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Old 04-29-2020, 08:57 PM
dmas dmas is offline
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Default Kids microscope useful?

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I was wondering how useful and what you could do with a kids microscope like this? How hard would it be to identify gram negative infections? Or would you need a centrifuge, too?
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Old 04-29-2020, 09:33 PM
swamppapa swamppapa is offline
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what different growth mediums do you have, petri dishes? gram +/- can be determined with growth medium aer/anaero can be done with a coffee can and a candle.
hand operated centrifuges can still be purchased but if you intend bacterial studies it's cultures and smears.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:16 PM
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Minimum magnification for blood work would be 400X. Notice the word 'minimum.' Much better would be 1,000x.

You will also need separate course and fine focus, and that model does not have it, rather course only. Adjustment knobs on both sides rather than one would make prolonged use easier, not to mention for left-handed users. Rack and pinion slide adjustment makes cell counts and grid searches more accurate as well.

That kid's model might serve for some simple parasite work like determining if there are pinworms in a stool sample. The magnification is of secondary importance if the focus isn't there.

Personally I would consider something like this to be a minimum model:

Yes, it's a couple hundred bux but even a decent high school teaching scope can run a grand, and basic hematology lab models a couple grand starting and well up from there.

You want as a working minimum:

quality, distortion-free lenses
two-stage adjustment
rank-and-pinion slide adjustment
Magnification of 1,000x

A kid's scope offers none of those. It is like the difference between a pair of those flat-folding opera glasses we thought so much of as kids in the 60's and 70's, and an actual pair of Bushnell binoculars.

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Old 04-30-2020, 09:25 PM
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If you want one buy a high end name brand used off of eBay or other place quality scopes are available.

Buying a retired one from a high school lab would cost about the same, but you’d have a much better scope and buying one from a good university lab would likely give you a nice piece of equipment that would serve for a couple lifetimes if taken care of!

Spend a few minutes researching what you should look for and what accessories are available for the most common models and go from there!

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Old 04-30-2020, 11:56 PM
arleigh arleigh is offline
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While you're at it, get a good current bacteriological book, and study up.
You can spend $15. - $175. on books, the field is wide open.
If you are into it electronic microscopes are fun you can operate on your lap-top or TV or phone.
Some go up to 600x depending on your goals.
Basically, they are a camera so you can down load pictures of your finding.
I even use them for checking out electronic circuits amongst other things
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Old 05-01-2020, 12:01 AM
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Useful for a kid.
For you, not so much.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:07 PM
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cujet cujet is offline
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As an avid and capable amateur astronomer, I know the quality of the optics matters immensely, same for firearms, binoculars, cameras etc. Inexpensive "toys" such as cheap microscopes, telescopes, binoculars, etc, are best left to the kids. They are often so bad as to be useless. In anything that contains an optical path, purchase good quality "glass".

I have a Nikon Stereo Microscope for general purpose use. It was not cheap, but it's quality makes it a very useful tool. It is not capable of ultra high magnification though.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:40 PM
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For serious work you should be able to use "oil emersion"--which is 1000x. This requires quality optics, a mechanical stage (not just two clips and a finger), a good light source. Gram stains are fairly easy to do, but as noted , you have to do cultures, and then do Gram stains. The posters above give you the essentials.

My biggest single purchase for Medical School, (in the 50's) was Leica monocular Microscope, used. It was stolen during my residency, or I would still have it today 60 years later. There are a lot of "fancy", binocular microscopes. But a quality monocular will give far better results than a cheap binocular microscope. (I would compare to high end Fujinon or Canon "L" series binocular optics if you want good)

I have never used one the Chinese copy and they may be decent, but you still will be in the several hundred dollar range for any decent. There is something to be said for the old fashion mirror for a light source, if all goes to Hell...
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:49 PM
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I had a Tasco microscope as a kid. It would go up to 1200X, but the image suffered from lack of light at that setting.

Also, the rack and pinion would allow the tube to slowly creep down under the weight of gravity, so it was hard to maintain focus at the higher magnifications. Under 800X though the image was very crisp.
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Old 05-05-2020, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dmas View Post

I was wondering how useful and what you could do with a kids microscope like this? How hard would it be to identify gram negative infections? Or would you need a centrifuge, too?
Can confirm that a pregnant woman's water broke, and some other GYN things like yeast infections, BV, trich. Can diagnose some fungal skin infections, scabies. A hematologist would be able to get some info about anemias and leukemias from a blood smear.
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