Alternative Barcode Scanning Devices
How to use mobile computers, USB scanners, Bluetooth scanners and scanning sleds in addition to smartphones and tablets
A. Purpose-Built Mobile Computers
You can use purpose-built barcode scanning devices if your use case requires it. If the device runs the Android OS you can generally install codeREADr on those devices from the app store (or use an APK on request). There are many devices to choose from, including those from Honeywell, Zebra, Cognex, Unitech, Cipher Labs, Code Corp, Datalogic, etc.
The app will work in the Keyboard Emulation mode without needing any integration from codeREADr. In this way, when the accessory scans a barcode the data read from the barcode will be directly inserted into the codeREADr app’s Tap to Scan screen or the Manual Entry screen. Steps to take with your device’s settings:
- Set up the device for keyboard emulation (aka HID).
- Add a Carriage Return suffix (\r for some devices) or Line Feed suffix (\n or \x0A for some devices) after each scan. One of these may be the device’s default setting for keyboard emulation. In this way, the scan will auto-submit.
- If offered, have the device submit the entire string of data read at one time, not character by character.
- On codeREADr.com’s Advanced step when creating/editing your Service, you should a) disable the camera, b) DO NOT disable manual scan, and c) optionally enable ‘Auto Next Scan’ for the fastest operation with no need to press ‘Next’ after a scan.
B. Bluetooth Scanners and USB Devices
Keyboard Emulation Mode
This mode works with both iOS and Android OS devices. With Android devices, you can scan with the accessory and also enter text from the device’s keyboard. Also, you can scan from the app’s Tap to Scan screen or Manual Entry screen. However, with iOS devices, the scanning accessory takes over keyboard entry (i.e. you can’t use the standard iOS virtual keyboard). For both Bluetooth and USB scanning accessories, follow the same steps noted above for the keyboard emulation mode unless the accessory comes with those settings by default.
Bluetooth scanning accessories
Bluetooth barcode scanning accessories can ‘pair’ (i.e. wirelessly connect) to both Android and iOS devices. Study the settings on the accessory and then use the device’s Bluetooth settings to pair them. Once connected, the scanned values will insert into the codeREADr app when using the keyboard emulation mode.
USB scanning accessories
USB barcode scanners can connect to both Android and iOS devices and insert scanned values to codeREADr in the keyboard emulation mode. Since the typical USB scanning accessory gets its power from the device it’s connected to, you need an adapter to connect the USB to the device and simultaneously connect your power source to the device. In our blog, we show how an iPad is connected to a USB scanning accessory with an Apple-branded adapter. There are also adapters for Android devices – for example, Lava’s SIMULCHARGE adapters. You should check all specifications when choosing your adapters and devices.
USB barcode scanners can also connect to PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks. The USB option requires drivers so be sure the device has the driver you need. For PCs and Macs you’ll also need an Android emulator but not for later-model Chromebooks that can download the app directly from Google’s Play Store.
Serial Port Profile (SPP) Mode
This mode inserts data faster but needs integration with the app and only works with Android devices. We’ve enabled the SPP mode with Opticon’s OPN2006 and OPN3002i scanners and Socket Mobile Series 7 scanner. [For SPP the Socket Series 7 devices need the DATA MODE to be set up in the RAW MODE. Refer to their instructions.]
C. Scanning Sleds
Mount an iPod, iPhone or iPad Mini directly to Honeywell’s Captuvo barcode scanning sled. It uses a pointer for accuracy and can quickly scan 1D and 2D barcodes. It includes a rugged case with battery for extended life.
D. SD PRO Scan Engine: Lowest Cost, High Performance
The drawback with Bluetooth and USB accessories is the need for two devices. The drawback with scanning sleds and purpose-built mobile computers is cost.
Instead, you may want to consider using our SD PRO scan engine upgrade which uses just the iOS or Android’s built-in camera to scan quickly and accurately. You can optionally buy cases and supplemental battery packs from companies like Mophie and Otterbox to make them more rugged and last longer without a battery charge.