100,000-Hour Rated LED Lamp for Dissecting Microscope
Richard H. Zander
Res Botanica, Missouri Botanical Garden
May 23, 2006

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100,000-Hour Rated LED Lamp for Dissecting Microscope


Though many biologists blissfully leave their microscope lamps burning while in conversation or engaged in other work, the bulbs do burn out. Microscope bulbs are particularly expensive and are commonly a pain to order (find the bulb identification number, find the vendor, find the bulb at the vendorís Web site, charge the item to an account, etc). Buying them by the dozen helps, but costs hundreds of dollars.


After some research, I have found a solution in a dissecting scope lamp that one can leave burning nearly forever. LED lamps are now sufficiently bright that they can be used for purposes other than idiot lights and tiny novelty flashlights. I installed (with a little duct tape) on my dissecting scope a unit with three 1-watt Luxeon warm-white LEDís, and found it entirely adequate for dissection. These light-weight emitters are rated at more than 100,000 hours of use, though there are caveats against allowing them to over-heat, which lowers the expected burn time. Images follow:



Triple LED unit mounted on dissecting scope

(with duct tape, but you could do better, couldnít you)?



The unit provides a nice pool of adequate warm-white light.



You need to order only three items (listed below).


W-15-12 UpLight Power Supply

MR16/MR11 Socket - GX5.3/G40

MR16-WLX3 Warm White LED bulb - Medium 30 degree


The total cost was about US$51.00, as ordered from:


Super Bright LEDs, Inc.

100 Washington St.

Florissant, MO 63031




(No, I am not an agent for this company.)


Cut the connector off the end of the line from the transformer. Jam the copper wires into the holes in the base of the socket, and affix them there with a little duct tape. Plug the transformer into a multi-plug extension cord and use the rocker on-off switch to turn the lamp on and off.


A narrow beam 10 degree bulb is also available.


Given that LEDs are almost point sources of light, it may well be possible that one could be used for a compound microscope. Cobbling together such a system would require much attention to heat dissipation, and a means of dimming would be needed. There are 3-watt versions of the Luxeon, which are reputed to run hot, and these presently are only available in the 5500 degree output rather than 3300 degree warm white available for the 1-watt emitters.