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Very Long - How to Tweak the PrintFix Scanner - (Followup ..

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January 26, 2005 6:51:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

There was another thread "Help profiling monitor with Spyder2, problem in
shadows" started on the 24th that went a bit astray after I mentioned the
PrintFix scanner problem. Another asked about how I tweaked the scanner so
it doesn't skew. Below are a couple of emails that I sent to ColorVison
after receiving my scanner and what I did, with their permission to try and
find a solution to the problem. It may or may not work on your scanner.

Disclaimer. You do this at your own risk obviously and I'm not advising
anyone to do this tweaking. By disassembling the scanner you will most
likely void any warranty since you must break the seal covering one of the
four screw holes. If your unit is still under warranty (two years), I would
first suggest you contact Mike at ColorVision Tech Support and let him know
you would like a replacement scanner or at least get their okay to do it so
you don't void the warranty. He just may say okay.

This scanner skewing is a well known problem as I've found out and I didn't
get any hassles when I emailed them about my first scanner constantly
skewing and jamming. I then made a suggestion for a possible fix and they
said okay and try it. I then emailed them what I found after tweaking the
first scanner (see below). A new scanner promptly arrived but it also has a
skewing problem but I've done nothing to this one and it will be returned.
I'll keep the one I tweaked so I can build some profiles and see if the
software works.

So with some slight modifications, the emails are posted below:

.....................1st email describes the problem.....................

Brand new Spyder2Pro Studio with PrintFix suite arrived this week.
Calibrated
monitors just fine - looking good.

Next I made 5 calibration prints for (Kodak, Ilford, GP, Epson,
RoyalBrights-Matte)and I let them set overnight before attempting to build
any printer profiles.

Had a couple of problems that are making a believer out of me that this
PrintFix reader is not ready for prime-time -or- I have a bad unit. I have
uninstalled the software and reloaded it and still get the same problem.

I can enter the B&W and CMYK calibration prints and the reader works fine.
When I take any one of my 5 calibration prints and insert them into the
clear plastic sleeves, I have about a 1 in 10 chance of the print making it
through the reader before it stops, jams or starts skewing. I have cleaned
the unit several times (remember it's brand new) using the cleaner sheet and
isopropyl and get the same results. When I cancel the read, I have to
gently pull the print so it will exit. It feels as though the left side
roller wheel is looser than the right side.

The calibration prints I made were cut from 8x10 sheets on the dotted lines
and everything was done as per the manual for Windows. Finally after many
attempts, I have yet to get a calibration print through (save once) that was
not skewed in some manner or slipped, or just plain stopped (with the reader
still trying to move the print). I have ensured the print is the same size
as the plastic sleeve, cut squarely on the lines by using a paper cutter and
have positioned the print within the sleeve as far as it will go, to leaving
it back from the leading edge by about 1/2". Nothing seems to work and it
may be that this unit is set to tight as to not allow the print and sleeve
to go through smoothly. Print was aligned with right side as per
instructions and there does not appear to be anything wrong with the plastic
sleeves. Are these new sleeves you're using - maybe they're to thick?

Finally out of desperation, I put the prints through without using the
plastic sleeves. Finally got them to go thru within one or two attempts
without skewing or stopping or jamming.

I physically can't see anything wrong but as I said, I noticed that the left
side appears not to have the same amount of pressure on the print as the
right side - causing it to skew or jam when using the sleeve.

Before I say to hell with this entirely, how about someone checking out a
new reader unit there, burn it in by testing it thoroughly and then sending
it out to me.

..................2nd email suggesting a potential fix...................

Just received the shipping notification of the replacement scanner you're
sending. Now I'm sure ColorVision has probably tried a lot of things to get
this problem to go away but I have an idea I'd like to try if you okay it.

I've been an electronic tech and computer maintenance tech for more years
than I care to remember. One of the things I used to maintain were some IBM
card readers/punches which used a double pressure roller system similar (I
think) to what is in this scanner. The rollers may be made from a different
material but I think the fix we used back then to prevent cards from skewing
may also work on this. Card alignment was critical or the old punch cards
would not be read correctly and we were constantly replacing rollers and
making adjustments.

Finally, one of our techs came up with a fix that involved using a fine 320
grit wet/dry paper. He cut it to the same size as the cards and
then glued it to a punch card. He then let this card start thru the rollers
and
after it started going thru, he would pull on the card slightly to make the
rubber rollers abrade against the sandpaper. This tended to even out the
rollers as well as remove any glazing. It solved our problem 99% of the time
and became a standard maintenance practice for IBM techs.

This trick may work on the scanner rollers as well. It wouldn't do any
damage when the grit was against the top roller but without taking the
scanner apart, I can't see how much clearance there is between the bottom
roller and the LEDs. Obviously the sandpaper would really mess up the LEDs
if it contacted them but if the LED strip can be easily removed or lowered
and then run the sandpaper against the bottom roller to even it out, it may
just work. I doubt there is any adjustment capability in this type scanner
but I do suspect that they do have some kind of tension mechanism (leaf or
spring) that puts pressure on the top roller.

(Note added - there is no bottom roller. The top 4-1/2" long roller is held
against a flat
piece of glass that acts as the bed and tension is applied by two small
coiled springs - one
on each side that holds the bed up to the fixed roller.)

If you're just going to scrap this unit anyway when you get it back, either
let me give it a try or have someone there try it.

..............3rd email after getting
approval......................................

Progress but not a 100% cure. When I send this unit back, I will send the
sandpaper (320 grit) card I made up. Used a 4x6 photo blank and sprayed the
backing with some 3M glue.

I removed the cover and did a close inspection of the mechanicals and could
find nothing wrong such as burrs or other deformities that could be causing
the problem. I then measured the distance from the glass to the top of the
rubber roller and found a variance of .007" from one end to the other.
Rotating the roller caused that reading to vary indicating that the rubber
roller is not as round as it should be.

I cleaned the roller and glass and then proceeded to run the sandpaper thru
using the Read function. The card I made has 320grit on one side and a
glossy photo surface on the other side so as to not to cause any scratching
or marring of the glass surface below the roller. As the sandpaper was
being pulled thru, I would hold it back so the sandpaper would abrade the
roller.

My USB ports certainly have enough current capability and that's one little
tough motor in that scanner. I would let the roller make two or three
revolutions then let the paper pull thru about a 1/2", then hold it again to
abrade the roller. Did this about a dozen times and I could start to see an
even wear pattern across the roller and even scuffing on the sandpaper -
indicating the roller is now wearing more evenly. Cleaned everything and
started some testing.

Prior to this, you'll recall that I could not get a print thru the scanner
that was in the plastic sleeve without it skewing, then jamming. After
truing up the roller, I did not have a single jam - not a single one and I
did at least 100 passes using all 5 of my calibration prints in the plastic
sleeves.

All is not cured though as occasionally, the print would skew slightly and
always to the left - meaning the left side of the scan was always lower than
the right side of the print as viewed on the screen. There is no adjustment
mechanism and the pressure roller is dependent on the two small springs for
keeping an even pressure. I would seriously doubt that these are calibrated
springs so the actual tension they apply to each side of the roller will
vary slightly. Enough to cause the print to skew. I gently removed each
spring and then installed it on the opposite side (right spring went to the
left side, left spring went to the right.

Restarted my testing and noted that the print was not skewing as much now
that the springs were swapped. Getting close here so I again ran the
sandpaper thru a number of iterations (as noted above) and then cleaned
everything again.

More testing and this is now almost perfect in comparison to what it was. I
made up a test print with some vertical and horizontal lines so I could
measure the skewing more easily. Again I probably ran about 100 passes and
used the rectangular marquee tool to measure how square - or how close to
square the print was.

Given, that you cannot 100% of the time place a print perfectly square into
the scanner so I needed to make a measurement from a reference point that
would tell me if the print started squarely. Simple - measure from a center,
vertical line. If the print skews at any point, that vertical line would no
longer be vertical - even if off by one pixel. I ran "many" tests using my
test print and noted a little skewing (less than .5 degrees) which is
probably more than sufficient accuracy but then I noticed a strange skewing
effect further on down the print.

Even though a print would start out square (as measured on the top and down
one side using the marquee tool) about half way down the print, the
horizontal lines would start being skewed - about the thickness of a 3 point
line. Found this to be a constant across all prints. It was not my test
print, I could use your B&W pr CMYK prints and then measure the horizontal
edges and would see that one side of an edge would always be slightly lower
(skewed) than the other side even though the vertical lines (on my test
prints) would be perfectly vertical.

After thinking about this for awhile, I think it must be buffer latency
causing this "electronic skewing". The data is read serially across the
scanner and what I'm seeing is the latency of the data transmission I
believe. I would think that this could be taken care of in the software.
Again, it's consistent and although barely noticeable unless you're looking
at things very closely as I've been doing today. But couple that electronic
skewing with any other mechanical skewing and you end up with significant
error.

One other factor that may be contributing to the skewing is the default
settings being used on the Read function. The default of 400dpi is fine but
the software initially starts the scanner at some lower resolution (faster
speed) for about the first 1/2" or until it reads something of a particular
color value, then it slows to the 400dpi speed. That initial burst of speed
may not seem like much but looking at the forces involved for the size of
the objects we're dealing with and that is about the equivalent of a car
peeling out from a red light - quite a jerk start for a small scanner. I
started using "User Settings" and manually adjusting the window so the
scanner would start reading immediately and made the size 4.3" (max width
you can set x 5") and then running prints thru with and without the plastic
sleeve. Results were consistent in that by not allowing the scanner to do
the fast initial feeding, then slowing, the prints had less tendency to skew
at the start. I got significantly more good (square) starts using this
method than by using the defaults.

So to sum it up. From my point of view there are three problems:

1. Pressure roller not perfectly round.
2. Spring tension not even.
3. Software needs some tweaks to slow down the start and to optimize the
data by buffering it. Perhaps adding some markers to the calibration prints
would help so the software knows how far skewed it is and then determine to
allow or fail the calibration read.

While I was writing this, the other scanner arrived. After I check it out,
I'll send one of them back. Then I can get onto actually making profiles
for the i9900 and seeing how good this software really is......

....................end of emails................................

There were several emails in-between these but the ones above describe the
process of tweaking the scanner. You'll note that you do not need to take
the scanner apart to use the wet/dry 320 grit paper hence leaving the
warranty intact. Be absolutely sure the grit of the sandpaper is facing
up - never down or it will ruin the glass surface that protects the LEDs
below. Also be sure you only use a good quality wet/dry paper so the grit
does not come off. You can find this paper at automotive stores and it's
about $1 per 8x10 sheet.

You'll find that the rubber roller is very tough and it will take several
tries to notice a difference. Be sure to clean everything before running
your cal prints thru. It's a shame they went with using this type of
scanner. There are small (5x7) and far better flat bed scanners on the
market that could be used. Perhaps we can convince them to modify their
software so it will work with other scanners - like the Monaco (from what
I've read).

Anyhow, I hope this has enlightened anyone that was interested and not
confused. Guess I could take some pics of my scanner (cover removed) if
needed and post them in the abpo newsgroup if you need further
clarification. As it is, I'm sure someone will start complaining about how
long this post is...........

Be good,

Bob S.
Anonymous
January 26, 2005 7:33:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I was going to get one of these. Thnaks for the warning.
January 26, 2005 7:53:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"BobS" <spam@eliminator.com> wrote in message
news:r0PJd.510$MX2.377@twister.nyroc.rr.com...
> There was another thread "Help profiling monitor with Spyder2, problem in
> shadows" started on the 24th that went a bit astray after I mentioned the
> PrintFix scanner problem. Another asked about how I tweaked the scanner
> so
> it doesn't skew. Below are a couple of emails that I sent to ColorVison
> after receiving my scanner and what I did, with their permission to try
> and
> find a solution to the problem. It may or may not work on your scanner.

sniped

> Be good,
>
> Bob S.
>
Many thanks for taking the time to post this information.
I'll give it a try.

Dave Stewart
Related resources
January 26, 2005 9:44:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

bmoag,

Just to insure there is no misunderstanding, I'm not telling anyone to stay
away from this product because of a cheapo scanner problem that can be
easily tweaked. Quite the contrary. Since having this problem, I've been
looking for reviews of other products such as the Monaco and G-M's and this
site www.drycreekphoto.com did some comparison testing of the various
systems you should read. I think you'll find they all have some deficiencies
and that PrintFix is as good as any - save the scanner skewing problem.

I have yet to make some "real" calibration prints and start using the
software to make profiles and tweak those. The ones I did make are suspect
because of the slewing problems. So now that I have that little problem
partially solved, I'll go ahead and make some new calibration charts and
then evaluate the software. I know the profiles will not be perfect
renditions of what I see on the screen because of the gamut differences but
should be close so they can then be tweaked manually and then saved for each
type of paper.

At this price range, I doubt anyone has a perfect solution and the systems
that probably are near perfect cost big bucks and have a big learning curve
from what I've been reading. If you go with the Monaco, you'll need your
own scanner and I haven't checked what kind of specs it needs to meet but
that's an added cost if you don't already have a scanner.

I may in-fact return this whole package for a refund but it won't be because
of the scanner alone. If the software doesn't work well enough or is buggy,
then I'll move on to probably the Monaco Pro and give it a whirl.

The Spyder2Pro (the new model) does a very decent job of calibrating
monitors based on my own experiences with it here and what others are saying
about it. Granted, you have to look hard to find some reviews and they're
few and far between but if you can believe what others are saying -
ColorVisions Spyder2Pro and PrintFix suite are not perfect but have been
given some points over the others in it's class.

You'll note that I have not slammed this product or otherwise tried to
dissuade anyone from purchasing it. Just making others aware of what I did
to try to fix a scanner problem. If you get it, and the scanner doesn't
work, call or email them and I'm sure they'll send you another scanner right
away as they did me - no hassle. The Tech Support guy's are helpful but
they didn't make the scanner and have to live with it too. ColorVision
should be addressing this problem and getting it solved - they've known
about it for a long time now.

Wish someone that has the Monaco Pro would jump on in here and give their
"real-world" opinion of that product so we could learn more about it. Maybe
what I need to do is just order one and try it out - providing they have a
return policy that is.

Bob S.



"bmoag" <aetoo@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:VDPJd.15135$wZ2.11623@newssvr13.news.prodigy.com...
> I was going to get one of these. Thnaks for the warning.
>
>
Anonymous
January 27, 2005 12:57:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"BobS" <spam@eliminator.com> wrote in
news:fyRJd.834$MX2.727@twister.nyroc.rr.com:

> Just to insure there is no misunderstanding, I'm not telling anyone to
> stay away from this product because of a cheapo scanner problem that
> can be easily tweaked. Quite the contrary.

I am telling you to stay away from this product. Even with a
non skewing scanner there are huge problems. First - dust!
Second - newton rings. Third - strange patch colors - only very
light colors and no greys. This thingie does not work IMHO.

> Since having this
> problem, I've been looking for reviews of other products such as the
> Monaco and G-M's and this site www.drycreekphoto.com did some
> comparison testing of the various systems you should read. I think
> you'll find they all have some deficiencies and that PrintFix is as
> good as any - save the scanner skewing problem.

I did not find any reviews at this site. But if I am understanding you
correctly you are saying that Monaco and G-M are just as bad as PrintFIX.
That I don't think is a good recommendation for PrintFIX.


/Roland
January 27, 2005 1:26:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Roland,

I stand corrected, the site www.drycreekphoto.com did not do an evaluation
of PrintFix, they did the Spyder2Pro which was part of the suite I
purchased. Thanks for noting my error.

No I didn't say that Monaco and G-M are just as bad - no where near those
words. I did say, from what I've read, for the price range, they all appear
to have problems. Since I only have the PrintFix I cannot do a comparison
against the other two.

On the other hand, you apparently do have some experience with the PrintFix
profile software. Is this with the latest version or their first version?
Can you elaborate on the huge problems so I can verify them when it test
this for myself? Appreciate your input. Any comments on the DoctorPro
plug-in that is used to tweak the profiles?

Thanks,

Bob S.


"Roland Karlsson" <roland_dot_karlsson@bonetmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns95EAE98B2C7ABklotjohan@130.133.1.4...
> "BobS" <spam@eliminator.com> wrote in
> news:fyRJd.834$MX2.727@twister.nyroc.rr.com:
>
> > Just to insure there is no misunderstanding, I'm not telling anyone to
> > stay away from this product because of a cheapo scanner problem that
> > can be easily tweaked. Quite the contrary.
>
> I am telling you to stay away from this product. Even with a
> non skewing scanner there are huge problems. First - dust!
> Second - newton rings. Third - strange patch colors - only very
> light colors and no greys. This thingie does not work IMHO.
>
> > Since having this
> > problem, I've been looking for reviews of other products such as the
> > Monaco and G-M's and this site www.drycreekphoto.com did some
> > comparison testing of the various systems you should read. I think
> > you'll find they all have some deficiencies and that PrintFix is as
> > good as any - save the scanner skewing problem.
>
> I did not find any reviews at this site. But if I am understanding you
> correctly you are saying that Monaco and G-M are just as bad as PrintFIX.
> That I don't think is a good recommendation for PrintFIX.
>
>
> /Roland
Anonymous
January 27, 2005 11:07:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"BobS" <spam@eliminator.com> wrote in
news:p OUJd.2531$8H2.164@twister.nyroc.rr.com:

> On the other hand, you apparently do have some experience with the
> PrintFix profile software. Is this with the latest version or their
> first version? Can you elaborate on the huge problems so I can verify
> them when it test this for myself? Appreciate your input. Any
> comments on the DoctorPro plug-in that is used to tweak the profiles?

Yepp - I bought it - and I found so many problems that
I returned it and got my money back. The DoctorPro plug-in
I never used as I never got any profile to doctor.

The problems were:
1. The scanner could not feed the sleeves
2. The sleeves are extreme dust magnets
3. The sleeves were badly scratched
4. There was strong newton patterns, i.e
interference pattern caused by tight
glossy surfaces.
5. The scanner produced a low quality and
very grainy result with heavy stripes.
6. I got very different callibrations when using
the callibration patches.

Those problems above made it impossible to get any
useful scans. So - I gave up.

There are also other problems that are of a more
theoretic nature that I could not really test:
1. The printed patch is very light and contains only
rather clear colors. I cannot see how those patches
could callibrate dark and low saturated parts, e.g.
grey.
2. The sleeve attenuates the light rather strong. This
have to be a strong disadvantage. It would be better
to scan without any sleeve.

There was also a last problem that irritated me strongly.
I have a Canon printer, but the manual did only tell how
to set up Epson printers. The interface is very different
for Canon printers and it was impossible to know how to
do it. So - I contacted Color Vision support. They were very
helpful and gave me totally incorrect information. I am not
sure that they even have seen a Canon printer - at least
not the one I was talking to. After five or six mails I gave
up. Then, in the PrintFIX 1.2 software, they eventually added
a correct manual for Canon printers.

And then - of course - you know the rest if the story. Even
with correct information - it did not work.


/Roland
January 28, 2005 12:32:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Roland,

It's a mute point now since I just sent the whole PrintFix suite back but
for those that will read the archives, some clarifications.

Your version was earlier than the one I just received since the manual did
have the Canon printer setup and it also had the new Spyder2Pro puck and
software that was released fairly recently.

I did some more research and had several email exchanges with someone that
has reviewed the PrintFix software, DoctorPro plug-in and has compared them
to other products. Since I don't have his permission to quote him, I'll
just say I followed his advice and sent it back.

The problems you noted below and the ones I commented on are problems that
Pantone / ColorVison should be addressing but seem to be simply ignoring.
This product came out in May of 2003 and it still has the same problems that
were noted right after it came on the market.

It doesn't appear that there is another product available in this price
range ($400 USD) that does both monitor calibration and printer profiles -
reliably. One would tend to think that one of the three manufacturers
(ColorVison, Monaco, G-M) would be able to get it right and be able to
market it in this price range.

Thanks for your comments. Oh yeah... what did you end up with or are you
still looking?

Bob S.



> The problems were:
> 1. The scanner could not feed the sleeves
> 2. The sleeves are extreme dust magnets
> 3. The sleeves were badly scratched
> 4. There was strong newton patterns, i.e
> interference pattern caused by tight
> glossy surfaces.
> 5. The scanner produced a low quality and
> very grainy result with heavy stripes.
> 6. I got very different callibrations when using
> the callibration patches.
>
> Those problems above made it impossible to get any
> useful scans. So - I gave up.
>
> There are also other problems that are of a more
> theoretic nature that I could not really test:
> 1. The printed patch is very light and contains only
> rather clear colors. I cannot see how those patches
> could callibrate dark and low saturated parts, e.g.
> grey.
> 2. The sleeve attenuates the light rather strong. This
> have to be a strong disadvantage. It would be better
> to scan without any sleeve.
>
> There was also a last problem that irritated me strongly.
> I have a Canon printer, but the manual did only tell how
> to set up Epson printers. The interface is very different
> for Canon printers and it was impossible to know how to
> do it. So - I contacted Color Vision support. They were very
> helpful and gave me totally incorrect information. I am not
> sure that they even have seen a Canon printer - at least
> not the one I was talking to. After five or six mails I gave
> up. Then, in the PrintFIX 1.2 software, they eventually added
> a correct manual for Canon printers.
>
> And then - of course - you know the rest if the story. Even
> with correct information - it did not work.
>
>
> /Roland
Anonymous
January 28, 2005 12:38:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"BobS" <spam@eliminator.com> wrote in news:W5dKd.5756$MX2.2720
@twister.nyroc.rr.com:

> Thanks for your comments. Oh yeah... what did you end up with or are you
> still looking?

Hmmm .. my Canon seems to be rather good callibrated from factory
and it seems to be rather independent with respect to paper. So -
I live with it as it is.


/Roland
!