Does your motherboard use a VIA chip for its USB?
From what I have heard, many VIA USB implementations from a few years ago were very buggy, particularly with scanners. I have an old Asus A7V motherboard that works fine with a USB keyboard and mouse through a KVM (I'm using it now) but on Windows at least, a few years ago, I was unable to get any of several scanners to work. It would crap out exactly as you are describing.
After much hand-wrangling I finally figured out that the motherboard's USB implementation was funky, and an el-cheapo add-in USB card quickly solved the problem. Evidently this problem was *quite* common on older hardware that used these VIA all-in-one IO chips...
You might also want to try a BIOS upgrade.
Don't blame it on FreeBSD unless you are sure that the hardware is not at fault. And this particular fault might be one that doesnt show up frequently with other applications. Scanners are pretty demanding on the USB bus...
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