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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Resources  /  Laboratory  /  Light Microscopy  /  Basic Rules for Caring for Microscopes

Basic Rules for Caring for Microscopes

  • EVERYTHING on a microscope is unbelievably expensive, so be careful.
  • Hold a microscope firmly by the stand, only. Never grab it by the eyepiece holder, for example.
  • Hold the plug (not the cable) when unplugging the illuminator.
  • Since bulbs are expensive, and have a limited life, turn the illuminator off when not in use.
  • If used constantly on full power the bulb will overheat and blow (or gently melt the inside of the housing). This is not a good idea!
  • Always make sure the stage and lenses are clean before putting the microscope away.
  • NEVER use anything but good quality lens tissue on any optical surface, with appropriate lens cleaner or distilled water; organic solvents may separate or damage the lens elements or coatings.
  • Cover the instrument with a dust jacket when not in use.
  • Focus smoothly; don't try to speed through the focusing process or force anything.
  • If it isn't working DON'T try to fix it unless you really know what you are doing. Make a note of the symptoms and ask someone who knows.