Barcode scanners come in a variety of physical configurations. You will have seen scanners in the supermarket, either fixed in the checkout table or fixed to the wall as a price checker. The scanner uses a laser to read across a barcode, which contains a series of numbers represented as stripes of different thicknesses. The scanner communicates with a computer via a pulse-code modulator. This interprets the signal from the scanner into the numbers that its messages represent. Each scanner comes with proprietary software that enables you to specify how the scanner should operate. Although each model has different procedures, there are some standard settings that you need to configure.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Open the controlling software on your PC. This application is shipped with the scanner and should have been written onto a CD or DVD with an installer program.
Connect the barcode scanner to the computer. Create a profile for the device in the management software. You need the manager to recognise the device, so you have to tell it which port on the computer to look for. Some barcode managers can automatically detect the presence of a reader, but you may have to instruct the program to begin a search. Give the profile for the device a name and then save it.
Specify a communications protocol, which will be either “Serial” or “Ethernet.” A serial connection tells the management software to communicate with the scanner as though it were a peripheral device, like a printer. The Ethernet mode treats the device as though it were another computer connected over a network. A serial connection requires a Baud rate setting. This should typically be 9600. This information enables the computer to communicate with the barcode scanner.
Check the manual that came with the scanner. Some manufacturers create an initialisation process that communicates with the scanner via bar codes. If this is the case, the manual will contain a series of barcodes that will test, reset, and instruct the scanner. If you see a series of bar codes in the manual, follow the instructions to scan the relevant codes.
Follow the response of the scanner by checking incoming numbers in the management software. If the manual does not contain a test barcode, scan a barcode on any item. Get an example that also has the numbers each bar represents written underneath the barcode. Check the incoming series of numbers are the same as the series printed underneath the barcode.
Change the orientation of the scanner to read either from left to right or right to left if the incoming code is in the reverse order to the sequence printed underneath the actual barcode. Save all settings once you have confirmed that the scanner can communicate with the computer and read barcodes in the proper order.
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