The glass on flatbed scanners should be as clean as you can get it if you want crisp sharp scans of your film or prints, but sometimes dust or haze can get on the internal surface of the scanner glass. For my Epson V500, cleaning it was really easy and well worth doing.
Ever since I bought my Epson V500 I noticed a large speck of dust about 1cm long on the internal glass of the scanner. How it got there, I don’t know and if I could have been bothered, I would have sent it back to be cleaned or replaced by Epson, but it never seemed worth the trouble. The more I scanned though, the more it bugged me. It would show up in every third frame of medium format film that I scanned and depending on the type of photos and how Lomo I was feeling I would either leave it in or occasionally Photoshop it out.
You can also get a problem with scanners called ‘out gassing’ this is when fumes are released from the plastic parts over time. This can lead to a fine haze building up on the underside of your glass. The easiest way to check for this is to switch the scanner on with the lid half open. The light from the transparency unit will show up the haze quite clearly. You probably won’t notice a dramatic difference, but the effect can build up over time and soften your scans. My scanner also had this problem.
One day I decided I had had enough and found some basic instructions online for cleaning the glass. This is how I did it:
First things first, you will need the following basic tools for the job:
- A Phillips (cross head) screwdriver
- some glass cleaning solution
- some newspaper and possibly a lint-free lens cloth
First unplug the power supply and USB cable from the back of the scanner. Before you move the scanner engage the two safety locks, one on the back of the scanner and one in the lid of the scanner to stops the scan heads from moving.
Get your scanner on to a space where you have some room to work; I used my bed. Wherever you do it, try to make sure it isn’t too dusty as you don’t want to introduce more dust into your scanner. Unplug the cable that joins the scanner lid to the base of the scanner, now that the lid is disconnected it can be taken off and set to one side.
Gently turn the base of the scanner over and rest it glass side down. Make sure you don’t put it on anything that will scratch the glass. There are two screws at the front of the scanner on the underside of the buttons, undo these first. Carefully turn the scanner back over holding the glass section onto the base. Then look in the two recesses at the back of the scanner which held the hinge from the scanner lid. There are two more screws which you can unscrew. Don’t worry if you can’t get them out of the recess, don’t turn it over again or shake it, they will lift off with the glass
Once the screws are undone gently lift off the glass. Clean the underside of the glass with an appropriate cleaner. I used some window cleaner and newspaper (like my mum taught me), you can finish off with a lint free lens cloth.
You can also use this as an opportunity to give the inside of you scanner a quick blast with some compressed gas or a lens blower to remove any dust that may have got in there. Don’t touch anything inside your scanner with anything other than air.
Once this is done, give the glass a quick check over to make sure you don’t have any dust or fingerprints on it and replace the glass. Put the screws back in and reconnect everything. Then enjoy scanning with your lovely clean scanner.
Disclaimer – Whilst this is a really easy thing to do, opening up any piece of electrical equipment, whilst it is still within the manufacturer’s warranty period, can invalidate the warranty. As far as I can see you won’t be breaking any special seals or opening special screws which might give the game away, but consider this before you crack out the screw driver.
Do you have scanning tips that you would like to share with us? Check out this month’s requested posts to get more Piggies!