The Vintage Computer

A Collection of IT Gear from the Past, Restorations and Projects around vintage computing

Genius handheld scanner GS 4500

So I scored a Geniscan GS-4500 monochrome handheld scanner from ebay. I had the same one back in the day so I could not resist to grab it and install it in my 5155 portable.

The device is in great condition and it came with the original packaging, the ISA interface card and all 5.25″ program disks and manuals. Even the protective cap for the mini-DIN plug of the scanning unit was still there.

GS-4500 package contents

Time to try this thing out, so I grabbed the 5155 and plugged the card in. Fortunately, it’s a short 8bit card which fits just nicely into the area behind the floppy drives. The scanning unit connects via a 8-pin mini DIN plug to it.

To my surprise, all the 5.25″ disks were in perfect condition and had no read-errors, making the old-school software install – “MD SEII, CD SEII, COPY A:*.*” – a breeze.

Once everything copied and the computer reassembled, it was time to try this thing out. The way it works is that the scanner end is positioned at the upper border of the area to be captured and then slowly dragged downwards while holding down the “scan” button.

Desktop Publishing in the 80s

This little scanner is actually quite a fun toy even though it captures black white images only and approximates gray scales with a raster, which actually happens in the scanning head itself, so the image is being transferred down the cable in the way it appears on screen.

It shouldn’t be hard to translate the raster back into gray scales with losing some resultion. From there it would be fun companion to my vintage daisywheel printer to making ASCII art.

The german computer magazine c’t published a project to create a DIY interface and software for Atari ST computers for handheld scanners similar to this one in the 2nd issue of 1993, and a similar project for KCS 85 micros was published here. With that information it shouldn’t be hard to rig up an Arduino based USB interface for modern systems.

DeviceGS 4500
ManufacturerGenius (KYE Corp)
TypeHandheld scanner
Resolution400 dpi (max)
32 gray scales
InterfaceGSIF-III ISA card
Release Date1991
Release Price200 DM
202 EUR
(inflation adjusted as per May 2024)
GS4500 TechBrief


Other items in my collection:

TEC FP-1500-25 serial printer – a daisywheel printer

External Links:

PC handscanner am KCS-85 – a DIY project description

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