Wondering if anyone can diagnose an issue with my scanner. I have tried scanning in multiple different strips of negative film but after scanning all have horizontal lines across them.

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Examples are from here:

  • \$\begingroup\$ How are you holding the film? Are the negatives laying directly on the glass or are you using the 'transparency unit'? \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Oct 11, 2018 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just using the film holder which lines it up with the transparency window. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 11, 2018 at 22:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the scanner new? Did you have success with it before? \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Oct 11, 2018 at 22:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ What scanning settings are you using? Are you attempting to use some sort of multi-pass noise-reduction? Also, what is the orientation of the image in the scanner? The issues I can think of at the moment would not produce zig-zagged lines. Maybe something like brown noise? Is the scanner plugged into an outlet that has multiple other devices attached, possibly via multiple power strips, without proper grounding? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Oct 11, 2018 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ The images have significant smearing, likely JPEG compression, artifacts. I would like to see a sample without the artifacts. A scan of another frame for comparison might also be helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Oct 11, 2018 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


I suspect electrical interference is disrupting the operation of the scanner motor or sensor. The problem you are experiencing may also be early signs that the scanner is failing.

If the problem is interference, you can attempt to identify the source. Remove potential sources, one by one, and take a test scan after each one. When you get a clean scan, reintroduce the potential sources, one at a time, again taking a test scan after each one. When the problem returns, you've found the most likely culprit.

Sources of interference include:

  • Other nearby electrical devices, especially when too many are plugged into the same outlet.

  • Problems common in older buildings, such as bad electrical wiring, improperly grounded outlets, or otherwise unstable electrical source.

  • Nearby microwaves. They do not need to be in the same room.

  • Anything that requires a large amount of electricity, such as air conditioners, laundry machines, refrigerators, and freezers.

  • Failing power supplies or adapters. If your high-frequency hearing is good, you may be able to hear an abnormally loud hissing (often a bad capacitor).

  • Improper grounding within your computer, especially if you are using a different one than before. If using a laptop, you can try using it on battery power.

  • Nearby fan with a motor that's gone bad. If your computer has a fan, it also could have gone bad. Suspect if the fan is dusty and has trouble starting up. Vacuuming the dust away might help.

  • Capacitor in computer or scanner that's gone bad. It should produce a hissing sound. In some cases, the specific capacitor can be located by its sound.

Other causes of lines in scans are unlikely in your case. They include:

  • Newton Rings. Circular lines caused by contact between sensor and film. The rings farther from the center are closer together.
  • Debris on the scanning plate. This is more common with document feeders.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could the interference be caused by this replacement power adapter. amazon.co.uk/POWER-Perfection-2124951-01-B11B200201-2115845-00/… The original is the A392VD EPSON? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12, 2018 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ It could be the adapter, but it could be something else. It may not be electrical interference at all. If you have another adapter, you can try it. If you have a UPS, you can try that. You can also try making the problem worse, for instance, by using a microwave nearby. If successful, it increases confidence you are on the right track. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Oct 12, 2018 at 22:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ update: Tried scanning away from other electrical appliances but still the same issue. Going to purchase another adapter from authorised epson seller, will update again whenever that arrives. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13, 2018 at 7:10

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