It doesn’t matter whether you get a children’s microscope or one that is intended for advanced observation purposes; maintenance is essential. That is what this article here will tell you all about. A microscope can be quite a valuable investment and that is why maintaining it in good working order can make a whole world of difference regarding repairs or replacement.
Be careful how you handle your microscope
A lot of people are not well aware of how delicate the mechanisms inside a microscope are. That is why one major cause of microscope damage results from improper handling. Here is how you should do it when you need to move a microscope from one place to another.
When you hold your microscope, keep one hand on the base and the other on the support arm. Make sure that you don’t touch the stage. If you do so, don’t be surprised to notice misalignments. That may even require you to call a technician to put it back that way it was.
In case you want to be sure that you’re not going to damage your microscope during transportation, invest a bit in a carrying case. Many manufacturers include such extras with the models they sell, but you can always purchase one separately.
How to store away a microscope
A lot of damage can happen to a microscope when you’re not looking, which is when the device is stored away, and you have no use for it. However, when you want to take it out for a spin, you notice that there is plenty of dust and cleaning it can be a hassle. To avoid such a common problem, all you need to do is to cover the microscope with a dust cover.
Don’t remove the eyepieces when you put the microscope away. The dust that will gather in the eye tubes can be a particular challenge to clean correctly. In case you do want to remove the eyepieces, make sure that you cover the pipes in such a way that no dust can get inside.
Other rules for storing away a microscope the proper way are as follows. All the high power lenses that need immersion oil must be thoroughly cleaned before putting them away. Also, after you stop the illuminator, allow it a few minutes for cooling down, and don’t hurry to store away the microscope. That will work wonders for the lifespan of the bulb.
By no means should the microscope be placed in an area where parts of it can be affected by chemical fumes. Actually, it would be a good idea to store the microscope in a dry, cool place.
Don’t forget to treat the eyepieces with extra care
If the lenses get scratched, you will need to replace them, and that means that you will have to spend extra. To avoid such additional expenses, you need to pay proper attention to how you handle and clean the eyepieces. First of all, you will need to use a special lens cleaning solution.
When you clean the lenses, you will need to use a circular motion as that will not cause abrasion and scratches. After that, use dry paper made for cleaning lenses so that there is no moisture trapped inside when you put back together your microscope. For maximum effect, use a small aspirator to remove lint or any other particles.
Always read the instructions manual
No matter how experienced you are in using microscopes, it is still highly recommended to read the instructions manual provided with your purchase. Besides basic rules for operation, such manuals include clear recommendations about mechanical maintenance for instance.
It is essential that you don’t use excessive force when taking apart a microscope for cleaning. Also, don’t over-tighten the frame when you reassemble it, as damage might occur and the longevity of your device will be compromised.
Adjusting the microscope
One of the aspects addressed by the user’s manual included with any device of this type is how to adjust it. You will notice that there are adjustments to be made for the nosepiece and the focus knob. Always pay attention to how the manual indicates to do so, to avoid over-tightening the mechanisms that let you see clear your samples.
You don’t want the respective parts to become too loose, either, as this can also lead to more troubles and damage.
How you should lubricate the microscope parts
Another part of maintenance that will add many years to the lifespan of your microscope refers to the surfaces that need lubrication. These are all the moving parts, and this type of maintenance must be conducted annually. Therefore, once a year, you need to take the moving parts out, clean them properly, and lubricate them.
The sliding surfaces need to be cleaned with a clean cloth. After that, use a lithium-based lubricant to cover them with a thin layer. Be aware that some other parts of the microscope, such as the pinion gears or the teeth of the rack, should not be lubricated.
Should you notice that the coarse adjustment has become too loose, use the tension knob to bring it to the desired value.
Bulbs need to be replaced regularly
Any user’s manual can tell you what you should do to replace your microscope bulb. There are some basic instructions to follow. One is that you must always use the right type of bulb recommended for your microscope.
Another is that you need to let it cool before you attempt to replace it. As you handle the new bulb, don’t do it with the naked fingers as you will let grease from your hands and dust get inside.
As a general rule, a LED light bulb can operate for 100,000 hours and is the most cost-efficient option on the market. If you have a microscope that works with a tungsten bulb, be aware that this must be replaced after around 100 hours of operation.