If you have a microscope that uses halogen bulbs you will eventually need to change the bulb. While it seems like an easy thing to do, I’ve seen more than my share of bulb-changing mistakes. Help eliminate down-time and microscope issues by following these easy steps:
- Make sure the bulb is actually bad
- Sounds like an obvious step, right? Every now and then the bulb not lighting can be something as simple as the power cord getting accidentally unplugged. Or a power strip turned off. Or a blown breaker. Or… the possibilities are endless.
- Remove the bad bulb
- The location of the bulb will depend upon which microscope model you have. Most bulbs are located at the rear of the microscope. Some are located on the bottom or side of the microscope. It’s usually obvious to see the lamp assembly. If in doubt, look at your microscope’s user manual.
- Because the bulb can get extremely hot and bright, there will be a cover or shield that hides the bulb. Remove the cover/shield. You should now see the bulb. Pull the bulb straight out, being careful not to damage the socket.
- Install the new bulb
- Make sure the new bulb is really new. Seriously. For some reason people save their old, burnt out bulbs. I regularly get calls for bulbs not working right after a “new” bulb was installed. Almost always (8 times out of 10) the bulbs are actually not new, but previously removed. Go figure…
- Make sure the new bulb is the correct voltage and wattage. These are usually printed on your microscope’s label or lamp housing. If not, it is printed on the glass bulb just above the pins.
- Always be careful NOT to touch the new bulb with your bare hands. The oils from your skin can damage the bulb and shorten it’s life. If you do accidentally touch the bulb with your bare hands, you can wipe it off using isopropyl alcohol (IPA).
- Halogen bulbs will usually be in a sealed plastic enclosure. Gently tear the bottom edge of the enclosure closest to the bulb’s pins. Allow the pins to stick out of the enclosure.
- Be sure that the bulb’s pins are aligned with the socket’s holes. Gently push the bulb into the socket assembly. Be sure to insert the bulb completely into the socket. Verify the bulb is straight up and down, not crooked.
- Reinstall the cover/shield.
- Align the new bulb, if adjustable
- Some microscopes give you the ability to center the bulb for maximum efficiency. If your microscope does, please follow the user guide to correctly align your bulb. It is critical to do this correctly as uneven lighting decreases your ability to accurately view samples on your microscope.
- If your microscope isn’t adjustable, then you are finished with the bulb replacement.
- Power on microscope and verify proper operation.
- If the lamp comes on and everything looks good, congratulations! You are finished.
- If the lamp doesn’t come on, verify the bulb is actually new (remember Step 3a above?). If you still have no light after checking everything, you will want to call a qualified microscope maintenance professional. You could have a bad socket, fuse or power supply.
Hope this helps! If you have any questions or comments please contact us.