Problem with Epson 1200U Photo

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by craig_shearman|1, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. I have a very small handful of medium format color negatives I want to scan, so I pulled out my old Epson 1200U Photo flatbed scanner. Yes, I know it's ancient. Yes, I know flatbed scanners aren't ideal for film. Yes, I know I should buy a newer scanner. But since I'm just doing a handful of negs and only need the images for the web, I'm happy using this for the moment.

    The problem is that when I use the film adaptor and scan a negative I get a very thin dark blue line that runs across the image. The position of the line is fixed, running roughly down the middle of the long distance of the flatbed. That puts it running across the middle of a 2 1/4 negative in the film holder when using the film adaptor. It's definitely something electronic, not a scratch on the film, since I have the same problem with multiple negs from multiple shoots from multiple cameras over a period of years. The line appears in a fixed place n relation to the glass on the scanner -- rotating the film holder only makes it show up on a different place in the image. Doesn't seem to be a mark on the glass since it doesn't show up when I scan prints.

    I've tried jiggling the cord that connects the film adaptor to the scanner in the hope it was just a lose connection even tried jiggling the USB cord. Tried with different computers and same problem. Tried with VueScan in addition to the Epson software and I get the same problem.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Could it be caused by dust on the scanner sensor array? Or a fault in the sensor array that has killed the R and G pixels?
  3. Something with the sensor array did occur to me. But it's just this single line -- maybe more than one row of pixels but a very fine line. Color on the rest of the scanning area is fine. And it doesn't show up when I do a reflective scan, only a film scan. That suggests that it has to do with the film adaptor, but the adaptor is basically just a thin lightbox that lays on top of the scanner and plugs in at the back. It's a 4s5 cold source flat panel of some sort. Occurred to be that there's a line across it and so I tried holding it up an inch or so to see if the line would go out of focus or disappear if the light source was farther away. But it's still there.

    Very frustrating that it's at the center of the image almost. If it were along an edge I would work around it and crop it out.
  4. What software are you using?
    I have had a similar problem scanning black and white negatives using VueScan. Then, without touching the negative or scanner, I have scanned the same negative using Epson Scan and the line has "disappeared". I am not sure what caused the problem.
    If you have a second scanning software, try it and see if the line persists. If it does, it's a hardware problem - probably a dead or stuck pixel in the scanner sensor.
  5. Every instance of a color line in a scan I've encountered is due to the optical path of the scanner needing cleaning, this includes the lamp. Gassing out of the materials in the scanner is the cause.
    Start with the transparency adapter cleaning the lamp and the inside of the glass then if that does not eliminate it start with the under side of the bed glass then the mirrors and front of the lens. Sometimes the sensor has to be removed, cleaned, the back side of the lens cleaned, then reassembled and the sensor aligned.
    Leave no streaks or dust on any interior surface.
  6. Something in the transparency adapter would make sense, since it only happens when using the adapter. I may try cleaning that. But if it's in the glass/lens/sensor of the main part of the scanner, shouldn't I also be getting the line on regular scans (scans of prints as opposed to film)?
  7. "What software are you using?"

    I'm using Epson Scan (Twain 5) and have also tried a trial version of VueScan. I get the same line with Epson Scan on an older Windows XP computer (my Epson Scan is too old to work on my current Windows 8 machine) and with the VueScan on Windows 8.
  8. Sounds like some debris or something in the calibration area at the top. When using an Epson transparency adapter the gap at the top of the film holders is used to calibrate the sensor and anything that blocks light there will throw off the rest of the scan.
  9. Transparency scanning picks up the deposits in the optical path quicker than document scanning.
  10. Tried cleaning everything I could short of taking things apart, including the calibration area. No changes. Any tips, Charles, on how to go about opening up and cleaning internal parts as you suggested? I'm a little nervous about doing anything that makes things worse. Looking at the scanning mechanism as it moves along under the glass, there is a black plastic box with what appears to be a narrow fluorescent light. No sign of a lens, mirrors, the sensor itself, all of which are presumably inside of that. The transparency unit is basically just a miniature flat panel light box that sits on top of the scanner, no moving parts.
  11. I have a transparency unit for a 1640su that also worked on a 1650, yours is likely similar. Not much there but the lamp and diffusion panel.
    I have never worked on the 1200U but assume its standard Epson build.
    Start a scan and unplug the power cord from the scanner when the light box moves off the home position otherwise it will be locked and difficult to work on. At the end of servicing you can manually move it to the home position but it will reset itself to the home position when powered on the next time.
    Remove the lid.
    In the base of the well for the lid hinge pin is a screw, remove them.
    With the transport lock in the lock position lift the rear of the cover up. It will be clipped at the front. It should slip out of the clips but you may have to use a small slot screwdriver to release the clips.
    Unplug the switch wiring sockets at the chassis.
    Clean what is accessible without further disassembly to start with.
    You will be able to see the sensor at the rear of the block with the mirrors at the front under the lamp.
    Do not remove the sensor until all other surfaces have been cleaned, the scanner tested, and it is absolutely necessary to clear the streaks.
    By going to Epson's site, looking up the scanner, selecting support, a supplier site, then selecting the scanner I got a parts breakdown. The pdf link, if it works,
  12. Charles, thanks very much. I will try to work on it this weekend.

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