Tag Archives: scanners

Spectrum XF Windows 7 Installation Package

If you have’t already read our post on it, a little over a year ago one of our technicians, Sauron (yes, that’s pronounced exactly how you think it is, Lord of the Rings fans), figured out a way to make the Bell & Howell 8000 Spectrum XF Scanner Series compatible with Windows 7.  Hooray, Sauron!

That was absolutely fantastic then, but even more fantastic now. Why? Because in April of 2014 (just a couple short months away), Windows will no longer support Windows XP. If you’re currently running XP and use a Spectrum XF scanner, updating to Windows 7 could cause a problem or two (or ten).

Luckily, we at Imaging System (and of course, Sauron), are here to help. We’re offering a Spectrum XF Windows 7 Installation package to help you have a smooth transition into Windows 7. Here are the details:

What am I buying? You are paying for the hour of service including the guided installation of VRS 4.5 on Windows 7 (32 bit), which will enable you to use your Spectrum XF scanner with a computer running Windows 7.

How much does it cost? The cost is $400.

What is included? A PDF of complete instructions to ensure that this process can be repeated, a VRS 4.5 installation disk with file and folder names that match the installation instructions, and one hour of guided service.

How soon can I start? After you purchase the software, we’ll ship you the installation disk and email you the PDF.  Once you receive them, you should call (608) 276-5559 and ask for Sauron or send an email to sauron@scannerparts.biz to make an appointment.

What do I need? Besides the PDF instructions and the installation disk that we send you, you will need:

  • Windows 7 (32 bit) with no previous version of VRS installed
  • Fully functioning Bell and Howell Spectrum XF Scanner
  • Functioning Kofax Adrenaline 650i PCI card
  • Fully operational SCSI cable
  • Administrative rights to the target computer.

How do I buy this? Great question. You can call or email Sauron! If you have any questions, he’s your go-to guy too! If you forgot already, the phone number is (608) 276-5559 (ask for Sauron) or his email is sauron@scannerparts.biz

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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.

How to Choose the Right Scanner for Your Home or Business

We get it. Scanners aren’t everyone’s passion in life. More often than not, you find that you have a need for a scanner but not much information on what exactly would work best for your situation. Are you a small business? A big one? Do you just need a scanner for your home for every now and then projects? There is a plethora of scanner options, and it can be overwhelming to anyone not well-versed in scanner lingo.

There are so many different features offered on so many different machines, but the first step in choosing the right scanner is deciding what type of scanner will work best for you or your business.

Cue breakdown of different types of  scanners!

  • Hanhandheld scannerdheld Scanners:  If you are constantly on the go, but need a scanner to tag along with you, handheld scanners are for you. They are small, super portable, and easy to use. The drawbacks, though,  are that they may not give you the best image quality, and it may take multiple passes through the scanner to scan the entire document.
  • portable scannerPortable scanners:  Like handheld scanners, portable scanners are ideal for people who are often out of the home/office, but still need scanning capabilities. They offer the ability to scan entire documents in one pass, and many have the ability to scan double-sided papers. Depending on the model, the image quality of your scans can be surprisingly high.
  • sheetfed scannerSheet-fed scanners:  Sheet-fed scanners are ideal for high volumes of loose pages. They’re not huge machines, so they are often put to use in small businesses or homes. Sheet-fed scanners allow you to put in a certain number of loose pages (the number depends on the model), press scan, and then leave while the scanner does the work for you.
  • flatbed scannerFlatbed Scanners: Flatbed scanners are most likely what you imagine when you think of a typical scanner. They’re bigger and heavier than the other types we’ve gone over, and they have a hood that you raise up which exposes the glass you do your scanning on. They’re the most commonly used scanner in offices and homes because they can scan basically anything. Books, magazines, art, flowers, you name it, as long as it fits on the glass, it can be scanned. Because of their versatility, these will be the most expensive “everyday” scanners on the market. Some flatbed scanners come with sheet-fed capabilities, which basically just combines the good things about sheet-fed and flatbed scanners, but those will be even more expensive.

There are other, more specialized scanners available, but this list gives you a pretty comprehensive look at the “normal, every-day” scanners your home or business could benefit from.

Once you’ve figured out the type of scanner you want, check out our post on helping you decide what features you’ll need!

If you’re looking to buy a scanner, but you are wary about how pricey they can be, try checking out our online store that has many professionally refurbished scanners!

Windows 7 Update for Bell & Howell Spectrum XF Scanners

Our technician Sauron is receiving quite a bit of approbation around the office today — he discovered a way to make the Bell & Howell 8000 Spectrum XF Scanner Series compatible with Windows 7, something that hasn’t be done until now.

Beginning in 2014 Windows will no longer support Windows XP, which until yesterday was the only operating system that Spectrum XF scanners would support.

Thanks to Sauron, Imaging Systems has become the first company to find a solution! Companies no longer have to worry about their expensive scanners becoming altogether fallow. We will be offering customers with software updates along with tech support in order to make the switch to Windows 7 as easy and painless as possible before 2014.

If you an Spectrum XF scanner in need of the Windows 7 update,  call us at 1-800-830-9934 for further assistance.

UPDATE : We are offering an installation package to assist you in the transition from XP to Windows 7. For details, visit this link.

5 Questions to Ask if Your Scanner or Microfilm Machine is Broken

Are there any IT Crowd fans out there? Anyone who works with computers for a living will definitely appreciate the show’s ultra-nerdy tech humor! The two main characters work as IT employees in the basement of a corporate business, and as a running joke throughout the series, the first thing they always ask customers is, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

I immediately thought of the show  while talking with one of our technicians here at Imaging Systems this afternoon. I asked him what would be the first thing somebody should do if their computer or office machine isn’t working properly. He replied, very assuredly, “They should try turning it off and on again.” Luckily he’s also a fan of the show, so when I started laughing there wasn’t any awkward what’s-wrong-with-you silence on his part.

But seriously, how often has simply turning something on and off again fixed a technical issue? I’ll raise my hand without shame — I was an English major in college, so without a doubt I belong to the percentage of customers that IT people make witty jokes about over beers at the local pub. You know who you are!  For those of you having problems with your at home or office scanners/microfilm machines,  who are also like me and electronics continue to baffle them, fear no more! The Imaging System technicians have combined their knowledgeable brains and created some handy dandy questions to ask yourselves before kicking the machine square in the caboose:

    Scanner Machine:

  1. Have you unplugged the scanner yet and plugged it back in? Try this: unplug the machine, count to 15, and then plug it back in.
  2. Does the scanner offer an error message? If so, try searching for the error message online — more often than not there will be a public forum with answers on how to fix that particular error.
  3.  Restart the computer your scanner is hooked up to. Yes, turning it off and on again (had to throw that in there).
  4. Are the scanned images cloudy or do you see lines running up and down the paper? This may mean the scanner glass needs to be cleaned. Our technicians recommend using alcohol on cotton balls to clean the glass.
  5. Does the printer that your scanner uses spit out paper or constantly jam? Either of these signs might indicate that the printer rollers need to be taken out and cleaned thoroughly.

     Microfilm Machine:

  1.  Same as above, have you unplugged the machine and plugged it back in? Try this: unplug the machine, count to 15, and then plug it back in.
  2. Are the microfilm bulb(s) plugged/twisted in all the way? Sometimes they can become loose!
  3. Is the microfilm lens seated properly? Similar to the lamps, lenses can easily become loose or tilted.
  4. Do the images look cloudy? Do you see lines or fuzzy dots? These may be indications that the microfilm mirrors need to be cleaned. Make sure to also check that the lens is in focus.
  5. Do the images look too dark? You may need to replace the bulbs.

Hope these questions help to bring your machine back to working shape! For all other questions please feel free to contact our tech support team: 1-800-830-9934