Olympus FHT

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Leitzcycler
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Olympus FHT

#1 Post by Leitzcycler » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:46 pm

I am not absolutely sure if this was a rational purchase… Anyway, Olympus FH is the most cute microscope I have ever seen. So when I saw it in Ebay, I just didn’t have any other choice. My offer 150USD was accepted, however the shipping from US to Finland doubled the costs. And, what is more, almost every single part of the microscope is totally jammed. It is awfully dirty and dusty too. Must have been sitting in a junk room for years. If you think I must have some mental problems you might be right. However, I have one excuse for this crazy purchase: I need a microscope in my lab for routine checking of cultures. Yes, I have my old Lomo Biolam for that… but it is not so cute and has no plan objectives like the FHT has. So… I think this is a perfect project during dark and rainy days while waiting for winter, snow and cross-country skiing. Before starting to dismantle:

I have found some brochures and manuals from Alan Wood’s excellent pages concerning this particular model. However, there is no repair manual or exploded view, which could be helpful. Although I think dismantling the parts and the focusing block must be quite intuitive, the exploded drawing would be nice. So you help would be highly appreciated if you could assist me to get the following information:

1. Where to find a repair manual or exploded drawing of Olympus FHT microscope?
2. Is there a list of Olympus microscope serial numbers to trace the manufacturing year? This model is probably from early 60’s.
3. Any comments or stories about this model? Good and bad features? How popular and successful this “super delux research microscope” as it was advertised actually was? How much it cost compared to other top-quality research microscopes?
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PeteM
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Re: Olympus FHT

#2 Post by PeteM » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:34 am

The old Olympus scopes are pretty well built. So once you free up the old grease, I think you'll have a good scope. The relatively small footprint should make it a good travel scope. A LED conversion should be fairly easy as well and while the objectives are fairly old "short barrel" models you can sometimes find plan fluorite and apochromat versions for not much money.

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Rossf
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Re: Olympus FHT

#3 Post by Rossf » Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:46 pm

I’ve got one of these as well-I think they are better built than the original BH models-get a trinoc head if you can or they have a simple photo tube to attach later photo adapters-Olympus scopes seem to be very backwards compatible with photo attachments-I use an MTV-3 (BH-2 era) adapter as my cameras are c-mount but you can attach for DSLR with different adapter-those plan objectives are really nice with an oblique condenser-I just use an old Nikon one with decentreable iris-just be careful detaching the head as it has a protruding relay tube that I get really nervous about damaging-look for the document on alanwoods about reconditioning a 50 year old KH (I think anyway) it has coaxial focus so may provide clues-yes the repair manual would be great if one could find it-and I’m pretty sure they don’t have any plastic gears to finally crack. You have to remove all objectives before attempting to remove stage though-not enough room. Hope it works out well for you-mine came with an epi illumination attachment which was a cool bonus...photos below BTW the illumination assembly is wonderfully easy to take apart to clean those glass elements..
Regards ross
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Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#4 Post by Leitzcycler » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:28 pm

Thank you so much for your kind response and photos!

I started the dismantling and cleaning. Whant I found is that Olympus grease tend to form some very hard stuff (polymerize?) rather than just getting more stiff. The objective stage appears to be rotatable - at least to some extent - and this is controlled by a screw which apparently originally had some kind of thumbwheel. It seems to be broken off and is missing. I would be interested to see a photo of this unit if someone would be so kind to post one here.
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viktor j nilsson
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Re: Olympus FHT

#5 Post by viktor j nilsson » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:45 pm

That looks very similar to the click stop mechanism on the rotating stage of my Olympus Vanox AH. The lever has a square hole which fits over the square peg, and is fixed with a small screw that you need a pin spanner to remove.

Image

Image

It does not 'control' the rotation stage, it merely turns off and on a slight 'click' every 45°. The two cylindrical pieces on either edge is there to define the limits for the lever movement.

I just cleaned and regreased my stage. The Olympus grease indeed turn into solid glue!

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#6 Post by Leitzcycler » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:01 pm

Thank you so much! Your help is highly appreciated. This indeed explains the existence of the two stoppers: I was wondering what are they for.

It will take some time and effort to take off the remains of the broken fixing screw and clean the threads :?

viktor j nilsson
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Re: Olympus FHT

#7 Post by viktor j nilsson » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:15 pm

It should be easy enough to 3D print a new lever.
But you could probably get away with just turning the square peg using a pair of pliers, and set it semi-permanently to either on our off, depending on your preference. Getting the stage to rotate smoothly should be more important.

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#8 Post by Leitzcycler » Fri Dec 25, 2020 7:21 pm

Almost done: focusing mechanism, stage, objective turret, everything has been disassembled, cleaned and relubricated. Only the ocular head is waiting for service.
The job has been quite easy and straightforward and I really enjoy working with all those fine little parts which has been very well made and delicately assembled. The coarse focusing has a very peculiar counter-balance system. I have never seen anything like that before… What I found out is that the iris diaphragms have not been lubricated originally so they did not need any service at all. I took some pictures if someone is interested.

I would like to wish all of you great people a Merry Christmas and Better New Year. Thank you so much for your endless patience to share knowledge and expertise here!
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viktor j nilsson
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Re: Olympus FHT

#9 Post by viktor j nilsson » Fri Dec 25, 2020 7:29 pm

Beautiful! Good job on that overhaul.

The focus block on my Olympus Vanox AH has a very similar counter balance system with a heavy spring and a steel belt:

Image

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#10 Post by Leitzcycler » Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:24 pm

How compatible are Nikon short barrel objectives for Olympus? They look almost the same.

deBult
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Re: Olympus FHT

#11 Post by deBult » Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:37 pm

Objectives are matched to eyepieces.

So (in general) Nikon objectives require Nikon eyepieces (from the same “age” period), Olympus will require Olympus.

Olympus objectives from the 160 mm tube length era are only PARTIALLY corrected for lateral chromatic abbreviations, the last part of the color correction is done in the eyepieces. Olympus short barrel objectives are matched to the Bi WF series of eyepieces.

Nikon started way ahead of Olympus in having full color corrected objectives so requiring eyepieces WITHOUT lateral color correction.

Best, deBult

Scarodactyl
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Re: Olympus FHT

#12 Post by Scarodactyl » Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:04 pm

Both Nikon and Olympus short barrel objectives have corrective eyepieces, but I have not heard of people successfully mixing and matching them so they're probably different enough to matter? But it is probably worth a shot, and if someone does give it a try I'm sure we'd all be interested in the results.

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#13 Post by Leitzcycler » Fri Feb 12, 2021 8:49 am

EBAY FRUSTRATION

I am becoming tired and cynical in searching good condition eyepieces for my Olympus FH. I received it with two pairs of eyepieces, all of which have scrathes in the front lens surface. They are usable up to 40x objective, however the scrathes interfere with 100x oil objective vision. So I searched Ebay and found a listing with "exellent optical condition". The package arrived and this is the exellent optical condition as you can see in my picture. The scratches obviously are invisible in the sellers pictures which were taken right through the eyepice. Taking the picture from side reveals a totally different condition.

Most of the listings in Ebay are "used", "as is" etc. so the sellers know nothing about what they are selling. And how about this one "This eyepiece shows general signs of normal use including, scuffs & scratches on the exterior as well as dust and minor scratches on the glass. This is purely cosmetic, as pictured." So the scrathes on the glass are purely cosmetic!

The funnist listing I happened to found one day is of the Leiz microscope. It is stated: “USED BUT IN VERY GOOD COSMETIC CONDITION” :mrgreen:
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Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#14 Post by Leitzcycler » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:17 am

Fancy that... The seller of the eyepiece claims that either the scratches were caused by transportation or I have changed the eyepice and sent a wrong photo :shock:
Never experienced anything like this... :(

viktor j nilsson
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Re: Olympus FHT

#15 Post by viktor j nilsson » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:53 am

Ask eBay to step in. They will be on your side.

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#16 Post by Leitzcycler » Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:17 am

That is exactly what I am going to do.

The main problem still exists. It is a daunting task to catch a pair of good quality eyepieces by this trial and error method. Most of them seem to have scrathes caused by careless cleaning and wiping with a dry cloth. Or have they used a piece of sandpaper, who knows?

Happy Valentine's day!

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Rossf
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Re: Olympus FHT

#17 Post by Rossf » Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:46 am

Hey leitzcycler my FH came with a bunch of eye pieces some looked never used-some have the raised high point design and most are flat 7x,10x,15x,20x-I think I’m preferring the flat non hi point design these days-what are you after? 10x is good of courses-the 15x are quite nice cos you get a boost at expense of FOV but doesn’t get into empty magnification-I think the 20x does start dipping into that zone-don’t like the idea of a fellow FH owner without decent eyepieces! How did the clean up/regreasing go? Are things going well now(apart from dodgy eyepiece problems)-I’m getting sick of bad sellers and usually couldn’t be bothered with the return hassle but now I just send back and get eBay involved-the worst thing about wasting time on waiting for poor product is probably a bunch of good eyepieces went through eBay in the meantime! PM if you want.
Regards Ross

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#18 Post by Leitzcycler » Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:42 pm

Dear Ross

I am very pleased to read your friendly message. Thank you so much for your interest! The refurbishment of this scope was very pleasant experience indeed. It is nicely constructed and easy to take apart and assemble. It is also nice experience to use it. I like the "ultra sensitive" fine focusing especially. I am now constructing a led light as the transformer I got is - or was - for 110V. The transformer can't be switched to 220V so I will just keep the cover and insert another transformed from my storeroom - to get an originally-looking power supply for the led I will assemble instead of the original light bulb.

The only problem I faced was cleaning of the binocular prism surfaces. The scope came with a dual viewing/pointer head and then I bought a third head: a partly damaged trinocular head. I took some spare parts from one of the binocular heads and got a fully funtional trinocular. However, when cleaning the very dirty binocular head prisms with a moistured cotton stick, part of the coating on the surface of the prism was peeled off. Fortunately the trinocular head was not damaged during cleaning and it looks as it has some different kind of coating as far as I can conclude from the colour of the surface. I don't know if this separation of the coating is a problem with old Olympus prisms, but according to my experience it could be common: as both of the binocular heads had the same problem at least in one of the prisms.

What comes to the eyepices, I got a refund from the Ebay seller. One of my eyepieces is now without scrathes with decent condition. So I probably try to get one single piece more with good conditon to get a pair: I will bid in Ebay one piece and see what happens. The eyepieces I have are so called high point ones I think. And I really love them! Compared to my Orthoplan using Olympus FH with there eyepieces makes the experience much more enjoyable. With Orthoplan eyepieces my eyes come too close the lenses and the surrounding frame and it is very difficult to get to the point where you see enough but not touching the eyepieces. Sadly, high point eyepieces for Orthoplan seems to be very rare and very expensive.

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Rossf
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Re: Olympus FHT

#19 Post by Rossf » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:37 pm

Good to hear the restoration went well-apart from the prism problem-I’m having prism probs with a Leitz SM-lux-may just need a good clean and I was excited to find proper zeiss cleaning swabs in the supermarket of all places (says for glasses,binoculars,microscope optics) so I’ll give it a go-I hear you on the Leitz eyepieces-very expensive-but I’ve used Leitz objectives on the FH and the eyepieces seem pretty compatible,well nothing that jumps out at me even with photography-one thing I’ve noticed over the years is monocular heads seem to have way less issues with prisms-maybe cos they aren’t being slid in and out of place-the FH did have a monocular head-if you see one cheap might have the same size prism in good shape-I kept my transformer and just got a voltage converter(surprisingly cheap)-maybe it’s my camera but I find the simple tungsten bulbs photograph more nicely. Great scope though-reckon they are better than the first BH.
Regards Ross

dolmadis
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Re: Olympus FHT

#20 Post by dolmadis » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:35 am

Scarodactyl wrote:
Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:04 pm
Both Nikon and Olympus short barrel objectives have corrective eyepieces, but I have not heard of people successfully mixing and matching them so they're probably different enough to matter? But it is probably worth a shot, and if someone does give it a try I'm sure we'd all be interested in the results.
Finding an Olympus FK 2.5x in good condition is a personal quest at the moment as I try to fill my list of Olympus Short Barrelled Apo's. I have had help from a member here so thanks for that.

I have done some search reading on Google and some articles seem to get close to answering the question of alternatives to FK but no cigar !!

I may have missed something so that is the question. Which could be a match to try?

Best, John

j almeida
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Re: Olympus FHT

#21 Post by j almeida » Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:11 pm

Very nice microscope. As for the manufacturing date, I can give you the numbers and dates of my own Olympus:
Body number 262933: july 67
Body number 305097: march 71

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#22 Post by Leitzcycler » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:07 am

As for the manufacturing date, I can give you the numbers and dates of my own Olympus:
Body number 262933: july 67
Body number 305097: march 71
Thanks. Do you have a list of manufacturing dates? It would be nice to have one, so in case you have could you share it? My body number is 207284 and trinocular head is 210568. So I think they are older than yours.

AntoniScott
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Re: Olympus FHT

#23 Post by AntoniScott » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:14 pm

Asking Ebay to step in may help but don't be disappointed if you get a response you don't want to hear. Claims like "clean no scratches" is very ambiguous. Seller claims that the buyers response was on a different item is difficult to prove.

I had a similar experience where the seller advertised that the microscope had five objectives. Since the Ebay photographs did not clearly show the objective turret to have five objectives I asked the seller if the microscope had four or five objectives. The response was that it had five. Based on that response, I purchased the unit. The sale was with no returns accepted. Risky. When I received the microscope the turret had four objectives with a fifth objective available in a separate container. When I placed a dispute on the purchase the seller countered that they had sent me a second message to clarify that the fifth obective was not on the turret. Unfortunately by that time I had already purchased th unit. It's an interesting legal argument. The seller clarified the initial question with second response to me but after I had already purchased the unit. Fortunately, Ebay did force the seller to accept my return as the initial advertisement was not truthful to fact, the first response was deceptive and the second response was not in time to clarify my initial question.
I buy a lot of things off of Ebay and never have any problems but I am very careful when dealing with sellers that do not accept returns. Most of the time there is never a problem. Good luck.

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#24 Post by Leitzcycler » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:32 pm

I got a refund. No problem.

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Re: Olympus FHT

#25 Post by Leitzcycler » Sat May 01, 2021 6:49 pm

I also read about Olympus as being the best research microscopes.
I don't think there is some brand above others. It depends on what kind of work you are doing and the condition of the equipment if you buy them used. I have Leitz Orthoplan and now this Olympus FHT. Both are of high quality and have their positive and negative sides.
It is a pity that you had to wait and that the microscope came in not very good condition.
It was not a pity as I bought it for a project. It was enjoyable to take it apart and then refurbish and give it a new life. The most annoying thing is that it seems hard to find decent eyepieces. Most of them in Ebay must have been in very hard use by non-professional students and have lots of scratches resulted from cleaning. However, I have now rather decent ones.

viktor j nilsson
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Re: Olympus FHT

#26 Post by viktor j nilsson » Sat May 01, 2021 7:11 pm

Leitzcycler wrote:The most annoying thing is that it seems hard to find decent eyepieces. Most of them in Ebay must have been in very hard use by non-professional students and have lots of scratches resulted from cleaning. However, I have now rather decent ones.
This is a good point. And the olympus short-barrrel objectives have a pickup point 16mm down the tube, so it's hard to use eyepieces from any other brand.

Leitzcycler
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Re: Olympus FHT

#27 Post by Leitzcycler » Fri May 21, 2021 5:16 pm

My led light rectifier module for the original power source. Just plug it in.
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