Above is a photo of me working on a PCB
I recently started a GoFundMe campaign to help me raise the funds to purchase equipment to assist me when I am working on electronics. As you can see from the photo above, my current practice is dangerous, difficult, and causes eyestrain, back problems, and neck problems. The danger comes from poking myself in the eye or accidentally touching the soldering iron to my face or nose, or melting the magnifier.
Note that I am holding the solder AND the magnifier in one hand, and the soldering iron in the other. Hard to do, and hard to feed the solder properly.
I use a small magnifier as the large ones typically used in electronics assembly are way too limited for me. With my current setup, I make slow progress, and it is very tiring and frustrating, as my mistakes compound into many hours trying to figure out why something does not work, because I missed the right hole, or didn’t actually solder a connection. Such as putting both wires of a resistor into the same hole… FYI, I had a magnifier that attached to my glasses. It got melted by accident by the soldering iron.
Using the proposed solution would change things quite a bit. Below is a SIMULATION of how I would be able to work. It uses a similar floor stand that I use in the kitchen, my iPad, and the same circuit board. The microscope is not shown for obvious reasons (I don’t have it yet). And of course I can’t use an iPad because it does not accept HDMI input from an external source. But you can see from the photo that the chance of burning myself, poking my eye out, or melting a magnifying glass is nil. And, I can sit up straight!
I am not holding a soldering iron in this simulation, and I did it in the kitchen, because there is a massive weight at the bottom of the stand, and carrying it upstairs would be quite a problem… I took a photo of the PCB and digitally zoomed in on the iPad to simulate zooming in to work on an area of the board.
Is depth of field going to be a problem? Probably. But this is the best I can do with a limited budget.
Here are the items that make up the entire system:
In the photo of the floor stand, they show other positions it can take, to show its versatility.
Together, these 3 items will greatly ease my efforts to build projects for the Bonner County Amateur Radio Club, the Northwest Idaho Prepper’s Group, and for other people who have needs that cannot be fulfilled by off-the-shelf items. Right now we are working on a very exciting project for local communications in an emergency. You can read about that here:
At the time of posting of this blog, my GoFundMe campaign was at $320 out of $573. I would greatly appreciate any assistance you can give to make this magnifier for a legally blind engineer a reality!
My campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/blind-engineer
NOTE: my original attempt to locate components that would do this was much more expensive. These recent “finds” have reduced the cost over 82% from my original approach.