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Greg A.
Greg A., Consultant / Engineer
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 9427
Experience:  Working in Computer/Electronics 25+ Years, Storage Interface Expert
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My problem is that I sometimes need to use a PC to carry out

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My problem is that I sometimes need to use a PC to carry out service operations on Canon 300 and 350 microfilm scanners. The older scanners are connected up via a SCSI interface cable. Many of them work only with a directly connected printer, so there is no PC connected to them (as Canon obviously assumed there would be).
Now, I have a PC that can do this (running XP) but the problem is a practical one - I have to carry the full size PC, plus keyboard and monitor, usually into a public library, sometimes 100 yds from the car, to do the job. Plus a toolbox, of course! I want a more portable solution if possible. I gather that it is not possible to run a SCSI device from a laptop and expect it to work, because SCSI is not a single standard. So, I thought, if I got a smaller PC, could I use my laptop as the keyboard, mouse, and monitor to operate it? Then at least I could carry it all in a large bag.
It would have to be a purely local connection, as there won't be any internet available (apart from maybe the public wi-fi). Also, it would have to work immediately the PC was booted up - no questions or responses needed to start, as I wouldn't be able to see them without a monitor.
Is this a practical proposition?
Hello & Welcome to Just Answer, Sorry to hear of any issue you may be having finding a portable solution for your service operations. Let me first give you a little background: In a "prior life" I used to travel around the world and perform training classes all about SCSI protocol (way back in the early 2000s), and DID have a laptop that at the time came with a "CardBus" slot or two, where I attached a CardBus SCSI adapter and would connect to SCSI devices to perform demos and "lab experiments" (with a SCSI "protocol analyzer"). So a "portable SCSI solution" IS possible - IF you can find the right components. Namely, an older (but still functional) laptop with 1 or 2 CardBus slots, and a CardBus SCSI adapter card to install (and appropriate cables). So "if it was ME" looking for this system, I would first try to find and older (working) laptop that has at least 1 CardBus slot, and then the CardBus SCSI Adapter "kit" (adapter and cables). And again, if it was ME and knowing that I was looking for OLD stuff, I would first ask my associates if they have any old equipment they want to get rid of (for little or no money) and continue on (if needed) to shops that sell older equipment of this type, or maybe online resources (like eBay). Just so you have some examples, the last laptop I used in this situation was a Dell Latitude D505, with 1 CardBus slot, Windows XP came already installed. I don't know how much main RAM it had, but XP had all the appropriate drivers to be able to communicate with SCSI devices of that time (hard drives & tape drives mostly).I also used the Adaptec "SlimSCSI" adapter card & cables (the kit) to connect to the test enclosures I had. I just did a quick search on eBay (UK) and see a few of those "kits" available. Click below to see those search results. NOTE: I don't usually recommend eBay as a source of equipment, but with stuff of this "vintage", that may be the best source to look at IF you have limited associates you can talk with. I hope this helps give you some ideas for a more portable solution for your situation. Please let me know what you find or if you have any more questions. If this has answered your question(s), please take a moment to rate MY service level (Excellent is my goal) so that I get credit for helping you with this question.You should see some "stars" to do that, but please let me know if you do NOT see them (you may have to scroll UP or DOWN) or can not use them.Thanks, ***** ***** .-(im)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That might be possible. What about the idea of using a laptop (that doesn't have those facilities) as a screen, mouse, and keyboard with a PC containing a SCSI interface card?
Hi again and thanks for coming back. Having a small PC with a SCSI card MAY be possible. I say this because I used to have a machine on my network (running Windows 2000 I believe) that was loaded with a startup script that ran some VPN software - so the machine acted as a "server". I could then do a "remote login" on that machine - from ANY computer in the network - and I could see all the screens that would have been seen on a monitor that was attached. Full mouse and keyboard were there too. So if your "little PC" also has a network connection, that should be possible. I don't know if either solution would be more or less "challenging" than the other. Let me know what you find or if you have any more questions. Best of luck, Greg A.(im)
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