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You would be forgiven for laughing if someone said a printer could be used as an input device. This was certainly my first reaction. But Dart Electronics (of lightpen fame) has done it. Using a combination of hardware and software with an Amstrad DMP 2000 printer, they have produced an alternative to the video digitizer.

Before you go rushing down to your local Scanner stockist bear in mind you need a DMP 2000 or 3000. The reason is that pari of the hardware the scanning head - slots into the print head of the DMP. It will fit only in these two printer models.

The Dart kit also includes an interface that slots into the expansion slot of any CPC model and software that gets everything ticking. The interface, which has a through-connector, can quite easily be mistaken for a hunk of plastic - the only distinguishing features are a knob on one side and a wire leading to the scanner-head.

Setting up the Scanner is no more trouble than eating your breakfast: plug the scanner-head and interface into the appropriate orifices, stick a vane on one side of the printer (which prevents it going too far left) and run the software program.

To input a picture, front-load it as you would ordinary printer paper; use tractor-feed and ensure the paper-thickness adjustment is set to thick-as-possible. The software displays a list of options: choose "scan" (making sure the printer is switched on) and you're away.

Dart's gadget scans across your paper, turning a line into a series of black or white dots - which appear on screen and in memory. Then the printer rolls up one line and the scanner reads it. Simple. The exact opposite of putting ink on paper.

If nothing appears or the screen fills up with black lines, turn the knob on the interface: it controls the brightness level.

I found it fairly easy to produce good results. Occasionally, however, the scan-head would catch on the side of the picture it was reading. This resulted in the printer doing loud impressions of a farm tractor. "Minutes to scan," claims Dart's blurb, but in truth it needs 10 to 15 minutes. Worse is the lack of grey-scaling. The pictures are black and white - nothing in between.

When scanning you have several options. For example, you can scan one or two screens, and choose the magnification: x2, x4 and x6. With x 1, the screen image is the actual size of the original: about 8 inches by 5. The software can perform a few other tricks:

  • PRINT sends the scanned picture to the printer (the opposite of scanning).
  • You can LOAD or SAVE previously scanned pictures.
  • With COPY AREA you can cut and paste areas of the screen. This can enhance the final image - or provide hours of entertainment doing photofits of your friends.
  • SCROLL AREA lets you define an area and scroll the contents of the box in any direction. Useful for fine adjustment or detail.
  • ZOOM/EDIT will blow up a section of the image. Then you can fine-tune the picture by plotting or unplotting pixels.
  • BOX/BLANK places a box around a defined area and clears everything outside it. Then you can move this box anywhere on the screen - nice.
  • CLEAR AREA clears everything inside a defined box.
  • ADD TEXT allows you to enter text anywhere on the screen. Handy for labelling or naming diagrams.
  • VIEW SCREEN 1/2 selects the required screen to be displayed.
  • FLIP SCREEN through 180 degrees.
  • MERGE SCREENS will combine screens 1 and 2. The screens are XORed, which means interesting effects can result.

Although sluggish, the software contains enough to produce stunning pictures. It also allows a certain amount of tidying up and playing around. You could incorporate scanned pictures within AMX Pagemaker or build up an art gallery after they have been given the Art Studio treatment. The Dart Scanner is a fun package that may. unfortunately, be out of reach for many people's pockets.
But which digitizer?

You could loosely group Rombo's Vidi (the video digitizer reviewed in AA 15) and Dart's Scanner as similar products. However. Vidi grabs and digitizes moving pictures - it produces pictures using many grey-scales. The scanner reads still data such as a photograph or part of a magazine - the result is a two-tone picture. Vidi needs a video-recorder or video-camera before even starting, whereas Scanner needs an Amstrad printer (DMP 2000 or 3000).

The two devices have similar prices, but when you take into account the extras needed, the Dart Scanner is the more affordable.


★ ANNÉE: ???
★ INFO: Comme son nom l'indique le scanner DART est un scanner deux couleurs ( MODE 2 ) qui s'adapte sur la tête d'impression des imprimantes AMSTRAD DMP, DMP 2000 sur les photos ( compatible avec les DMP 2000 / 2160 / 3000 / 3160 )

Cliquez sur l'image pour voir les différents packages (3). 


» Scanner  Dart  DISK-UTIL    FRENCHDATE: 2006-07-26
DL: 348 fois
SIZE: 10Ko
NOTE: 42 Cyls

» Dart  ScannerDATE: 2011-08-26
DL: 234 fois
TYPE: image
SIZE: 73Ko
NOTE: w421*h636

» Semaphore-Scanner  Dart-Tasword  8000-Bricodisc  CPCDATE: 2015-01-08
DL: 766 fois
TYPE: image
SIZE: 383Ko
NOTE: w1111*h1605

» Schneider-Scanner  Dart    (Release  DISC)    GERMANDATE: 2019-06-23
DL: 215 fois
SIZE: 605Ko
NOTE: Uploaded by hERMOL ; 3 pages/PDFlib v1.6

» Scanner  Dart    (Release  DISC)    FRENCHDATE: 2015-11-07
DL: 170 fois
TYPE: image
SIZE: 251Ko
NOTE: Scan by hERMOL ; w980*h1192

Dumps cassettes:
» Dart  Electronics  Image  Scanner    ENGLISHDATE: 2017-12-13
DL: 215 fois
NOTE: Uploaded by CPCLOV ;

» Image  Scanner  Dart  UtilityDATE: 2016-04-19
DL: 353 fois
NOTE: Dump by hERMOL ; Headerless Custom; /CDTBlocks=17

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.