Digital Check scanners and teller equipment

Show Your Scanner Some Love!

More than You Ever Wanted to Know About Paper Jams, Streaky Images, Feeding Problems — and How to Prevent Them

If You've Ever Thought: 'Why's My Scanner Doing That?' ...

Ever experienced mysterious “paper jams” with no apparent cause?

Plagued by black streaks across your images?

Seen a document disappear due to a double-feed?

Or maybe you just wonder how magnetic MICR reading works, or you want to know what those little sensors inside your scanner’s paper track do.

We’ve got the answers to all of that and more right here! Watch the full video at right, or click on an individual topic to get the bite-sized explanation of a particular issue — and how to solve it!

Why Are My Documents Getting Stuck for No Reason? Here's Why:

It’s one of the most frustrating things you can imagine: Your scanner is running through a pile of documents, working normally … and then it just stops.

For no reason.

You check it and you don’t find anything wrong, so you start over. The scanner works fine for a little while — and then it does it again.

If this describes what’s been happening to you, relax — there’s probably nothing to worry about. Often times, these “paper jams” aren’t really paper jams at all, and they have a straightforward cause and a simple solution.

Help! There's a Black Streak Across All My Images! What's Wrong?
(Don't try this at home)

When this problem comes up, it can look like something’s seriously wrong with your scanner. Every image is marred by a black or gray streak across the entire image.

Many people initially fear the worst: Is the camera going bad?

While that would be an expensive problem, it’s almost never the case when you see this issue come up.

In the demonstration at right, we show you why even the tiniest speck of dirt or dust in the wrong place can make itself look like a much bigger problem than it really is.

This Kind of 'Piggyback' Is No Fun: Double-Feeds & How to Stop Them

Paper jams or strange images are one thing — but what if you had checks disappearing from your deposits at random?

The dreaded double-feed, or ‘piggyback,’ causes just that.

The checks themselves don’t actually disappear, but when two of them go through the scanner at once, you get an unusual phenomenon that can cause the second one to be ‘skipped’ without generating an error.

While it’s expensive and time-consuming to fix these errors, checking a couple of critical parts usually prevents them.

Why Precise Feeding Is a Requirement for 'Catching the Wave'
(The magnetic MICR wave)

Reading the magnetic ink at the bottom of your checks is done with a specialized part that requires very precise feeding. If it’s even a little off, it can result in errors ranging from a minor inconvenience to major problems that cause money to end up in the wrong place.

We take a closer look at how feeding affects the MICR reader, and why keeping your scanner clean is extra important for this part of the process.

Inner Track Sensors: An Important But Often-Overlooked Part

We’ve talked about how sensitive the scanner’s feed mechanism, cameras, MICR reader, and double-feed prevention system all are. But there’s one more set of sensors inside your scanner that can cause a ‘hard stop’ just as much as any of the others. They just aren’t talked about much because their purpose is mostly behind the scenes where you don’t see it.

The track sensors are a set of 3 or 4 small sensors located inside the paper path itself, that track the progress of each document around the track. They tell the scanner how far a check has gotten, how fast it’s going, when it’s reached the exit pocket, and when it’s safe to begin feeding the next item. They’re an obscure part to be sure, but very important to keep clean!