New Tool for PCB inspections

My latest toy acquisition arrived in the post today, it’s a small usb microscope from Deal Extreme – I purchased this so I could do my inspections alot easier.



Some of it’s specs:

  • max  resolution of 1600*1200 (these ones below were taken at VGA resolution – 640×480)
  • Manual zoom levels x25 – x200
  • 8 LED white light that you can control the brightness via a pot on the cable.
  • Measurements and markups via the software.
  • can use handheld and comes with a stand for hands free use.
  • snapshop button so you can quickly take still images.
  • Software filters to apply to the video stream.

The screen shot below shows me calibrating against a steel ruler with 0.5mm increments. This is the outermost Zoom level of x25.


The calibration process is very simple once you work out how, the manual is written in “Chinglish” and not that helpful. However I soon worked things out that to calibrate you pause the video source and then use the measurement tool to take a number of readings, from these you average the readings and enter the units and pixels measured into the calibration data, after the calibration has been performed then at the current zoom level you can make measurements, angle measurements, area calculations all through the software.

The down side is the calibration is only good for the zoom level you’re currently at so if you re-zoom you need to re-calibrate, so keep the steel rule on hand.

Here is a quick test on the rallylog board at the lowest zoom at VGA resolution. The tracks are 10mil so not too far off with the measurements if you do the conversion.




Here is another couple, this is of the problem zone pour that I picked up in my previous blog post.


Zooming in on the above area with the microscope zoom function



Another using the emboss filter, you can see quality of the ATMega328 pads on the with HASL surface finish from Gold Phoenix (no so great on the one circled)


and with no filters applied and zoomed in.




The best thing is the price, at USD42 it’s a great addition to my toolbox.

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