Tips for Microscope Maintenance – Part 1
Your teachers and students may have many issues while working with microscopes. These tips will help you assist them in addressing the issues and acing the scientific world.
Do not turn the slide upside down
You may be questioning ‘Who could be silly to turn the slide upside down?’ It may not seem like an issue for you, your teachers or senior high students, however, with students just starting to learn how to use microscopes, it could become a common problem. If your students place the glass slide upside down, the glass thickness of the microscope slide will keep the subject too far away from the objective to focus. Your students will be able to focus on 4x and 10x only but not 40x or above. Hence, you should ensure that your students are aware of this issue.
Keep the objective clean!
The objective can get dirty over time due to collecting a lot of oil from wet subjects such as onions. As a result, the dirty microscope objective impairs the resolution and generates soft and low-contrast images.
Lock the stage/ rack stop!
It can be confusing when microscopes from different manufacturers are equipped with various types of stage stops. The stage stop prevents the slide from being lifted up close to the objective and touching each other. This definitely helps eliminate the risk of breaking in the slide and damaging the objective. Equally important, the microscope objective will not be able to focus if you set the stage stop wrong.
Therefore, you should ensure that the stage stops of the microscopes are set right and locked before handing the microscopes to students.
If you need to replace an objective, you should ensure that the objective matches others. For example, if the 40x is longer than the 10x, the microscopes will become very hard to use. Alternatively, you can change the objectives altogether.
Missing the stage clip of a microscope?
A cheap and easy option when your stage clip goes missing is to temporarily use two rubber bands at each end of the stage to hold the slide in place.
Set condenser height
If the condenser has been moved down, it will give a different depth of field. Thus, being set the same on all microscopes is crucial.
Don’t change the Halogen globe by your hands!
Halogen globes burn very hot. If you place your fingers on the glass when changing the globe, the oil from your hand will cause a hot spot on the globe. Hence, it’s best to use a tissue or cloth to change the globe.