A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a new 8mm film scanner I’d bought as a birthday present from Amazon. The unit was made by a company called Winait in China and at first everything was good with it, but unfortunately, things have not gone well after the initial use.
Problems with the Winait 8mm film scanner
Update: Please read the update about the problems I’ve had with this unit here.
In my initial post, I’d used the scanner to digitise a 3 inch reel of film and everything had gone quite well, so I’d next tried a 5 inch reel of a trip to France from 1969, and left the unit working on it while I got on with something else.
After about 30 minutes I went to check that the process was still running because the unit can stop if there are any joins in the film which snag on the gate, and I found that although the reels were still turning, the screen had frozen with vertical lines running down it. I tried the stop button to halt the machine but it wouldn’t respond and in the end I had to pull the power cable from the unit to stop it.
When I turned the unit on again, it seemed to work so I tried the film again and this time kept a closer eye on it. Sure enough, after a few minutes the unit crashed again and because I assumed I’d need evidence of this I got a camera and videoed it, which is shown below. This time, I found I could stop it by holding the on-off butting, but when I removed the card from the unit, there wasn’t a file of the progress the scanner had made up to the point of crashing, so basically the unit was un-useable.
Once I had the video of the failure, I used the messaging service in the Amazon account section to send the video to the manufacturers in China, and after a few back and forth messages (which took a day each way), their response was that the problem was with the SD card I was using and I needed to try a different one and make sure I formatted it in the scanner before use.
I was absolutely certain this was not the cause, but to make sure I tried two different SD cards and formatted them in the unit before starting the scanning, and with both cards (or all three to be more accurate), the result was exactly the same. The unit froze after an indeterminate amount of time and the card was blank.
As it happens I found a temporary workaround while I organise sending the unit back. If I start a film and every few minutes stop and restart the digitation, the scanner will write a file of the progress so far to the card and start a new one when restarted. It also seems that if the scanner hasn’t crashed at the point I stop and start it, it seems to prevent the crash as well. In this way I’ve managed to digitise a couple of films but joining the multiple files together, but of course it’s not really a long term, viable solution.
Just as a final word, the Winait company in China have said they will replace the unit and have said I should return it via surface mail since this will be cheaper – I don’t know if they assume I will pay the return postage, but if they do they are wrong!