Do You Use A MacBook Air With A ScanSnap S300M?

Do You Use A MacBook Air With A ScanSnap S300M?

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Reader T. Joseph Carter wrote in the following question about using a MacBook Air (with only 1 USB port) and a ScanSnap S300M.

I’m considering a ScanSnap S300M to carry with me–but the laptop I carry is the MacBook Air, which has just one USB port. It’s much higher power than the average USB port (made to power the Superdrive Apple sells for it), but I’m wondering if someone’s managed to get the S300M running off the MacBook Air’s single USB port.

Fujitsu says that it simply requires two USB ports, but the answer sounds suspiciously like a level one support response. I used to have a Palm PDA sync/charge cable that ended in a barrel connector and mini-USB. It wasn’t as good as using the AC adapter, but it worked if you needed to power the thing off USB.

Anyone tried this for the MacBook Air by chance? Can you suggest a good place to ask if not?

Thanks, I’m buried in paper here!

Since the MacBook Air has only a single USB port and since the ScanSnap needs two USB plugins if you are not using the AC adaptor, I am not sure of the best way to get this to work.
Has anyone tried it out or found some creative workaround to get the ScanSnap S300M working with a MacBook Air without the AC adaptor? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 5 comments

tjcarter - April 5, 2009 Reply

Joseph again, signed in to an account finally:

Okay, the definitive answer: The ScanSnap doesn't take power off the data USB cable at all. If you can get a USB Y cable that'll do the deed, it will work.

The thing to know, however, is that the ScanSnap wants to use both a higher voltage and a higher current rating than the USB port provides. This is why it's so slow when powered by USB.

Find a way to plug it in if you can.

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - April 6, 2009 Reply

    Thanks a lot for the update! This will be helpful for anyone else that wants to try this out, which I am sure someone will.

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - April 6, 2009 Reply

    Thanks a lot for the update! This will be helpful for anyone else that wants to try this out, which I am sure someone will.

Joseph - March 20, 2009 Reply

My thinking here is that the MBA provides extra power so that the Superdrive runs off a single USB port. Either a cable that ends in both mini-USB and power tips (I had such for my old Palm Zire 72) or perhaps just the data cable itself should be sufficient.

Theoretically the scanner powers itself off both the USB and the data cable, otherwise it wouldn’t get power from two ports–unless it’s like the Zire 72 was and it just doesn’t use the data cable for power at all.

Basically, I’m encouraging someone who’s got both devices to try powering it off just the data cable on the MBA. It might work.

Jeff Porten - March 19, 2009 Reply

Neither an owner of a USB-powered ScanSnap nor an Air, but here’s how I’d troubleshoot the problem:

1) use a standard USB hub to see if enough milliamps get from the Air to the ScanSnap.

2) use a powered USB hub, tethered to a wall outlet, to see if that provides sufficient power to get it to work.

3) if so, and you want the whole thing to run off of batteries, look for a USB hub that is itself battery-powered. I haven’t heard of such a thing, but I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.

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