Monday, March 21, 2011

Tech Tuesday: Fun With My New Flip-Pal Scanner!

Say hello to my little friend!
I like presents. A lot! So, I went ahead and treated myself to a sweet little gift last week: a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. I think I'm in love!

The Flip-Pal is a compact, cordless mobile scanner that runs on AA batteries, stores scanned images on a memory card (like the one in your camera) and can make high resolution (600 or 300 dpi) scans from just about anywhere. It's small -- the flatbed will hold a 4"x6" photo or document -- but it comes with software that allows you to seamlessly stitch together much larger documents. Just this weekend, I had fun scanning and stitching my old 4-H camp photos, and they looked fantastic:
Five separate 4"x6" scans that were seamlessly stitched together to reassemble one 8"x15" photo
Scanning the large photo. It took five scans, with some overlap, to get the whole photo. 
Then, the Easy Stitch software stitched them all together into one picture right on my laptop!
It also has a patented flip-and-scan technology that allows you to scan photos, large and small, in photo albums, scrapbooks or even picture frames without having to move or otherwise disrupt the photo. All you have to do is remove the lid from the flatbed, flip the scanner over, place it on the original and hit the green scan button. There's a see-through window at the bottom of the scanner that allows you to frame the original photo for a perfect scan.
Scanning photos straight from the scrapbook is SO EASY! See the handy dandy viewfinder?
It's ridiculously simple to use, and doesn't even need to be attached to a computer:
  • Place your photo/document on the flat bed (or flip the scanner if you're working on a larger document or album/book).
  • Push the green button to scan.
  • Take your SD card from the scanner and insert it into its slot on your
    computer (or you can use included USB attachment if your computer doesn't have an SD slot)
  • Then, edit, upload or just enjoy your newly-scanned images!
You can place a photo directly onto the flatbed scanner, or remove the lid and
turn it over to scan larger documents or photos in albums.
There were a few things that hung me up when I first jumped into my scanning project with the Flip-Pal:
  • At first, the batteries that came with the scanner appeared to be DOA when I tried using it. The nice customer service person, Charlie, gave me several reasons as to why this might have been. Turns out, I needed to set the date/time on the scanner in order for it to work. That did the trick!
  • Charlie also mentioned that, if I'm doing a lot of scanning (which has been the case!), I might want to invest in rechargeable batteries. I think I'm going to do that since, in the long run, it will be easier on both my pocketbook and the environment.
  • Initially, I wasn't able to read the supporting documentation or get the Easy Stitch software to work. I had a hunch it was because I was using a Mac, and these were geared toward PCs. I was right, and it was an easy fix. I just headed over to the Flip-Pal site and downloaded the proper software to work on a Mac (for free, of course).
I have to note that the online customer service folks at Flip-Pal are quick, helpful and friendly. They claim that they will return email requests within 24 hours, but Charlie got back to me (twice!) within minutes, keeping my scanning downtime to a minimum.

Now, I find myself constantly combing my apartment for more photos that I can upload to my genealogy files (or use to terrorize my Facebook community). I plan to bring my Flip-Pal to my mom's house this Easter so I can scan photos from her old albums. I'm thinking I could even bring it with me to libraries and historical societies to scan (with their permission, of course) documents that would be difficult to scan in a regular flatbed scanner.

Care to purchase a Flip-Pal as a gift for yourself or someone else?
Comes with:
  • Four AA batteries (installed)
  • 2GB SD memory card (installed)
  • USB to SD adapter
  • Stitching and color restoration software
  • Window protector sheet
  • Quick Start User Guide
  • One-Year limited warranty
Note: I am not affiliated with Flip-Pal or any of its partners in any way, shape or form. I'm just a new fan!


  1. I just may have look into this one!
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  2. So......what do the critics say about it with old photos (I mean really old photos)? I've heard that some scanners can damage older photos by turning them completely black.

  3. Renee. I've not yet read anything regarding this scanner and old photos. I've scanned photos as old as the early 1900s, though, and had no problems. If you have old photos that you're concerned about, you might consider taking them to a professional photo restorer and see what they think.

  4. I'm so jealous!!! I've been drooling over the Flip Pal since I saw it at the Family History Expo last fall....

  5. Great information here Wendy. If only it had an AC cord to plug it in. I use rechargeable batteries around the house but I am always stuck with a dead set just when I need them most.
    I think a lot of us genealogy enthusiasts don't scan enough because it was always so cumbersome. This just might change that.