Tuesday, 10 February 2015

New Toy!

Today, my wife’s surprise for me arrived. I had NO idea what it was … she kept telling me that I’d love it and that it was something that we had spoken about previously.

Turns out, she was dead right … I love it!

My surprise was a USB Digital Microscope (50x optical 200x digital magnification).

My eyesight has been getting poorer over the last couple of years and I’ve been getting more and more into wanting to solder SMD … in fact general soldering was only happening because of my 20x desk lamp/mag. It seems that, as my interest/need for closer and finer work has increased, my eyesight has degraded correspondingly, ah the joys of getting older.

The stand that comes with the device is nice, but not that practical. The first thing that I did was take the magnifying glass off one of my “Third Hand” tools and mount the microscope on that.

plugable - Digital Microscope

That lifts the scope end of the device up by about 10 cm, giving me enough room under the scope to actually work.

Next, I played with the software that comes with the scope. It’s pretty simple to use, but it has enough functionality to make it very useful.

Now I can …

look at components on an Arduino clone and identify them.

freetronics eleven 01

freetronics eleven 02

look at my SMD components in their packaging (and identify them)


some NE555 SMD

SMD 2N2222 Transistors

0805 2N2222 transistors


0805 Super bright White LED

Identify Diodes

IN4148 Diodes


See the colours of resistors … although, I’m still colour-blind. I’m still taking it on faith that these are 10Ω resistors

10 Ohm Resistor

One day, I’ll write some software to identify the resistor by colour … ‘till then, I’ll use my multimeter for that.

Look at some of my soldering work and identify the IC type


ATTiny85 Shift Register sub board

As well as inspect my soldering and printed circuit boards

Round LED board

attiny84 shield traces

Overall, I am very happy with my present … now I need to set it up on the laptop on my electronics workbench. I probably also need to make a better stand for it. I’ve got a mini camera tripod, maybe I can make an adaptor for the attachment … hmmm … gears are whirring in my head.

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