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Epson USB scanners conflicting with the Classic environment

Epson USB scanners conflicting with the Classic environment

We've covered issues with Mac OS X and various scanner software, but reader Don Miller provided us with a lengthy report on an issue we haven't previously seen: newer Epson scanners working perfectly under OS X until Classic is launched:

"Newer Epson USB scanners don't work correctly if Classic is running under OS X. I have specifically seen, tested, and confirmed this issue with Epson 1670 and 3170 models, but do not have other models available for testing. In looking at the online specs for these models, I notice that they are rated for both USB 2.0 and 1.1...My client machines are mostly older G4s with native USB 1.1 ports. But the problem is also seen on a new eMac that has USB 2.0 ports, and on a Quicksilver G4 machine running 10.3 and a Keyspan USB 2.0 card installed.

"Problem is consistent. Epson 1670 and 3170 scanners (and possibly also the 4870) work flawlessly for hours or days on end, but cease to function the moment Classic is started in the background. Once Classic has been started, you cannot use the scanner at all. (The error message says the scanner cannot be found.) However, Apple's System Profiler still sees the scanner.

"Restarting the computer is one way to restore functionality -- as long as Classic is not relaunched. You can also quit Classic, then disconnect/reconnect both the USB cable and the power cable of the scanner (or turn the power off, on scanner models that have a power switch). That will also correct the problem as long as classic is stopped in the background. (You also have to quit and restart your host application.) Note that simply power cycling the scanner will not restore function. You must also disconnect and reconnect the USB cable.

"Epson's first response: 'Our Scanners cannot scan through Classic.' I clarified to them that we are not trying to scan 'through' Classic. The issue occurs using native OS X drivers (v1.28a) from the Epson web site, using Photoshop 7.0.1, Photoshop CS (8) and even Photoshop Elements 2.0 (included in the Epson 3170 scanner box!) as the host application. The native Epson Scan software (without any host application) has exactly the same problems. In these cases, Classic is not involved in the process of scanning at all. (Note: I've confirmed this on a variety of machines running both OS X 10.3 and 10.2.)

"Epson's second response (traditional Mac-bashing gibberish): 'It's a problem with the way Mac OS X uses Classic.' I had two responses for them. First was to point out that no other company or operating system has ever or will ever 'use Classic,' so Epson better just accept and get used to how Mac OS X does so. Second, and far more important, was to point out that this issue does not appear to bother any other scanner manufacturer. HP, Canon and Microtek scanners all function perfectly well under OS X, no matter if Classic is running or not.

"Epson's third response: 'You must be using old driver software. Make sure you download the newest from the Epson web site.' Once again, my response pointed out the flaw in their theory. In fact, it is not a driver issue. Why? Because the older Epson model 2450 scanner (which allows both Firewire and USB connections), has no problem at all when connected via USB and using the very same v1.28a driver software downloaded from Epson's site.

"Epson's fourth response has been complete silence.

"I took a shot at one theory -- if I disabled (using Extensions Manager) all of the USB components in OS9, the scanner might ignore the Classic startup. Nope, didn't work."

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