PCB inspection scope

Posted on 2011-10-17
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi, I am looking to buy a USB microscope, to use as an inspection scope (to look up close at PCB’s and PCB components). I was looking on ebay and saw many different scopes they had, but this one seems like the best bang for my buck:

I just am confused about the zoom, I don’t know if its optical zoom or digital zoom (it says magnification ratio is 5x – 500x but doesnt say what type- would it be assumed that its digital zoom?). Also given the specs below, would this be a good unit for basic PCB inspection?

 If anyone has any other recommendations for a better scope in the 50 dollar price range, feel free to suggest another type of scope.

Below are the specs

5X-500X USB Digital Microscope 2.0 Mega Pixel Video Camera
Vedio Recording+Optical zoom 5X-500X+2.0Mega Pixel+30FPS
Used for Science education, Plant dissection, Skin examination, Scal examination, Textile Inspection, Jewelry Inspection, Collections&Coin Inspection, PCB Inspection, Etc
Image Sensor: Max 20.0Mega Video Capture Resolution:1600x1200(2M Pixel)
Controller: High Speed DSP
Lens: Dual Axis 5X & 500X Micro-Scope Lens
Focus Range: Manual Focus from 10mm-44mm
Snap Shot: Software and Hardware(Optional)
Video Capture Resolution: 1280x1024(1.3M Pixel), 640x480,320x240, 160x120.
2560x2048(5M Pixel),2304x1738(4M Pixel),1600x1200(2M Pixel)
Frame Rate: Max 30 fps Under 600 Lux Brightness
Flicker Control: 50 Hz / 60 Hz Option
Shutter Speed:1 sec to 1/1000 sec
Video Format: AVI/format
Snap Shot Format: JEPG
Light Source: White Light LED x 8 with ON/OFF switch
Magnification Ratio: 5X - 500X (Manual)
Power Supply: USB Port (5V DC)
Software Compatibility: TWAIN / VFW/ Direct Show AP (Driver)
Interface: USB1.1 & USB2.0 Compatible
Operation System: Support windows 7ï¼â¿windows XPï¼â¿vista 32b,Take measure software tool!
OSD Language: English
Dimension: 110 mm ( L ) X 33 mm ( R )
Color: Black  / White
Support WIN 98,XP,VISTA and WIN 7!
Question by:hydrive1902
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    since it has no physical zoom wheel, ring or button, i assume the zoom is digital
    seems very interesting - post your impressions when you have it !
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Optical zooms are limited typically to 10x, so I think it's digital.  2M is a good resolution to use.
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution


    Hey- Just got it in today!

    I spent literally hours looking at the different scopes on ebay because sellers don’t list all the specs properly. First I had to determine what the specs were then I had to compare them and they all had conflicting info.

    I ordered a different one from the one I originally posted above, I ordered an 800x scope from a USA seller (incase I had to return it). Came in today and seems to work great. Takes some getting used of because there is a 1-2 sec lag on the focus (if you stop turning the focus wheel soon as it appears to be in focus, a second later it goes out of focus so the trick is to focus it very slow and if you stop turning it just as it starts to get into focus, by time the lag is over the item is in perfect focus)  

    My only concern is I know they sell these in 200X (MAX), 400X (MAX),  500X (MAX) and 800X (MAX) which is the one I got. But to be honest I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if its really 200X or 800X from using this- the dial only has a cheap sticker on it which gives the ranges (mine gives 40X min, 800X max). The front of the box says 800X, but the back of the box says 400X and they got a piece of tape over it and they wrote 800X on the tape so who knows what it really is, so just for fun I may buy a lower power scope maybe 200X just to compare to this one because if sellers wanted to scam people and bump the value up on a 200X scope all they gotta do is rip the 200X sticker off the dial and put a new one on the focus wheel saying 800X and it would appear to be an 800X scope when its really a 200X scope with a modified sticker. Came from China and I know they are notorious for doing stuff like that, but I gotta admit the photos came out pretty good.

    Posted a few below, these are of my cell phone (I focused on the number 7, (P, Q, R, S key). In the highest quality pix (at the bottom) you can even see the imprint markings from how the machine printed the text!  

     far zoom
     closer zoom
     even closer zoom
     max zoom
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    you would need to zoom in on a ruler (horizontal and vertical) to actually seen the measurements
    then you can tell exactly it's magnification factor

    here a formula to calculate it :

    also :
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    by:Dr. Klahn
    This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    since the question was about zoom  -i believe we answered that
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    nobody cares? callandor and myself answered it..

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