Parallel scanner prevents boot-up

Posted on 1999-01-16
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
If my PC is powered off, and my new scanner is connected via parallel cable, when I power the PC on there is no video signal, and no system board beep.  The scanner causes some kind of interference with the system board initializing at a cold bootup.  However, if I turn off the scanner, or unplug the parallel cable, then reconnect it after booting up, the scanner works fine.  I connected the scanner to another PC and had no problems at all, so there's definitely something up with my system board.  A printer works fine on my machine, though.  Has anyone ever seen anything like this?
Question by:tedoff
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Expert Comment

ID: 1137552
Are the computer, printer, and scanner plugged into the same power source?


Author Comment

ID: 1137553
Yes . . . but now I've found the problem only exists if only the scanner is plugged into the parallel port on the PC.  If I daisy chain the printer of the scanner, the whole system works normally.  If I disconnect the printer from the scanner, the same problem comes up.  I thought this type of thing only happened with SCSI devices, needed terminators and such.  Any ideas?

Expert Comment

ID: 1137554
Sometimes you have to power on the computer first, then the peripheral devices.  Other times it's the other way around.
Whatever works.........

LVL 32

Accepted Solution

jhance earned 150 total points
ID: 1137555
This problem is not that uncommon.  It has to do with power being driven into the parallel port on your computer from the scanner.  Basically, the parallel port circuitry gets powered up and literally starts working before the BIOS and Windows can initialize it properly.  It shouldn't happen but many motherboards today are made to minimize cost and so leave out components that are "optional" or use circuit designs that allow for this problem.  If you have trouble, it's easy to blame the problem on the scanner.

I suggest you observe a power up sequence where you power up your PC first, and then power up the scanner.  

Author Comment

ID: 1137556
Thanks to you both, for your responses.  I learn something new every day, I suppose.  What do you suppose would make the whole thing work when the printer is attached?  The scanner is on so long as it's plugged in, and unplugging it allows me to power up the PC when it's the only device attached.  But with it plugged in, and the printer either on or off, the whole thing works.  Weird, huh?  Maybe I should get a namebrand system board.  Time to upgrade anyway.

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