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Hardware Thread, Multiple USB scanners on same host PC? in Technical; If funds will allow look at purchasing a network scanner, plug it into the network and then no PC needed, ...
  1. #16

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    If funds will allow look at purchasing a network scanner, plug it into the network and then no PC needed, scan direct to user folders, we use Fujitsu scanners for this purpose.

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    dgsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    For some reason, I imagined you were going to have eight (or more) scanners connected to multiple USB hubs.
    Not at all, there are enough standard USB ports on computers these days (even those from several years ago) to accomodate the quantity of scanners i'd be looking to use

    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    I really like the VM idea - I can't see why it wouldn't work (but that doesn't mean it will!) I'd definitely try it - it would be quick to set up a machine with a couple of VMs and connect a couple of scanners. Once you know the technique works you can then look at using USB extenders.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    The VM idea does sound good. However, what would happen if a student disconnected a scanner? When it was plugged back in would it get automatically reconnected to the correct VM?
    I suppose the only way to know is to try it as already said.. I may just buy the extenders and hope for the best; if all else fails, at least the computers will be centralised. I can't see any reason for students to unplug the scanner though (not like a computer where they don't like "being monitored" - the scanner isn't any threat to them) I suppose the same problem could arise in event of a power cut, would the scanners know which VM to go back to, or even if the host PC is rebooted manually?

    I read on the Canoscan guide that there seems to be a dropdown where you can select which scanner you want to configure. The obvious reason for this seems to be because you can choose separate config for each scanner; either that or so the program knows not to configure any other non-canon scanner device that may also be attached. Even if I get round that problem, I fear I may still have a driver limitation issue to deal with (this is in the non-VM scenerio).

    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewL View Post
    If funds will allow look at purchasing a network scanner
    That's the thing - funds do not allow at all, hence why i'd be looking at the "value" (cheapest) USB extender I can find, simply because anything that costs anymore is outside of our financial reach. This is also the reason why we adopted this setup in the first place as it meant we could use existing hardware at no extra cost to achieve essentially the same setup as one which is achieved using an actual network scanner. Plus, there are only 3 buttons on this setup, and nothing that can become "unconfigured" or messed with

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    Don't think unplugging will be a problem - that only seems to occur if you plug a device into a different USB socket. Given that pupils will only be able to get at the scanner end, the reconnect should be fine.

  4. #19
    dgsmith's Avatar
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    Right, 1 week later I have the extenders. I move the host computer into our room and plug the extenders in as necessary, so I have scanner>usb cable>usb extender>ethernet link to our room>usb extender (reciever)>host computer.

    All seems to look well - scanner picks up at host computer and asks to reinstall drivers. Scanner seems fine - is detected in device manager and a nice icon appears in "My Computer". If I unplug any cable this link, the scanner disappears (as expected) and reappears when I rejoin the link (again, as you would expect).

    Unfortunately, computer seems to think scanner isn't connected when I try to scan something (front buttons or windows interface). This is odd as it picks it up fine and I reinstalled it fine, and the tests I did above obviously prove the computer knows it is there.

    So, unless I can get this USB extender to work, it seems the computers will have to stay put! From scanner to PC, the entire length is about 15-20m (including USB and patch cables); much less than the quoted 50m for these devices.

    Any suggestions?

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    Not wishing to be a stuck record but its the voltage drop - theres enough to power the basic im a scanner electronic but not enough for the please scan electronics.

  6. #21

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    My suggestions would be to try hooking up a powered USB device to one of the extenders like a printer and see if that talks. If it does it is the voltage drop and should be solvable by hooking up a powered USB hub to the scanner end of the extender then plugging the scanner into that.

    I'd also try a different, more simple bit of hardware such as a usb stick to see it that interfaces correctly.

    I'd also try on another of the extender links as it could be a faulty extender box or cat5e install as there can be deviation in the lengths of copper in a cable run that could be causing issues to.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 18th February 2010 at 11:58 AM.

  7. #22
    dgsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesreedersmith View Post
    Not wishing to be a stuck record but its the voltage drop - theres enough to power the basic im a scanner electronic but not enough for the please scan electronics.
    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    My suggestions would be to try hooking up a powered USB device to one of the extenders like a printer and see if that talks. If it does it is the voltage drop and should be solvable by hooking up a powered USB hub to the scanner end of the extender then plugging the scanner into that.
    I'll try and find one and give it a try (I haven't any to hand at the moment, quite frustratingly). It says scanner disconnected when it isn't even trying to scan anything though (when you load the config, it checks for the presence of the scanner, which it then says it can't find it, even though it still happily shows in My Computer and device manager).

    How much of a voltage drop are we talking about over the distance? Would the same be true if I just tested over a length of a couple of metres too?

    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I'd also try a different, more simple bit of hardware such as a usb stick to see it that interfaces correctly.

    I'd also try on another of the extender links as it could be a faulty extender box or cat5e install as there can be deviation in the lengths of copper in a cable run that could be causing issues to.
    Plugged in a USB pen drive where the scanner was plugged in, and this worked fine (could browse through files and open them up without issue). I guess this proves the extenders are working ok and the link hasn't got any breaks in it.

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    How much of a voltage drop are we talking about over the distance? Would the same be true if I just tested over a length of a couple of metres too?
    No the drop is proportional to the cable length so 2m would not be a valid test, does sound like a powered USB hub will solve it though which is good news.

    It could be worth plugging the scanner in directly via USB to its assigned port on the host machine to make sure it is not a software issue.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 18th February 2010 at 04:35 PM.

  9. #24

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    Not that's it's as helpful now that you've already bought extenders, but I have a netgear print server that can take a scanner too. You 'capture' the scanner in the software on a workstation, do your scanning and then release it again. Might be worth looking into.

  10. #25
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    Well a month later we eventually managed to get USB hubs with power. Took us 3 weeks from BT Business as they kept shipping ones without power (labelling error) but got them in the end.

    All works fine! It does seem like it was a power issue and now that is sorted, and fairly cheap as well (extenders 10 each, hubs /w power 4 each).

    Just got to figure out if I go virtual or SANE driver now. The host machines are fairly old (Celeron 2.4 on Northwood core) so I don't know if running virtual machines is doable on them! Still, I think the major hurdle is over.

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