AD409 Microscope Review

It wasn’t that long ago that if you had an optical microscope in your electronics shop, you had a very well-supplied shop indeed. Today, though, a microscope is almost a necessity since parts have shrunk to flyspeck-size. [Maker Mashup] recently picked up an AD409 and posted a video review of the device that you can see below.

The microscope in question has a 10-inch screen so it is a step up from the usual cheap microscope we’ve seen on a lot of benches. Of course, that size comes at a price. The going rate for a new on is about $400.

If the 10 inch screen isn’t enough, you can connect the microscope to an external monitor. That does disable the onboard monitor, though. The microscope offers plenty of space to solder under and has a removable lens and filter so you can add filters or even put on a wide-angle lens.

We also liked that the scope has a remote control so you can operate it without touching it. We’ve used scopes where pushing the buttons to do things like snap a photo sometimes causes vibrations or worse when you are trying to focus on something specific.

If you don’t have a microscope, you can get some use out of your phone. Or, go shopping for — no kidding — ear wax cameras.

20 thoughts on “AD409 Microscope Review

  1. I had a Tasco microscope when I was eight, it’s still around.

    These broad statements need defining. Most electronic hobbyists didn’t use microscopes for electronics because they weren’t needed.

    And I suspect you mean a microscope specifically for electronics. That Tasco probably isn’t suited for looking at electronics.

    1. There are very similar items on amazon. Do away with the remote and have a smaller screen and the “ANNLOV” for instance, is less than a third of the cost.
      Personally I usually use an old USB webcam and just modify the focus. [ More than capable of ~x200 magnification. ]
      Admittedly I’ve never used a microscope for smd electronics. Personally I largely abandoned the small stuff due to tremors, but I can see how it could be useful in an educational setting.

  2. What is the pic trying to convey?

    The 103 is reversed??? If so, resistors do not have an orientation! It’s quite possible for them to be mixed in the tape or the autoloader did a 180. Either way, nothing wrong even tho I like to put my resistors around the one way when hand placing.

      1. It also makes troubleshooting easier if you’re hand soldering parts with visible markings.

        You don’t have to flip the board, get confused, flip the board *again*, realize it was initially right side up, and repeat.

        1. Yes I did didn’t I . TKY for reminding me. My wife thanks you too for bringing this to my attention. She has OCD and does this with her M&M’s which is why I forbid her to buy them as much as I can to avoid the waste.

    1. The one i have is the Andonstar AD407 which supports HDMI output while keeping the monitor on. I use it for live-streams where i can see the screen but also capture the video. I can imagine education being the primary goal when using both the HDMI and the monitor. I can place a big screen somewhere and connect this microscope to it and show people what i’m doing.

  3. I’ve found that nothing really beats a classical stereo microscope, especially when it comes to damage analysis of PCBs.
    Having the ability to actually see edges, cavities and cracks in 3D beats every 2D photo.
    Also helps a lot with soldering tiny parts.

    1. I have used both and can tell you that having a stereo scope with variable zoom is the best addition (beyond a really good solder station) that you can make to your electronics bench, and you will find it increasingly more useful as components get smaller and your eyes age. Keep your phone setup for taking photos, but there’s a difference and versatility that you’ll have to experience to understand.

      It’s like when I gave my father a drill press. He said “I never knew how much I needed this until I had it”.

      1. This. And get rid of the ring light. Ring lights render surface textures invisible by eliminating shadows. An aimable spot on a gooseneck is the way to go. You can get suitable lamps at Ikea for about $15.

  4. One thing all webcam-based setups I have seen have in common is: lag. Lots and lots of lag. Also motion-blur.
    This portrayed camera seems to do a surprisingly good work though. Looks like one could actually use one. So I say kudos for showing that there is hope. There certainly is a use case for such setup.
    $400 also gives you a decent optical stereo scope, with a sense of depth and zero lag.

  5. AD409 – My first immediate response was Oh No – not another over-priced unobtanium chip from Analog Devices Incorporated (ADI). My second response was “I wonder if there’s an LTspice model for the “AD409”? (Hint, probably not since ADI bought-out Linear Technologies Incorporated, the creator of LTspice). My third response was – gee this AD409 post has nothing to do with Analog Devices Incorporated at all! Hmmm… Anyone else think ADI has a bad reputation?

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.