When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

What equipment do you use? Post pictures and descriptions of your microscope(s) here!
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apatientspider
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When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#1 Post by apatientspider » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:47 am

I was cruising Ebay last evening and happened across this old Spencer #2. Prior to this I had only ever owned or used black beauties - usually older Spencers - but for the last several years I've been thinking how nice and convenient it would be to own something with a trinocular head for ease in mounting a camera. Had to have 160 mm tube length optics, so I could use my existing collection of lenses, and it had to cost only around $150 or so. With as many scopes as I already own and seldom use it would be difficult to justify spending more.

Most of the time all you find at that price is something with problems, but this one looks and is reputed to still be in decent, functioning shape. We'll see, I guess.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AO-Spencer-Mic ... 1438.l2649

It's nothing anyone around here would probably consider special; just one of the first grey or white lab scopes that AO/Spencer introduced about 1960. Looks to have Bausch and Lomb objectives instead of American Optical, but they're about the same vintage and equal quality. It uses a mirror for illumination instead of a built-in system like the #4 has, but I sort of prefer that, because I can use whatever illuminating source I wish and I can use very bright ones as well.

All in all not a bad buy at that price. But did ya notice what it's sitting on? An ortho-illuminator - a top of the line illuminator that usually sells for as much as the scope when they're in good condition. I already own one ortho that I got several years ago for very little money and more or less rebuilt, but seldom use because they take up quite a bit of bench space and when once set up need to be left in place. But believe me, they are probably the best illuminator American Optical ever sold.

So essentially I purchased a pretty decent old microscope for $100 plus $28 for shipping and tax, and got a nice lamp thrown in for free! The only thing that could be better is if it manages to arrive without half of it sticking through the side of the shipping carton.

Jim

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75RR
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Re: When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#2 Post by 75RR » Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:36 am

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Always liked the look of those ortho-illuminators - no mad scientist lab should be without one!
Zeiss Standard WL (somewhat fashion challenged) & Wild M8
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tgss
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Re: When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#3 Post by tgss » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:48 pm

+1 on the Ortho-Illuminators - very, very sexy!
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apochronaut
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Re: When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#4 Post by apochronaut » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:27 pm

That is a good snag , Jim. The B & L objectives are pretty good; more contrasty than the contemporary Spencers but the Spencers have slightly better colour correction. Apochromats for that are pretty easy and cheap to find and there were some nice options in higher N.A. achromats and fluorites too.

Ortho illuminators work just about as well as the pumpkin style illuminators fitted to the rear of more modern microscopes. The principle is the same but you have to use the microscope in the conventional arm in the face direction. Filtering options are actually better than most of those rear illuminated microscopes; very full and flexible.
One other drawback is the 100 watt tungsten lamp but retrofitting one to halogen isn't that hard. I use the tungsten and it is great. The design of the system keeps the heat away from the stage, similar to modern 100 watt systems. They have fixed intensity. I would put it on a dimmer, which increases the flexibility somewhat.

I can give you the measurements for the photo tube on that one. They are hard to find as a free standing item. It is not the same as the tube on the infinity corrected scopes.

Phase contrast stuff occasionally shows up for those. Originally, there were 26 phase objectives for it in I think, 9 different phase types.

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KurtM
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Re: When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#5 Post by KurtM » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:24 am

Jim! So good to see you - I've been wondering what you were up to lately. Congratz on the new addition, and keeping fingers and toes crossed that it arrives in even better shape than you hoped!
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
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email: ngc704(at)aol(dot)com
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apatientspider
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Re: When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#6 Post by apatientspider » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:39 am

Thanks, Kurt. Aside from battling ailments that sometimes occur in one's later years, I've not been doing much of anything. Been watching Youtube a lot and surfing the internet. I've picked up some nice things off Ebay recently, but most of them were not cheap. This scope is the first bargain I've come across in quite a while.

Jim

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Re: When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#7 Post by apatientspider » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:23 am

Thanks, Phil. Yes, I'd appreciate the measurements for the photo tube.

According to the old catalogs over on Neeley's site,https://user.xmission.com/~psneeley/Per ... oscope.htm this is most likely a Microstar #2. But aside from optics it isn't much different than the Apostar or the Phasestar. I've already considered outfitting this for phase constrast and/or with apochromats, and I might if I like the scope well enough. I have a number of substage condensers that will fit, including the achromat na.1.3 needed for apochromats. Do you know that prices for an Apostar started at over a thousand dollars back in 1959? Think how much that would be in today's dollars! Eight to ten thousand maybe? This was/is a high end microscope.

I noticed that no photo of the right side of the instrument was posted in the Ebay listing; I wonder if that was to hide something? I hope not. I do see that the mechanical stage and slide clips appear to be gone, but I should be able to find some parts to remedy that.

As you say the ortho-illuminator does force one to use the scope with the head turned around in the conventional manner, but any of my other lamps would do the same thing, since they have to be used with a mirror. I suppose I could always mount one of the various substage illuminators AO made for it, but in my opinion they don't give enough light for a binocular instrument.

Jim

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Re: When You're Hot, You're Hot. Looky Here What I Got!

#8 Post by apochronaut » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:16 pm

AO used Imperial measurements for most of their production, so I'm giving you the tube measurements in that system. It is probably only important with respect to the thread because the photo tube for the Series 2/4 is threaded into both of the trinocular heads that were available.

The length of the tube is set to provide parfocality with the objectives. Originally, the set up required either a 35mm or 4 x 5 camera to be on another stand that was critically adjusted to hover over the relay lens installed in the tube. The photo systems that I have made, use a clamping photo adapter to attach to the outside of the tube. In this fashion, the camera height can be adjusted somewhat up or down the tube to establish parfocality and frame coverage with an APS-C sensor and further extension of the adapter is required to do so with a full frame camera.

Tube measurements:
The O.D. of the tube is about 63/64". It was probably made from 1" aluminum pipe and then smoothed down a little.
The total length is 4 19/64". The length needs to be at least that but could be more because the threaded end does not bottom out. Any extra would need to be on the threaded end, because the functional tube length is somewhat critical.
The functional tube length , from the casting of the trinocular port to the end is 4 1/8".
The thread itself is 29/32" x 36 tpi. It is 5/64" long but could be longer, since there is quite a bit of extra female thread in the port.
The I.D. at the thread end is 25/32"(about 20mm) I would think that reducing it might induce vignetting or possibly reflection up the tube. This leaves .125 or a little over 3mm for the threaded wall, so cutting it larger is not much of an option. It works at 25/32". The interior is blacked with a coating. If flocking is to be used, the extra double thickness of flocking would need to be accounted for, so the I.D. would have to be larger.
The I.D. at the upper end is .917" , cut to receive a standard 23.2mm eyepiece.

I have used various eyepieces for a relay lens and the choice is largely determined by the objectives being employed. I have never tested those B & L objectives in that system. The throat above the nosepiece should house a threaded in, compensating optic, standard for those stands. This effects some corrections for lateral CA and planarity, as well as compensating for the 200mm tube length of the 2/4.( effectively reducing it to 160mm). The compensating optic works well with Spencer objectives, and more or less well with others. It's been a while since I examined that aspect of the microscope.
Once you have decided on which objectives you are going to use, I would be willing to test some eyepieces for their suitability. With Spencer achromat optics, I have used the 10X W.F. cat.# 146 and it works well. The Spencer Apochromats require a different photo eyepiece. One of the Spencer Compens( 10X, I think) was pretty good but I think one of the Nikon 5X photo eyepieces and or possibly a Wild 6X worked best for those.

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