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Use Image Capture with an unsupported scanner Apps
One of my printers is an Epson Stylus Scan 2000 multifunction device, which has never had official Epson OS X drivers. For the printing side, the problem is easily solved, as there are two solutions available: the unofficial SS2000 driver (works in 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4), which is a hack of the Stylus Color 740 driver included with OS X (the printer module of the Stylus Scan 2000 is indeed a SC740), and the Gimp-Print driver included in OS X or downloadbale via that link, which is fairly complete and with full support for the SS2000. Also, the latest Gutenprint -- the new name of Gimp-Print -- works without problems (version 5.0.0b4), optionally with the fast usbtb CUPS backend; they are both available at the gimp-print site.

But what about the scanner module of the SS2000? One could always use VueScan, which indeed works -- but personally, I wanted a free solution, more integrated into OS X through the included Image Capture program. The first problem is that Image Capture only supports a limited number of newer Epson scanners natively, and of course not the SS2000. So, yet another time, open source software comes to the rescue, with Mattias Ellert's excellent OS X port of the TWAIN SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) Interface.

So, here are the steps I followed to make the Stylus Scan 2000 work with Image Capture, and with TWAIN in general (the steps to follow for other unsupported scanners are similar, of course):
  1. Download and install the required TWAIN SANE packages, being sure to choose the right ones for your version of OS X.

  2. Turn on the scanner and test the connection in the Terminal:
    $ sane-find-scanner
    $ scanimage -L
    For this to work, /usr/local/bin must be in your path. The first command will return a long series of text strings in the Terminal, listing your USB devices. The second one will list your scanner(s) detected thorugh the libusb interface. Now, my problem was that the SS2000 didn't appear with the scanimage - L command, and so was unusable. It was also unsupported with SANE, so, what to do?

    I discovered that one could use the SANE preference pane to edit the epson.conf file located in /usr/local/etc/sane.d (or the similar file that applies to your scanner back-end; the editing can also be done manually with a text editor, of course). So...

  3. Edit the epson.conf file through the SANE preference pane (click the "Configure" button of the appropriate back-end), adding the scanner's product ID and device ID in a new line at the end, after the last libusb comments:
    usb 0x04b8 0x0105
    The product ID and device ID are 0x04b8 (Epson) and 0x0105 (the Stylus Scan 2000), which can also be obtained from the sane-find-scanner command, where they are listed, in this case, as vendor=0x04b8 [EPSON] and product=0x0105 [Stylus Scan 2000].

  4. Repeat the scanimage -L command in the Terminal, and now you will see the previously undetected scanner. For example, the output will be:
    device `epson:libusb:014:007-04b8-0105-ff-ff' is
     a Epson StylusScan2000 flatbed scanner
    The item might be listed repeatedly several times. Thus, finally...

  5. Open Image Capture, and voila -- the scanner works perfectly (at least, in OS X Panther and Tiger), both with the Image Capture interface and with the TWAIN interface. It also works through apps which support TWAIN scannning. For example, it works perfectly with The GIMP 2.2.6.
However, there seem to be some minor USB connection problems, especially after sleep, and so on, which might sometimes make it necessary to turn the scanner off, and then on again. In OS X 10.4.x, there's also a strange bug that often causes Image Capture to crash when using the TWAIN mode, after the scanning is completed, when it tries to open Preview.

All in all, though, everything works quite well, anyway...
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What about CanoScan?
Authored by: Evvrom on Jun 21, '05 01:32:14PM

Tried to use this hint with my Canoscan N 650U scanner.
I installed the TWAIN SANE packages a few days ago and used Sane scanner frontend 1.2b as a GUI. This works okay, but I dont like the frontend and would like to be able to use Image Capture.

Fore some reason I couldn't find it with Gimp either.

Could anyone help me out on this?


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Authored by: Chas on Jun 21, '05 02:45:08PM

The big news in this post is that TWAIN SANE was upgraded for compatibility with 10.4, it wasn't compatible last time I checked (a couple of weeks ago).

I had mixed results with TWAIN SANE under 10.3.8 with an old Epson 636 scanner, I could not get reliable scans under apps like Acrobat.

Note that 3rd party vendors have some really great drivers for older scanners, I particularly recommend Lasersoft <> for their excellent Silverfast software, it's cheap too. They even support old SCSI scanners, high end stuff like drum scanners, and digital cameras.

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Anyway to get PSC 1210 to work?
Authored by: nukethis on Jun 27, '05 05:55:42PM

I followed the instructions, and needing help to get my HP PSC 1210 to work(when it works). HP's scan program is terrible. I added this to the SANE prefs.

# HP PSC 1210
usb 0X03F0 0X2F1

I'm using Tiger if that helps

[ Reply to This | # ]
Anyway to get PSC 1210 to work?
Authored by: texley on Dec 30, '05 08:01:49AM

I'm now having the same problem. Since I upgraded to Tiger, I cannot get my HP PSC 1210 to scan, even with the SANE bits that were supposed to help. Did you ever solve your problem?

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Authored by: fredrikw on Nov 30, '06 11:44:14AM
I have also had some mixed results with the TWAIN SANE, mostly it has crashed, leaving the program doing the actual scanning (Photoshop or Image Capture) unresponsive. I made a small GUI wrapper to the scanimage program that's included in the SANE backend. The program works fine with my Artec e-48+ scanner and if you would like to try it for yours, you can find it at


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Use Image Capture with an unsupported scanner
Authored by: donvy on Jun 04, '06 10:35:54AM

It works with my Intel iMac and an HP ScanJet 4070 scanner, thanks for the heads up! =)

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Use Image Capture with an unsupported scanner
Authored by: PizzaCake on Nov 30, '06 11:10:05AM
Great! Thanks. I got SANE to work with my Canon CanoScan N670U.

Check this page to see if your scanner is supported Get the name of the backend that works with your scanner. My Canon scanner uses a Plustek backend.

I got the packages you need to install from

I installed the packages in the following order: first libusb.pkg, then sane-backends.pkg, then SANE-Preference-Pane.pkg and finally TWAIN-SANE-Interface.pkg. I then rebooted (don't know if this is necessary).

In System Preferences go to SANE and choose the backend you identified earlier as working with your scanner. Choose configure. Look for a line with just [usb]. Add the vendor-id & product-id to that line. e.g. [usb] 0x04A9 0x220D . Now close the preference pane.

Open Image Capture, and your scanner should be recognized :^) One funny quirk though with the SANE interface, the overview (preview) did not work until I went into options and adjusted the change overview scan resolution slider (only had to do this once). Now everything works great and I haven't experienced any crashes.

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Use Image Capture with an unsupported scanner
Authored by: lola66 on Feb 19, '10 10:55:03AM

Thanks a lot for the information. We just received a bunch of "old" Canon scanners. The CanoScan n1220u to be precise. And the Sane twain backend works perfectly in Snow Leopard with the iMage Capture built in scanning interface.

Heritage Regional Hight School is very grateful.

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Use Image Capture with an unsupported scanner
Authored by: arronlee on May 09, '13 01:05:46AM

Yes, thanks a lot for the information.
This is a talented Acquisition Framework for Java Platform available I've used before. It has common Api for Sane as well as for Twain interfaces.

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