You’ve had that microscope for many years. It’s your favorite - you rely on it to get the job done. However, even the best microscopes don’t last forever. So how do you know when its time to say goodbye?
Over time all microscopes will show signs of wear and tear. The degree of deterioration is impacted by three factors: 1) Quality of the Instrument 2) Level of Daily Usage 3) Maintenance.
Other than the cosmetic signs of wear, there may be other more serious issues lurking:
- Lens coatings can wear away or can de-cement – both of which diminish the image quality. Unfortunately, these problems cannot be fixed.
- Electrical failure is one of the most common reasons to replace a scope. After about 10 years, it is common for microscopes to develop electronic issues (not lighting, lighting flickering, rheostat not working, etc.). For microscopes not supported by the manufacturer, you would have to turn to aftermarket solutions to keep it running.
- If your microscope has not been properly maintained, some movements can become stiff, or too loose. While this can be fixed (usually with a complete overhaul of the focusing or stage mechanism), it can be costly.
- Failing gears is another costly issue, whether they are lower quality plastic or poorly designed metal.
In making the decision of whether or not to replace your microscope, you will need to ask yourself the following question – Is it worth the time and cost to repair? In some cases, it might be. For example, if you ultimately plan to replace it with a lower quality scope, then in the long run it may actually be worthwhile to put the money into your older scope. On the other hand, the decision to repair comes with another question – What else could go wrong? This is especially important with a discontinued scope as replacement parts will not be available from the manufacturer.
As always, if you are unsure of your options or just want a sounding board for your decision process, consult an expert. At I. Miller Microscope, we can help you bring your microscope back to life, or if necessary, provide you with a suitable replacement.