Olympus OM system close-up and macro equipment

Trans-Illuminator Base XD-E


This base was originally designed for use with Olympus stereo microscopes of the 1970s, and was also sold for use with the Macrophoto Stand VST-1, which fits neatly on top of the base and locates on 2 raised screws at the front.

Trans-Illuminator Base XD-E

Olympus OM Trans-Illuminator Base XD-E

Optional polished wooden hand rests can be fitted on each side. Each hand rest has a metal plate with 2 L-shaped holes. On each side of the top of the base there is a horizontal slot into which the metal plate fits. The slot has one fixed metal rod, and a second metal rod that can be screwed in and out with a milled knob.

To fit an arm rest:

  1. Unfold the arm rest, with the hinge underneath.
  2. Partially unscrew the milled knob, so that the metal rod is clear of the horizontal slot.
  3. Slide the metal plate of the arm rest into the horizontal slot, so that one of the L-shaped holes fits over the fixed metal rod.
  4. Move the arm rest backwards or forwards to engage the L-shaped hole on the fixed metal rod.
  5. Screw in the milled knob so that the metal rod passes through the other L-shaped hole.

To remove an arm rest:

  1. Partially unscrew the milled knob, so that the metal rod is clear of the horizontal slot.
  2. Slide the arm rest backwards or forwards so that it disengages from the fixed metal rod.
  3. Pull the arm rest sideways so that the metal plate comes out of the horizontal slot.

The supplied mirror is reversible, with one side flat and glossy white, and the other a plano-cylindrical mirror. The mirror is fitted in a semi-circular black mount that allows it to be adjusted in 2 planes. A large, knurled knob on the left side of the base allows the mirror to be adjusted about a horizontal axis, and it can also be swivelled within its mount. The curved mirror is intended for use with microscopes, and does not provide uniform illumination. The white side provides uniform illumination, suitable for photography, but less bright. The supplied mirror can be removed, and replaced by the Centering Mirror PM-ELCS, which has a flat mirrored surface and can provide even illumination. This flat-surfaced mirror is essential for use of the Lieberkühn reflectors.

To change the mirror (taking care not to get finger marks on it):

  1. Remove the arm rests and the lamp housing.
  2. Turn the base upside-down.
  3. Turn the large milled knob on the side of the base so that the black semi-circular mount holding the mirror is vertical.
  4. Turn the mirror so that it is at right-angles to the mount.
  5. Hold the mirror by the sides furthest from the mount.
  6. Pull the top side of the mount upwards, while pushing the mirror downwards and tilting it so that it comes off the mount.
  7. Note the 2 small holes in the perimeter of the mirror, where the mount locates.
  8. Position the other mirror so that one of the small holes locates on the bottom side of the mount.
  9. Pull the top side of the mount upwards, while pushing the mirror downwards and tilting it so that the other small hole locates on the top side of the mount.
  10. Turn the base the right way up, and re-fit the lamp housing and the arm rests.

The lamp housing is cylindrical, and is a friction fit in a tube at the rear of the stand. The housing can be slid backwards and forwards to provide a measure of control over the illumination. The housing can be removed by sliding it out, allowing the Trans-Illuminator LSD to be positioned behind the stand.

Microscope ref. X-DE, 5-S150
US catalog no. 104-213
Introduced 1972
Bulb ref. 8-S250
Bulb spec. ES, F240V/20W or F120V/20W, globe diameter 34.5 mm


The version that was sold for use with the OM system is finished in a “hammered” medium grey, similar to the grey parts of the Auto Bellows and various other OM macro equipment.

There are two other versions, differing only in the colour and finish of the non-chrome metallic body parts, designed to match Olympus microscopes of various vintages. The older version is finished in a smooth, glossy grey, and the newer version (X-DE-W, 5-S150W) is finished in a smooth, semi-matt cream.

Most examples use a mains-voltage 20-watt ES-fitting bulb and have an 1800 mm mains lead. A few examples exist with either a 24-volt 30-watt bulb or a 6-volt 30-watt bulb powered from a separate transformer; it is not known if these were supplied by Olympus or whether they have been modified by enthusiasts using lamps from microscopes.

Instruction leaflet

Instructions were not provided with the Trans-Illuminator Base.

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Created 18th May 2001   —   Updated 14th November 2013
Copyright © 2001–2013 Alan Wood

Olympus OM system close-up and macro equipment