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Scanner or Printer Not Responding, or Stops Responding On USB Ports

Jerry Greenberg
Posts: n/a
      08-02-2004, 09:34 PM
This is a point of interest that I thought would be interesting to

The described problem can be very frustrating, and sometimes very
difficult to resolve. Many users would first start by uninstalling and
reinstalling their software, when the software is not at fault.

A very frustrating problem, especially with some USB scanners and
printers is that the device may stop responding, or not properly

At the hardware level, and at the Windows test level, the device
checks to be okay, and responding properly. Yet, it does not respond
properly when doing its work.

Some symptoms are that the scanner may stop in the middle of the scan
and hang, or not scan at all. Or, a printer may stop in the middle of
a page and hang. In the case of the printer, if it does not hang, it
may start to print random looking characters during the middle of a
print job.

It turns out that with USB 2 ports, on many P4 machines this problem
may occur with some scanners and printers. This has to do with several

If the USB Root Hub is IRQ shared with other devices that are
particularly active, this problem may occur in many systems. This has
to do with data streaming being interrupted (shared IRQ requests), and
the receiving load becoming timed out. The device becomes out of sync.
The device may then hang, or stop responding, and have to be reset.

There is also the condition where the data inputs of the device being
driven by the USB port are pulling peaks of too much peak current for
the USB port. Considering the speed of the data coming from the port,
the effective impedance of the device load may be a bit low, thus
causing it to pull more current than what the USB port can support.

This is a very basic overview of what the problem is with these


An easy fix for this condition, if in the event that the condition
described here is relevant to the problem described, is to add an
externally powered USB hub (runs on its own power supply) between the
USB port and the unit that is having the loss of the normal responding

The external powered USB hub will act as a data and power buffer
between the device, and the computer's USB port. In this case it is
effectively acting as an extended data port, with its own independent
port power drive.

Connecting and using other devices to the same hub, may or may not
cause any symptoms of loss, depending on the particular
characteristics of the other devices sharing this USB hub, and the USB
hub itself. This would be by trial and error.

Jerry G.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
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Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1
      04-28-2007, 12:50 PM
Dear Jerry Greenberg,

Thanks much for your post on printers and scanners becoming unresponsive and how to fix the problem. I have had a problem with a Canon printer (ip4200) that I like very much but that becomes unresponsive after trying to handle complex documents over a longish period. Then suddenly the CPU usage goes up dramatically and the computer makes a kind of whining noise which is very hard to tolerate. This continues until I restart.

I have plugged in an externally powered USB hub, and I think the problem is solved, though I will need to give it a few hours and days to make sure.

Just want to thank you for a very useful post, though it's from a long time ago.
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Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1
      07-28-2008, 04:22 PM
For a year, I have suffered with a scanner that stopped in the middle of the scan. Sometimes, for spite, it would wait until the very end of the scan to stop and render the .tiff file dead and useless.

I called the manufacturer who blew me off by saying that their drivers didn't support a 64 bit machine. If that was the case, why did it work once in a while?

Last night, after desperately trying to complete a scan I had to have for my business all day, I Googled "scan stops in the middle" and found your glorious post. My husband agreed with the logic behind it ("this guy's got an engineering background," he said; "nobody uses the word "impedance" except an engineer") and hooked the scanner directly up to my computer, bypassing the USB.

Heaven. Success.

Thank you thank you thank you. If there is ever anything I can do for you, just ask. I am a professional artist and graphic designer, so maybe I can be of service to you sometime.

Thank you!

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