Heated Barcode Scanners for Freezer Environments

28 10 2010
Data Logic PM series

Data Logic PM series can be used in low temperature scenarios

Barcode Scanners for Freezers are a rare breed and you are severely limited to what you can go for if you’re looking for a barcode scanner for a freezer or freezing environment.

This quick article is off the back of a recent enquiry so I thought i’d share my research with you.

Baracode ToughRunners

Baracode ToughRunners can be used at low temperatures

The issue is that typically you’re going to need a barcode scanner that will operate at -20 or even -30 degrees and they manage this in 2 ways.  Firstly there’s the equipment that can just work at this temperature.  Baracoda’s ToughRunners Xtreme is one rated to -30 and is probably the only scanner, let alone wireless scanner that operates freely at this temperature.

Intermec SR61

Intermec SR61 multiple scanning options

Intermecs SR61 range are also rated for -20 as cabled and wireless versions and offer some great scanning options, with 1D, 2D and Intermecs Near/Far scanning engine offered as part of the range.

Last but not least  Datalogic also provide a range of scanners in their PM7100/8300 (shown above) and PD and PBT range that not only work at the lower temperatures but also provide a plethora of heated cradle accessories that can keep the scanner warm.  Datalogic also provide 1D or 2D readers and have a huge range of accessories and cradle fixing options.

All of these options aren’t cheap and expect to pay £500 for each scanner, more for the Barcode.  However if you build the solution properly you’ll have a very rugged barcode scanner and you’ll be scanning those frozen barcodes for years to come with no hassles!

If you have a unique barcode scanning problem or you want to find a novel solution then just ask me as we always find the right answers here!


The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Motorola ES400 Pricing and Availability

26 10 2010
Motorola ES400

Motorola ES400

The Motorola ES400 pricing and costs have been available for a few weeks now but we still get the same questions pop up that I will try to fend off here.

The Motorola ES400 pricing is confirmed, although subject to the Euro a little bit too.  Expect to pay no more than £430 for the standard battery version and £450  for the extended battery version.

Motorola ES400 Availability is still not certain and we fear that we are not hearing the whole story here.  Whilst technically it is available to order now, it is still very debatable how many devices are on back order and we have even heard rumours of over 20,000 already having been ordered which are severely clogging the system up.  The wait could be a very long and painful one for project orders placed now and even longer until the ES400 becomes readily available.  I have heard of large 200+ projects being ordering and getting dates of January 2011 for delivery and its important to be clear about lead times when you order a device.

The ES400 range has 2 options.  Option 1 has a standard battery, Option 2 has an extended battery but configurations are exactly the same other than this.

Are there any alternative devices to the ES400.  Yes there are plenty of Motorola ES400 alternatives available that are arguably better than Moto’s little critter of a device!  Pidion provide the BM150R and the BM170 which are superb devices at great pricing.  Ganedata can give you a tiny Rugged PDA in the GX8010 for almost the same money and lastly Airo provide the A25 and A30 which are a little bit larger but decently specced.

To find out more we’re always here to talk to


The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Updated UK APN Settings

26 10 2010

UK APN Settings, collated and updated.  I have tried to get all the networks here.  I’ll also post these out as part of our new video tech blog we are launching this week at Rugged and Mobile.  If any don’t work just let me know!!:

O2 UK (contract)
– mobile.o2.co.uk
Username: – web
Password: – web

Operator: – O2 UK (pre-pay)
GPRS APN: – payandgo.o2.co.uk
Username: – payandgo
Password: – password

Operator: – Orange UK
GPRS APN: – orangeinternet
Username: – {blank}
Password: – {blank}

Operator: – Vodafone (Contract)
GPRS APN: – wap.vodafone.co.uk
Username: – wap
Password: – wap

Operator: – Vodafone (pre-pay)
GPRS APN: – pp.vodafone.co.uk
Username: – wap
Password: – wap
Operator: – T-Mobile
GPRS APN: – general.t-mobile.uk
Username: – user
Password: – wap

Operator: – 3
GPRS APN: – three.co.uk
Username: -

Operator: – Tesco Mobile
GPRS APN: – prepay.tesco-mobile.com
Username: – tescowap
Password: – password

Operator: – Virgin Mobile
GPRS APN: – goto.virginmobile.uk
Username: – user
Password: -

BT Mobile
GPRS APN: – btmobile.bt.com
Username: – bt
Password: – bt

Pidion Rugged PDA Vehicle Cradles – Brodit Joins the party

21 10 2010

Rugged PDA vehicle cradles are always a bit of a disappointment and we like to make sure that all the options are shown up front because there’s nothing worse than buying 200+ devices only to find that the vehicle options are limited or naff.

Typically vehicle cradles for Rugged PDA’s are an overlooked option.  A lot of manufacturers (Including some of the larger brands) offer suction mount cradles more akin to something you’d find on Ebay rather than for a rugged PDA which is disappointing to see.  You harp on about how rugged is so important only to then be forced into providing a naff vehicle cradle!!

Pidion have been no exception to this.  However unlike a lot of manufacturers, Pidion listen and react to feedback and the result of this is that we now seeing a Brodit option for most of their devices.  This gives you a nice, clean rugged and elegant vehicle cradle solution at a decent price.

Brodit Pidion Rugged PDA Cradles

Brodit Pidion Rugged PDA Cradles – BM170, BIP-5000, BIP-6000 Shown

All the cradles come with a range of mount options, including the gooseneck option which is very sturdy and stiff, tower, RAM and proclip solutions, see below.

Brodit Pidion Rugged PDA Mounts

Brodit Pidion Rugged PDA Mounts

And the holders themselves come in passive, lighter socket or loomed power options.

The BM150R will hopefully be following suit soon and we’re looking forward to offering these Rugged PDA cradles as we think they’re great!  Available now, just ask for further advice.


The Rugged and Mobile blog.

Windows Mobile or Windows CE

19 10 2010

Hmm, Windows Mobile or Windows CE?  We get a lot of people asking this question and it is indeed a confusing conundrum.  Today I wanted to end this confusion by setting out the differences between the Two mobile operating systems

Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile Logo

First this article explains a history of Windows Mobile and Windows CE , because understanding this and looking at the versions of each and where they came from certainly helps to explain why we have a choice today.  Second we’ll look at the pros and cons of each OS with a bit of opinion to boot!  Thirdly we’ll look at the future of each and where we’re headed touching on Windows Phone 7 and where that joins the party.  Lastly we’ll explain which one you need to help you on your way!

So why do we see CE on devices today?

Well largely as discussed int the history article, linked to above, it’s because it was here, it was the only OS that suited portable devices at the time.  CE ended up staying around because it’s actually a decent match for a rugged PDA.  Its cheap, its customisable, it offers a Windows experience complete with start button! and it’s easy to develop on and customise your applications on top of.  It also allows manufacturers to provide a very customised OS that allows you low access to the device making it easier to develop on and lock down.

Windows Mobile on the other hand, despite being largely built on the CE base platform is far more suited to the demands of today and in the future.

Where are we at today and which one should I choose?

Windows CE

Windows CE

5 years ago I would have told customers to choose CE4.2 for their Rugged PDA OS.  The reason?  WM2003 was hard to develop for and whilst WM5.0 had .NET it really did restrict what you could do with the device and was a far cry from .NET 3.5 we use today.  Add to this, Mobile solutions were a lot rarer, making them quite specialised which in turn made the demand for a generic solution quite low.  As long as your solution worked on your own devices and you had control then that was fine.

Today the opposite is true and I would always recommend WM6.x unless you have a specific requirement.  With WM you can develop a lot more generically.  OK, there are always going to be some lower level PInvokes to be done but by-and-large these days you can develop what you need safely knowing it will run on any device supporting .NET. If you change your CE devices you’re going to need to look at the software again and it’s rarely a quick exercise.

WM also gives you a far better user experience.  Microsoft have finally woken up to the fact that people do things very differently on a phone than they do on their PC and whilst WM is far from perfect its far better than the Windows 98 type of experience you have with CE.  The fact that users are more commonly using the PDA for their every day voice and email tasks means the OS becomes far more important to them than say someone using a CE device, locked down to performing 1 task, in a warehouse environment.

So what do I need?

In a nutshell if portability, usability, ease of development and being as future proof as you can be then WM is what you need.  If you are locking the device down or need some low level granularity, not interested in tapping generic GPS or other areas that are probably not supported on CE with a .NET wrapper and you don’t want the user interface faff of WM then go CE.

We still a lot of warehouse solutions refreshing their CE Rugged PDA’s with new CE devices but its rare people buy CE for new solution unless they specifically have a need for it.

Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7

Lastly a word on Windows phone 7.  As we know this is Microsoft’s new OS and after chatting with one of the Microsoft chaps about this OS, he confirmed to me that it is the consumer focussed hone and WM6.5 wiull be available to Rugged PDA manufacturers for some time to come, at least 18 months.  WP7 is not greatly suited to the rugged environment at the moment but I’m sure things will happen so that it will be.

One thing is for certain, we’re not going to see all 3 OS’s for long and if it comes to a war then Ce is going to be the loser with WP 7 ultimately wining the war.

We’re always here to ask advice so give me a shout if you need some.


The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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