If you’re a new user of your microscope or just want to make sure that everything works properly, you may wonder about the importance of the condenser adjustment knob. When you first open a microscope, you probably should take a break to check out the main parts, including the main focus knobs, both the condenser knob (if there is one) and the stage knob (also called the slide-switch, because it usually slides up or down on a track). You’re likely to accidentally grab the incorrect knob by mistake, which can damage your microscope at worst, and cause the slide-switch to malfunction at best. To prevent this from happening, keep these simple rules in mind:
If you find that your condenser is not correctly adjusted, make sure that your knobs are set to the right position. First, slide the adjustment knob to the left (to the right of the slide-switch), to get the top off. You should be able to notice that the spring will release automatically when you do this, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure. Check for accuracy with your index finger.
Now slide your index finger up towards the condenser, so that you’re able to see the spring moving along the screw. If you can’t find the spring, pull it out slightly and re-insert it. The screw shouldn’t move any farther than a quarter of an inch when you do this, so don’t be tempted to try to turn it by hand. As with all things mechanical, be careful.