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The Wait is over - Zeiss Axiostar Plus arrived

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#1 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:50 PM

OK,
The UPS Paid me a visit. My second Hand ( Refurbished?) Carl Zeiss Axiostar Plus has Arrived today.

The big Fat Box (very appetizing)

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#2 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:50 PM

Opened it

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#3 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:52 PM

A box within a box - so far so good

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#4 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:55 PM

The Thingie inside wrapped in Polythene.
On close inspection you can see the camera hanging free in the polyethylene with nothing to secure it.
My blood pressure increases to 170/110.

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#5 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:09 PM

It turns out the C mount adapter came appart and fell into two pieces one attached to the camera and the other attached to the scope. After some cursing and searching it turns out that the part of the C-mount attached to the video camera is shaped like a Dovetail which is supposed to be attached to the C-mount by three tiny set screws on the circumference of the C-mount adapter. One of the screws somehow managed to get unscrewed causing the C-mount adaptor to release its upper part with the camera which was positioned dangerously close to the objectives ( which for some reason were shipped screwed into the turret and were not separately wrapped (bad bad shipper, shouldn't have done that. Fortunately, closer inspection showed that the tiny set screw was still rolling in the polyethylene, so I could screw it back and fix the split C-mount adapter. Further inspection showed that luckily, the Free camera was somehow miraculously held tight by the polyethylene wrap so it apparently did not get to rattle and bang around. No damge was done to the objectives- Blood pressure now stabilized around 150/120 :lol:

#6 KennyJ

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:22 PM

Lihu,

I shared your senses of excitement, anxiety, shock and relief through this well illustrated report.

That has to be the poorest example of packaging I've ever seen.

What WAS the packer thinking about, I wonder?

Good luck with the remainder of this adventure!

Kenny

#7 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:24 PM

I took the polyethylene off the microscope to further inspect the trinocular. When I tried to pull out the oculars for further inspection of the optics, one of the occulars simply fell appart and a little black plastic spacer ring and one assymetrical biconvex lens fell into my hand - Blood pressure rises again to 200/150. :foreheadslap:
here's a picky of the eyepiece that came appart.
Upon closer look it turns out that the "famous High Quality occulars from Carl Zeiss" are made of black plastic !!! - at the price these things go for, I would have expected gold plated titanium parts at the least. The plastic barrel of the eyepiece was badly cross-threaded and was therefore not properly held in the female thread of the lens housing. on top of that it took me about 10 minutes to figure out the correct order of placing the lens and spacer ring back into the lens housing. I somehow managed to put the eyepiece back together, but the barrel kinda freely rotates within the lens housing and may fall apart again at any time. It looks like I will have to glue the plastic parts together permanently because the thread on the barrel is practically destroyed and wouldn't hold the darn thing together.
What a bummer. :tonofbricks:

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#8 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:33 PM

Onward with the inspection it turns that the other eyepice is OK and did not fall appart in my hands. ( I'm beginning to count my blessings).
here is a look at the turret

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#9 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:34 PM

Another closeup of the turret with objectives

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#10 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:38 PM

While unscrewing the objectives for closer inspection I notice that they are kinda sticky. Possibly some leftover immersion oil was left on them.
Here is a top view of the objectives

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#11 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:51 PM

Here's a front view

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#12 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:53 PM

And here's a back view of the objectives.

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#13 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:58 PM

I gave the obbjectives a prefunctory quick check by just looking through them against the light. I cant see any major trouble but it seems that they are quite dirty (besides being sticky on the outside) and may need some cleaning.
So far no major disaster with the glass, but this remains to be seen so I'll hold judgment on them until I clean them and inspect them more carefully.

#14 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:03 PM

The power cable has a standard US plat pronged structure which is of little use to me but I simply used another computer power cord to test the illumination system. A moment of suspense.... and the illuminator comes on. Hurra!! the illumination system (Halogen Lamp based) works perfectly and the intensity knob is nice and smooth and fully functional. Very Good indeed.
here are pickies of the lower iris housing of the Kohler illumination. ( If you had any doubts, its made from the famous Carl Zeiss brand of black plastic - Yuck ! :foreheadslap:)

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#15 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:06 PM

The "light's on" Moment !

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#16 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:10 PM

The table mechanism is in very good shape, clean with no scratches or dings the movements are perfectly smooth. So are the Condenser Rack and Pinion mechanism and the Microscope's Focusing mechanisms. All are in great shape and function nominally.
here is a closeup of the table

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#17 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:28 PM

While testing the Kohler System, I dismantle the brightfield condenser and examine it. my first surprise is - it is also made from cheap looking black plastic ! - Who would have thunk that poor Carl Zeiss has decended to such depths of degradation using flimsy Plastic parts on such a microscope.
I further notice I see that the entire body of the condenser is coated with some sticky gooey oily substance. Someone apparently tried to service the condenser and possibly relubed it- but the job was very sloppy and lots of the oil has gotten on the outside and made the entire lower part of the condenser sticky. On top of this sloppy job, When I checked out the iris control lever I noticed that the lever used to control iris aperture is seriously bent and the thin metal part defining the upper side of the slot within which the lever moves is bent upwards in the middle part. This caused the iris leaves to pucker up at the end of the lever's travel (the end which minimizes aperture). When the lever was moved to that position, the entire iris stopped being flat and planar and developed a concave shape like a small volcano cone !
I managed to fixe this somehow by bending the renegade bent part back into shape, and straitening the flimsy thin lever (Guess what ?? the lever was made from metal but was very thin and is very easily bent) which resulted in restoring the proper planar shape of the iris even at minimum aperture.
However, It is exactly after fixing this problem and seeing how cheaply engineered and badly executed this plastic condenser is, that it dawned on me "this is not your father's Carl Zeiss !"
Having said that, I looked at the back side of the microscope. Here's a picture of it

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#18 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:30 PM

Those of you with keen eyesight and attention to detail would have already noticed this ominous small boilerplate

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#19 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:37 PM

Well folks,
I was surprised, How come I didn't know the Zeiss family moved to Mexico !
Well, to be honest the *?#$%* condenser indeed looked like a Mexican designed and executed part - Mistry solved !
I am shure a German designer would have definitely committed Harakiri if he was accused of designing the condenser.
OTOH, they do make fine Tequila. :lol: - In Mexico, I mean not in Shtutgart or Munchen.

#20 KennyJ

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:40 PM

It's no big secret that Carl Zeiss has factories worldwide.

The company has had a presence in Mexico for over 100 years.

http://www.phoenixfi...l-zeiss-mexico/

Kenny

#21 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:42 PM

After these mixed results and quite ambiguous feelings I turned my attention to the video camera.
here it is, the old trusty PL-A662 PixeLink CMOS camera. Externally it looks OK if somwhat dirty. it features two 6 Pin Firewire female sockets on the side.
here it is straddling the "Tri" part of the Trinocular

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#22 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:51 PM

I stuck a Firewire cable into one of the sockets on the camera, connected the other end to the firewire port on my trusty old desktop, and low and behold, the camera actually works.
This was one of my main worries, because the seller said the camera wasn't tested because he didn't have a firewire cable, Duh!
As I did not have any microscope glass slides or cover slips I improvised some quasi-Slide from a piece of laminated plastic and tried some captures using the X10 plan objective.

here are the results

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#23 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:57 PM

I fiddled a bit with the camera control feature and it seems everything works properly.
So this is neat because Once I figure out how to properly use the software I may be able to do single frames as well as videos and time lapse microphotography. :whee:
Here is another closeup of the screen. The pink and blue stripes are black and blue marker's that were painted on my improvised plastic "slide) seen up close.

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#24 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 04:59 PM

Here is a view of the entire kit and kaboodle.

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#25 ASTERON

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:02 PM

Another one, closer to the beast

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