My ScanJet 3970 Debacle

Over the past couple of nights I have been battling a seriously messed up HP ScanJet 3970. The error: “Unable to communicate with the TWAIN device”. A once fully functional, trouble-free piece of electronic equipment turned maliciously evil. I write in hopes that someone out there will run across my finding BEFORE they spend hour upon painful hour attempting to troubleshoot the beast of burden.

Now, I don’t claim this will fix every ‘TWAIN’ communication error, but hopefully it will fix a few. Lets start shall we!

First off, the players:
1-HP ScanJet 3970 Flatbed Scanner (USB on-board)
2-Windows XP Professional SP2
3-HP ScanJet Software with latest patches, updates, etc.
4-ScanSoft PaperPort, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop (or any other TWAIN imaging software)

Steps to reproduce:
1-Launch imaging software application (in this case, PaperPort 9 Delux)
2-Place a non-image document on the scanner bed
3-Launch HP scan software from PaperPort
4-Modify settings to ‘automatically straighten scanned images’

5-Start a new scan (usually by clicking the ‘new scan’ button)

6-Notice how HP Scan software will ‘auto straighten’ your document scan but NOT automatically select an area like normal
7-Change ‘Output type’ to ‘Black & White (1-bit)’

8-Accept the scanned image
9-Notice the progress bar does not grow
10-Behold, the dreaded error message ‘Unable to communicate‚Ķ’ or whatever default error message the imaging program you are using has.

Steps to resolve:
Well, this seems pretty simple now doesn’t it! Well, had it not cost me 8 hours sleep I might have been a bit more jovial. As you can see from the steps to reproduce, there appears to be a bug in attempting to auto-straighten 1-bit scanned images. So, the fix, un-check ‘automatically straighten scanned images’ when you plan on scanning 1-bit B&W images.

That’s it, unbelievable! This after 3 hours chatting with HP support (who were extremely helpful might I add). This is how I was able to resolve the dreaded ‘Unable to communicate with the TWAIN device’ error message.

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