Introduction: Using a Digital Camera As a Second Pair Eyes and Magnifying Glass.

I discovered recently while doing a small electronic project that my eye sight was not up to scratch as I first thought.
Unfortunately, I thought I could work past my short comings and I proceeded with putting my project together.
This resulted in my project not working as well as I wished and also caused me to have to delve into some simple diagnostics. Such as searching for bridged solder joints and dry joints. But as I was already having trouble with my eye sight I ponder how I was going to resolve this problem. I tried a magnifying glass but the magnification was not up to spec. All the other device I had to help with my eye sight was rather fiddly and hampered my ability to resolve the issues I had at hand. Then it came to me to use my Digital Camera. Please don't point out how my electronic skills suck - I am too aware of this and it is very obvious.

Step 1: What You Will Need..

- A computer - with a photo editing software application.

- I am using Windows Vista Photo Gallery. It comes with Vista.

- One Digital Camera - I am using a cheap 4Mega Pixel Camera with 3 x optical zoom.
  **It must be capable of doing macro photography.

- And a well lighted area to take your picture.

- And some props or supports to hold your circuit or what ever you are going to magnify. I didn't build any special device to hold the camera. All I used was what was available at the time.

Step 2: Camera - Circuit - and Action

As you will see from the image - there is nothing fancy about my preparation. All I used was a solder reel and my Digital Camera.

Step 3: Adding the Circuit and Taking the Picture.

I placed the circuit I wish to examine in front of the soldering reel. As in the image. I then placed the camera on the spot marked camera.
Using the macro function on the camera. I used the auto focus to make the best fit focus of the circuit and then took the picture.
Simple as.

Step 4: The First Image Taken.

This is the first Photo of the circuit as seen from the Camera.

Step 5: Transfering the Photo to Computer.

I then transferred the images from my camera to my computer. I suggest you refer to your camera instruction to get a better understanding how to do this as it varies from camera to camera.

Step 6: Viewing You Photography in Your Favourite Photo Editor.

I choose to use Windows Vista- {Windows Photo Gallery}- It has its own zoom function built in.
You will find this function at the bottom of the screen as a magnifying glass with a plus sign in it.

Step 7: First Image in Windows Photo Gallery 1:1 Ratio

Within the application Windows Photo Gallery - I have opened up the image that I took of the initial circuit. It is not bad - but you can not see clearly any obvious mistakes.

Step 8: Image Zoomed

As you will see as you zoom in on the image you will see more and more of the nasty little mistakes that you have incurred.
This zoom shows a dry solder joint and some nasty solder spatter. All very poor on my behalf. But I would not of been able to see this clarity using just my naked eye. Or the magnifying glass I had.

Step 9: This Is an Even Closer Zoom Before It Loses Resolution.

You can see that you have an amazing ability to get up close and personal. In the middle of this circuit you will notice what looks like a hair or fiber. That in fact is a solder bridge caused by me pulling the soldering iron away incorrectly. This, if crossed over on to an adjacent circuit could of destroyed my sensitive IC components if I applied power. Thankfully I didn't. But you can see that a digital camera and some software and a computer can be invaluable as a second pair of eyes to uncover these defects. I suggest that you never ask me to build you a electronic project. I am getting to old and my eye sight sucks. I am of to the optometrist to get my eyes checked and some glasses. I bid you all farewell.