I recently started working more and more with SMD components. Even if my starting projects which involves the SMD soldering, I managed to cope with the naked eye, at one point I felt the need of optical support.
I know that there are professional tools on the market, but I assumed that they are expensive and I abandoned the idea for a while. One day while looking for different electronic components in online stores, I found this USB microscope which promises to be very interesting for my needs.
At $16.00 (including shipping) I thought it was worth the risk and ordered one without looking for more.
Have to say that this is the cheapest option of usb microscope. There are many models on the market, priced between ten dollars to several hundred dollars.
However my main concern was to see if this model can be successfully used in working with SMD components. I was not interested in using it as a general-purpose microscope, where I assumed that it will not cope very well.
Specifications (short excerpt from the manual)
- CMOS Sensor
- Controller High Speed DSP (Driver Free available)
- Focus Range 15mm ~ 40mm
- Snap Shot Software and Hardware
- Video Capture Resolution 0.3M.
- Built-in 8 White-light LED and adjustable illumination.
- Still Image Capture Resolution 640*480. Frame Rate 30FPS / 600 LUX Brightness. Digital Zoom 5X
- Brightness Control Manual adjustment
- Magnification Range 25 X ~ 200X (Manually)
- Power Supply USB Port ( 5V DC )
- USB 2.0 & USB 1.1 Compatible
- CD disk Driver and Micro-Measurement Tool
- Product dimension: 112 mm ( L ) X 33 mm ( R )
- Product net weight: 380g
I assume that the manual(from miniCD) is outdated, because the product I ordered is marked 50x ~ 500x.
Windows immediately detected the device (as GL USB2.0 UVC Camera Device) and installed the standard drivers. No other drivers is required on Windows7-64bit.
The most important thing is that in normal position the microscope not prevent me from working well with components and PCB.
It was a very nice surprise for me: The product does its job very well for the purpose that I bought.
I noticed a very interesting thing using this microscope. It seems that the precision of the hand is much better when you have a proper visual feedback. It feels as if soldering accuracy miraculously increased by a factor of 10… or more.