A new microscope. Go big or go home.

What equipment do you use? Post pictures and descriptions of your microscope(s) here!
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TimVP
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A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#1 Post by TimVP » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:55 pm

So.... I got a microscope...

To up my Sphagnum moss determination skills I was in need of a microscope of my own. So I was looking for anything that was workable and as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Last week I came across this Carl Zeiss monster and was sold. This thing just exudes quality, ruggedness, ...

Image

Obviously this microscope is overcomplete for what I will be using it for (for now, who knows what the future will bring), but I love it. Since my expertise in these matters stops with the Olympus CX21 I use at the lab, I have some questions that may be ansewered by more knowledgeable fellows here?

- Is there an alternative lightsource for the radiatorlike illuminator, like an LED unit?
- What is this handle for? it is attached to a slot that fits a filter or something likewise?
Image

- One of the eyepieces has a scratch on the inner lens (how on earth do you do this???), which is probably why the microscope was priced the way it was. Are individial lenses available? Or do the eyepieces always come complete? And if so, where do you get one (or 2)?

Many thanks in advance for looking at my 'new' monster!

PeteM
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#2 Post by PeteM » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:34 pm

Beautiful and capable scope.

Ebay often has single eyepieces for sale; as well as pairs.

Wes
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#3 Post by Wes » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:15 pm

Superb choice!
TimVP wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:55 pm
- Is there an alternative lightsource for the radiatorlike illuminator, like an LED unit?
There are LEDs etc but I'd get the complementary light source. You can get the 12V 60W lamphouse or a 12V 100W tungsten halogen lamphouse and a power supply for less than a hundred dollars on ebay. Just be careful that its the right voltage for your region (120V input if you're in the states, 220-240V for Europe, I don't know about elsewhere).

TimVP wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:55 pm
- What is this handle for? it is attached to a slot that fits a filter or something likewise?
You can place 32 mm filters in the round slots of it or add a fixed or rotatable analyzer like the one pictured below.

Image
TimVP wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:55 pm
- One of the eyepieces has a scratch on the inner lens (how on earth do you do this???), which is probably why the microscope was priced the way it was. Are individial lenses available? Or do the eyepieces always come complete? And if so, where do you get one (or 2)?
It happens if you disassemble the eyepiece to clean it from the inside. Again you can get a nice pair of eyepieces on ebay just make sure they're not delaminated.

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#4 Post by MicroBob » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:33 pm

Hi Tim,
congratulations to this nice looking Zeiss Universal, I think it is a Universal II model.
These are really nice microscopes and can be equipped with everything that was available in 1985 and before (which is a lot!).
There are a lot of knobs and adjustments and it takes a while to become comfortable with the handling. But the it prooves very efficient and comfortable.
When you look online for Zeiss Universal, Photomicroscope and Photomikroskop, you will find several documents.

Bob

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#5 Post by wstenberg » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:31 pm

Beautiful Universal, in great condition!

I'm attaching a photo of the light on my Universal along with a photo of the power supply.
These are easily available and not too expensive.
Make sure the plug on the illuminator and the socket on the power supply match. There are several illuminators that look similar, but are not compatible with the 6-12V power supply.

You can remove the cap on top to add a camera.

I'm sure you will enjoy this!
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William
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#6 Post by einman » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:19 am

Beautiful scope.

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75RR
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#7 Post by 75RR » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:02 am

Beautiful looking microscope.

You will find some useful information in the Forum Resources (online, books etc.) section of the forum.

Here is one of them: http://www.science-info.net/docs/zeiss/

Apart from the universal specific items and some price catalogues that contain some interesting lists you should download the Zeiss Optical Systems brochure
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#8 Post by mrsonchus » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:30 am

Ohhhhhh..

That, as has been said, is one gargantuan beauty of a 'scope!
I can almost smell it's quality here in the U.K..

Love to see and know more as you use it.
John B

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#9 Post by Wes » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:40 pm

TimVP wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:55 pm
which is probably why the microscope was priced the way it was.
I suggest you inspect your new scope for delamination as this is a deal breaker in my opinion. You need to take off the binocular head, the tube head with the attached optovar and the nosepiece.

The binocular head is very easy to remove, you just need to turn the screw holding it to the tube head and release the dovetail. Use a flashlight and look for a rainbow pattern at the optics periphery.

The tube head attached to the main body on a rail tightened by a black screw with a knob handle. Inspect it from below after sliding off the nosepiece (again held by a screw).

And of course the objectives but I won't get too hung up on that.

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#10 Post by TimVP » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:38 am

Hi everyone,

Many thanks for the compliments. It makes me like this microscope even more.

I'll (try to) take some parts of the microscope this weekend to check the optics. I checked the lower magnifications with some specimen slides and the images were (for what I know) very clear. But we'll see.

I seem to miss the base cover (I had no idea it was supposed to be on it) as well as one of the filters in the base so if anyone knows where to get one, feel free to point out.

As I plan to take this machine apart in the future, are there any big don'ts I should know of. I'm comfortable taking technical equipment apart (and putting it back together, mind you).
Any suggestions for appropriate lubrication grease/oil? (preferably available in the EU)

Again, many thanks for the compliments and suggestions!

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#11 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:00 am

TimVP wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:38 am
...As I plan to take this machine apart in the future, are there any big don'ts I should know of. I'm comfortable taking technical equipment apart (and putting it back together, mind you).
If not an absolute must, I would not take the focusing assembly apart. I have the feeling that those Zeiss complex over-engineered mechanisms should not be tampered with as long as they function properly and smoothly.
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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75RR
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#12 Post by 75RR » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:01 pm

Other than a clean to zero the microscope best to leave sleeping dogs lie.

https://microscopy.duke.edu/sites/micro ... scsope.pdf
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#13 Post by Wes » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:21 pm

TimVP wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:38 am
As I plan to take this machine apart in the future, are there any big don'ts I should know of
Don't use a screwdriver.

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75RR
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#14 Post by 75RR » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:34 pm

Wes wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:21 pm
Don't use a screwdriver.
Don't use the wrong sized screwdriver ;)

The world seems to be awash with slotted screwdrivers that are a bad fit!
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#15 Post by Wes » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:41 pm

75RR wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:34 pm
Wes wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:21 pm
Don't use a screwdriver.
Don't use the wrong sized screwdriver ;)

The world seems to be awash with slotted screwdrivers that are a bad fit!
What I'm referring to is to avoid unscrewing things like the prism changer in the tube head, the optovar, the basis of the binocular head. Once you tamper with the factory centering its gone for good, although one could probably get it back to an acceptable condition its a risky and tedious procedure.

And yes 75' is right, don't use a wrong fit screwdriver if you ever have to use one :)

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75RR
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#16 Post by 75RR » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:45 pm

What I'm referring to is to avoid unscrewing things like the prism changer in the tube head, the optovar, the basis of the binocular head. Once you tamper with the factory centering its gone for good, although one could probably get it back to an acceptable condition its a risky and tedious procedure.
Agree, trial and error is a tedious business and the result is never quite right.
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#17 Post by MicroBob » Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:21 pm

Hi Tim,
this is a research grade instument. This means that most components is has can be taken of and changed against other components with precise, self adjusting bayonets. As long as you are careful it shouldn't be a problem to take these groups apart. On the other hand side this is a complicated instrument, made by a company that was able to master the manufacturing of complicated instruments. In use they were maintained by professional service men. On the german forum you will find a couple of repair instructions for these instruments. Maintenance on the focus block is a bigger job on it's own. Don't take the tube head apart if you can help it. I had one in hand that was worked on by an unexperienced person and the Optvar and phase telescope were misaligned - a model boat achor now.
These instruments are really nice when you have understtod them, but probably not every microscopist will become friends with it.
I have recently helped an experienced microscope user to get his Universal adjusted properly - just the everyday adjustments.

The filter holders were probably not all in use from new. As long as you keep them clean, they are probably useful to some degree. My 1960s Phomi doesn't have them, so I can't tell from experience.
Does your instument have an Optovar?

Bob

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#18 Post by TimVP » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:20 pm

I love the 'please don't mess with this beautiful piece of optical engineering'. :-)

If by the head tube you mean the tube with the push-rod on the side, don't worry. I'm not opening that anytime soon, but as I understand, removing it as a whole by means of the dovetail is quite innocent (as is for the binocular head)?

It does haven an optovar which seems to be an intermediate magnification device, but also has other functionalities beyond my current knowledge.

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#19 Post by Wes » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:35 pm

TimVP wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:20 pm
If by the head tube you mean the tube with the push-rod on the side, don't worry. I'm not opening that anytime soon, but as I understand, removing it as a whole by means of the dovetail is quite innocent (as is for the binocular head)?
Exactly, that is not a problem, just be gentle i.e. no bumps, drops, knocks etc. As long as there is a hand operated screw you are safe.
TimVP wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:20 pm
It does haven an optovar which seems to be an intermediate magnification device, but also has other functionalities beyond my current knowledge.
That would be the Bertrand lens labeled PH. You can use it to center a condenser phase annulus with an objective phase ring for phase contrast microscopy. You can also use it to properly align the condenser diaphragm to cover 2/3 of the objective field for best balance between image resolution and contrast (look up the link to science-info.net that 75RR posted earlier). The Bertrand lens has a focusing ring so you can explore a Z-segment of your optical train.

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#20 Post by MicroBob » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:03 pm

When you take of the tube head, make sure you don't bump an objective into the table when it comes loose.
Through the openings you can see lens and prism surfaces. These can be cleaned with medical petroleum ether from the outside, all the Optovar lenses in the different settings too.

The ph setting and it's focussing disc can be used to look for delaminations within the objectives. Zeiss West has more than the averages share of this and it hits the better objectives first. I recently bought two Zeiss West objectives, a Planapo 100 and a Neofluar Ph 16 - both delaminated right through! The seller had tested them but missed to look through the lens stack. Here are pictures of delaminated objective lenses: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8257

Bob

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#21 Post by 75RR » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:51 pm

Delamination ... Zeiss' Achilles heel

http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... delam.html
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#22 Post by Wes » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:01 pm

75RR wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:51 pm
Delamination ... Zeiss' Achilles heel

http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/ind ... delam.html
Imagine a world without Zeiss delamination...

Image

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#23 Post by Scarodactyl » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:16 pm

It definitely has made me want to avoid any vintage Zeiss gear, tempting as their stereos often are.
Between the delamination on vintage stuff and the total motorization on most new ones Zeiss has a pretty strong track record of equipment that's going to eventually brick itself.
But when they're good they seem to get unbeatable results.

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#24 Post by MicroBob » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:35 pm

A very experienced professional microscopist i know has made the observation that delaminations tends to happen more in equipment that seen cold temperatures, so below 20°C.
The two defective objectives came from England. Doron in Israel has no problems with delaminations.
This is no proof, but I don't have any contrary information so far.
I myself have started to keep my office/lab room at 19 °C or more. It has good insulation now so it doesn't matter a lot.
Tomorrow a little hedgehog moves into my office/lab for the next two month. He is very noisy at night, comparable to a running washing machine filled with 10 wire brushes, 10 tennis balls and two bags of potatoe chips. :lol:

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#25 Post by TimVP » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:02 pm

Euh... Yes.. I'll try to get some enthusiasm in between the comforting words of delaminating optics ;)


I took the binocular head of, which was a work of great patience and a lot of inner swearing (I managed to refrain myself from using a screwdriver though). The retainer screw of the dovetail was/is very stiff. any ideas on loosening it. If needs be by removing the screw from the dovetail (I have no screwdriver that small. It's to small for my Wera, which untill now, I assumed was impossible)

Image

As for the optovar/analyzer slot; There is a slot, covered with a plastic plug just underneath the analyzer slot. Am I correct to assume that this slot is used for the retardation plates or compensators?

Image

I'm also not sure about what magnification is used by the optovar. There seems to be no indicator on what is used at the moment. For example in the picture above: Is it currently on the Bernard lens?

The last question (for now): Why is my microscope sitting so high on its feet? No other Universal I see on the internet is that high of the table.

Image

As always, any input is greatly appreciated

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#26 Post by MichaelG. » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:14 pm

TimVP wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:02 pm
The retainer screw of the dovetail was/is very stiff. any ideas on loosening it. If needs be by removing the screw from the dovetail (I have no screwdriver that small. It's to small for my Wera, which untill now, I assumed was impossible)

Image
A drop or two of a good ‘dismantling fluid’ [PlusGas formula A is my favourite] applied to the screw thread should free-up the retainer screw.

incidentally ... much smaller screwdrivers are available

MichaelG.
Too many 'projects'

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#27 Post by MicroBob » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:16 pm

TimVP wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:02 pm
Euh... Yes.. I'll try to get some enthusiasm in between the comforting words of delaminating optics ;)
Okay, you've got 5 minutes! :lol:

I took the binocular head of, which was a work of great patience and a lot of inner swearing (I managed to refrain myself from using a screwdriver though). The retainer screw of the dovetail was/is very stiff. any ideas on loosening it. If needs be by removing the screw from the dovetail (I have no screwdriver that small. It's to small for my Wera, which untill now, I assumed was impossible)
Leave that screw alone. The pin can be move inside after removing the circlip at the outer end with a small screwdriver or pair of pliers.


Image

As for the optovar/analyzer slot; There is a slot, covered with a plastic plug just underneath the analyzer slot. Am I correct to assume that this slot is used for the retardation plates or compensators?
Yes

Image

I'm also not sure about what magnification is used by the optovar. There seems to be no indicator on what is used at the moment. For example in the picture above: Is it currently on the Bernard lens? Yes. My Optovar offers 1,25x, 1,6x 2,0x and PH.

The last question (for now): Why is my microscope sitting so high on its feet? No other Universal I see on the internet is that high of the table.
Dutch model (In case the dams break) :lol: It is probably raised to be usable with a certain lamp that needs more room below.

Image

As always, any input is greatly appreciated

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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#28 Post by wstenberg » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:27 pm

Yes, that slot is for the retardation plates.
And the PH position for the optovar is the Bertrand lens.
And, whatever you do, don't remove the optovar from the head by taking out the three covering screws and three alignment screws. It will never go back to its original position (from my personal experience).

No idea why it's spaced up off the deck. I guess the reason it's called the Universal is because it can be adapted to any purpose. The design opens it up to many unorthodox possibilities, often to the confusion of subsequent users.
William
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TimVP
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#29 Post by TimVP » Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:26 am

Hi all,

I cleaned some parts and have been playing around with some alternative lightsources (definitely not bright enough). So I'm on the look out for a lightsource (most likely I'll go for the retrodiode option).
But I was wondering, given the size of this thing, what is a descent dust cover for it? Or do I just keep it under an unrespectful plastic bag? :-)

As shown here, the image (with cellphone, through the eyepiece) is very yellow, without the chlorofyl showing.

Image

For those interested, this is part of a stem leave of Sphagnum compactum.

Wes
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Re: A new microscope. Go big or go home.

#30 Post by Wes » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:54 pm

TimVP wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:26 am
But I was wondering, given the size of this thing, what is a descent dust cover for it? Or do I just keep it under an unrespectful plastic bag? :-)
There are these blue cloth bags from Zeiss but using a regular plastic bag is ok. I use one to cover my Phomi, some people claim it can attract dust because of static but in my case I never observed that.

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