How to use a Maplin USB microscope on a Mac (by )

We received a USB microscope from Maplin for Christmas, from my father and stepmother. It's basically a webcam engine coupled to a different optical system; so there's a small hand-held device on a cable that plugs straight into a USB port. It has inbuilt LED lights, so you push the end right up against a surface, and the casing of the unit holds the surface at the correct focussing distance while illuminating it. There's a manual control to focus, but once it's set, you don't need to fiddle with it.

It's Maplin code N87FX.

Anyway, it claims to work under various flavours of Windows, and certainly doesn't work out of the box on a Mac - but a bit of research (see the USB vendor/device codes in System Profiler, looking them up at to find the generic name of the device, googling from there) led me to where a suitable driver can be downloaded. The RAR file wouldn't expand under Stuffit, but unrar from pkgsrc on my NetBSD system opened it fine, to reveal two zip files (duh) each containing a .dmg file (duh) which had a different driver in each... I just installed both.

Skype then immediately picked up on it as a webcam. But Photo Booth refuses to talk to anything other than the inbuilt iSight on my laptop, but then I found that the driver installs had also installed an app called Webcam Monitor, which is a simple wrapper around the underlying Quicktime video capture APIs, adapted from Apple's reference source code. It can record video, or a simple ⌘-C will copy a picture to the clipboard for to save. It'd be nice to find something where I could just press a capture button and have a snapshot appear in a list which I can then choose a name for and save as a .PNG to automate this, though. Perhaps I ought to do my own quick adaption of Apple's reference source code...

Observe, my stubble!

My stubble under the microscope


  • By Sarah, Mon 29th Dec 2008 @ 10:43 am

    Al you were getting far better images than that - were is the eye for a start? There were much better stubble ones too!

  • By David Morris, Fri 9th Jan 2009 @ 11:36 am

    Do you still have the driver? -- the domain is unreachable -- Finally a solution to use the scope on my MBP. Thanks.

  • By Alaric Snell-Pym, Wed 14th Jan 2009 @ 2:56 pm

    Yep, I do! I'll email it to anyone who posts a comment asking for it (as I'm not sure I'm entirely licenced to up for public HTTP).

  • By Nick, Sat 31st Jan 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    Any chance of the sonix driver, I'm trying to get Veho 'scope to work on mac osx 10.3.9


  • By Theo Tulley, Sun 22nd Feb 2009 @ 8:09 pm

    I will be most grateful for a copy of the driver. I hope it will work with LinuxMint-6.

  • By Greville Bagg, Sun 22nd Feb 2009 @ 9:50 pm

    I too got caught by the "works on a mac" for the VSM USB Microscope only to find it is MacOS 10.5 only. Would be grateful for any drivers for MacOS10.4 or directions.

  • By GariCollie, Thu 9th Jul 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    I would appreciate a copy of the driver. Does it self install?

  • By Clive Bowman, Fri 17th Jul 2009 @ 5:20 pm

    Do a search on google for sonix201_PC_Camera_driver_for_MAC_405 brings up a site called download and install both .dmg and the Maplin USB camera WORKS! Use QuickTime to capture (or webcam montoir), drag and drop to iMovie and edit away! Knockout

  • By Helen Catterall, Mon 20th Sep 2010 @ 10:19 am

    I think that USB microscopes are a great idea, especially for kids. I will certainly be taking a look at the one on offer in the Maplin catalogue. For those that already own one, would it be suitable for my young daughter (aged four?)

  • By JB, Tue 29th Jan 2013 @ 2:07 pm

    I need a copy of this Mac driver. The link to pc210 no longer works.

  • By Mad Mac, Fri 14th Feb 2014 @ 10:44 am

    You don't need a driver the MAc has its own built in drivers. Just plug it in and it should work. If you then google Microcapture Pro for os x that will work with it. I also believe Photobooth does now work with it.

    There is also a shareware app called miXscope which gives you more features.

    Link for Microcapture

  • By Mad Mac, Fri 14th Feb 2014 @ 11:02 am

    Here is another link to find the software and drivers for both Mac and Windows.

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