The Dell Axim x51/x50 Illustrated (used with ScoutPalDB)

View: Back | Left side | Front | Top | Bottom | Sync / Charge Cables

- Compare Scanner types: Laser vs Imaging scan engines

Back.   (return to top of page)

Push the reset button with a stylus, pen, or paper clip.

Put some gum over the battery latch to keep it closed.

Left side.   (return to top of page)

Has a screen lock and a button (#5) that is often set to turn on a scanner.

Front.   (return to top of page)

Has an on/off button for the screen, and 4 customizable buttons:

The edges of the big oval button in the middle between buttons #2 and #3 controls the cursor. Your PDA may have a slightly different looking cursor button. Press its top or bottom edges to move the selection cursor up or down. Be sure to press ONLY the edges of the oval, not the smaller button inside it that looks like a jellybean. This cursor control is especially useful for highlighting a specific file in the File Explorer program, so that you can delete or copy it.

Top.   (return to top of page)

The wider slot is for CF (Compact Flash) accessories. The narrower one is for SD (Secure Digital) accessories.

You will put a data card in one slot, and a scanner in the other slot, Click to learn more.

Bottom.   (return to top of page)

This is where you plug it into a charge/sync cable, or into a "cradle".

(See below for illustrations of Sync / Charge Cables)

Sync / Charge Cables.   (return to top of page)

USB Sync Cable
(Some kinds also charge)
Cradle components
USB Sync cable is built-in to left side
Wall charger plugs into back of cradle
Axim plugged into cradle

Compare Scanner types.   (return to top of page)
(The internal scan engines types illustrated below are also embedded in integrated pda/scan devices like MC70, Opticon H21, etc.)

Laser scan engine

Below is an example of a CF slide-in scanner with a Class-2 laser engine.  Sellers may also list laser engines as a "1D" or "1-D" scanner, meaning they are designed specifically for one-dimensional  bar codes like ISBNs and UPCs, which is exactly what you want.  Most users find these engines superior in performance to Imaging scan engines.  Scanner sellers sometimes don't know exactly what they are selling, and you may need to give them a link to this page so they can tell you more accurately what they have: true laser or imager.

The photo below shows the scan beam window end of a SocketMobile model 5M scanner. SocketMobile Class-2, 1D laser scanner models include the 5M, 5P, 3M, 3P, 7M, 7P.

The number in the model name indicates how it connects to the PDA device:  "3" means it goes into an SD slot, "5" means it goes into a CF slot, and "7" means that it is held separately and connects over Bluetooth radio. The letter "M" or "P" in the model name indicates that it uses a laser engine. 

The engine's gold mirror vibrates 100 times per second, directing a  sharp, distinct red laser beam across the bar code.  The beam itself reads the bar code.

True laser scan engines capture bar codes quickly and are not dependent on lighting.  In fact, they can scan in complete darkness.

Imaging scan engine

Below is an example of a CF slide-in scanner with an Imaging scan engine. These engines are sometimes described as "2D" or "2-D", meaning that they can also scan two-dimensional codes, which is a capability not needed for scanning ISBNs and UPCs, that deteriorates its performance with ISBNs and UPCs.

The photo below shows the scan beam window end of a SocketMobile model 5E scanner. SocketMobile imaging scanners include the 5E, 3E, 7E.  The "E" in the model name indicates that it uses an imaging engine.

Notice that it looks like a camera lens, which indeed is what it is: a camera for bar codes.  The engine also emits a fuzzy red beam from an LED, but that beam is not what scans, the beam is emitted only to help the operator focus the engine's lens at a bar code.  Confusingly, that LED may be described as a Class-1 laser, but again, the LED beam is not what reads the bar code, it is used only as an aiming aid.

Imaging scanners take some practice to learn how to use. It helps to keep in mind that you're essentially taking a picture: there needs to be good lighting without shadows over the bar code and you will need to learn to aim at the proper distance and angle.


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