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March 2000

A Scanner that works in OS/2

The HP 6200 and 6250, SCSI version

By: Beth Flunker flunkers@douranet.com.br

I'm an educator and editor who spends several hours each day preparing course materials for children, teens and adults within a church body in the country of Brazil. My work includes a lot of graphics, but most of them are not for professional publication. I use OS/2 most of the time, booting into Windows 98 only to print out some older files and courses done on a DTP program that is only WIN. I also enjoy computers as a hobby, am an OS/2 fan for several years now, but have never studied computer science or programming of any kind. So we could say I am a normal, reasonably intelligent end user of computer products. My computer is a homebrew, a P200 with 98 megs of memory, a Trident 2Meg video card, an HP 6L laser printer, a Canon 4550 color inkjet printer, an older Primera thermal wax printer and running Warp 4, FP12 as well as Windows 98.

That said, I would like to tell you why I am enthusiastic about the HP6200 scanner. First of all, when my old sheetfed scanner died (I had used it in WIN-OS2 for several years) I began some intensive research. The criteria for my search for a new scanner were the following: 1) it had to work in OS/2; 2) it had to be SCSI, for best and fastest throughput; 3) I really needed 8 1/2 x 14 scanning, because of existing documents and artwork here in this country; 4) it had to be under $500 because I was going to have someone bring it when they visited from the US, and that is the limit for things you can bring in without being taxed.

HP ScanJet 6200C

First I checked all the OS/2 graphics programs I had, and downloaded a few more demos. I read all the readme's and help files, visited lots of web sites and compiled a list of scanners that were recommended. I also read all the info about CFM TWAIN, Sane, and STI drivers. After compiling my list, the choice was narrowed down to Microtek, Umax or HP.

At that point I spent time with Pricewatch - http://www.pricewatch.com and Computer Shopper's - http://www.computershopper.com comparative shopping on the internet. Computer Shopper also gives links to reviews of products, so I read all the reviews I could find. I also began to notice which scanners came with SCSI cards, and which didn't. I pulled out the manual for the SCSI card I had installed with my CD-RW. It was a no-brand, but the manual seemed to indicate that I could connect other peripherals to the same card. I got some advice on the e-mail lists about that, since I knew nothing about SCSI. (Thanks to some fine OS/2 users, I am a lot smarter about SCSI now!)

Finally, I decided on the HP6250 because it seemed to be the most advanced scanner supported by OS/2 at the time. This scanner is the same as the 6200 except that it has an automatic document loader, which you can use if you want to. The scanner is for letter size paper, and for that reason has a smaller footprint, but it has the ability to scan legal size documents using the document feeder. In that case the paper moves past the light, rather than the light moving over the page. It has 600dpi optical resolution, with up to 9600 dpi interpolated. I appreciate the smaller footprint of this scanner, while keeping the ability to scan legal size pages when necessary. I thought that might be a function only available in Windows, but Impos/2 allows the use of the document loader, although not quite as automatic as in Windows.

The manual is complete and shows how to connect to SCSI and set the proper termination. The 6200 and 6250 models are SCSI compatible, but don't come with a SCSI adapter or cable. I had ordered the correct cable when I ordered the scanner, so there were no problems. I have my CD-RW, a Plextor CD, and the scanner all connected to the same PEL-1600 SCSI card, and everything works very well.

The setup was quick, and worked at the first try. I did set it up in WIN95 at the time, and it worked predictably. I have since reinstalled it in WIN98, with no problems. There are only two features in Windows that don't work in OS/2. There is a green lever on the front of the scanner which, when pushed, will launch the basic HP scanning software in Windows. From there you can scan and print or save to file, mimicking a photo copier if you want. I personally don't use that feature much, preferring to scan right into my graphics program in order to work with the image. However, in OS/2 the same functions can be handled by CopyShop/2, although you can't use the little green lever! But you can scan, reduce or enlarge at will, and save or print your image - giving you the equivalent of a photocopy machine in your computer.

The other feature is the automatic document loader. In Windows, you can load a number of pages, provided they are all about the same width, and the scanner will scan each one in turn, saving them to files, each with a number. This might be handy for someone who does a lot of OCR work. In OS/2, using Impos/2, you can send documents through the scanner using the loader, only you have to click the mouse for each one to start.

The scanner performs as promised. Resolution is excellent, copies are clear, and it is a matter of "set it and forget it". I don't pay much attention to the scanner except to clean the glass now and then to keep the copies free of extra marks. It powers on when you boot up, but the light comes on only when you scan, at which time there is a 30 second warm-up period. Subsequent scans have no warm-up unless you wait a long time between scans, during which time the light switches itself off.

In OS/2, the scanner works with the Sane drivers, and the PMSane front end to them, it works with the drivers included in ImageScan/2, in CopyShop/2, and in Impos/2. I'm sure it works with the twain drivers, I've just never tried them. I do most of my work in Impos/2, because the program happens to do what I have to do most, and is set up to my liking. If I scan color photos or artwork, I like to manipulate color in PMView 2000. Color exchanging works best in StarOffice, believe it or not! If your favorite graphics programs are Photographics, Pmview or some of the others, you will need the CFM twain drivers.

Just to make this review as complete as I could, I downloaded the CFM Twain driver demo (http://www.cfm.de/En/eprodukte_twain_all.htm). Installation went fine, and the scanner worked with the dirver. Only, now I know why some are complaining. The scan is much slower with CFM, and peaks the cpu monitor during the whole time. So I uninstalled the driver again. But you can add that experience to the review. In my opinion, the other drivers are better for this scanner.

The only flaw I have found, both in Windows and OS/2, is that when you mark the preview scan to select the part you want to actually scan, it scans a little short on the top end. After a few retries, I have now learned to give extra room on the top of the scan, and never have any problems. That might be a problem of my video card, or of faulty calibration in the scanner itself.

I have seen mention of a scanner using up a lot of CPU cycles, but I have never had that problem, even when scanning at higher resolutions.

People who are new to scanning often think they need a high resolution. There is a web site that really explains how much resolution we need for everyday printing, and what we might need for professional printing. There is also a book you can get which summarizes the web site, and gives many examples. I bought the book, and recommend it for those who haven't a lot of graphics experience.The web site is http://scantips.com/ and the book is offered there.

A quick check of PriceWatch shows the HP6200 going for just under $300, with the HP6250 around $325. Both the USB and SCSI connections are on the same scanner, so if you want to use USB (probably only under Windows) you need the correct cable.

Hardware and OS/2 Software mentioned in this article:
CFM TWAIN - http://www.cfm.de/En/eprodukte_twain_all.htm
CopyShop/2 - http://www.tbsny.com/os2/index.htm
HP 6200C Scanjet - http://www.scanjet.hp.com/products/classics/6200c/Default.htm
HP 6250C Scanjet - http://www.scanjet.hp.com/products/classics/6250c/Default.htm
ImageScan/2 - http://www.farrel.pair.com/prod02.htm
Impos/2 - http://www.indelible-blue.com/ibapps/products.nsf/by+partnumber/CMP20
PMView - http://www.pmview.com
STI TWAIN - Solutions Tecnology Inc - http://www.stiscan.com

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