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Mustek ScanExpress A3 USB 1200 Pro

Scanners… I had a nice microtek scanner that for the last year has refused to work and I decided to replace it. I have a project coming up that would require scanning some larger format pages so I was really pleased to find a $165 A3 scanner (usually the larger format are much more expensive.) This is the Mustek ScanExpress A3 USB 1200 Pro. So…. being a linux user I look to see if it’s supported by sane and naively…. finding a mustek usb scanner with 1200 in the name assume that it’s supported that way. (It’s not – mustek’s model numbering is quite cryptic and enigmatic. I have found multiple (different) scanexpress something 1200 scanners that are usb based. All with varying levels of support.

On inspection though mustek has a linux driver on their website…


Of course, this is promising. Until I install it – and it fails to find the scanner. I installed their linux driver (it’s actually a specially bundled libsane ) on two systems and neither would recognize the scanner. So…. I went down the rabbit hole of virtualization (digging out the windows XP license. This time around I used Virtualbox with usb support and am able to use the scanner via the virtual machine.

That’s where much more frustration came in with the windows driver for this scanner. I can’t seem to make multiple image scanning work with the default scanning panel. (I had to work around with irfanviews batch scanning mode.) I feel like their software is just a shade above lousy (really the perfect poster child for having an open development so someone could write a better interface for this GOOD piece of hardware. It drives me nuts to see good hardware cramped by poor software.

Back to the sane side of things (Sane is the linux scanner driver project.) There are several people that have expressed a desire for a workable driver for this model (mainly due to it being one of the rare cheap large format scanners…) Many are willing to put up/pledge money to get it working. (I would be willing to go up to $50 at this point towards a working linux/sane driver for this one.

Oh and when I took out the old scanner I decided to give it one more “last chance” to try and get it to work and…. it did – so now I have two scanners, and A4/letter size that is perfectly supported under linux and a large format A3 (about 11×17) that is not supported under linux… So in the coming weeks I really need to make sure I invest some time on this project to make the purchase worthwhile.

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Posted by on June 19, 2010.

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Categories: General Web/Tech

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