* Per our Terms Of Service, links to external sites are not an endorsement of another vendor's products or services.

ScoutPalDB Hardware Shopping Tips

Pocket PC's and Bar Code Scanners:

We recommend that you shop for the Pocket PC that meets the requirements, as well as one that fits your personal needs. The most common Pocket PC's are the Dell Axim x51 models, and HP iPAQ's.  These devices are no longer in production, but are typically readily available and attractively priced in used marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.

As well, there are many Windows Mobile 5 and 6 Pocket PC phones in the marketplace, but these devices don't have a slot for a scanner.  However, if it has Bluetooth (most do) you can pair it with a Bluetooth scanner.  You don't have to activate a Pocket PC phone with a cell plan in order to use it with PDA programs like ScoutPalDB.


If you want a single, integrated unit that you can hold in one hand, you will want to have a Pocket PC that has both a CF slot and an SD (or "SDIO") slot so that there is a slot for the memory and a slot for a scanner, as is the case with an iPAQ or Axim x51.  You can use an SD memory card with a CF scanner, or use a CF memory card with an SD scanner. (Click here to learn more about slot choices.) Generally speaking, CF scanners are more rugged than SD scanners and SD memory is cheaper than CF memory, so CF scanner/SD memory is often a preferred choice, but either way will work.

An increasingly popular choice is the all-in-one Motorola/Symbol MC series PDAs that have a built-in Class 2 laser scanner.  Please refer to our Video #46 to learn more about the MC70 series.

If a PDA does not have a CF slot, but it does have Bluetooth, then you can use a Bluetooth scanner.  But, you will need to hold the PDA in one hand, the scanner in your other hand, and the book in your third hand.  :)  Some Bluetooth scanners are shaped in a way that allow you to attach them to the back of a PDA with hook-and-loop fasteners, and other means.

Some scouts rely on a custom template that will sound a "beep" when a book meets a price/rank criteria. If you have a Bluetooth scanner and you can rely on a robotic "buy" signal like that, then you can put the PDA in your pocket, freeing up your other hand for picking up books. You can attach a wired or Bluetooth (if the PDA supports it and most do) headphone to the PDA.

Examples of PDA's that have both CD and CF slots and Bluetooth is the Dell Axim x51 series, and the HP iPAQ 210 / 211 / 214 series.

Besides the x51 and iPAQ211, there are hundreds of model variations, so check with the seller to confirm that their offering has an SD slot and a CF slot, and that it has a Windows Mobile 2003 or later operating system.

Be aware that the older Windows Mobile 2003 PDA's can lose their programming and settings if the main battery runs down or is jostled loose; not a fatal flaw but it could be quite annoying if it happens in the middle of a book sale 300 miles away from home, and you don't have any setup instructions with unlock keys, etc.

Pocket PC Bar Code Scanners:

ScoutPalDB and other PDA programs will work with any scanner advertised as being compatible with your particular Pocket PC, and have a "keyboard wedge" driver. In fact, PDA programs don't even "know" when you're using a scanner -- they just see bar code numbers come in as if they were being rapidly typed in.  Every scanner made for Pocket PC's that we have ever seen has a "keyboard wedge" driver available, so generally there are no worries about that.  But we recommend that you purchase your equipment from a seller that has a return policy, in case there is a defect or other compatibility issue with your Pocket PC.

The most popular choice for PDA's that have both an SD and a CF card slot (most do) is the Socket "5" series CF laser scanners.  If you have a Pocket PC or Pocket PC phone that only has one card slot, or you just prefer to use Bluetooth, you can choose to use a Windows Mobile compatible Bluetooth scanner. (More choices below.)

Below is a matrix of different SocketMobile.com scanner model names.  SocketMobile model names are coded: the number in the name designates the style of connection used; the letter following the number designates the type of internal scan engine used. The Socket 5M and 5P models are by far the most popular and recommended choice.  Drivers for the SocketMobile scanners listed below, as well as Bluetooth ROV scanners, are included in the ScoutPalDB setup download.

A summary matrix of different SocketMobile.com scanner models:

Housing and connection style "M" =  Class-2 laser 1D scan engine
(Good indoor scanning performance.)


"P" = premium Class-2 laser 1D scan engine
(Described as optimum when scanning outdoors as it has a slightly brighter scan beam than the M series.)
"E" = entry-level imager scan engine
(Often attractively priced, but not recommended as the scan engine's overall performance is poor, not nearly as reliable and fast as the "M" and "P" series.)
5=CF card 5M 5P 5E
3=SD card 3M 3P 3E
7=Bluetooth Cordless 7M 7P 7E

You can easily find Socket Scanners for sale at various prices throughout the web.  For example on Amazon search for "Socket Mobile 5m" or "Socket Mobile 5p".  (Here are specific Amazon ASIN offerings for a 5m and 5p; a title search will yield more offerings.)

You can also find Socket scanners used on eBay and other auction sites. Here are a few search term examples:  "Socket 5m", "Socket Scan", "Socket Scanner Card", "Socket Barcode Scanner CF Card Laser", "Socket In Hand Scan Card Laser", "Socket In Hand".

Other Bluetooth Scanner Choices

ROV Bluetooth Scanner

The Rov will work with nearly all Windows Mobile PDA's that have Bluetooth. It can also be plugged into a Windows computer using a separately-purchased serial cable adapter. Versatile and low-cost, but some may find that it's inconveniently sized, being more than double the size of other kinds of Bluetooth scanners.

Works with Works with Windows Mobile

2002-2005 ScanfobŪ models 2002 and later (2002-2006) Bluetooth scanners will work with Android and iOS, as well as Windows Mobile. The latest model can be purchased new from serialio.com. Model 2002 and up ScanfobŪ scanners are occasionally found used, but you will also need to obtain a licensed Serial Magic Pro driver from serialio.com * in order to use it with your Windows Mobile PDA.

Works with iPhone and Works with iPhone and Works with Windows Mobile

[Scanfob setup scan sheet] --  [Scanfob manufacturer's FAQ.] --  [Our FAQ #4 regarding Scanfob setup questions.]

   * Per our Terms Of Service, links to external sites are not an endorsement of another vendor's products or services.