Donegan OptiVisor

Donegan OptiVisor DA-5

I’d been ummming and ahhhing about getting something like for years. Would it work? Would it work better than my existing magnifying lamp? I had some credit on, so I finally bit the bullet and purchased it. I also had Prime one-day shipping (purchased to watch the the Grand Tour), so it came the next day without any additional shipping charges. In fact they originally offered to ship it same day when I looking online mid-day, but I waited until the evening to order as I knew that Mrs Boffin would be home the next day when it arrived. So after settling in to watch the latest “The Reassembler“, what should appear on the screen, but James May sporting pretty much the same thing. Perhaps I was James May in a previous life, I’d like to think so (or maybe it’s my future life?).

How does it work? It’s superb for close-up work. Amusingly, the first task I put it to use with was putting a new screw back in my distance glasses, after it fell out yesterday. Tweezers, small screw, small screwdriver. Success, first time. Run, don’t walk and buy one of these, you wont regret it.

Focal distance is about 20cm which is close, but not so close that it gets in the way of the soldering iron, which means I did well when I chose the 2.5x version; the higher magnification ones having a lower working distance. The stereo eyepieces (glass on the DA version) seem nice and sturdy, and I splurged the extra $13 for additional “OptiLoupe” flip down magnifier which gives another 2.5x for a total of 6.25x for very close up work. With the extra magnifier flipped down, I can easily read part numbers off SMD parts; worth the extra dollars.

Wow, the flash really makes my short haircut look like I'm bald.

Back to work on the nixie project I thought I’d try it out this evening making a second nixie back-plane like last weekend’s, mostly just to see what it’s like to solder with it on. I really like it. There’s only one small complaint and that is the bottom edge of the headband is sharpish plastic and is a little uncomfortable on my ears, but other than that the headband works well, it’s not heavy at all, and doesn’t feel unstable or awkward in any way. I’ll probably just put a little piece of fabric on the headband, and that will completely solve any annoyance.

Lastly, and completely unrelated, I of course mucked up somewhat and made a mistake soldering, so dug out some solder-wick to fix it. I had this cheapo roll of Chinese wick from Ali Express and I thought I’d give it a try (normally I use the 25 yr old roll of MG). Anyway, the Chinese stuff was useless, and would pick up nothing. Until, that is, I wetted the wick with an MG Flux pen. If you’re not using wick without a flux pen first, you need to run, not walk, and go buy a good flux pen (keep it in a zip-lock when you’re not using it).