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HP ScanJet 5P Easter Egg

So, what's the main use for a scanner? Creating a digital version of some sort of image - a photograph, magazine page or even perhaps a physical three-dimensional object? Not if you happen to own a Hewlett Packard ScanJet 5P SCSI scanner, or so it seems.

Personally, I don't have one of these. I have it's bigger, older brother, the ScanJet 6100C. The scanners work very similarly, except the scan bed on the 6100C long enough for US Legal, whereas the bed on the 5P is long enough for A4. The other main physical difference is that the 5P has a green button on the front, whereas the 6100C has no such button.

Windows users may think that this button can be used to initiate a scan. Maybe it can, I don't know. It's a long time since I've used any scanner with Windows, so I tend to ignore the myriad of buttons that are placed on modern scanners. The button on the 5P deserves some attention, however. It releases the scanner's inner desire to be creative and musical! Here's what you do:

I have recently been informed that the button does in fact serve a purpose with SANE. Apparently, if using the scanner in ADF mode and setting wait for button, batch scanning can then be performed with the button signalling to the client to start scanning that page. To think, I have to put up with a remote control.

  1. Turn off the scanner
  2. Rotate the SCSI ID selector to select ID 0
  3. Press and hold the green button
  4. Turn on the scanner
  5. When the light comes on, you can release the button

After this the scanner will release it's inner creativity and play you the Ode to Joy on its stepper motor. Various extensions could conceivably be implemented, with my personal favourite being a MIDI interface to the scanner.

In case you're not fortunate enough to have access to one of these, Foycelmorkupas Chelga (or just Foyce if you haven't got all day) has been kind enough to provide this recording of the device in action (available in MP3 and Sun/NeXT audio formats).

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