Apr 7 2018
Just 30 years ago, household electronics were not as prevalent as they are today. In fact, the first cellphone, the DynaTAC 8000x, made its debut in the United States in 1983. At 13 inches tall, it was roughly the size of a foot long sub, weighed 1.75lbs, took 10 hours to charge and lasted only 30 minutes before dying. Compared to the cellphones of today, electronic repair specialist had a lot more room to work with and much larger components. Today’s electronics are sleeker, smaller, and more tech-savvy. In fact, the smaller and smarter the electronic device is, the more popular it sems to become. Because of this, the microscope has become increasingly important.
The electronic repair specialist of today should look for a stereo or USB microscope. Stereo microscopes are larger than their USB counterparts are, but not as bulky or heavy as the kinds you once used in your high school science lab. Aside from that, there are a few things to look for in a microscope for electronic repairs. Most microscopes that are designed for electronic repair are portable. The magnifying abilities and camera sensors are also important criteria. Since most electronic components are large when compared to bacteria or cells, you most likely will not need to go beyond a 500 times magnification range. A 250 times magnification range may even work for you. Camera resolutions typically range from 2.0 to 5.0 megapixels on an electronic repair microscope. Included light features can also be helpful. However, you should be careful if you work with objects that are highly refractive. Below, we compare several of our favorite electronic repair microscopes.
Opti-Tekscope OT-HD Digital USB Microscope
Opti-TekScope has made a name for itself in the digital microscope world. This multi-functional microscope is a force to be reckoned with. The lightweight, durable aluminum material makes this microscope easy to take anywhere or conveniently store, without the fear of damages. With eight separate patented light settings, a USB camera with an infinite option of focal distances, and the ability to record videos – this microscope comes highly recommended by most users.
The fully adjustable lighting feature makes the Opti-Tekscope an ideal microscope for electronic repair. It allows you to tailor the lighting for your specific purpose. If the part you are working on is highly reflective, being able to adjust your lighting can help you more easily see the task at hand. The camera resolution on the Opti-Tekscope is one of the best on this list. In fact, the 1600 by 1200 pixel camera not only provides excellent images, it can also take pictures and record high-resolution videos. Unlike some other digitally compatible microscopes, the Opti-Tekscope unit comes with software that is easy to install on almost any operating system. If you lose the software disc, a backup copy can be downloaded from the Opti-Tekscope website as well. (Bonus points – this microscope is so effective, users rave about its applicability beyond the scope of electronics repairs! The junior scientist in you just might have you examining much more than the circuit board of that iPhone you are trying to fix.)
Some users have complained about the zoom feature on this product. The focus transition between the different zoom levels is not smooth and can appear a bit “jerky”. While this does not prevent you from zooming, for those who are impatient – it can be a minor inconvenience.
Swrisnt 4331891977 Portable Microscope
The Swrisnt portable microscope is a good choice for those working with electronic repairs. This lightweight, super compact unit is truly easy to store and take anywhere. In fact, the stainless steel and water-resistant seals will even let you take this device into the water. (You may not be repairing any electronics underwater, but at least you know this microscope is safe if you are caught in a sudden downpour on your way to work!) This microscope allows viewers to zoom in up to 200 times and has a 1280 by 720-pixel camera.
The Swrisnt utilizes USB 2.0 technology and can be connected to any type of laptop or computer, including both Windows and Mac platforms. It can even connect to your OTG-optimized phone for true on-the-go use. The six different LED settings allow you to easily adjust the brightness to prevent refracting light from blinding you or obscuring your focal point.
Unfortunately, Android’s are one of the only phones with OTG optimization. If you are looking to connect a microscope to your Apple phone, you will need a different product.
Teslong MS100 Digital USB Microscope
Incredibly compact, lightweight and easy to use, the Teslong digital USB microscope comes recommended by professionals and amateurs alike. The 10 to 200 times magnification capability can help you see even the smallest components. The Teslong also comes with eight adjustable LED lights that allow you to enhance your focus instead of detracting from it.
For on-the-go use, the Teslong can be used in conjunction with your Android-based phone. (Teslong even offers a free app that will let you check the compatibility with your phone before you purchase this microscope.) The camera is waterproof, as with the Swrisnt, allowing you to work in almost any environment. The 1280 by 720-pixel camera lets you easily capture images on your phone or computer.
As with the Swrisnt, the Teslong digital USB microscope is not iPhone compatible. Some users have complained about the included wiring, which can be faulty at times. These “Type
C” adapters are not hard to replace, but it is something you might want to consider when buying this microscope.
Plugable USB2-MICRO-250X USB 2.0 Digital Microscope
If you are new to the electronic repair world or just a hobbyist, the Plugable USB 2.0 digital microscope may be your top choice. This budget-friendly unit utilizes a webcam chipset and accompanying sensor that make it compatible with almost any operating system. The LED halo light is easy to adjust. It also allows you to zoom in up to 250 times and is equipped with a 2.0 megapixel camera.
This unit comes with a flexible observation stand that allows you to easily reposition the microscope in almost any position. It also comes with a measurement-oriented observation pad. This allows you to quickly identify the size of your focal object if needed. The Plugable is also compatible with almost any operating system, including Windows, OSX, Linux, Chrome, and Android devices.
Many of the other units on this list have a digitally controlled zoom function or, in the very least, can remain in place while zooming in and out. This is not so with the Plugable. Depending on the distance, you may need to adjust the flexible arm to allow the camera to focus. It is also important to note that this microscope is best for an amateur or hobbyist. Those who look to use this rigorously, for long hours at a time, continually may want to consider a more advanced option.
Colemeter LYSB01IHFHYKS USB Microscope
The Colemeter USB microscope looks more like your typical classroom-style microscope. At least, it does while sitting in its stand. The relatively lightweight microscope comes with an adjustable eight LED system, which runs through a diffuser to help reduce glare. The 20 to 200 times zoom on its megapixel camera offers users both photographic and video capabilities.
Because the microscope connects directly to your laptop, you can automatically store the digital images or videos captured by its 2.0 megapixel camera. While some users find this to be an entry-level microscope, many have said it is more than capable of supporting electronic repair work.
While the Colemeter is compatible with a Windows operating system, it is not going to work with your phone or any other type of computer. The stand is not as adjustable as other models either, which can be a bit limiting if you do not wish to hold the microscope while you work.
Celestron 44308 Handheld 5 MP Digital Microscope Pro
This USB microscope is a top-of-the-line model. The 5.0 megapixel camera offers a shutter speed of 1 to 1/1000 seconds. This gives users beautiful high-resolution pictures in an array of 2592 by 1944 pixels. The weighted stand provides you with a balanced base when using this microscope. However, you can easily opt for using this as a handheld device with little impact. As it connects directly to your computer, whether you use a Windows or Mac operating system, you can automatically save any images it captures. As with other models, this comes with an adjustable LED halo light.
The unique design of this microscope allows you to single-handedly adjust the focus when using it as a handheld device. The included software also has a quick measurement and note-taking feature that lets you annotate and quickly measure the images on your screen.
Some users have stated that the LED lights are visible in photographs and just relying on ambient light can make your images appear slightly brown. Using an auxiliary side light, however, seems to help correct this issue should it occur. The software includes an auto-adjust feature for lighting, which can also be a bit aggravating according to users. There is no way to disable this feature, but an additional side light tends to prevent the software from automatically re-adjusting your image.
AmScope SE400-Z Stereo Microscope
The AmScope SE400-Z is the only stereo microscope on this list. It is also one of the largest. However, this professional grade microscope offers benefits that go beyond its portable USB counterparts. The AmScope offers vertically and horizontally adjustable binocular viewing with ample space for you to work beneath. The adjustable gooseneck LED light also separates the lighting system from the lens area, allowing you to find the best angle to illuminate your work area.
The AmScope provides plenty of viewing power. The included boom stand, which lets your microscope to sit between nine and twelve inches above your device, gives you ample room to work. The separated LED provides custom lighting without interrupting your workspace. The AmScope comes with two interchangeable eyepieces (WF10x18mm and WF20x10mm) that provide plenty of magnification for electronic repair work. Many reviewers commented on how easy it was to solder beneath the scope while still being able to clearly see the area they are working on.
The AmScope is not digitally compatible. This means you cannot hook it into your computer or capture pictures and videos. When it comes to electronic repair work, however, you may not need this feature. This microscope is also bigger than the other products on this list and less portable.
MWAY DT-45793 Portable Digital Microscope
The MWAY portable digital microscope is an all-in-one product that electronic repair technicians may enjoy. This microscope comes with a built in 4.3 inch LCD display, allowing you to work without having to look directly through a single or binocular eyepiece. You do not have to connect this microscope to a computer or phone to digitally view your work area. As with many of the other units, this microscope comes with eight adjustable LED lights. It also has the ability to zoom up to 600 times. Pictures, which can be stored on an internal micro-SD card, are taken with a 3.6 megapixel HD camera and have a 1080P resolution.
The ability to work freely without having to look through a lens is a great feature. The micro-SD slot can support up to a 64GB chip. This product can work without cords, as the rechargeable batteries can last up to six hours with continual use.
One of the main complaints about the MWAY microscope is in regards to the mount. The included suction-based mount does not work on all surfaces and may not suitably anchor the device.
Many of these microscopes are versatile products that can be used beyond the scope of electronic repair work. It is important to keep your specific needs in mind when selecting a microscope for your electronic repairs. Ideally, your microscope will allow you ample room to work or solder beneath it so selecting a product that comes with a stand, which can be raised and lowered, is useful. Your level of use and budget are also likely significant factors when deciding to purchase a microscope for electronic repairs. Make sure to thoroughly read reviews of each product before your purchase a microscope.