Epson Perfection 3170 Pulley Broke - Fix


T

Tony Whitaker

I just fixed the broken pulley on my Epson Perfection 3170 scanner.
I hadn't used the scanner for many months, and when I started it up today,
it wouldn't scan. The red LED was flashing on the silver start button. I
looked inside, and immediately saw that the pulley for the belt that moves
the scanning carriage was cockeyed. It had obviously come loose. I searched
the internet, and all I found were a few comments about flimsy plastic tabs
breaking, being unrepairable, and rendering the scanner useless. Although I
was very disappointed (I had not abused the scanner; it had never taken a
serious drop or hit), I decided I didn't want to give up on it.

I had a heck of a time figuring out how to open the case. I didn't see any
screws on the bottom or anywhere else. I looked inside through the glass,
and saw a series of tabs all around between the top and bottom of the case.
So, I guessed that these tabs must interlock in some way, and if I just
pried them apart, the top would come off.

Well, using a butter knife, I managed to break the top off the case without
seriously damaging anything (except that it won't screw back together now -
I can freely remove the top half of the scanner at any time now).

After breaking it, it became obvious where the screws were that I was
looking for. They're at the bottom of the holes in the top into which go the
posts for the clamshell (see link below to photo).

There's nothing particularly fragile inside. The ribbon cable to the front
buttons is quite strong, and the circuit board is simple and seems rugged.
Basically, all I did was use 2 small sheet metal screws with fender washers
to hold down the pulley slide that broke free from the plastic tabs that had
held in place. This required the drilling of 2 small holes through the
bottom of the scanner. I think the pictures in the following links make it
clear what needs to be done:

Location of the screws to open the case:
http://www.mindspring.com/~lorqvonray/Hinges.jpg

Pulley, Pulley Slide, & Belt:
http://www.mindspring.com/~lorqvonray/Pulley.jpg

It ain't pretty, but it works:
http://www.mindspring.com/~lorqvonray/ScrewsOut.jpg

I don't think I damaged anything. It seems to scan fine now. If I come
across any problems later that aren't obvious this soon after fixing it,
I'll report back here.
 
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S

Silicon Sam

I just fixed the broken pulley on my Epson Perfection 3170 scanner.
I hadn't used the scanner for many months, and when I started it up today,
it wouldn't scan. The red LED was flashing on the silver start button. I
looked inside, and immediately saw that the pulley for the belt that moves
the scanning carriage was cockeyed. It had obviously come loose. I searched
the internet, and all I found were a few comments about flimsy plastic tabs
breaking, being unrepairable, and rendering the scanner useless. Although I
was very disappointed (I had not abused the scanner; it had never taken a
serious drop or hit), I decided I didn't want to give up on it.

I had a heck of a time figuring out how to open the case. I didn't see any
screws on the bottom or anywhere else. I looked inside through the glass,
and saw a series of tabs all around between the top and bottom of the case.
So, I guessed that these tabs must interlock in some way, and if I just
pried them apart, the top would come off.

Well, using a butter knife, I managed to break the top off the case without
seriously damaging anything (except that it won't screw back together now -
I can freely remove the top half of the scanner at any time now).

After breaking it, it became obvious where the screws were that I was
looking for. They're at the bottom of the holes in the top into which go the
posts for the clamshell (see link below to photo).

There's nothing particularly fragile inside. The ribbon cable to the front
buttons is quite strong, and the circuit board is simple and seems rugged.
Basically, all I did was use 2 small sheet metal screws with fender washers
to hold down the pulley slide that broke free from the plastic tabs that had
held in place. This required the drilling of 2 small holes through the
bottom of the scanner. I think the pictures in the following links make it
clear what needs to be done:

Location of the screws to open the case:http://www.mindspring.com/~lorqvonray/Hinges.jpg

Pulley, Pulley Slide, & Belt:http://www.mindspring.com/~lorqvonray/Pulley.jpg

It ain't pretty, but it works:http://www.mindspring.com/~lorqvonray/ScrewsOut.jpg

I don't think I damaged anything. It seems to scan fine now. If I come
across any problems later that aren't obvious this soon after fixing it,
I'll report back here.
I had the same problem with my 3170. It was a freebie given to me
by a Craiglist poster. I drilled a hole through the plastic where you
see the slot near the wheel. But not through the metal bracket, but
in the slot. As close to the wheel as you can get, but not touching
it. I put in a small screw, and a nut on the screw on the bottom. I
used some Locktite so the nut would not vibrate off. Main difference
in what I did, is I knew about the screws, and the screw and nut are
not tight, still allowing the bracket to float back and forth as
designed to do.

I'll post pictures later this weekend.

Raymond
 
T

Tony Whitaker

Silicon Sam said:
I had the same problem with my 3170. It was a freebie given to me
by a Craiglist poster. I drilled a hole through the plastic where you
see the slot near the wheel. But not through the metal bracket, but
in the slot. As close to the wheel as you can get, but not touching
it. I put in a small screw, and a nut on the screw on the bottom. I
used some Locktite so the nut would not vibrate off. Main difference
in what I did, is I knew about the screws, and the screw and nut are
not tight, still allowing the bracket to float back and forth as
designed to do.
Yep. That would've been a quicker, simpler way to do it. I just wanted to
put up information that might help people with the same problem. The first
thing I did when I saw that it was broken is Google for "Epson 3170 scanner
pulley". Not much comes up. Hopefully, people will find our little
discussion here in the future when their 3170 breaks. It's a shame the
design is so weak that we needed to do this, but at least it can be fixed
quite easily. If I hadn't spent a half hour trying to open the case, it
would've taken only about 15 minutes to fix it. It would probably take less
than 10 minutes your way. I was enthusiastically happy with the scanner
before the pulley broke without any abuse whatsoever.
 
S

Silicon Sam

Yep. That would've been a quicker, simpler way to do it. I just wanted to
put up information that might help people with the same problem. The first
thing I did when I saw that it was broken is Google for "Epson 3170 scanner
pulley". Not much comes up. Hopefully, people will find our little
discussion here in the future when their 3170 breaks. It's a shame the
design is so weak that we needed to do this, but at least it can be fixed
quite easily. If I hadn't spent a half hour trying to open the case, it
would've taken only about 15 minutes to fix it. It would probably take less
than 10 minutes your way. I was enthusiastically happy with the scanner
before the pulley broke without any abuse whatsoever.
Finally got my picture uploaded to my Pee Cee. Here's how I did
mine, and in the picture you can see the remains of the old crappy
plastic clips.

Take the pic and store it somewhere....

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h200/siliconsam/Miscellaneous/IMG_2527.jpg

Raymond
 
S

Silicon Sam

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Tony's tip on how to open the scanner and Raymond's tip on how to
loosely screw down the pulley's mounting bracket were spot on.  Thanks
to them, it was less than 30 minutes from noisy failure to scanning
again.
I still have that scanner, but I've had 3 different ones since
then. Found an Epson 4490 cheap, then a new V300, then found a cheap
V500, which I still use now. The LED lighted scanners are nice. No
wait times for warm up.
 
R

rodney

How can I get that advice?

my OE shows no evidence of the early posts.

can you copy and repost for me please?

Rod.
Western Australia
 
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I want to thank you both for posting. my Epson 3170 broke today. The scanner head buzzed and doesn't move. I saw the pulley was crooked through the glass and soon learned that the plastic tabs had broken off. I was just about to try to glue the pulley to the plastic base when i searched for and found this thread. A much more elegant solution! Viva la differance! :cheers:

Thanks! I'm going to try this solution right when I get off work.
 
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Thanks so much for this post and the pics. I was bumming that my 3170 simply broke while not being used. I have (lightly) used this scanner for years, and love it. I didn't even notice the pulley was out of place and I had NO idea the cover screws were under the lid hinge. I used the "screw in the center of the pulley fixture" fix and 15 minutes later I was up and running. My only glitch was that I used a rotary tool with a cutoff blade to trim the screw. It over heated and melted the plastic. I quickly smashed the melted plastic back into the hole, let it cool, re-threaded the screw, then took my time cutting off the rest of the screw threads.
Thanks Again for saving me the price of a new scanner.:bow:
 
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Great post. Big :thumb: to the two original posters. I was about to throw mine away and buy a new scanner when I found this post. Few minutes later it was up and running again.
 
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Thanks for making these posts all. At first I thought my drive belt had just stretched and was falling off the pulley, but after taking apart my scanner I found the exact same problem where the pulley bracket had broken free. I used the two screw approach and it worked like a charm.

One note though, I was able to easily take the unit apart. As a previous poster had said, lift the top lid out (it slides out easily by lifting straight up) and unplug it from the back to set aside. Once the top is off, loosen the two screws found at the bottom of the holes where the lid pegs were. Then, the trick to getting the unit apart easily is to left up the back end of the top half which is now loose and then slide the top forward (you'll have to use a little force - when you left up the rear you can peek at the inside of the front and see how the plastic clips are engaged). Once you slide the top forward you will have disengaged the plastic clips and the top will be freed.
 
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thank you Tony Whitaker!! it's now May 21, 2013, and I just fixed my broken pulley with your guided post!! thank you so much,,, i too could figure out what was wrong, just did not know how to access, and truly would have been hard pressed to figure out the drill and screws. you saved my scanner, not to mention the case!!

i was starting to pry the case open with a letter opener when i found your post. I did just what you said, unscrewed the case screws, drilled 2 little holes where you indicated, and fixed the pulley!!! and it works!!! i'm a happy scanner!! :thumb: thanks again!
 
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Thanks very much for this post. It is now October 31, 2013 and this is still helping people. I registered for this site just so I could thank you. You saved my scanner.:D
 
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This was SO helpful, thank you! I went from a dead scanner to up and running in about 20 minutes! (I used a pop rivet and a few washers and it worked great.)

Thanks again for this post.
 
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Thank you Tony and Raymond! Right in the middle of a scan job I heard a snap and then saw a flashing red light. Something did not look right so I tried to take cover off and could not figure it out. I googled how to remove cover on 3170 and lo and behold there was Tony's post on how to do the whole job. I used Raymonds suggestion and drilled a hole inside the bracket. I found a ssmall bolt and nut in the garage that did the job. It took me a couple of hours by the time I recharged battery on drill till I got back to my scanning job but grateful I did not have to replace my flatbed just yet! Thanks guys!
 
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And thanks Bradley for pointing out how to slip the cover off once the screws are out, it was another key point in fixing the scanner.
 
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Dear Tony

Thank you!
Your almost 10 year old post has helped me to repair my Scanner within half an hour.
Even if there is no more Epson support for Mac Sierra, it works perfectly with the build in Mac OS Scanner tool.

Greetings from Switzerland

Hans
 
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Greetings from Canada.

Even after all these years, models of the Epson Perfection 3170 are still around -- despite their flimsy construction. The excellent description and pictures provided by some of you have enabled me to fix the pulley on mine, perhaps permitting me to perhaps get a few more years of service out of it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
 
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After even more years, our 3170 is still a top-notch bed scanner. Scans of 35mm slides have nearly infinite resolution. We have supplemented the Epson with a ScanSnap -- also a phenomenal piece of equipment.

These posts allowed me to fix the pulley issue with the 3170 in about an hour. As "skeptical senior" wrote: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
 

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