Help Identify This Microscope!

I got my microscope! And I need your help. This thing is awesome (I think), but I have no idea what it is. It has no name on it. I have no idea even what the magnification is. I've dusted it carefully and now I'm waiting for UPS to deliver the slides and slide covers. I am still trying to figure out how to get a temporary light source to work, then I have to figure out a permanent lighting solution.

Oh... at the end of the technical bits, I need to rant a bit, in case you're interested.

Neece's Microscope

OK! The slides arrived. I've looked up Optical Microscopes and I know more than I did already. Don't think you're off the hook though. I still need you.


  • The eyepiece is removable and is 16x.

  • There are 4 objective lenses:

    • Red: 4/0.1  160/0.17

    • Yellow: 10/0.25  160/0.17

    • Blue: 40//0.65  160/0.17

    • Creme: Oil 100/1.25  160/0.17

So I'm guessing that the first number is the magnification. 4x, 10x, 40x and the oil immersion is 100x. I assume I need special immersion oil for that. What is the next number though? The /0.1, /0.25 etc. And what is the 160/0.17 part?

The light source is supposed to be powered and has a condenser. The cover is broken and there is nothing to hold a light bulb of any type that I can make sense of. It's made in China, which is immensely helpful in a not helpful way. :P

microscope bottom

So, any ideas on a temporary or permanent lighting solution? I was thinking LEDs would be best because they don't get so hot. But they can be expensive. I came up with that when I was looking at new microscopes for sale, because all the new ones seem to have LEDs. But a regular bulb of some sort would be good too. I'm not sure of the bulb to get though. So suggestions are most welcome.

Ooh, I love Wikipedia. I found some links to some neat sites. These links really aren't for you unless you're a microscope geek wannabe like me. They're more for me so I can find them easily. :P

If you have any resources, please feel free to comment with them because I want to learn as much as I can.

Well, I was about to wrap up, when Butch got up. He noticed some things that I hadn't yet. Namely the number on the back which seemed unhelpful. It's the model number: xsz-106. Damn, Google is amazing, because the second link down gave me a helpful page. It seems that it's the xsz-106bn, Biological Microscope. The bulb was a halogen. Also there's a dimmer switch on the side. Cool, if I can get it to work!

And now for my RANT: I have been very excited about getting this microscope. I understand that not everyone is interested in microbiology. But isn't the pursuit of science and learning understandable in and of itself? So far, about 75% of the people I've told have replied with the same comment. "Why would you want a microscope?"

Why? Why not! The tiny world around us is amazing, complex and wonderful. It still holds secrets we have yet to unlock. It affects us in ways we take for granted, and is beautiful and fantastic. The total apathy and lack of interest is so disheartening. When someone I know expresses an interest in learning, even if the topic is not my favorite, I am delighted and encouraging. Know what I mean? Ok, so microbiology doesn't interest you. That's fine. But wanting to learn should always be encouraged. Don't you think? Are we that apathetic these days, that people think it's silly to want to educate themselves?

Ok, I'm done ranting. I have the tiny world around me to discover. Once I figure out how to illuminate it! Have a great day, my friends!


  1. Happy birthday, btw.

    And why would you want a microscope? :)

    Kidding- kidding...

  2. The first number is the magnification. So the red lens is 4x, and with a 16x eyepiece you'd get a total magnification of 64x. The second number is the numerical aperture (NA); the highest useful magnification of a lens is approximately 1000x the NA, so the highest useful magnifcation with your red lens is about 100x. The third number is the tube length: the distance between the objective and the eyepiece. The fourth number is the coverglass thickness; 0.17mm is pretty typical.

  3. Eric! Thank you so much, that is immensely informative! You rock! :D