Imacon PIII, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Ratoc FR1SX

For all the other photographers out there trying to hook up an old SCSI Imacon scanner to a new Mac, I hope this information is helpful.  *I am not responsible if this information doesn’t work for you, or if it screws up your computer.  But this worked for me.

You will need:
Ratoc FR1SX FireWire to Ultra SCSI Converter
AC Adapter for FR1SX Item# FR-AC05
High-Density 50F to Centronics 50M Adapter Item# RCL-3005
FireWire 800 to 400 converter (the new macs don’t have FireWire 400).
* I also needed a new power supply for my scanner, so I bought a Protek PMP60-32 from PSU which works perfectly.

A. Downgrade the Firmware of the FR1SX to 1.23. Firmware can be downloaded from Ratoc
1. Make sure the FR1SX is plugged into the AC adapter and the green light is on, and make sure to plug it into the computer with a FireWire cable.
1-b. Double click “FR1 Utility” icon to launch the FR1 Utility.
2. Click “Enable FR1 Utility” button. The system will be restarted by the utility automatically.
3. Double click “FR1 Utility” icon again to launch the FR1 Utility.
4. Click “select firmware data” button to browse firmware data.
5. The firmware data named FR0123.BIN is located at “old firm” folder.
6. Click “Start firmware update” button. Confirm “Firmware Rev” number is changed to 1.23.
7. Click “Disable FR1 Utility” button. The system will be restarted by the utility automatically, or restart your computer.
Please don’t forget to disable the FR1 Utility after changing the settings. If the utility is enabled, all firewire devices are not recognized by the systems temporarily.

B. (I also had to follow these steps which I was given by Ratoc tech support)
0. Disconnect FR1SX from scanner, Mac and AC adapter.
1. Turn off the scanner
2. Connect the FR1SX to the SCSI port of the scanner
3. Turn on the power of the scanner and plug in the AC adapter to FR1SX. Check the green LED light on the FR1SX is ON.
4. Wait for the scanner to finish initialization.
5. Connect the firewire cable to the Mac
6. Run the FR1 Configuration utility
7. Click on “Enable the utility” and then exit the utility.
8. Restart your Mac
9. Run the Configuration utility again. This time, you should be able to edit the parameters.
9-a. Change the parameter “Delay time between power on and SCSI bus reset” to 15 seconds.
9-b. Change the parameter “transfer speed” to “ASYNC”.
10. Click on “Start Configuration Changes”
11. Disable the utility and exit.
12. Restart your Mac.

If you are still having problems, try this start up procedure:  With fr1sx unplugged and computer off, start up scanner and wait for it to be in the ready state, plug in fr1sx power, and then start the computer.

According to Hasselblad/Imacon tech support, the new FlexColor software versions (starting from 4.5) does not support older SCSI models, such as the FlexFrame camera backs or Flextight Precision scanners. For the FlexFrame and the Flextight, please use FlexColor 4.0.x.
*Some information is directly from Ratoc’s website and some is compiled from tech support. Have fun scanning!

35 Comments »

  1. i have been trying to figure this out!!!!! this is awesome. Thanks so much!

  2. Frédéric Leemans says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been looking into this as well, running Tiger 10.4.11 and using Ratoc converter and wanting to upgrade my OS.
    BUT…….
    There is an issue if you have to believe Hasselblads own software archive.
    Flexcolor 4.0.4 is the latest version that will support SCSI devises and this only up to OS 10.5.x
    On top of that it isn’t compatible with Intel based machines.
    Here’s the link, you might have to login,
    http://www.hasselblad.com/service–support/technical-support/software-archive.aspx
    Which machine are you using for scanning ?

    • James Godman says:

      Hi Frédéric- I just checked the link you sent and you are right, there is no support for FLexcolor 4.0.4 past OS 10.6. But 4.0.4 does work for me on an Intel 2.8 GHz Core i5 Imac with 16gb Ram, OS 10.6.6, and an external color calibrated NEC monitor. Hope it works for you! Please do let me know. Good luck.

      • Frédéric Leemans says:

        James,

        I’m using a Macbk pro 2.33Ghz Intel Core Duo, with a calibrated Eizo and running version 3.6.6 of flexcolor with the ratoc (it was the only version that would recognise my Precision II).
        So I might hook the scanner to my girlfriend’s Mac Mini which is running 10.6 and see if it works. I’ll try to keep you updated if it happens ;-)
        Thanks for doing the research, and btw your grandad’s pics are pretty good…..

  3. Emmanuel says:

    Hello James,
    I really thank you for this post. It was absolutely needed.
    B/R
    Emmanuel

    • James Godman says:

      Glad it was helpful Emmanuel! Wish I was in Montmartre right now and I’d stop in your store. Oh well, someday soon. Be well.

  4. Alastair says:

    Thanks so much for this information. My Precision II is up and running perfectly with my imac (3.06) and 10.6.7. Brilliant!

  5. steffanie says:

    hello and thank you for information
    i had already bought the FR1SX but thought I had purchased the wrong thing since it was too small to fit but looks like i need some adaptors
    where did you purchse the other items besides the converter?
    thanks again for the information!
    much appreciated

  6. Adrian says:

    I just wanted to say how shocked and stunned I am by the fact that it worked!! Normally one takes the advice “That
    if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is”, but clearly you had put a lot of work in compiling this blog. Thus
    I was perhaps less worried that it would not work, even with the same computer, but was still amazed when it
    actually did work. Sadly I think I may have purchased one of the last new FR1SX ,as the company Ratoc directed me
    to is now sold out!! Buying the correct adaptor was also a great help. I am therefore running the Imacon
    precision ii into an iMac 24″ (operating system Snow Leopard) using, against their recommendations, Flexcolor 4.0.4.
    I find it difficult to express how delighted your blog has made me feel. I can now scan my film on a very high quality
    scanner!
    Many Many Thanks
    Adrian

  7. Tom Weis says:

    This is slightly related to this post, but it appears that Flexcolor 4.0.4 does not work in MAC OS X 10.7 Lion.
    ~ Tom

    • James Godman says:

      Tom- When you want to use the scanner, you can boot 10.6.8 from an external hard drive. That should work. Thanks again for your input.

  8. Mark says:

    Hi. Just wanted to say “thank you” for saving my Precision II from becoming a boat anchor. It’s working perfectly under Snow Leopard 10.6.8 on a MacBook Pro early 2011, running FlexColor 4.0.4. Brilliant! Thanks again.

    -Mark

  9. Børje says:

    Hi James, thank you so much for your detailed information! My Flextight Photo is now running perfectly under OS10.6.8 and FC 4.0.4! I almost had given up to fix it (before it ran under 10.4 on a Powerbook G4 but recently the Powerbook crashed). Thanks!
    Regards from Switzerland!
    Børje

  10. James Godman says:

    Adrian, Tom, Mark, and Børje – Thank you all very much for your input. Glad its working for some of you!

  11. Jeanba says:

    Thanks for the article, it perfectly works for my Flextight Precision II and my 2008 MacPro with 10.6.8 !

    And now I know I can make a scanner station with any MacIntel supporting 10.6.8 (for the moment I run it on an old Mini G4 with OS 10.4.11).

  12. Adrian says:

    Hi James,
    I thought I would e-mail you again to tell that you can also install the latest Flexcolor v.4.8.13 which works well
    in Snow Leopard and run the two side by side, naturally you still have to import from the scanner using v.4.0.4 and then close it. You then are able to open v.4.8.13 and have a few more tools and can work with 3F files (a virtual RAW
    file).
    Also from a more “tecky” note I understand that Sow Leopard is the last of the Mac systems that runs Rosetta , which
    translates the older type of code.
    Hope this helps!
    Kind Regards
    Adrian

    • James Godman says:

      Thanks Adrian I appreciate the input. I just mentioned your comment about Rosetta on another comment. Best of luck.

  13. Tamas Revesz says:

    What can I do if FR1SX unavailable? I have the Flextight III.

  14. Mike says:

    James, thanks for posting this information. I’ve been running my Imacon PII off an old Power PC with an Adaptec SCSI card for the last 7 years. The computer looks like it’s finally bit the dust, but the scanner is still going strong.

    I’ve recently ordered a FR1SX adapter and am awaiting its arrival. I know that I’ll need to downgrade the firmware to 1.23 first thing in order to make this work. Ultimately I’ll be running the scanner on a dedicated Mac Pro that will be running OS 10.6.8, as others on this blog indicate that this works well. This afternoon, just to make sure the firmware updater was still available from Ratoc, I downloaded it to my Macbook Pro (OS 10.8) and tried to open the firmware installer. When I did, I received the following error message: “You can’t open the application “FR1 Utility Installer” because the Classic environment is no longer supported.” Will the Mac Pro on 10.6.8 give me the same message on attempting to use the FR1 Installer? Did you have to do something elaborate to make the installer work? If you could let me (and potentially others with this same question) know, I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks again for the excellent post. Much appreciated.

    • James Godman says:

      Mike- It should work fine on 10.6.8 but will not work on any machine running 10.7 or 10.8 because Rosetta (the classic environment) is no longer part of those operating systems. The other thing you could do on your machine running 10.7 is boot 10.6.8 from an external drive when you need to make some scans.

  15. Mike says:

    Many thanks for the help. Glad this excellent scanner is not yet obsolete.

  16. Brent Adams says:

    James, thanks so much for the insight. You’re a true craftsman. I followed all the steps and am certain it would have worked if my computers / operating systems weren’t quite so new. Which brings me to my question. I’m considering buying an outdated computer for the sole purpose of managing the scanner. Its a Flextight Precision 2. How far back do you think I’d need to go? As far as hardware and operating system?

    • James Godman says:

      Hi Brent- It should work fine on any mac running 10.6.8, and you could buy an older machine to run that, but you could also try intalling 10.6.8 on an external drive and boot your new computer from that when you want to use the scanner. Thanks for the compliment! Best of luck.

  17. Alan Charlesworth says:

    Hey James,

    Any advice on successfully connecting a Precision II to a PowerPC G5 (running Leopard) without the use of a Ratoc FR1SX? I would love to get my hands on the Ratoc, but they are nearly impossible to find. I’ve currently got an ATTO ExpressPCI UL3S and a 3ft SCSI cable running to the scanner. I successfully installed the PCI card driver as well as Flexcolor 4.0.4, but for some reason the scanner is still not found. I only get the blinking green light on the PII. I always boot the scanner first, then the Mac, but each time it can not find the scanner. The PCI card is still active on my Hardware Overview.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? I am hoping to find a Ratoc soon and be able to use your info listed above.

  18. Arye Rubenstein says:

    OEM power supplies are available… that would be the Protek # PUP55-32
    4th supply down
    Hosfelt part #56-772 Price: $9.95 YES $9.95 !

    For additional help don’t forget
    there are even some former Hasselblad techs there.

    With the PII/III you can scan on an older machine in flexcolor 4.0.4 in the 3F(raw) format than take it to a faster machine using the newer versions of flexcolor for faster processing and photoshop. Allowing you to scan one and process one at the same time. And with the 3F you dont need to physically rescan as you would if scanned direct to tif.

  19. Adrian says:

    Hi James, I appear to be getting good results from my scans, however I have recently noticed that the Imacon
    is not coming up in Colorsync under devices, whereas the ICC profiles are listed. I wonder if you have experienced a similar problem and can shed any light on how to resolve the issue. Any advice you can give would be greatly
    appreciated.
    Kind Regards
    Adrian

  20. Mike Sellers says:

    Hi James,
    I need a new power supply for my PII and I see that you are using the PMP60-32 with your Imacon. Is there any reason why I can`t use this power supply on my scanner instead of the PUP55-32-M13?

  21. Paul,Clément Neumann says:

    Can you send me a picture of your installation ? I’m not able to put all the adapters on the back of my imacon :(

    Thank you for your amazing work !

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