Tag Archives: Minolta

Troubleshooting Microfilm Machines

office-space-fax-machineMicrofilm readers and printers can be finicky. Sometimes they just need to be cleaned, other times you need a new lens or roller, and worst of all, occasionally you need to buy a new machine altogether. Fortunately, many times a reader/printer’s problem has a simple, cost-free solution. So, before you go Office Space on your machine, see if these easy trouble-shooting tips can help you.

These tips come from a Minolta RP 605Z machine, but many of the solutions can be used for most microform readers and printers.

Problem: My machine won’t turn on.                                                                                       Solution: Make sure the side door that gives you access to the printer/toner is closed all the way.

Problem: Paper jam.                                                                                                               Solution: When you loaded the paper in the printer, did you put the metal spring clip above the newly loaded paper? If not, go try that. If that didn’t work, are you sure you’re using the right size of paper? Check with your machine’s manual to ensure you have the right size for your machine.

Problem: It won’t load the microfilm or microfiche.                                                         Solution: Your machine needs to be turned on in order to load the microfilm. It’s on? Okay, well are you sure that your machine is compatible with your microform? Some only read microfilm, some only read microfiche, and some read both. Consult your handy manual…or the internet.

Problem: I’m pressing the load button, but it won’t work.                                       Solution: Try loading the film manually. Here’s a video of how to load the film. Instead of pushing the load button in the film, try and work the film through yourself.

Problem: I can’t focus or zoom.                                                                                       Solution: Try taking out the lens then putting it back in to make sure it’s installed correctly.

Problem: The screen’s brightness is uneven or too dark.                                               Solution: Check the lens to make sure it is clean and properly installed. Not sure how to clean your lens? Here’s a how-to. 

Hopefully your problem was one of the “simple solution” variety. If not, give us a call at (608) 276-5559 and we’ll see if we can help you get your machine running like new!

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Scanner Lingo Breakdown

By now, you’ve hopefully figured out which type of scanner you’re looking for. If not, not worries, just click here and you’ll be well on your way to answering that question! 

Are you back now? Great. Now we can move on to the trickier steps in figuring out your perfect scanner. The lingo used for different features can be a little daunting, and their meanings not always clear. Here are the basics:

bit depthBit Depth is the number of bits a scanner picks up from the pixels of an image when it’s scanned. The technical way to think of bit depth is it affects how many bits of data are used to encode each pixel of data. The larger the bit number, the better quality, but also the bigger the image. Basically, it’s one of the key components in deciding the scanner’s image quality. 

  • If you are mostly scanning text documents, look for a bit depth of at least 24.
  • If you will be scanning slides or negatives, look for a bit depth of at least 30.
  • If you will be scanning pictures or color images, look for a bit depth between 36 and 48.

scanner resolutionScanner Resolution is measured in Dots Per Inch (DPI). Again, it’s another key component in deciding image quality. The higher the DPI, the more detail in your scanned image. Many manufacturers will give you an interpolated resolution quote, but the most important is optical resolution.

  • If you will be scanning text documents, look for a DPI of 300 or higher.
  • If you will be scanning slides or negatives, look for a DPI of 1200 or higher.
  • If you will be scanning pictures or color images, look for a DPI of 1200 or higher.

Speed is usually measured in Pages Per Minute (PPM). This one’s pretty straightforward. If you’re not scanning all that often, don’t even worry about the PPM. If scanning is an intricate part of your day, choosing a higher PPM so you’re not wasting time waiting around for your scans is probably going to be beneficial for you and your business.

Connectability is something that many people may not even think of until after they’ve bought a scanner. Most scanners will come with a USB connection option so you can just hook it up to your computer and be set. However, if you want to be able to connect multiple computers to one scanner, you may want to look into scanners that have an Ethernet port so you can connect wirelessly.

Once you’ve figured out what bit depth, DPI, PPM, and type of connectability you need, along with the type of scanner you’re looking for, the last thing to do is just research to find the perfect scanner for you! Popular scanner manufacturers include Canon, Fujitsu, Kodak, and Minolta, but there are many, many brands from which to choose. If you’re in the market for a scanner but are experiencing sticker shock, check out our online store that has tons of professionally refurbished scanners.

Microfilm Scanners VS Microfilm Reader/Printers

We understand how difficult it can be, if not just plain confusing, to decide what kind of equipment to purchase when it comes to document storage. We also understand that it’s an expensive investment and Imaging Systems wants you to make the most informed decision before you take the plunge.  So the question remains—should you invest in a microfilm scanner or a microfilm reader/printer?

Below are some helpful pros and cons of both machines in order to point you in the right direction.          

 Microfilm Scanners

PROS:

  • Microfilm scanners allow you to create digital images (i.e. digitization) of microfilm and microfiche giving you instant access to your documents via your computer. So instead of digging through filing cabinets and archival boxes, your documents are stored directly on your computer for immediate retrieval.
  • Digitization as a technological storage method is a huge space saver – you no longer have to worry about boxes upon boxes of archives taking over every square inch of your storage.
  • Digitization of documents also allows you to make your documents readily available to the public. For example, the Census Bureau recently digitized millions of the 1940 Census Records electronic distribution.
  • Data that was previously stored on film can now be converted to various formats including PDF, Adobe, TIFF, and others.

CONS:

  • When stored properly, microfilm can have a life expectancy of up to 500+ years , whereas the life expectancy of a hard drive is unpredictable.
  • Because the life expectancy of a hard drive is unpredictable, you have to create digital forms of back-up to ensure the security of your documents.
  • If you store digital documents on an online database, they are susceptible to being compromised by hackers.
  • Keep in mind that most microfilm scanners do not support OS upgrades. For example, Bell and Howell Spectrum XF machines will no longer support Windows XP in 2014.  Fortunately one of our technicians found a solution, otherwise these particular machines would have become obsolete.

 Microfilm Reader/Printers

PROS:

  • As stated above, microfilm has a longer life expectancy than computer hard drives.
  • Companies have been using these machines for years; its proven technology that people can rely on.
  • Because microfilm scanners are now in the forefront of document digitization, these analog machines are no longer manufactured which makes them much cheaper than their digital rivals.
  • They are often easier to operate because they require fewer programs to operate.

CONS:

  • These machines generally take up more space – they’re heavy, large, and the hard copies of your documents need to be properly stored somewhere.
  •  Although microfilm has a longer life expectancy than digital documents, the drawback is that they are susceptible to natural damage such as fires, water, and general wear and tear.
  • They are analog machines so microfilm reader/printers cannot digitize information
            MS7000 Micro Scanner                                         ABR2600 Reader/Printer