Question on Olympus BH-2

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wmodavis
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Question on Olympus BH-2

#1 Post by wmodavis » Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:48 pm

I have been continuing my search for a scope and have a question about some BH-2s that I've seen and maybe I can get help 'off the top' of your knowledgeable heads.

I really like the modularity/expandability of the BH-2. I have however noticed a difference in the base which likely is minor but also might indicate something significant.

The indicator on the front of the base that indicates the voltage to the illuminator appears different on different versions. In particular one shows a range of 3-12 and others show only up to 7. Also some have a 'port' for the external halogen lamp and some do not. Obviously there are BH-2 base variations.

Question: Does anyone know the subtle differences in the bases and anything else that might be helpful?

Could be helpful info as I am seriously considering some form of BH-2 if I can handle it.
Appreciate any input.
Bill Davis
Olympus BH-2/BHS and BH-2/BHT both with trinoc head.

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#2 Post by Charles » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:35 pm

I haven't worked with any Olympus scopes but have noticed a lot of folks do use them because of the modularity and expandability.

You can find a lot of information on different models and variations on Alan Wood's Olympus site:

http://www.alanwood.net/photography/oly ... copes.html

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#3 Post by wmodavis » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:10 pm

Charles - Thanks. Going through that link now.
I see from that link at least a partial answer to my ques ...

•BHS – wide base, interchangeable nosepiece, 12V 100W lamp
•BHT – standard base, interchangeable nosepiece, 6V 20W lamp
•BHTU – standard base, fixed nosepiece, 6V 20W lamp

At least - one base is "wide" & likely the other is narrow or as they say "standard base"
Also looks like the wide base accommodates the 12V 100W lamp.

Any other BH-2 guru that can weigh in on any other differences between the 'wide base' and the 'standard base'?
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#4 Post by 75RR » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:33 pm

I seem to recall reading somewhere that not all BH-2s are equally expandable. You might want to look into that.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#5 Post by wmodavis » Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:14 pm

77RR - That is what I'm wondering about. I'm guessing (since I have never really read that) that it mainly has to do with the illumination system rather than above the base. I do not know if the 'standard base' models have the field iris as does the 'wide base ' models.

I am leaning toward the wide base with the 100 watt halogen light.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#6 Post by 75RR » Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:22 pm

The surest way is to read each of the manuals, see what attachments/upgrades each will take.

http://www.alanwood.net/photography/oly ... loads.html
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#7 Post by lorez » Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:55 pm




•BHTU – standard base, fixed nosepiece, 6V 20W lamp

•BHT – standard base, interchangeable nosepiece, 6V 20W lamp

•BHS – wide base, interchangeable nosepiece, 12V 100W lamp
If you consider the differences among the various designations there are two that you have mentioned, the illuminator and the interchangeable nosepiece.
All the BH2 models have the field aperture. The BHS also has built-in filters.

There are lots of this gear available on the web in various conditions and qualities so if you decide to start collecting the Olympus gear you will have lots of choices.

lorez

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#8 Post by zzffnn » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:04 pm

I am guessing expandability lies in capacity for accepting high power illumination, though I could be wrong.

I vaguely remember a rumor that Nikon Labophot's condenser can be used in Olympus BH2, without any modification, or vice versa. Is that true, Lorez?

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#9 Post by lorez » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:05 am

I am guessing expandability lies in capacity for accepting high power illumination.
All of the accessories fit all of the various models (different bases) with the exception of the nose piece where it is not interchangeable. This is also true of the other manufacturers' lines as long as you are working within a given system such as Labophot, Labophot2, etc. and in many cases you can switch from system to system.
I vaguely remember a rumor that Nikon Labophot's condenser can be used in Olympus BH2, without any modification, or vice versa. Is that true, Lorez?
I compared and tried the 'standard' condensers (not the film top) from the Olympus BH2 and the Labophot2 and there were only minor differences in the angle of the dovetail. The Nikon fit into the Olympus fork, but the Olympus did not fit the Nikon. It probably warrants a second try.

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#10 Post by wmodavis » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:36 pm

lorez wrote:
The BHS also has built-in filters. lorez
I have not seen reference to the built-in filters on the BHS. Guess I need to up my reading skill.

Are those built-in filters in the base or elsewhere?
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#11 Post by wmodavis » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:38 pm

75RR wrote:The surest way is to read each of the manuals, see what attachments/upgrades each will take.

http://www.alanwood.net/photography/oly ... loads.html
The manuals are largely what I'm using but sometimes things go right past my novice mind. :?
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#12 Post by Tom Jones » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:14 pm

Bill,

The BH-2 series are very nice microscopes. I used them in a clinical lab for twenty years. The last ten years we had the BX-40's too. Lots of used parts and accessories available. The BH-2's are sturdy enough I use several of them (BHTU's) for outreach programs.

In addition to what lorez mentioned, the BH-2 BHTU is the clinical version, with the objectives facing back toward the stand. It makes it easier to change between objectives, but the turret is not interchangeable. It does have a lens in the top of the stand to make up for the longer tube length necessary to turn the turret toward the back. The BHTUs are the most common.

The BH-2 BHT has a removable, front facing objective turret, and no additional lens in the stand. Those are the only differences between the BHT and the BHTU. Both also use 20w halogen bulbs in the small lamp house. Bulbs are generic, cheap and easy to find. Some photographers prefer the BHT to keep the amount of glass to a minimum. They are fairly rare and cost a little more.

The BHS was the research version. The upper part of the BHS is the same as the BHT. The base is wider, the power supply is different and drives a 12v 100w halogen bulb in the large lamphouse in the back. There is a slot for a filter holder and filter between the lamp house and the base. The base itself has no filters. Bulbs cost just a little more but are still easy to find.

The BHS frame costs more than the BHTU or BHT.

All of the heads, eyepieces, objectives, condensers, stages and most other accessories are interchangeable between the BHT, BHTU and the BHS.

All manner of 160mm focal length objectives will work on the BH-2s. They are not compatible with infinity (BX series) objectives. You can start with inexpensive student objectives the work your way up to DPlans, SPlans and finally PlanApos if you wish. I'd start with DPlans since they are very respectable objectives and not all that expensive. Very nice, flat fields, too. Lots of them are available. Phase objectives are pretty easy to find too. Phase condensers come up for sale often as well, as do achromat-aplanat condensers. Wet and dry darkfield condensers are available but a little more rare.

DIC is another story. It's available, but rare and pricey. Actually, it's pricey on ANY platform, not just the BH-2s. It takes a lot of light, so unless you are going to stick to lower magnifications go with the BHS frame if you think you want to go there in the future. High mag phase or oblique eats up a lot of light, too. I was shooting some video using strong oblique a few weeks ago and was at the max light available on the BHTU. Of course, a bump up in the iso and I was able to get what I needed.

If you want the most upgradeability, and your wallet can take the hit, I'd go with the BHS. You can always start with a BHTU or BHT and then later by a BHS stand and move everything over.

Tom

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#13 Post by wmodavis » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:29 am

That's very helpful differentiation of the BH2 models. I have a BHS base and am looking around for some parts to complete it. Waiting for some now and when they get here I should be close to a workable. I'll have 3 DPlans. Actually I first picked up a BHS, as I said minus some parts, and now have a BHT on the way. Between the two I'm hoping for a reasonable start into microscopy. I originally was looking pretty hard at a new Chinese one which would have gotten me up an at 'um sooner but I became convinced by the guys here to go with a big four used one so that's what's in the mill.
Thanks again for your input. I'm real novice at this but am learning a lot. Every bit helps.
Bill Davis
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#14 Post by carlh6902 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:39 am

This project I recently completed may be of some interest to BH2 owners, if you're willing to use a Nikon condenser.

Edit 4/14/2019: Replaced outdated link with a link to the master index, which always contains the most recent versions:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7ckZ ... nFYVDJSRW8

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Last edited by carlh6902 on Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#15 Post by Tom Jones » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:56 am

Bill,

I'm glad it was useful.
I promise you're going to love the BHS and the DPlans! Or the BHT for that matter.
If you end up short a part or two, let me know. I have some spares and may be able to help.

Tom

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#16 Post by wmodavis » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:12 pm

Carl - I was not able to get that link to work. It sounds interesting and I've read that some parts are interchangeable between Nikon and Olympus. Wish someone had a cross reference list of parts that work on more than one brand.

Tom - Hopefully within a week or two I'll be able to better evaluate what I'm short if anything. But then I think there could be an ever expanding "need" list as curiosity leads onward and upward into the miniature world.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#17 Post by Crater Eddie » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:25 pm

carlh6902 wrote:This project I recently completed may be of some interest to BH2 owners, if you're willing to use a Nikon condenser.

Carl

Carl, your link doesn't seem to work.
CE
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#18 Post by carlh6902 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:43 pm

Crater Eddie wrote:
carlh6902 wrote:This project I recently completed may be of some interest to BH2 owners, if you're willing to use a Nikon condenser.

Carl

Carl, your link doesn't seem to work.
CE
Sorry about that, CE - I posted a (hopefully) fixed link in the Illumination Techniques section, since that's a more appropriate place for it anyway.

I also have this document, which may be of interest to BH-2 owners. This is a discussion of the BH-2 BHT/BHTU electronics:

Edit 4/14/2019: Replaced outdated link with a link to the master index, which always contains the most recent versions:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7ckZ ... nFYVDJSRW8


Carl
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#19 Post by wmodavis » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:00 am

I have made some progress. First I purchased a BH-2 BHS with a few parts missing. That was my starting point. I began examining it and the manuals I found online and surmised that a 'for parts' BHT had most or all of the parts I needed to get a working scope so I ordered it. Meanwhile going over the BHS I noticed that the course focus knob would not raise and lower the stage so guess I'll have to work on that as I really want to use the BHS as my base. Well the BHT arrived and first I set to cleaning it up a bit and seeing what I had for my money. Because of the focus problem with the BHS and because it looked like I was in business otherwise I was able to get the BHT assembled into a working scope and though the halogen burned out shortly I have begun peering at some objects using a bright LED flashlight poked into the base. Clumsy but it works. Got a couple of bulbs on order along with some immersion oil and misc other stuff. I've been getting familiar with all the knobs and switches and practicing adjusting for correct illumination. So its been 'one giant step for' this small upstart piece of 'mankind' beginning a new adventure.

Thanks for lots of good suggestions. Cavorting with experts helped me with confidence and answered many of my questions. Sure there will be more to come.

Not quite sure how to add a picture but will do that when I figure it out.
Bill Davis
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#20 Post by zzffnn » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:52 am

You BHS may have its coarse focus locked down?

I cannot remember which direction it goes, but hold still one side of the coarse focus knob and turn the other side. Likely counter clockwise, like all other unlock/release/opening mechanisms.

Please wait a day or two, I will take a look for you. Other members can also help.

Also, BHT's focus block, if working, may fit BHS' base.

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#21 Post by wmodavis » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:20 pm

After further investigation (thanks for the suggestion zzffnn) I found that the problem was not the coarse focus lock down, or as the BHS manual calls it the "Pre-Focus Lever", which locks the stage travel from being raised past the course focus setting. On my unit that works fine and it was not in the locked position. The good thing about your suggestion was that I now know the function of that feature and how to use it. And understanding the nuances of my new old machine is a good thing.

What I have done that I think revealed the actual problem was to remove the back cover to the scope stand to expose where the focus knob shaft engages the stage mount to raise and lower it. It appears that someone who sold this BHS 'for parts only' musta needed the pertinent part and removed it. So the gear assembly connecting the focus knobs to the rack on the plate that raises the stage was no where to be found. Be interesting to see what else might be missing. The good news is that the BHT works fine so it may be a while before actually using the BHS Stand.

Well I'm sure there's more to come. I have actually achieved the main objective - to get a working scope out of two almost similar bases. I'm pleased. I would like to sometime switch over to the BHS larger base and take advantage of it's 100 Watt halogen light. I've already seen a couple of viewing instances where I felt I could have used more light. And the LED flashlight I'm using, to get by until a 20 Watt Halogen bulb arrives, has no easy way of dimming. Also haven't gotten much use from the DPlan 100x oil objective cuz I don't have oil yet. But as they say "the oil is in the mail" Maybe tomorrow. The 4x & 10x are giving me needed practice. I've witnessed some real small, presumably critters that whetted my appetite for seeing 'em up close.

Another thing....

I kinda laughed at some of you guys who mentioned sitting for hours peeping at small stuff. Who could do that for hours? Well this morning I sat peering through oculars for a couple of hours. I'm finding little stuff made visible has a fascination that sucks you in. And I'm just starting.

Thanks again all you for your part in my journey.
Bill Davis
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#22 Post by wmodavis » Sun May 08, 2016 12:55 pm

Tom Jones wrote:Bill,

If you end up short a part or two, let me know. I have some spares and may be able to help.

Tom
Tom - Just a belated query in response to your kind and generous offer - At present I'm short a couple of parts internal to my BHS base. Would your spare parts stock by any chance have any of that sort?

What I need at this point is
1). the mirror/lense directing the light upward from the base to the condenser along with the field adjustment knob and also
2). a small gear assembly that is inside the back of the vertical part of the stand that engages the focusing shaft and the rack to raise and lower the stage.

Pretty outside chance you'd have the likes of those laying around in the spares bin but thought I'd ask. I'm keeping my eyes out for perhaps another "parts only" base that might supply those. I guess that's part of the pleasure and intrigue of piecing together from others 'junk'. In the mean time I am enjoying this new world via the BHT.

And maybe some of you Olympus experts out there can answer this question or send me in the right direction. I have an intermediate reflected light add on unit that allows switching between brightfield and reflected. The label on the side by the switching mechanism says "PULL B.F." above it and beneath it says "00 f=180" (that '00' is my infinity symbol).

My question: Does that mean I need infinity objectives when using that accessory? I'm over budget already.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#23 Post by Tom Jones » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:23 am

Hi Bill,

Sorry for the really belated reply :oops: . Too much time doing other stuff...

If you haven't already solved your mirror and gear problem, sometimes the gears come up on eBay. I believe they're the same as on the BHT/BHTU. The same goes for the mirror. I don't have either of those. The easiest thing is to acquire a BHTU base (cheaper than a BHT and way cheaper than a BHS) with a dead power supply where everything else works. Then just swap out the parts.

This looks pretty good right now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-BH-2-BH ... Swwo1XfFYZ

Check to be sure the focus works correctly before you buy it. It's almost certain the mirror/iris assembly is fine.

Tom

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#24 Post by wmodavis » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:40 am

Thanks Tom I'll look into that. I have been working on other things too but still do need parts.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#25 Post by wmodavis » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:57 am

Well a bit more progress. Just received 3 MD Plan infinity objectives which after a bit of gentle cleaning allows me to use the vertical illuminator and a big thank you to Charlie for delivering them. (And I found out why he was so willing to do that.) One nice guy! I've just got to learn some more about using it.
It came short of the 12 V 50 Watt lamp and housing but got one of those and built a power supply for it that I had posted pictures of a while ago. Got that hooked up and working.

Another nice thing about the vertical illuminator is that it had an adjustable polarizer built in. For brightfield it works well with the camera polarizer I have sitting on the light source to the condenser. My other analyzer was not adjustable so just rotated the polarizer. So anyway now have polarizers for both the working BHT and the hopefully soon to be working BHS.

The check is in the mail so to speak on having the rest of the parts to get the BHS flying. Way back in my nieve days I thought of just fixing up the second scope so I could sell the other one to recoup some of my 'over budget activity'. That idea seems to be fading as I kind of like the idea of having two set up and configured differently. I'm sure no one else her has experienced that.

Anyway plodding on.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#26 Post by carlh6902 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:43 pm

zzffnn wrote:You BHS may have its coarse focus locked down?

I cannot remember which direction it goes, but hold still one side of the coarse focus knob and turn the other side. Likely counter clockwise, like all other unlock/release/opening mechanisms.

Please wait a day or two, I will take a look for you. Other members can also help.

Also, BHT's focus block, if working, may fit BHS' base.
I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to clear something up here. Don't ever twist the knobs in opposite directions on a BH-2 scope! I know that this is standard procedure on many scopes, but doing this on a BH-2 will spin the innards on the coarse-focus shaft, and the set screws that bite into this shaft will score it up really good.

There is a pre-focus (height) stop collar on the left-hand side, and a coarse-focus tension ring on the right-hand side.

Carl
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#27 Post by zzffnn » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:52 pm

Sorry, I was too vague. I meant to say there are coarse-focus tension rings on some scopes, like Nikon Labophot 2, which you can unlock. But twisting coarse focus knobs against each other, on some scopes, such as a Nikon inspection scope, will damage focus mechanisms beyond repair.

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#28 Post by JGardner » Fri May 18, 2018 10:59 pm

zzffnn wrote:Sorry, I was too vague. I meant to say there are coarse-focus tension rings on some scopes, like Nikon Labophot 2, which you can unlock. But twisting coarse focus knobs against each other, on some scopes, such as a Nikon inspection scope, will damage focus mechanisms beyond repair.
Sorry to resurrect this old thread yet again, but wanted to ask: does the BH2 have metal or plastic focusing gears?

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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#29 Post by carlh6902 » Tue May 22, 2018 3:46 pm

JGardner wrote:
zzffnn wrote:Sorry, I was too vague. I meant to say there are coarse-focus tension rings on some scopes, like Nikon Labophot 2, which you can unlock. But twisting coarse focus knobs against each other, on some scopes, such as a Nikon inspection scope, will damage focus mechanisms beyond repair.
Sorry to resurrect this old thread yet again, but wanted to ask: does the BH2 have metal or plastic focusing gears?
Look in this document to see what's in the BH-2:

Edit 4/14/2019: Replaced outdated link with a link to the master index, which always contains the most recent versions:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7ckZ ... nFYVDJSRW8


Carl
Last edited by carlh6902 on Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question on Olympus BH-2

#30 Post by Hobbyst46 » Tue May 22, 2018 7:13 pm

@carl6902
This excellent maintenance manual must be a gift to all BH2 users, compliments!!.
I so wish that a similar manual was available for the old Zeiss scopes... in English...
Zeiss Standard GFL+Canon EOS-M10, Olympus VMZ stereo

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