5 Stars By KevinGa on 2013-09-14
Works well for SMD soldering work
For $200, this is a fantastic deal. I'm using it for hot air SMD board assembly; and post assembly inspection. The 10X is good enough to see a 402 discrete and 112 LQFP. I also soldered a 200 pin, 1/2 mm pitch header. The 20X is really too much for assembly, unless you are doing some very small parts (maybe a 201 package), but is good for very close up inspection work. I personally would have preferred the 5X loops over the 20X. A 5X would offer a wider field of view yet have enough magnification to do most SMD assembly (the higher the magnification, the less of the board you'll see in the eyepieces). With the 10X I can only see about 1/2 of the 112 LQFP package in the eyepieces. As noted, the base is not the most sturdy I've worked with, but it does appear to be adequate (just don't try to use the head at a right angle to the base or spin the base around backwards so that the length is pointing away from the head). You want the length of the base aligned with the arm where the microscope head mounts.
The only real complaint I have about the microscope is the height of the stand. It is about 1" too short for me to place my PCB pre-heater under the head (an Aoyue model 853A) and still have adequate height to focus the image. I had to sit the microscope on a 1" board to get the extra height needed. The optics are good, the lighting is adequate, and the controls are easy enough to use. I've had no issue with the image bouncing around while soldering components. The manual is pretty minimal but, as noted by others, really isn't needed.
As an engineer I've spent 25 years designing custom electronics. At my day job I have a higher end AmScope and, after 5 years of use, I have no complaints. My work scope has too short of a focus to use for assembly but is great for inspection. Given the price of my scope at work, I was beyond shocked at the $200 price tag on this one. For my home use I had purchased a digital microscope for inspection, not knowing that a better option was available. By the way, I don't advise the $100 digital microscopes for any PCB work. The focus is literally less than 1" from the end of the microscope, making it pretty much useless for assembly / inspection work. Prior to purchasing the this AmScope, I used a stationary magnifier and reading glasses for my assembly work (at home). You can get adequate magnification, but it will cause sever eye strain after about 30 minutes. As with any wearable magnifiers, when the distance between your head and the work shifts the image will loose focus. For small variations, your eyes can compensate, but it does make them very tired in short order. I know this because I have a pair of surgeon's glasses I use at work for PCB inspection and (limited) assembly. These $1500 glasses are specially fitted and typically have a 5X to 7X magnification. The magnification is good enough for most assembly but barely adequate for inspection. The problem is going with a higher magnification will amplify any head movements and make it much more difficult to maintain focus on an object. Even guys who do assembly for a living have told me 2 hrs with surgeon's glasses is about the best you can do before taking a break. Beyond magnifiers, surgeons glasses, and inspection microscopes, the only other tool I know of is the Mantis Elite. This is a very high dollar microscope ($3K) that has a viewing screen instead of eyepieces; but at $3K this is way beyond the price of most hobbyists. One final note, if you get a camera with this, don't attempt to use the camera image for assembly. You have no depth information from a 2D camera image and will most likely either not heat the part or crash the soldering iron into the part.
For the money, this AmScope is one of the best investments I've made for PCB work. At some point in the near future I will most likely purchase the 5X loops to go with this setup.
5 Stars By Schmoo on 2015-10-04
Perfect for microsoldering
This is working perfectly for me for soldering surface mount components to a circuit board. There should be assembly instructions in the box. Instead, there are instructions to download the manual, but that requires a password which is not provided. I emailed a fairly snarky customer service request suggesting that it was freakin stupid to password protect the manual and received a pretty hilarious response, plus the manual, so customer service gets an A+ Photo is 10x.
3 Stars By adhuck on 2017-03-24
I like the scope, but the stand has to go.
In terms of optical quality and working distance, I think this meets my needs 100%, the working distance is long enough that i now have room for my hands, and I no longer have to hunch over my desk in order to see through the eyepiece.
With that said, I will have to knock some stars off because of two issues I had. The first being the stand. I don't like it, its heavy but not sturdy, I knew this when purchasing which is why I have been using microscopes with an adjustable arm stand. The reason being those provide a completely unobstructed view of my boards without having to hit the base of the microscope stand. By design, this microscope does not fit the amscope arm stand, which is a real shame because the arm stand solved all the problems I had with my work.
In order to solve this problem I had, I ended up swapping out the focusing rack of the SE400 with another AMscope monocular microscope. The job was messy, but doable.
Second problem, and perhaps even more critical than the arm stand, was that the objectives were knocked out of alignment. This might have happened during shipping because one of the objective pieces was so poorly aligned there was no way I could cross my eyes to make it viewable. For those that might be unfamiliar with binocular microscopes, think of it as if you were watching birds with handheld binoculars, your eyes are only supposed to focus in to produce one image, not double images. Thankfully the process to fix the microscope objectives was an easier task than the arm stand job. It only required a small watchmakers screwdriver and some back and forth adjustments. Once I got the two objective lenses into alignment, the image was nice, crisp and sharp.
So yay me I got two things I wanted out of a microscope. One was a stand that would give me complete freedom on my desk so that I can move, rotate, shift, etc, reducing the chance of an accident. Second, I got longer working distance so now I can work with my hand tools, etc. without being obstructed by the microscope. I just wish my experience installing this and fixing microscope was not as labor and resource intensive as it was.
5 Stars By Richard Aplin on 2015-10-16
I'm having a weird form of buyer's remorse - that I didn't buy this years ago!
* UPDATE * Don't bother buying extra 5x eyepieces - they suck! The field of view shrinks leaving you with the same FOV as the 10x!
I do electronics work and have long used magnifying visors (which remain absolutely indispensable for their wide field of view, convenience & portability) and have always meant to get around to buying a binocular microscope. I was to spend about $500 on a slightly fancier Amscope (still a great deal; friends have spent thousands on theirs) but noticed this very inexpensive puppy - with its huge working distance - and the reviews convinced me to give it a shot.
Just unpacked it and WOW it's terrific value for money; doesn't feel cheap in the slightest; nice heavy base, the gooseneck LED light is bright and works well (a decent cost compromise compared to a more expensive ring light), the eyepiece comfort and image quality is excellent. Can't see myself ever using the 20x optics; 10x appears ample for SMD work; solder joints on 0402s and QFPs are very clearly visible. Most of all, the working distance is excellent; there's a ton of room for hot air / soldering iron. The relatively narrow field of view you get with microscopes means I'll probably still do a fair amount of soldering with my beloved magnifying visors but this scope looks to be extremely well suited for electronics work and ridiculously good value for less than $200. Highly recommended. Maybe I'll treat myself to a Metcal now :-)
5 Stars By Oleksandr Gorbunov on 2016-08-29
Great microscope for PCB work for its price
Great microscope for PCB work for its price, feels very solid, stays steady, good work space between lens and surface. Very happy.
In the picture below small PCB component is a schottky diode 1mm long, installed it without any issues.
Working with 0201 components is also easy and actually fun, I even tried to install two 01005 (some dust particles larger than that package) components recently just to sake of challenge and it was easy too, all of that at 10x magnification. In the third photo you can see a board where at the top are two 01005 components, in the middle is 0201 and bottom/right is 0402.
5 Stars By Doug from RI on 2017-02-26
Nice microscope for the price paid
Nice microscope for the price paid, 148-dollars on 16JAN2017, in the deal of the day. Outstanding tool to assist taking out splinters, determining the extent of damage to small parts, determining why small connectors fail, rekeying locks, reading text manufactures obviously purposefully make so small that they must assume no one is able to read it and similar tasks, especially for those over age 50. The 10x meets my needs, but I am keeping the 20x eye-piece standing by, if needed. My only complaint is that it does NOT come with Instructions, as is listed under "What's in the Box?" in BTA-MALL's posting. AmScope wants to know when customers receive the microscopes, so force a registration, using a five-digit password printed outside of the box, in order to obtain the PDF of the owner's manual. I was thinking of taking off a star for forcing me to waste my time and printer to obtain a manual, but decided to just rate it on the value of the unit. It was cheap, heavy-duty and works well, so I am giving it five stars. Wish there was a cheap, reliable camera for this scope, but due to other reviews, I now have zero interest with purchasing an AmScope camera for this scope.
4 Stars By Robert J on 2016-10-01
I've really found this more useful than I like to admit. There are just so many times as a nearsighted hobbyist that the extra work range makes this a great solution. The 20x eyepieces are far too narrow a field of view to be practical for anything aside from sheer magnification, they dont make great use for board work where you need to see what you are doing.The 10x eyepieces are excellent, and are truly widefield, a pleasure to work with. The LED light is bright, and very useful, although I'd prefer two, one on each side of the work, or a ringlight attachment. The stand is solid, and supports the body very well, but, is kind of limited in motion, and you have to be prepared to move the work under it, but at this price, thats acceptable.
5 Stars By luckyleo66 on 2015-08-10
Very Nice StereoScope for Surface Mount Soldering
The scope is of very good quality. Nice Styrofoam packing for safe shipping . It has a adjutable LED light for lighting circuit boards or other items under scope. I purchased the scope to use it for soldering circuit boards with very small parts. The scope comes with 10x and 20x lenses. The 10x lens brought the circuit board in too close for my taste. So I ordered .5x lenses from BTA-MALL and dropped them into the scope and they do give you are larger viewing area of your work which in my case is circuit boards. The 10x and 20x lenses are great for up close inspection after soldering. The .5x lenses just works better for me to solder under. Your preferences may vary. The stand is of very good quality. The height adjustments are nice and smooth. One thing that is there appears to be a hole for mounting a camera in front of the fine height adjustment. The price for this type of scope is on target. It gives you a large working distance from the scope to your work piece which was another thing I was looking for since my main use was to be able to get a soldering iron under the scope and work comfortably. I use a air purifier with charcoal filter to draw the fumes away from the scope lens. With a .5x lens I get 8 inches of working area from the lens to the circuit board I am working on. Heavily made steel base, arms etc. Not a cheap plastic toy. Highly Recommend.
5 Stars By Palzter on 2016-07-25
Perfect for SMD soldering, rework, and repair!
This is a quality product. It is well designed and perfect for my purposes for SMD soldering, rework, and repair.
I only used the 10x eyepieces so far, but for now I probably won't need the 20x unless I use it for other purposes.
I have no eye strain when using, and the rubber eyepiece attachments make it comfortable.
I wear glasses, but I don't need them when using this microscope, which makes it all the more valuable.
It you are looking for a quality microscope at an excellent price, then this is the scope for you.
5 Stars By MLC on 2016-06-30
This is a great microscope for under $200. My husband uses this for soldering on circuit boards. The boom arm works great allowing it to extend out far enough so you can see your work. It connects to your computer so you can see a large picture of your work for inspection. It also has an adjustable gooseneck LED light that enables you to direct the light where need it. It also comes with a dust cover while not in use so you don’t have to worry about dust building up on the lenses. Very nice piece of equipment to own if you plan on soldering small circuit boards.