Rescue your CanoScan LIDE 20

Mine stopped working after I upgraded my operating system to Snow Leopard a few years ago. With no obvious sign of damage I figured some internal part had been damaged during a house move. But, thankfully, I never managed to bring it to the recycling centre.

Meanwhile, a more tech-savvy sibling, knew theirs had stopped working because Canon decided not to issue drivers for the more recent Mac operating systems. They kept theirs in the hope of a solution being found one day.

That day is here. Thanks to Mattias Ellert’s TWAIN SANE Interface for MAC.

[21st November 2018: another option might be paying for VueScan]

if you’re lucky you can just

  • download and install the five binary packages for your Apple system (install the libusb and sane-backend packages first).
  • plugin your CanoScan LIDE 20 and scan images through various software on your computer.

I wasn’t so lucky – and the sane-backends package kept telling me to install ilbusb first (even though I’d done it successfully multiple times). Turns out it had good reason to think libusb hadn’t been installed.

1. No /usr/local/lib folder

This is one of many hidden folders on a mac. You navigate to it via Finder > Go > Go To Folder… and type /usr/local/lib. If it exists, and you can see the libusb files, check that you have Read & Write privileges on that folder (see below).

If it doesn’t exist open Application > Utilities > Terminal and type: sudo mkdir /usr/local/lib (and hit enter). Then type your password and hit enter again (your password will not show as you type as mentioned by an Apple forum poster).

Now install the libusb package and you should see the files appear in /usr/local/lib. If they don’t, it might be that you don’t have sufficient privileges for that folder.

2. No Read & Write privileges…

… mean that, even if you’ve created /usr/local/lib, installed libusb and can see the libusb files, SANE is going to ask you to install libusb first. Because, as it can’t read or work with the /usr/local/lib folder contents, it can’t see libusb on your system.

In Finder > Go > Go To Folder… /usr/local/lib and hit “CMD + i” (right / control-click and “Get Info”). if you see your account listed there and “Read & Write” in the privilege column, then I’m afraid my story can’t help you any further. But if you don’t see your account there, then try this.

Below the Sharing & Permissions area, if it is not already, click to open the Lock icon (you may have to enter Admin details). Then click the + symbol, add your account to the list of that that can access the folder and make sure you give it Read & Write privileges.

Happy Ending 🙂

Resolving those issues allowed the rest of my TWAIN SANE packages install smoothly.

Then I plugged in my CanoScan LIDE 20 and found it worked well from inside at least four programs – just as long as I gave the computer a few moments to wake the scanner and create the scan overview / preview.

  • Apache OpenOffice 3.4.1 (free office suite): In document click Image > Picture > Scan > Select Source… (scanner may show as plustek-libusb). Configure the resolution and other parameters to your liking. When done click “OK”. Now go to Image > Picture > Scan > Request and the image should be scanned and inserted for you. Of course if already scanned into your computer through Preview or Image Capture you can just insert the Image from a File.
  • LibreOffice 4.0.2.2 (free office suite): In document click Image > Picture > Scan > Select Source (scanner may show as plustek-libusb). Configure the resolution and other parameters to your liking. When done “Scan” and the image should appear in your document. Of course if already scanned into your computer through Preview or Image Capture you can just insert the Image from a File.
  • Preview (Apple proprietary software): Preview > File > Import from SANE… once Overview scan completes, set the parameters and “Scan” (note: scanner will not be available if Image Capture is already using it).
    Image Capture (Apple proprietary software): click “SANE” in the Devices list… once Overview scan completes, set the parameters and “Scan” (note: scanner will not be available if Preview is already using it).

I’m sure other software might be possible too. But I’m leaving it at that for now. After all I’ve achieved quite a bit…

… helped the environment a bit by making two scanners usable again to their owners…

… saved a sibling some money by saving some hardware for them…

… and perhaps encouraged you to question the environmental attitude of those companies whose quaintly entitled “upgrades” render still-viable machines useless and cause people to dump them before they are broken.

Many thanks Mattias for your TWAIN SANE interface 🙂