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Common Mistakes Beginners Make with Stereo Microscopes

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Stereo microscopes, which are also commonly referred to as low power or dissecting microscopes, can be used to take a closer look at specimens that are visible with the naked eye. For example, you can use a stereo microscope to analyze insects, coins, circuit boards or any other objects that are large enough for you to see. Stereo microscopes offer either adjustable magnification – commonly in stereo zoom or turret microscopes – or fixed magnification through the two eyepieces that can provide slightly different aspects and a more three-dimensional view of a given sample.

While stereo microscopes offer a range of unique advantages over compound microscopes, it’s important for you to be careful when using a stereo microscope, as they also come with their own unique set of challenges. Here are several mistakes that many first-time stereo microscope users make.

Mistake 1: Using a higher magnification than necessary.

Most stereo microscopes are capable of magnifying specimens from 2x all the way up to 100x. But in general, there aren’t many occasions that will call for you to attempt to magnify something at the most extreme level, and we don’t generally recommend going above 60x magnification. Many people try to magnify specimens at the maximum settings much right away, though, and wonder why they are unable to see anything in their microscopes. This is why it’s always best to start at a much lower magnification and then work your way up as necessary.

Mistake 2: Trying to look at specimens that are too small.

As we mentioned, stereo microscopes are not designed to analyze cells or other specimens that are impossible to see with the naked eye. Despite this, many people still try to do it and zoom in as close as they can on microscopic items. If this is your goal, you should be using a compound microscope instead.

Mistake 3: Adjusting the wrong light.

Some stereo microscopes offer two light adjustments, with the incident light that shines from above and a bottom light that provides upward illumination. Many think that turning up the bottom light is the better option, but most stereo microscope uses are better served by improving the light from above. Unless the sample being observed is transparent or translucent, improve visual quality by turning up the incidental lighting.

Mistake 4: Mishandling the microscope.

While stereo microscopes are much sturdier than compound microscopes, this does not mean that you should not still handle them with great care. If you are a parent giving your child a stereo microscope, you should teach them about being gentle with the lens and handling their specimens. Instructing proper microscope care early establishes a respect for scientific equipment that can carry throughout the rest of a child’s life. Teach them to be gentle and careful and they can not only explore some great science, but also develop greater appreciation for the microscopic world.

Absolute Clarity offers a wide rangeof stereo microscopes for classrooms, educational settings and more. Regardless of whether you’re looking to purchase a brand new microscope or one that has been used, we can assist you. Reach out to us at 860-583-0502 today to learn more.

Getting Started with Compound Microscopes: Avoid These Common Beginner’s Mistakes

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Using a microscope can be more complicated than it looks. While many beginners think that it’s as simple as placing a sample underneath the microscope, turning the lamp on and taking a look through the eyepiece, there is much more to it and there are all kinds of mistakes that beginners make when they use microscopes for the first time. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most common mistakes that you should be mindful of before you start using a microscope.

Mistake 1: Looking at a sample without a cover slip.

Before you look at a sample under a microscope, make sure that you are using a cover slip on your slide. If you fail to use one, the quality of the image seen through the microscope will be lower. Not using a slip can also change the focal distance, as well, notes Microbe Hunter Microscopy Magazine, which can cause even more issues with trying to adjust the focus on an improperly prepared sample.

Mistake 2: Using fine focus adjustment too frequently.

Many first-time microscope users turn the fine focus adjustment more times than they should while trying to focus. This may end up creating an issue if these adjustments end up sending the high-power objective of their microscope into – or even through – the slide. This can result in damage to both the microscope and the slide, so instruct first-timers to be careful of their adjustments and to be aware of their slide and lens locations.

Mistake 3: Using high magnification right away to view a sample.

When you use a microscope, the goal is to magnify the image of your sample as much as possible in most cases. However, you don’t want to magnify it too much right away. By teaching students to resist the urge to zoom right in, they can take a more complete view of a given sample or specimen, allowing them to then place their focus on a particular feature or element of interest. Instruct beginners to start with lower magnification and zoom in later once they have examined their sample.

Mistake 4: Moving the microscope around without turning off the lamp first.

The lamp on a microscope will heat up very quickly once it’s turned on, and if the microscope is moved with the lamp on repeatedly, it could reduce the lifespan of the lamp. Allowing the lamp to cool before moving the microscope can prolong the life of your microscope lamp, meaning fewer replacements and a more consistent experience.

Absolute Clarity & Calibration offers a large selection of microscopes for classrooms and educational settings. Whether you are in the market for a new or used microscope, a specific specialized type of microscope, or even need service for your current device, we can help. Call us at 860-583-0502 today to discover how we can help you with all of your microscope needs.

Do’s and Don’ts of Microscope Cleaning

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Microscopes are some of the most important pieces of equipment in any lab, classroom or medical facility, so taking good care of them is paramount. Like any frequently used device, microscopes can easily get dirty and need cleaning. To ensure that you are doing the best job possible, follow a few of these essential microscope cleaning dos and don'ts.

Do: Use All the Proper Tools

Your microscope is full of tiny moving parts, so it is important not to take the cleaning process for granted. Start it off right by using the proper cleaning materials. The essentials of a microscope cleaning kit include a specialized soft cotton cloth, cotton-tipped swabs and our proprietary microscope cleaning solution that’s great for clearing away dust, dirt and oils. Be sure to also check out our specialized Optical CleaningKit that can help make cleaning objective lenses and eyepieces a breeze.

Don’t: Cut Corners With Cleaning

Choosing the proper cleaning materials is key, so under no circumstances should you cut corners by using ordinary paper, fabric or your fingers. Using the wrong materials can make a small problem worse. For example, using a rough cloth or paper to try and clean a dirt lens can result in dirt being pressed against the lens, leading to scratches or other damages that can’t be reversed. Just as when you clean any type of glass, you want to avoid pushing the dirt or dust into the surface of the glass. As Micscape Magazinenotes, microscopes feature very small and sensitive parts, and the last thing you want to do is avoid grinding even the most microscopic particle into the soft glass.

Do: Clean Eyepiece Lenses Carefully

Seeing clearly through the microscope's eyepiece is paramount because clarity is necessary for your work. To clean these components, though, sometimes a surprisingly simple cleaning method words best: Your breath! As Leica ScienceLab mentions, breathing a bit of condensation from your warm breath onto the eyepiece can help remove water-soluble dirt and impurities. Simple breath and wipe in a center-out circular motion. For more stubborn problems, using a cloth moistened with a 95 percent alcohol solution can help. Be sure to dry the lens afterward with a cotton cloth.

Don’t: Let Your Microscope Get Dirty in the First Place

Rather than having to spend hours cleaning every crease and crevice of your microscope, try to avoid the problem and keep your device in prime working condition by being proactive with your storage. Simply put, the best way to prevent filth is to constantly keep the dust cover over the microscope whenever you are not using it. You can also use a gallon-size resealable bag as an option if you don’t have a dust cover available.

If you need help maintaining or calibrating your microscope or you are just looking to buy a new or refurbished model, Absolute Clarity & Calibration is here to serve. We provide optical calibration, repair and preventative maintenance services, and we would love to assist you, your company or your organization to keep your microscopes in tip-top shape. Call us at 860-583-0502 today to learn more.

Buying a Used Microscope: What to Know and Avoid

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Purchasing the right microscope can be difficult, with so many different makes and models that have come out throughout the years. With different manufacturers offering microscopes, it can sometimes be difficult to tell which used microscope might be a great value and which might be a repair and maintenance nightmare.

Used Stereo MicroscopesAt Absolute Clarity & Calibration, we can help make this process easier for you. We sell, service, repair, refurbish and calibrate most microscope makes and models. We know microscopes inside and out, so we like to consider ourselves experts on what makes a good microscope.

For example, when we refurbish a stereo microscope, we remove all the optics and mechanical assemblies. We degrease all the components, clean and then reassemble and re-lubricate all the parts. By knowing microscopes inside and out, we can help you pick the right one and provide advice on which ones to avoid.

If a microscope is not included on our buy list, it should be avoided. We’ve seen many different makes and models, and the ones included in our recommendations have a track record of being reliable and long-lasting pieces of equipment that you can trust to offer superior performance and reliability. Our aim is to educate and inform users about optical equipment, and we’d rather point you to a great used microscope than a mediocre new one.

By turning to us, we help ensure that you’re an educated shopper and know exactly what to look for. We also can help you determine the nature of a problem that you may discover. Is your microscope no longer providing a clear image or are moving parts stuck or slipping? Our information on evaluating your stereo microscope can help you determine the nature of the problem and gauge how extensive a repair your equipment may need.

Buyers come to us because they know they can trust our expert representatives. We will back each product we sell, and encourage our customers to learn more about microscopes by working with us, helping them become more well informed and ensuring that they receive high-quality, reliable equipment that will work for their exact needs.

We understand, though, that you’ll have questions. Please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help. More than anything, we want you to get a microscope that you’ll enjoy and that will work perfectly in whatever setting you need. Learn more by calling us today at 860-583-0502 or take a look at our refurbished microscopes and new products online now to start your search.

New Educational LED Microscopes Help Teach Next Generation

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When it comes to microscopes in a classroom, it’s important to have a scope that has all the features of a proper microscope with easy-to-use functions and attachments. The new line of educational LED microscopes available from Absolute Clarity & Calibration are no exception are sure to be a great training and teaching tool for your classroom or school science lab

We are pleased to introduce our new line of LED microscopes from Meiji Techno. These model stereo microscopes and light microscope products are perfect for the educational setting. Styles range from stereo turret to stereo zoom, and offer additional features that include a built-in CMOS camera and monocular, binocular and CMOS digital microscope configurations. Depending on the classroom setting that you plan to use these microscopes, you can also choose from basic or advanced microscope varieties.

The LED feature of these microscopes generally refers to the way the light is transmitted, and gives each student more control when it comes to the viewing intensity. LED lights are also longer-lasting than typical bulbs, and don’t need as much energy to operate, meaning that you can also expect to see energy savings versus traditional microscope configurations.

Our new LED microscopes can maximize any student’s learning experience thanks to their easy setup and use. With these microscopes in your classroom, you’ll spend less time setting up and more time teaching students! Easy functionality and portability are key features in the design of these microscopes. This means that your students can enjoy a crisp and clear image in a wide field of view – perfect for learning, whether in a museum or school. Some designs are more compact than others, but each was built with portability in mind and is designed to operate on a rechargeable battery, which means you won’t have to deal with tons of cords during your lessons.

Each of our new LED microscopes has superb optical quality and crisp LED illumination, and you can trust these microscopes to last for many years of use. These microscopes are plug-and-play, which means they won’t need to be calibrated or intricately set up before each use. Perfect for students of all ages and for a full range of subjects from biology and zoology to earth science and botany, order your new LED microscopes from Absolute Clarity & Calibration today!

To learn more or to place your order, give us a call at 860-583-0502.

While School's Out, Plan Your Repairs and Maintenance

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At the risk of anthropomorphizing your science department’s inventory of magnification instruments, we’d like to suggest they’re exhausted from a hard year’s work and could benefit from a real summer vacation in the hands of the professionals here at Absolute Clarity & Calibration.

During the school year, there’s not always a good time or opportunity for proper preventative maintenance, and that can eventually lead to failures in your expensive equipment. For example, the internal lubricants can evaporate and begin the internal contamination process, and once a sticky coating of contamination has worked its way into your instrument, your images may begin to appear dull or hazy. Before long, the zoom knob will become harder to turn, or you may notice the optics chattering – all of which could have been prevented with a proper maintenance schedule.

Summer Microscope Repair

Other common microscope problems include optical misalignment or parfocality issues. Absolute Clarity & Calibration’s s knowledgeable staff has extensive experience in microscope repair and refurbishments including microscope realignment and decontaminations. We know microscopes inside and out, down to the component level, which means that you can trust we can discover your problem and get your microscope working properly again.

Our complete range of mechanical repair services includes rack and pinions and other focus assemblies; binoculars (correcting problems with lenses being too loose or too tight); stages and motion control devices; and zoom and magnification controls. We can also address lighting, digital readout problems, linear and rotary encoders, video monitor and CCD equipment trouble. We work on stereo zooms, turrets and binocular heads, and even perform retrofits and much more.

Once all your instruments are restored to pristine condition, we can help you determine the best preventive maintenance schedule for your organization, because an ounce of prevention will really go a very long way. Our preventive maintenance service team offers on-site field service for solutions to your problems on your terms and at your facility. They’ll first identify your optical equipment service needs and provide preventive maintenance service, a thorough cleaning and diagnosis of any problems on a regular basis, and offer repair solutions as may be necessary.

Education is key with sensitive instruments, and we can provide mini seminars to your staff so they are informed and capable of maintaining your instruments and diagnosing potential problems themselves. We’re always available for support regarding training issues, support documentation and solutions to applications and upgrade problems throughout the year. We’ve even put together a list of common microscope problems that can help you troubleshoot some frequently seen issues on your own.

At Absolute Clarity & Calibration, we can help with your repairs, maintenance and even new equipment needs. To learn more, reach out to us today by calling 860-583-0502.

Petrographic Microscopes: Focusing on their Uses

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The right job requires the right tool. That’s why petrographic microscopes are the instrument of choice when your work requires looking at rocks and minerals in extensive detail.

Petrographic MicroscopePetrographic microscopes allow researchers in optical mineralogy and petrography to look closely at rocks and minerals in thin sections. Users can use these microscopes to get incredibly clear and detailed looks at rocks to determine the mineral content and textural relationship within the rock. This helps geologists understand the origin of the rock and, as a result, the world in whole, allowing petrologists to create incredibly detailed descriptions of various types of rocks.

Petrographic microscopes are also favored as they are built with optical parts that do not add unwanted polarizing effects. True petrographic microscopes typically include a piece called a Bertrand lens. This focuses and enlarges a figure, which is useful when looking at complex mineral and rock structures. The Bertrand lens can typically be removed to make a direct observation, as well, depending on the needs of the microscope’s user.

Users can also make other modifications to the microscope’s optical system. Petrographic microscopes allow for different filers to be inserted between the polarizers to identify positive and negative birefringence.

Petrographic microscopes provide a unique view on the world that many do not get to see. If your organization or institution is looking for a new piece of equipment to help with your studies, petrographic microscopes are the right choice for you.

If you are interested in getting a petrographic microscope, or any other type of microscope, look to Absolute Clarity & Calibration. We sell both new and refurbished microscopes, along with specialized products, such as stereo and gemological microscopes. With accompanying parts, such as stands, splitters and bulbs, we have everything you need to get a clearer look at any sample. To learn more, call us today at 860-583-0502.

What Is the Difference between Stereo Microscopes and Binocular Microscopes?

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Yesterday, I was on-line looking

at stereo microscopes on an auction site and found several flat field

microscopes with “binocular” heads listed as stereo microscopes. It is

extremely frustrating to me to see this error –and I want to make sure

that consumers understand that these two microscopes are not

interchangeable. A stereo microscope provides a 3D image and a

Binocular flat field microscope provides a flat image. Please know that

having two eyepieces does not make a stereo microscope.

A stereo microscope utilizes two separate optical paths, in other words there is a separate “microscope” for each eye. These optical paths are inclined at a six degree angle towards each other so that the user can see a portion of the sides of the specimen as well as the top. This separation of views allows us to perceive depth and see in true 3D.

Stereo microscopes come in many different forms but generally have a magnification range of 7x to 45x are used for applications such as engraving, watch repair and inspection of manufactured parts. They are also commonly used by mineral, stamp and coin collectors.

Flat field microscopes (also known as compound) use a single objective lens to look straight down on a specimen and provides a flat (1 dimensional) image. It may use a single eyepiece or binocular viewer but still only has a single optical path. These microscopes are used with glass slides starting at 40x to 1,000x magnification. The focus depth of field is limited to very flat specimens which makes a flat field scope virtually useless for anything except biological applications. The only real advantage to the flat field scope is very high resolution and magnification capabilities.

Generally, if a microscope has a nose piece with objectives it is a flat field/compound microscope. A typical flat field /compound microscope looks like the instrument shown below.

Absolute Clarity & Calibration offers a durable line of high quality, cost effective import microscope systems to meet your requirements. Give us a call and let us help you determine what microscope that is.

Educating the user is half our job!

Common Microscope Problems

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I want to talk to you about three common problems that you may

encounter with your microscope equipment: alignment, parfocality and

internal contamination.

Alignment of the optics in a microscope is a common cause of eye fatigue for scope users. We do not recommend that you try to correct any alignment problems with your equipment. If you find your equipment out of alignment, we recommend you send it to Absolute Clarity so it can be corrected by a LASER alignment performed at our facility.

Parfocality is the ability of a scope to be focused at high magnification and maintain focus all the way to low magnification in both eyes. If a scope is not adjusted and setup properly, it may not have parfocality, which will cause eyestrain for the users. (See our website for more information on Proper Set-up procedures.)

Internal contamination is caused by the lack of regular and proper maintenance. This problem results from the internal lubricants aromatic components that evaporate after as few as 2 to 5 years. Once a film of sticky contamination has coated the internal optics, dirt can stick to the film making the images dull and hazy. You may notice that the zoom knob is hard to turn or the optics may chatter when zooming up or down. If you look backwards through the scope (up through the bottom lens) and slowly turn the zoom knob, you will be able to see the dirt on every optical surface in the system. (This will not work on infinite focus optical systems such as collimators, telescopes, long-range binoculars or Theodolite.)

Have you ever experienced eyestrain while looking through a microscope? Have you ever purchased a microscope that just wasn’t quite right? Remember, if you find any of these common microscope problems that cause eyestrain (read headaches), Absolute Clarity & Calibration, LLC is your answer.

You Will SEE the Difference with Absolute Clarity

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The first blog post always brings with it a sense of trepidation, of worry – what exactly should I write about?

Well, after much thought, we decided to write about the company itself –

Absolute Clarity – and its relationship with the customer – you! So,

here we go…

Microscopes are crucial to understanding the beautiful ins and outs of this world. Unfortunately, many don’t appreciate the awe-inspiring power of microscopes. For starters, without microscopes, biological research is, well, impossible. How would we ever be able to break down cells? Biology would be a moot point. Also, microscopes have enhanced our appreciation for beauty. Under the microscope lens, everything is seemingly beautiful. Therefore educating everyone about microscopes and optical equipment is near and dear to our hearts, which is why we strive to provide only the best customer service.

Customer satisfaction is a priority at our company andAbsolute Clarity is proud to be a trusted provider of optical equipment and microscopes to industries as well as hobbyists, home educators and schools. We take great pride in the superior reputation that Absolute Clarity has among its many different end users. Our clientele covers a wide range of occupations, and it’s nice to see this kind of democracy in action. Optical equipment affects all of us and we want to make sure everyone has a good experience with them.

Customers who have had previous experience with “window washers” – (microscope technicians who wipe the outer lenses of the microscope) or internet purchases that were not received in the same condition as advertised are amazed at the clarity of their microscopes after Absolute Clarity has worked with them. If you have had either of these experiences, we look forward to showing you the difference that Absolute Clarity can make.

Operating under the slogan, “Educating the user is half of our job,” our technicians do their best to ensure every client understands how their equipment works, proper set-up and common potential problems to their optical equipment. We even offer online educational resources to help customers with proper microscope set-up and diagnostics. If you are experiencing problems with your microscope, please refer to our website for more information. Absolute Clarity’s “Proper User Set-up & Diagnostics for Stereo zoom Binocular Microscopes” page will help you evaluate the condition of your instrument and determine the extent of repair that your microscope may need.

As our vast experience shines through your optics, you too will SEE the difference!

What has been your experience with microscopes or other pieces of optical equipment? Has it been good? Bad? Let us know, and stay tuned to this blog for the latest news on the exciting world of optical equipment!