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I hope that someone can help me get my old and beloved Heidelberg scanner to work under Linux Kubuntu -- or at least help me locate possible problems.

The situation is as follows: I have an old SCSI scanner (Heidelberg Saphire Hires) standing around here that I would love to keep using. The scanner works perfectly with VueScan, even under Linux (Kubuntu 22.04), when plugged directly into an internal SCSI card that I bought a few years ago just for this scanner. Unfortunately, a newer PC that I bought recently doesn't have the required slot anymore, so I'll have to find a way to get the scanner to work without such a card...

As an experiment I recently bought an USB-to-serial adapter by Prolific with chipset PL2303. This seems to be recognized out of the box, lsusb gives me...

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 067b:2303 Prolific Technology, Inc. PL2303 Serial Port / Mobile Action MA-8910P

Also, I notice that the scanner "reacts", when the system is booted or shut down with the scanner plugged in, so there's definitely some communication going on. But VueScan keeps telling me that there's no scanner available.

Is there anything that I could try to locate the problem? Any help would be much appreciated.

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  • There's a hackaday youtube showing how they managed to get a Microtech usb-to-scsi adaptor from 1998 to work for a scsi disk on windows-xp, whatever that is. So adaptors did exist at one time, but the market for them was small and short-lived, it seems.
    – meuh
    Sep 21, 2022 at 12:15

2 Answers 2

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I’m guessing your scanner has a 25-pin external SCSI connector and you connected that to the 25-pin serial connector on your adapter.

SCSI and RS-232 are quite different. If you check out the pin-outs, you’ll see that even assuming your adapter gave you complete control over what signals went over the various pins, there’s no way to control a SCSI device using it — the pin-outs simply don’t match.

If you want to continue using your scanner, you’ll have to find some way of connecting it to an actual SCSI HBA. There are USB SCSI adapters available, but they’re expensive; PCI-Express SCSI HBAs also exist, and are somewhat cheaper. You might find your best option is to use an older PC with your adapter card.

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  • Hmm, yes, indeed, that is how the scanner is connected now. As the Prolific adapter converts from USB to RS232, there's an additional RS232-to-SCSI adapter, before the scanner is connected. I was afraid that this wouldn't work, but thought I'd give it a try. You mentioned a USB-SCSI adapter... do you happen to know, where I could find something like that? Actually, I bought the Prolific for lack of better options. Anyway, thanks for your help. I guess, I will have to keep the older machine around somewhat longer...
    – Marcus C.
    Sep 20, 2022 at 15:24
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    What do you mean by RS-232-to-SCSI adapter? Is it just a cable, or an actual adapter with electronics? There were a few USB-to-SCSI adapters, e.g. Adaptec’s USBXchange, or Iomega’s adapter for Jaz hard drives, or Ratoc’s U2SCX (which is usually sold for use with film scanners, at very high prices). You’ll have to look for them second-hand, none are sold new nowadays. Sep 20, 2022 at 15:28
  • Actually, there doesn't seem to be a lot of electronics. This is the adapter. I looked up the Ratoc and this, indeed, seems to be what I'd need. But at these prices, I'm not considering buying one. :)
    – Marcus C.
    Sep 20, 2022 at 16:01
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    Ah, yes, that’s just a 9- to 25-pin RS-232 adapter. Sep 20, 2022 at 16:07
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Now a days it is hard to buy a cheap USB2SCSI adapter. Most common is now to see printer (parallel) or RS232 (serial port) adapters. And to be honest, it is absolutely different protocol. They all could be equiped by the same connector but that will not work at all. You could check ALI or ebay for that, but will be expensive (more than $100). I would recomend to buy PCI card SCSI controller. Keep in mind, it will be old PCI, there is almost none SCSI controller for current PCIx ports. Sorry for bad news. I am looking for USB2SCSI more than 5years to get my old machine and devices back to life.

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