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Getting Microtek Scanmaker E6 to work

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    Getting Microtek Scanmaker E6 to work

    Our first scanner, a Microtek Scanmaker E6 from circa 1996, still appears to work fine, but I can’t get the software to see it. Windows XP says a camera is newly connected, but can’t automatically find a driver for it.

    The scanner has on its rear a SCSI port, DB25 port, and a DB15 port. I am connecting to the SCSI port, converting to parallel, and plugging it into the parallel port of the AMD Athlon 2100 MHz. with Windows XP.

    I have tried 3 different pieces of OEM software. They ask how it is connected and I say parallel port. They all say there is no scanner connected.
    Sattinger's Law: “It works better if you plug it in.” Corollary: “It works even better if you plug it in correctly.”
    "The simplest solution is the most likely solution." --My paraphrase of Occam's Razor
    "You can get [a computer] like yours at a garage sale for, like, fifteen dollars," --Strong Sad, sbemail #33

    #2
    Originally posted by Bill-kun View Post
    The scanner has on its rear a SCSI port, DB25 port, and a DB15 port. I am connecting to the SCSI port, converting to parallel, and plugging it into the parallel port of the AMD Athlon 2100 MHz. with Windows XP.
    I am wincing already here. How exactly did you "convert SCSI to parallel"? Did you just plug a DB-25 to Centronics 50 pin cable between the parallel port and the Scanner's SCSI port, or do you have a parallel port to SCSI controller dongle (with suitable drivers) in between the two devices?

    Old Macintosh computers used a female DB-25 connector for external SCSI peripherals that's physically identical to a PC parallel port, so DB-25 to SCSI *cables*, IE, just dumb cables, are very common. But if you hook a SCSI device up to a PC parallel port with one you could very well damage the SCSI device, the PC, or both. It definitely will not *work*.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

    Comment


      #3
      I'm wondering if this is some sort of attempt at humor, that is just somehow missing the mark. Wasn't it a just a few days ago you tried to use a parallel port as a serial port? Now you're trying to use a parallel port as a SCSI port?

      In case you are serious, a parallel port isn't a "universal" port that you can use for any other purpose. Physical "adapters" are almost exclusively for conversions between the same type of port. For example if you have a 50 pin SCSI and you want to convert to DB25 SCSI, that should be possible. If you have a DB25 serial and you want to convert to DE9, that will probably work. If you have a mouse that works with serial or PS/2, then a serial to ps/2 or vice-versa might work, but only if the mouse supports it. Same for USB to whatever adapters, they only work if the device specifically supports it, unless they are special active adapters like a USB to serial or USB to ps/2 mouse and keyboard that you used to see a lot in the early 2000s when things were first switching to USB only on consumer gear.

      It's best to not plug anything into a port or device unless you are sure it's correct. Just because you connected an adapter and it fits doesn't mean you won't damage something, as in the example from Eudimorphodon.

      There are some exceptions (like a handful of zip drives that are parallel and scsi compatible), but it's best to assume that what you are working with isn't an exception and don't just plug it in without finding out first.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jafir View Post
        There are some exceptions (like a handful of zip drives that are parallel and scsi compatible), but it's best to assume that what you are working with isn't an exception and don't just plug it in without finding out first.
        There are horror stories of people melting the SCSI ports in their Macs after erroneously connecting parallel-only ZIP drives to them so the danger of just plug-and-trying it isn't just theoretical. DB-25 is possibly the most overused and abused connector in computing history; if you're staring down one of those ports on a random piece of vintage computer gear you can make *zero* assumptions about either pinout or protocol, and just plug-and-trying is a really dumb idea.

        But, yeah, frankly I am almost feeling like this is a troll. USB was a significant milestone in mainstream computing specifically because the "U" stands for "Universal" and the whole idea was to free us from the tyranny of having to have a million different interfaces in our computer to talk to different kinds of devices. You don't exactly need to be a white-haired professor of computer science to grasp this concept, and it's not unreasonable to expect anyone collecting "vintage" computers to need to wrap their heads around it.
        My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

        Comment


          #5
          It is not an attempt at humor and not trolling. I used vintage computers in their first run; only used them; not bought them, set them up, installed new hardware, or reconfigured them. So even though I installed DOS games and wrote intermediate GWBASIC programs and simple batch files, I had no idea how the computers really work(ed) until a couple years ago when I became interested. I am learning this as I go, and although I am a very technical person, there is a steep learning curve for this--the kind where a learner often doesn't even know what the right question to ask is. Of course USB was a major milestone that freed us from having to manually configure all this stuff. That is now; this was then. In that sense I'm even having to reverse my thinking during my learning. (Yoda: "You must unlearn what you have learned.")

          The scanner in question has had this converter and this cable connected to it since it was disconnected from normal use far over a decade ago. This looks to me like a SCSI connector that then goes through some adaptor and goes through the big white cable. The opposite end of this cable is a male DB25, and I have every reason to believe that went into the parallel port.
          Microtek scanner front - Screenshot 2021-10-28 052108.jpgMicrotek scanner rear - Screenshot 2021-10-28 052018.jpg

          In my experience and as far as I know, dongles and even the word "dongle" weren't invented until about 2004, and that word had never been applied to anything that is not USB and does not connect to anything else. I certainly could be wrong on that, but that is my experience.
          Sattinger's Law: “It works better if you plug it in.” Corollary: “It works even better if you plug it in correctly.”
          "The simplest solution is the most likely solution." --My paraphrase of Occam's Razor
          "You can get [a computer] like yours at a garage sale for, like, fifteen dollars," --Strong Sad, sbemail #33

          Comment


            #6
            The opposite end of this cable is a male DB25, and I have every reason to believe that went into the parallel port.
            I could give you the same answer as last time, but I guess you are not really interested in doing any reseach on your own before trying such things.

            SCSI had DB25 as well. This is SCSI, not parallel. And unlike with your mouse experiment, you killed either your parallel port or the SCSI part of the scanner already if you connected it like this.

            To make this clear again, even if many told you already: using adapters to make something fit will *not* make it magically work! There are reasons why connectors are different. Adapters only adapt the connector, not the protocol, voltage levels, etc. Stop doing this.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Bill-kun View Post
              The scanner in question has had this converter and this cable connected to it since it was disconnected from normal use far over a decade ago. This looks to me like a SCSI connector that then goes through some adaptor and goes through the big white cable. The opposite end of this cable is a male DB25, and I have every reason to believe that went into the parallel port.
              That "adapter" it's going through looks to me like a SCSI terminator. In which case it's just a passive device meant to improve signal integrity between the host controller and the last device on a SCSI chain. (SCSI is complicated.) In which case, no, it is not a protocol converter. At all. An active parallel to SCSI adapter is going to say what it is, and in most cases will have a passthrough port marked "printer" so you can have both it and the SCSI device hooked up at the same time. (There are limited exceptions to that second rule, like the Jazz Traveller. Which was never intended as a general purpose device.)

              Unless Windows tells you you have a SCSI adapter attached (because that's what your scanner is still going to look like if you were hooked up via such an adapter, you're going to rely on the driver for *that* to do the communication to the scanner itself) you just cross-connected two completely incompatible things.

              In my experience and as far as I know, dongles and even the word "dongle" weren't invented until about 2004
              The exact origins of the term are sort of obscure but it was in circulation by the late 1980's. Back then it mostly applied to nasty little dingus-es that attached to a serial or parallel port that were intended to enforce software copy protection, but by the early 1990's it started applying generally to adapter cables/PCMCIA card pigtails/etc.
              My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

              Comment


                #8
                ... FWIW, I had the baby brother of this exact scanner back in the late 1990s. (A ScanMaker E3 instead of an E6.) The brain-dead little SCSI card it came with had the Mac-style 25 pin port on it (IE, same as a parallel port) and I'm also pretty sure it came with exactly that same cable and terminator plug.
                My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

                Comment


                  #9
                  According to an in-box listing of this E6 model I found, it came from the factory with a SCSI card. So that SCSI card must have had the mating female DB25 port on it. I don’t know if we still have that card. I can look for it. Anyway, I will also try to hook up a printer or something else to make sure the parallel port is still fine. The scanner was only plugged in for 10 minutes.
                  Sattinger's Law: “It works better if you plug it in.” Corollary: “It works even better if you plug it in correctly.”
                  "The simplest solution is the most likely solution." --My paraphrase of Occam's Razor
                  "You can get [a computer] like yours at a garage sale for, like, fifteen dollars," --Strong Sad, sbemail #33

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Bill-kun View Post
                    Our first scanner, a Microtek Scanmaker E6 from circa 1996, still appears to work fine, but I can’t get the software to see it. Windows XP says a camera is newly connected, but can’t automatically find a driver for it.

                    The scanner has on its rear a SCSI port, DB25 port, and a DB15 port. I am connecting to the SCSI port, converting to parallel, and plugging it into the parallel port of the AMD Athlon 2100 MHz. with Windows XP.
                    Microtek made a SCSI to parallel dongle and that might have been included with your scanner. I got one with my V300 but never used it as I was scanning via Macs which have SCSI built-in.
                    From memory the dongle is quite chunky, the size of a cigarette packet, and the parallel cable is not removable.
                    That doesn't look to be what you have got hooked up in the photo though. If you were definitely scanning on a PC that didn't have an internal SCSI card then you might need to look around from the Mikrotek converter. Hope that helps a bit.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      What are you using to convert to parallel? You did know that earlier SCSI cards (I have several) employed the "Apple SCSI" connection using DB25 connectors? I have one such cable that converts from DB25 "Apple SCSI" to 50-conductor Blue-ribbon SCSI. Just different connections on either end--no active devices. It looks like this
                      Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Chuck(G) View Post
                        What are you using to convert to parallel? You did know that earlier SCSI cards (I have several) employed the "Apple SCSI" connection using DB25 connectors? I have one such cable that converts from DB25 "Apple SCSI" to 50-conductor Blue-ribbon SCSI. Just different connections on either end--no active devices. It looks like this
                        Yes, I think we covered that
                        My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Also, I found that the DB25 port is for daisy-chain SCSI and the DB15 port is for other accessories, so I can't use them to do the scan data transfer. This is strictly a SCSI device. I did find the complete manual PDF somewhere online and I don't think it mentioned either of those ports. But this site did:

                          Originally posted by https://www.scantips.com/mtek.html#20
                          Microtek rear panel documentation

                          Curious about your rear panel connectors? On the SCSI scanners, the 25 pin connector on the rear panel is for connecting another external SCSI device. You could use the furnished SCSI cable to do that if it is available.

                          The 15 pin connector is for accessories like the TMA and ADF options (Transparent Media Adapter and Automatic Document Feeder).

                          The parallel interface models vary. On some this is a SCSI connector for other SCSI devices, but on most, this is a parallel connector for a printer. Be sure you realize you cannot connect a printer to a SCSI port.
                          Link to the manual PDF (May 1996; covers Microtek E3, E6, III, IIHR, IISP/IISPX, II/IIXE, IIG, 35t Plus, 45t):
                          https://data2.manualslib.com/pdf7/17...39d741a32c5c10

                          Last edited by Bill-kun; November 6, 2021, 12:15 PM.
                          Sattinger's Law: “It works better if you plug it in.” Corollary: “It works even better if you plug it in correctly.”
                          "The simplest solution is the most likely solution." --My paraphrase of Occam's Razor
                          "You can get [a computer] like yours at a garage sale for, like, fifteen dollars," --Strong Sad, sbemail #33

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Yep, I've got a (UMAX) scanner like that and it uses a DB25F for SCSI. Said connector is clearly marked. Even if it weren't, there's a small (screwdriver-operated) SCSI ID switch which is a dead giveaway. The good news is that SANE now supports most SCSI scanners.
                            Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Another question since it occured to me.

                              I found in my shelves a Dynex model DX-UBPC cable. It has 36-pin Centronix on one end and male USB on the other. The Dynex website says this is for converting parallel to USB. Obviously this is incorrect for this application, but it got me thinking.

                              Is there a similar simple SCSI-to-USB adaptor that is purchasable? Maybe this?

                              Ratoc USB 2.0 to Ultra SCSI Converter
                              https://www.synchrotech.com/product-...i-conv_01.html
                              Sattinger's Law: “It works better if you plug it in.” Corollary: “It works even better if you plug it in correctly.”
                              "The simplest solution is the most likely solution." --My paraphrase of Occam's Razor
                              "You can get [a computer] like yours at a garage sale for, like, fifteen dollars," --Strong Sad, sbemail #33

                              Comment

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