An interesting light source for microscopes. 

by David Bull, UK

Whilst walking round ALDI the other day to see what bargains they had to offer, I noticed the depicted "Waterproof High Intensity LED headlamps" on offer. There were three types with 1, 2, or 3 LEDS. In waterproof cases with a very well made headband to clip them onto. Indeed the whole unit is well made taking 3 AAA batteries and drawing 45 m/a per LED. Now, I don't know about you, but my mind always asks the question, "Can I put it to use in microscopy?" The answer was yes, a high intensity, portable, long lasting light source for microscopes.
The packing the unit come in, so you can recognise them. An idea of the size of the units As a single high intensity led torch can cost up to £12.00p, I was amazed that these were on sale at only £4.95p Each !!! I had a  piece of steel about 2x2x¼ inches. (From a plastic clock base) which I filed neat and painted.
I then removed the clip from the torch and removed the pin holding the two halves together, leaving just the half that was attached to the ball mount. This was then flattened back to a nice smooth surface and Araldited to the steel base. Finished off with a piece of beige on the underside
Hey presto, a neat sturdy portable light source. I have since looked up the price of these LEDS as separate items in an electronics catalogue and they are priced at ridiculous prices! I find the light emitted seems to be a very white light and using a frosted filter gives a completely diffused source. Maybe some out there can go into the technical details of using this source of light, I certainly don't know enough to comment further except that it SEEMS better to me than the original Olympus light unit supplied with my HSC!
Here is the unit in use, as you can see, it can be adapted for almost any 'scope, either as a direct light or via the mirror system. As I bought one of each size, 1,2 and 3 leds I am able to control the amount of light. The unit, using its proper clip complete, can also be used above the object as well.
All comments to the author David Bull are welcomed.

Micscape Editor's note: Mirrored with permission from the author David Bull's web site.

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Published in the May 2003 edition of Micscape Magazine.

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