If you’re experiencing major check scanner malfunctions, your first instinct may be that the device is going bad. While that may be true in some cases, there are several general maintenance, upkeep or repair tasks that may provide a fix that’s applicable to your situation.
While most scanners have a lifespan of about 500,000 scans, there is often a fix to get your check scanner in working condition once again.
If you’re experiencing a growing amount of failures with your digital check scanning device, and find yourself inputting data manually more often than not, here is your guide to check scanner repair. Try these out for yourself and get your financial scanner up and running!
Before We Begin
Before you start repairing your check scanner, think back on how many documents you’ve scanned throughout the device’s operational lifespan. As best practice for the future, keep a general tally or record of how many documents you or your organization scans.
If you’re a heavy user, your scanner may be a candidate for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (known as MICR, which is the magnetic ink that encodes account and routing information at the bottom of checks and money orders) head replacement – or even an entire system overhaul. If your scanner sees a light amount of use, you can most likely figure out the issue yourself, and perform the repair to get it operational again.
Identifying the Cause of Check Scanner Malfunction
The major cause of underlying scanner malfunctions are often difficult-to-scan documents, such as those checks with little to no magnetic ink, misaligned MICR character spacing, or documents that are folded, crumpled, faded or otherwise physically damaged.
In other situations, it could be a problem as simple as a bad feed by the person using the device. Here are a few more malfunctions that can be easily prevented by some common sense actions:
- Accidental double-feeds
- Misaligned documents in the feeder
- Dust or particles on the read head
- Documents inserted improperly, either backwards or upside-down
To fix these issues, pull together a training session where staff can learn proper feeding, operation and maintenance of your check scanner devices. Once they are aware of some of these best practices, your check scanners will be better taken care of and thus last longer.
Read more about check scanner repair on our blog post – 5 Common Fixes for Check Scanner Malfunctions!
How to Fix Common Check Scanner Malfunctions
Now that you know some of the common causes of check scanner malfunction, here are some repair tips to get your finances back on track. Try out some of these tactics before splurging on a brand new check scanner – you’ll save money and, best of all, you might learn something new!
Track your scan amounts from the first check
As we stated before, try to keep track of the number of scans you complete on your device (the software should track this automatically, but it never hurts to keep a manual tally). While this isn’t a repair tactic, per se, it gives you a way to gauge whether or not your device is worth fixing, or should be recycled and replaced.
Components manufacturers typically rate their lifetime at about 500,000 scans before the microscopic abrasions caused by moving paper will begin to affect performance. However, some scanners wear out in a fraction of that time if coarse paper has been heavily scanned. There have also been situations where certain devices are approaching several millions of scans and are still functioning without a single issue.
The lifespan of your check scanner will depend on the type of use it has experienced. In general, it’s best practice that if your scanner is approaching a half million scans, it’s probably time to investigate new scanner options.
Fixing an unresponsive check scanner
If your check scanner is not responding it may be signs of a larger problem, but to make sure it’s nothing serious take the following actions to get it running again:
How to fix an unresponsive check scanner:
- Make sure that the scanner is turned on.
- Make sure the scanner cable is has a source of power and can communicate with the host device.
- Check over the power cord, make sure there are no frays or breaks in the wires. Replace the wire if frays and breaks are visible.
- Scanning takes too long or freezes the computer because other software programs may be interfering with scanning – close all programs not being used.
- Make sure the scanner is not plugged into any surge protectors, uninterrupted power supplies, or extension cords.
- Try re-installing the check scanner’s driver software.
- Check to see that other electrical equipment plugged into the outlet, and that the outlet itself, is working.
Once you have checked each of these possibilities, turn the scanner off and then back on. This often fixes the problem with the scanner.
Give your scanner a thorough clean to make it operational again
While regular cleaning, once every 5,000-8,000 scans, is an imperative element to lengthening your check scanner’s lifespan, if your check scanner is malfunctioning, you may need to give it a good clean to make it operational again. Take off the protective cover and remove any dust particles lodged within the rollers to help prevent double-feeds. Clean the track from dust to reduce reading obstructions and increase scan quality.
Cleaning tip: Use a cleaning card to assist with cleaning the device.
Order a card from the device manufacturer. Remove the cleaning card from the pouch – the card will be most effective for the first minute after opening it. Insert the cleaning card into the scanner, and hold it there. Keep holding onto the card so that it does not go through the device.
The first feed roller will scrub itself against the card. Flip the card over to the other side to a clean edge after a few seconds of scrubbing, and repeat this process four or five times.
Track device health through the normal MICR failure rate
Another way to track the health of your digital check scanner, in addition to the number of scans completed, is to understand your malfunction rate over a period of time. If you are seeing more malfunction alerts than you normally do, you can check it against the criteria above and try re-starting it. Give it a thorough clean and try to test it before you decide to spend money on a brand new check scanner.
Teach employees how to properly use a check scanning system
A good document feed is crucial to receiving a good scan. Teach all branches of your staff on best practices for aligning checks and inserting them. You’d be surprised at the discrepancies that can occur from a check that’s misaligned by even just a couple centimeters. Additionally, you can teach them how to conduct proper maintenance and help them clear can’t-read errors and malfunctions by themselves.
Call the Professionals at BankSystems Marketing
If you’ve tried the above and nothing seems to be working, give BankSystems Marketing a call. We’ve been the trusted leader in digital check scanning products for over 30 years. We can assist you with any type of scanner repair, or help match you with a better scanning device in general. No matter what your needs are in financial processing, our store offers the top scanning products from the best brands in the industry.
Ready to get started? Get in touch with one of our dedicated service associates today!