on my bench now, without the microscope. Less than $100 shipped from China. Have been able to solder very tiny things. I haven’t played too much with getting it closer but am guessing that will also help the zoom level (just didn’t want it in the way)

Currently shown with full digital zoom, with a close up of 0402 resistors and caps on that dev board


nice that little 2k monitor looks neat, i just ordered one off amazon., thanks for that.

but yeah look at all that working space you get, that’s why i dig the cameras, so versatile.

also the nice thing is a lot of them run linux internally so you can do post processing inside the camera, custom overlays etc.

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This setup is great. It’s the first I’ve seen that makes me consider jumping on the cam bandwagon. Probably I’d use the hardware & software from @charliex because I’m in love with his multi-focus captures, but the way you hang the camera is the way I’d also want it.

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Need some kind of robot + AI solution that detects my hand is in the way, keeps the chip location centered and then uses some kind of gimbal action to try and get a good shot of the chip again :slight_smile:


I’m thinking about hooking it up to a hanging boom arm, maybe something cheap that’s rescued from craigslist. There is going to be a lot of cheap office & lab furniture available in San Francisco this summer…


multiple cameras :slight_smile:

but yes i also dig chris’s layout, i am going to rebuild a stand for that.

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2k monitor arrived from amazon, pretty decent. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VS5LKFS/

sadly this pcb won’t make it to defcon this year, meant to be its first outing :slight_smile: oh well gives us more time to do something extra sneaky for next years competitions

It will run through a splitter so i can do PC capture as well direct viewing

I have the same Eakins scope. I highly recommend getting the following.


Goose necks lights. Much better than the LED ring as is causes too much reflections.


This Amscope at 10x has served me very well. Depth perspective is tough without 2 eyeballs. I have enough encountered a digital setup I would want to work under for more than 1 hour. To get something clear without lag usually means 1000+. At that price, I would consider getting some else to do rework if it takes longer than I am comfortable with the Amscope and requires super fine pitch work.

yeah that looks useful, i use the ring light since i want to minimise shadows for imaging work but it’d be handy to have that gooseneck too. i should get that extensible y boom as well. this is turning into an expensive thread :slight_smile:

its always interesting seeing other peoples workspaces and seeing the common items, the blue ipa dispensers etc.

not to go too far off thread, but one thing i’ve wanted is to be able to overlay the design over the boards, so i started putting something together, spent about 20 minutes to parse the eagle xml and draw it, so far so good. i’ve added the tracking and that in, so just have to hook up all the rest…


i wanted dual video output from the camera, so i ordered this box, and confirmed it works with the camera, 2k monitor and capture card.


Thanks everyone for the suggestions and thoughts. I went for the Amscope SM-3T with the 144 LED light ring. The optical quality is fantastic. – Seems as good as the Nikon with the fiber optic light ring I had at my last day job. I can’t wait for financial justification for a camera!



I just moved and I’m setting up a somewhat similar configuration to yours. I’m a hot air user though.

Hot air is on the wish list. I started a thread on the topic last month. I am waiting until I have a customer or R&D requirement before I buy.

I like the microscope cover. But, the table is a little to clean to be doing any work!

I just set it up yesterday :slight_smile:. I haven’t actually built anything on it, yet, and I still need to add an outlet in order to get electricity to it.

Microscope cover also serves as a banya hat.

I have the AmScope SM-4TZ-144A here, very similar, plus the USB camera. Feeding the camera to a desktop monitor works great for inspection or extended periods of heads-up detail work. Also use an OptiVisor and a illuminated 7x aspheric hand magnifier, sometimes both in series.

Hey Darryl (or anyone else that might know) -

I have always avoided the ring light illuminators because I WANT shadows. If gives depth/3D to what I’m doing so I can see how far the part is off the board as I place it. Plus it shows defects better when trying to show a supplier. So I’ve always used directional light sources. Well, I need something better than I’m using today for my AmScope.

So, I see the SM-4TZ-144A has a ring light that has 4 zones and claims to be able to show shadows, etc. How does it work? Does it really work as claimed? Occasionally, having a full ring would be nice but good directional light is a priority. So, how well does that work?