Today we move onto the barcode scanner section of our Understanding the Rugged PDA Series.

So where do we start?  The most frustrating thing for me personally (And I know I get a bee in my bonnet about this!) is customers who come to us pinching the pennies on margin but with no clue about bar codes whatsoever!  The latter will cost them way-way more as they fumble their way through their solution every day.  The first thing to consider is what bar codes you are scanning and if you need a 1D or 2D scanner.  Now as you might have read from the post link above, things aren’t so clean-cut these days so I’m going to make some bold statements in this blog!

1D or 2D

Most Rugged PDA’s have the choice, some have dropped their 1D all together with 2D scanners now rivalling 1D ones for performance and cost.  However a 2D option is always going to cost you more so if you are definitely not going to need it, go for 1D.

Laser or Linear

Linear has all but caught laser up in terms of speed, efficiency and performance.  It’s also cheaper, smaller, lighter, easier on the battery and has no moving parts unlike the mirrors required in Laser bar code scanners.  Having said that in a PDA if you;re breaking the scanner then you really are probably abusing the device!  If you want to save a bit of money then we’re finding Rugged PDA’s with a budget linear imager option are often more than enough for those considering it.

Bar code scanner manufacturer

Again this is really getting tough to decide between who has the best scanner these days and personally, as long as the scanner manufacturer is from a well-known brand, you;re fine.  Cipherlab, Motorola, Honeywell make the best in our opinion.  Intermec are also very good and found in a lot of kit, Opticon 1D lasers are probably the best on the market, Motorola’s Blockbuster 2D engine is probably the best 2D scanner on the market but unless you really are scanning vigorously, you’re not really going to know.

Configuration and setup

What does matter is your scanning environment.  Lighting, being indoors or outdoors, the way colour is affected and where the bar codes are situated all usually require some configuration of the scanner.  How much and how well you can do this can be the difference so we always steer people with specific and unusual needs to certain technology.  Motorola and Intermec scanners for instance are all not only very highly configurable with different light settings and all kinds of tricks to use but they also setup software to give you access to this.

Scanner types

If you need to scan a bar code from 3 metres away then you need a long-range scanner a normal one won’t do!  There are also 2D scanners that can scan near and far and there are also scanners suited to high density bar codes too.  Always let us know what you’re scanning so we can help.

No Scanner Option

Yes we’re going to end this blog about bar code scanners, with a note about not buying one!  As rugged and mobile solutions become more mainstream there are lots more customers who don;t want a bar code scanner.  There are also more and more RUgged PDA’s that give you a “no scanner” option and one that we can install them in later!  This can have serious cost reduction on the PDA so it’s no longer the case that you have to buy scanner features that you’re never going to use.

OK, told you it would be layman’s terms, Monday we’ll be looking at RFID Readers, have a good weekend everyone!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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