ScoutPalDB -- Typical PDA SD and CF Slot Memory and Scanner Options

(You may wish to consider using an integrated PDA/Scanner, as shown in video # 46 -- it's an increasingly popular equipment option)

Click for important differences between scan engines inside all scanners!

Nearly all ScoutPalDB users have or plan to purchase Dell Axim or HP iPAQ PDA's; these devices typically have two slots at the top into which you can plug a scanner and memory card. The bigger slot is called a CF slot. (Compact Flash.) The smaller slot is called an SD slot. (Secure Digital.)

You can put a scanner in one slot, and a data card in the other slot. You can choose to use a CF scanner with an SD data card, or use an SD scanner with a CF data card. Either set will work for scanning merchandise with ScoutPalDB, but most users choose to use a CF scanner with an SD data card.

 The options are illustrated here:

Why a CF slot scanner and an SD slot data card is the usual choice:

  • SD data cards cost less than CF data cards, and are widely available.
  • Most newer computers have an SD slot.  If not, SD card reader attachments are low cost and widely available.
  • CF scanners are stouter than SD scanners.
  • The CF slot inherently grips attachments like a scanner more securely than the SD slot can.

What you need to know about data cards:

  • The ScoutPalDB database needs a card sized 1GB or more.  2GB SD Cards are typically priced around $10.
  • IMPORTANT: Most Dell Axim's, other older PDA's, and many older computer built-in card reader slots are NOT compatible with SD cards larger than 2GB!!! Read the numbered points below to learn more:
    1. We have found that some retailers (e.g. Walmart) sell certain card brands that are internally actually 4GB cards labeled as 2GB!  These cards are not compatible. Naturally, changing the label does not change what's actually inside the card.  (SanDisk is the original developer and owner of SD Card patents; we have not heard of any mislabeled SanDisk brand card.)
    2. We have been told that in some regions 2GB micro-SD cards are easier to find than standard-SD cards. But still, the micro-SD card itself must still be sized 2GB or less. A micro-SD to standard-SD adapter sleeve us then used to make the the card fit into a PDA and a typical card reader; new micro SDs will typically come with the necessary adapter. (Refer to the illustration on the right side of this page to visualize the micro-SD card solution.)
    3. To find out the actual physical capacity of any given card: put the card in your computer then click Start, then Computer; or open the My Computer icon on your desktop.  (Windows 8 or 10? You may wish to first download and install the free Classic Shell , it will restore a more familiar Start button as well as other functions that allow full access and control of the card and PDA, without affecting Windows 8/10 features.)
    4. Windows Mobile 6 devices and Windows Mobile devices with built-in micro-SD card slots usually will not have a 2GB card limit.
  • Most PDA's can read any size CF card.
  • You're going to need a way to put your card into your computer so it can be updated.  If your computer does not have a compatible card slot for your card, you'll need to buy an appropriate card-to-USB adapter ; they are widely available and typically priced under $20. Check your computer! It may already have an SD card slot; some have a CF slot.

Option 1: Use a CF scanner with an SD memory card: Option 2: Use a CF memory card with an SD scanner:

The card will need to be 1GB or 2GB.
Most PDA's cannot read cards larger than 2GB.


*** Or you can use a 2gb micro-SD card with its adapter...

Here's a modification that can marginally improve an SD slot scanner's grip with the use of a hook-and-loop fastener:
(click image to enlarge)

You'll also need a card reader so that your Windows computer can fill and update the data card with the setup and database files.
Examples of card readers below:
SD Card Reader:
CF Card Reader:
Check your computer! It may already have an SD card slot; some have a CF slot.