"Service is very good, with reasonable repair times and overall costs. Parts are always avaiable locally so the turnaround time is usually kept to within a week, I can wholeheartedly recommend Cipherlab and have on many occasions"
Mark Hawkins - General Manager - Test-Write Australia
"We chose Cipherlab because we did do our homework and looked around. The Cipherlab portable data terminals represented very good and better value for money to the rest of their competition. We would definitely recommend Cipherlab"
Chris Castley - General Manager - SSS Sewing & Craft Supplies.
"I am really impressed with the Cipherlab 8570, the ease of use and particularly the support. The turn around times in ordering the equipment was also fantastic"
Graeme Milgate - IT Manager - Trade Tools Direct - Qld
"Prior to using CipherLab, we purchased a well known brand name, but never could quite get them to integrate into our system. The CipherLab 8001 terminals we purchased later have worked without any problems at all for our stocktaking requirements, The free software that comes with the terminals (Forge Batch Application Generator) was relatively quite easy to use and easy to integrate into our system. I wish we had used CipherLab earlier!"
Shane Van Houlsen - Information Systems Manager - R.S.P.C.A. Victoria
"Cipherlab came down out of working hours……on the weekend and resolved this. Turned out to be a few things that were non Cipherlab related but they still got it going for me. I will never forget that" "Cipherlab are fantastic in every department"
A barcode (also bar code) is a machine readable representation of information (usually dark ink on a light background to create high and low reflectance which is converted to 1s and 0s, which is a binary language that computers use. Originally, barcodes stored data in the widths and spacing’s of printed parallel lines, but today they also come in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and text codes hidden within images. Barcodes can be read by barcode scanners, also known as barcode readers.
Barcodes are widely used to implement Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) systems that improve the speed and accuracy of computer data entry. There are many misconceptions also on what a barcode is. In many cases, a barcode is used as the key field to your database of that product. An example is when you go into a convenience store. You go to the checkout and the product is scanned. Information comes up on the POS terminal about that product. Such as price and description. That information is retrieved from the database, not the barcode. The barcode merely acts as a link to the database on that products information.
What is a Barcode Scanner & how does it work?
A barcode scanner simply eliminates keyboard strokes and provides an efficient and accurate way of transferring barcoded data into an application. Simultaneously, barcode scanners eliminate the need for pens & paper. They improve the speed and accuracy of computer data entry and improves overall business efficiencies.
They come in an arrangement of readers – CCD, Linear Imager, Laser, & 2D. RFID readers are also available but are in most cases, still not a viable option as the tags are still cost prohibitive in comparison to barcode labels.
There are also multiple interfaces. USB, Serial and Keyboard Wedge. (For more information on Interfaces please read Article.)They can also be mobile (Portable Data Terminals – PDTs) and have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPRS capabilities. Or they can just be memory PDT (Batch) and store all scanned data on the terminal until it is uploaded back into the system via a communication cradle.
What is a CCD Barcode Scanner?
CCD stands for Charged Coupled Device. CCD technology works the same way that a camera works. The barcode is photographed & digitised and electronically sent back into the application. CCD barcode scanners are low cost, durable, low power and maintenance.. Because CCD scanners have no moving parts, they are generally more rugged then laser scanners.
CCD Scanners are a touch scanner so the proximity of range between the scanner and the barcode is very close, sometimes touching. CCD readers range from about 0 - 2cm and up to 67mm in width. CipherLab also manufacture CCD Scanners that can read barcodes up to 90mm in width.
What is a Linear Imaging Barcode Scanner?
Linear Imaging Scanners are also referred to as CCD Scanners. However, this CCD scanner is no touch scanner. It is a long distance CCD scanner which we refer to as a Linear Imager. They have a distance of reading barcodes of up to 35cm. Because they have no moving parts, they are quite durable and rugged with drop rating of up to 2 metres.
Laser Scanners are generally considered to be more superior in scanning performance compared to Linear Imagers. However Linear Imagers are improving and closing the gap on performance. CipherLab’s 1500 scanner competes head to head in many features that a Laser Scanner will give you and in most cases, give a superior performance and possibly a more cost effective option.
View Scanning performance of a Linear Imaging Scanner
What is a Laser Barcode Scanner?
Laser scanners use a laser beam as the light source and typically employ either a reciprocating mirror or a rotating prism to scan the laser beam back and forth across the bar code. A photodiode is used to measure the intensity of the light reflected back from the barcode. The light emitted by the reader is tuned to a specific frequency and the photodiode is designed to detect only this modulated light of the same frequency.
Laser Barcode Scanners have generally the best performance compared to CCD and Linear Imagers. However, they are generally more expensive and can be more prone to breakdown. They have moving parts where the CCDs / Linear Imagers have no moving parts. In applications, where the barcodes are larger than 20cm in width and you need to scan In direct sunlight, Laser Barcode Scanners are generally the best option. Lasers are also often preferred when the barcodes are a high density of around 3mil. Which are in English...very small barcodes.
Click on article for more information on Laser vs CCD (Article)
Which Barcode Scanner do I choose for my application?
Barcode scanners will range in cost, performance, size and robustness, depending on the applications that they are required for. Determining the right barcode scanner is generally the first step when considering Auto ID equipment.
A number of questions must be answered when determining which scanner is right for you.
1./ Do you need CCD, Linear Imaging or Laser Scanners.
2./Does the scanner need to be mobile or will it be a cabled (tethered) scanner?
3./If it needs to be mobile, does it need to scan and collect more than just the barcode. If so, consider portable mobile computers.
If it needs to only collect the barcode, consider a cordless scanner....1166/1266 or 1660.
4./Does it need to be robust? What environment will the scanner be used in?
Does the user have a high volume of traffic that needs to be scanned daily? If yes.....consider the 1500 Scanner for its very aggressive and responsive performance
If there is low volume, consider the CCD1000.
Does the user need hands free scanning? Consider the 1500 Scanner for its auto sense scanning capabilities.
Do you have barcodes that have a width of greater than 67mm? Consider the 1500 Scanner.
Mobile Cordless Scanners
Needing a handheld scanner but do not want the restrictions of a cable. Consider the 1166/1266 Bluetooth Scanner for its capabilities of scanning products up to 100m (line of sight) from the host.
Looking for plug & play wireless barcode scanners. Then consider the 1166/1266.
Scanning in direct sunlight. Then consider the 1266 (Laser Scanning Engine)
Scanning Barcodes that have a Barcode width of greater than 33cm. Consider the 1266 Bluetooth Scanner.
Scanning barcodes, less then 33cm, not in direct sunlight and are not smaller than a barcode density of 4mil (jewellers use small barcodes as well as your mobile phones), then the 1166 Bluetooth Scanner is the best choice as it is a much more economical decision. Linear Imagers used in the 1166 can be up to $140.00 cheaper than the 1266 utilising the Laser Scanning Engine.
Mobile Computers - AKA Portable Data Terminals (PDTs)
Require a scanner to collect not just one field of information such as the Item barcode, but also quantity, location, user, time & date stamps and much more. Then consider the whole range of Mobile Computers that CipherLab manufacture.
Ask yourself a couple of very important questions when deciding on which PDTs to use.
Is it mission critical that all information coming from your PDTs be live? If so, then CipherLab’s whole range of PDTs have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPRS capabilities. If not, then Batch Terminals (memory PDTs) are the most economical way and generally can also be the most simplest way of interfacing the data from your PDT to your host via a cradle.
If considering a Batch Terminal, all CipherLab’s range of PDTs come with free software called theForge Batch Application Generator. This software is free and enables you to develop your applications, menus, forms, the way you want them. It also allows you to decide on what ASCII output you would like to give your data. You can have a CSV comma delimited text file as a output or you can also have a TAB delimited file as a output. Dump it straight into a excel spreadsheet. If you are requiring logic and tha data to be sent directly into your backend system, then all CipherLab terminals can be written in Basic or C.
Warehousing and Logistics, and field services usually requires scanners to be subjected to weather conditions, dust, dirt, oil, water and users who are not so compassionate about the hardware they are using. This means they will have an IP rating (protection rating against dust and water) up to IP65 and drop ratings of between 1.2m -1.5m. For retail environments and clean and carpeted environments, such as hospitality, healthcare and libraries, then IP Ratings are not so important.
Does your PDT need to be a Windows operating system or a Character based operating system? CipherLab manufacture both Windows O/S and Char based PDTs.
Click our article on Windows vs Dos Terminals for more information on this (Article)
Will Cipherlab Handheld Scanners work with my software?
The Cipherlab Handheld Scanners including the CCD1000, 1100, 1500 handheld scanners are plug and play and will work with most software. With a USB (HID) or Keyboard Wedge interface, the Cipherlab handheld scanners simply emulate keyboard strokes. Instead of you typing in the barcode number into your system, the handheld scanners do it for you. Where ever your cursor is active in your screen, the handheld scanner will dump the information into that field .
If you have software that requires a RS232 serial input from a Barcode Scanner, then Cipherlab handheld scanners should also have no problem working for you. Setting up is generally no more than defiining the serial port that the barcode scanner is using so your software can recognise that scanner.
Will Cipherlab Mobile Computers work with my software?
The Cipherlab range of Mobile Computers can be configured to work with most software, however, there are a number of ways of achieving this. Cost will be a deciding factor in which is the best way to integrate, and will depend on your budget and which is the most cost effective way for your business. You will also have to choose which type of terminal is best for your business, a Character based terminal or Windows based Terminal. For more information on Character Based Terminals vs Windows Terminals, click on this link - http://www.cipherlab.com.au/files/CL_openvprop.pdf
Integration for Character Based Terminals - 8000, 8300 & 8500 Series - There are a number of ways of integrating the data from these terminals into your system.
1./ Using the Forge Batch Application Generator Software is the simplest option. This software utility is free and allows you to create your menus and applications for your terminal. Define how you want to collect the data and also define how you want to send the data back to your PC from the terminal. The information can be dumped into a excel spreadsheet or as a CSV comma delimited text file into a holding file of your choice. You may have to still manually export the text file data from that holding file. Or you may have identifiers within your software that can automatically retrieve the text file data back, from the holding file, back into the sytem.
For more information on the Forge batch Application Generator - Brochure - Click Here
Also, please see video overview (4min 50s) on Forge Batch Application Generator -Click here
2./You can also have the 8000, 8300 & 8500 terminals, programmed in Basic and C. This allows for greater flexibility. Data collected from the terminals can be sent directly back into your backend database. However, unlike option 1, there will be costs associated with this. A spec will be required before costs can be supplied. For more information on programming in Basic or C - Click Here
3./The 8000, 8300 & 8500 Sereis Terminals also have Wi-Fi capabilities as an option and can run a VT100, 220 & IBM 5250 Telnet client on them. For more information - Click Here
4./Want information to be live from your terminals but do not want to pay for development costs. Nor do you have Telnet servers to program them Why not consider the Stream Wireless Studio. Its a rapid development tool that gives you effective tools to manage database access-linking to existing databases and creating new ones-and mainframe access by configuring emulator screen templates.
Stream Server runs on a wireless network and connects mobile devices to your back-end databases so you can monitor users and database access while they work. There are costs involved for a 10 User License, but are minimal in comparison to prgramming in Basic or C.
Integration for Windows Based Terminals - 9400, 9500 & 9600 Series
There are tools such as the browser on windows O/S terminals. Telnet is another way and is still quite popular. Remote desktop application is also available but you would need to do some scripting to set the screen size. And writing an application for the mobile terminal that links directly to your database is very popular.
Certainly if the application is requiring information to be live and sent back to a server, the application is much more complex and some software is usually required to be written. With mobility, and using windows O/S terminals, most developers are comfortable using Windows O/S terminals as their preference is programming in C++, .Net, Visual Studio and the SDKs that are available from Microsoft as well.
Below are also a number of ways of integrating Windows based Terminals to your system.
eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0, Visual Studio.NET, Visual Studio 2005, Windows CE SDK,
How do I know which is the best cordless scanner for my application - 1166 or 1266?
The main difference between the 1166 and the 1266 is the scanning engine. The 1166 uses a Linear Imager and the 1266 uses a Laser Engine.
If you are scanning standard size barcodes and you are not scanning in direct sunlight then the 1166 is the best choice as it is a more cost effectice option. Should there be direct sunlight, shipping barcodes or very small high density barcodes needed to be scanned, then the 1266 is the best option
A. At this time, Linux will not run on a CipherLab mobile computer.
Back to Top
Q. How can I print directly from a handheld?
A. You can print to a network printer through wireless LAN, to a BT-enabled printer, such as Zebra, O'Neil, and HP, or to a printer with IR communications.
Back to Top
Q. What are the advantages of Windows® ?
A. The main advantages of Windows® are that users and IT departments are usually very familiar with using it and supporting it. It integrates easier into a Windows® environment and maintains continuity with the company's infrastructure. Plus, if applications are based on Microsoft® tools, like Excel, files can usually be opened with tools provided on as Windows® device. CipherLab 9400 and 9500 series mobile computers are based on Windows®.
Back to Top
Q. Do your handhelds work on the Internet?
A. CipherLab mobile computers with access to the Internet (through a browser or application) can transmit and receive data over the Internet.
Back to Top
Q. What do I look for in a new mobile computer?
Mobile computers are capable and robust devices. They are programmable, like a laptop, only for specific handheld functions. CipherLab mobile computers run either on a proprietary CipherLab operating system or a Windows® operating system. When considering a mobile computer, look at the following:
• Whether or not Windows® is required
• How much memory you will need
• What type of display your application requires
• How data will be captured: reader options, camera, signature capture, keypad and function keys
• The environment in which the device will be used for ruggedness and IP rating
Back to Top
Q. What kind of display do I need?
A. Many mobile computers are used much like a specialized laptop computer, so a large display is critical. For others, a smaller display provides great usability in a more portable form factor that can be easily carried.
Graphical displays are common; touchscreen displays help accelerate activities; and color displays are used on Windows®-based devices. The larger the display, the more information can be shown. The size of the characters also affects how much information can be displayed.
CipherLab offers different displays with its non-Windows® mobile computers to optimize productivity of each device. Smaller display units make them very easy to carry and use, while the larger units with QVGA (1/4 VGA resolution, 160x120 pixels) touchscreen displays offer richer features. The Windows®-based 9400 integrates a VGA resolution (640x480 pixels) touchscreen display. Large displays are required for terminal emulation of VT100/200 and TN5250 terminals. In all cases, the applications a mobile computer will be used in will indicate the type of display required.
Back to Top
Q. What size keypad do I need?
A. The type and size of a mobile computer's keypad depends on the type of data entry an application requires. Simple keypads, like a cell phone keypad, can offer alphanumeric data entry, but it requires more user activity to enter letters: for example, repeatedly pressing the '2' key to enter the letter 'c'. A more comprehensive keypad, like CipherLab's 8500 with a 44-key keypad or the Windows®-based 9400 with a 59-key keypad, enables faster entry of alphanumeric data. Applications can also program keypad function keys to speed repetitious tasks or for terminal emulation. CipherLab offers multiple keypad options on its mobile computers to meet the needs of users, including for terminal emulation. A CipherLab representative can help companies understand their exact keypad needs prior to ordering devices.
Back to Top
Q. Why do I need signature capture?
A. Touchscreen displays enable signature capture, a useful feature for verifying deliveries. CipherLab 8500, 9400, and 9500 series mobile computers integrate signature capture.
Back to Top
Q. Is a digital camera helpful?
A. An integrated digital camera allows instant documentation of critical things, like package damage or task completion. The CipherLab 9400 includes a digital camera.
Back to Top
Q. What reader options are available?
A. Which reader you need depends on the types of data and codes you'll be reading and the environment in which the device will be used. CipherLab offers the following:
• 1D optical linear imager (CCD)
• 1D standard laser scanner
• 1D long range laser scanner
• 1D extra long range laser scanner
• 2D optical reader
Our laser reader options, with different DOF, allow you to configure the mobile computer for the exact type of work in which it will be used, such as scanning pallets from a forklift (extra long range laser) to scanning electronic components with extremely small barcodes (standard laser) to scanning codes closely placed together or on documents (linear imager, contact scanner).
Back to Top
Q. How do I add new devices to an old system?
A. Adding new devices to an older, legacy system makes good business sense. With the high cost of maintaining and repairing older scanners, rugged, reliable CipherLab scanners and mobile computers can help extend the useful life of your legacy back-end systems. Your local system integrator or value added reseller can analyze and evaluate your existing system to integrate new CipherLab devices into your current processes, legacy hardware, and software. CipherLab engineers created Power Suite tools to make integrating CipherLab devices fast and easy.