Do you need to connect a barcode scanner to your computer? Barcode scanners use different types of interfaces or connectors to connect to a computer.
You should choose the right connection or interface depending on the POS system or software requirements.
USB is the most popular and modern method of connecting a hand-held barcode scanner to a computer.
Most of the current computer models don’t have a serial or keyboard port to connect barcode scanners.
Hence, USB should be your first option of connecting the scanner with the computer.
In this article, we will take a look at the following:
- USB Outputs
- Keyboard Ports
- RS232 Serial Ports
- Wireless Barcode Scanner Interfaces
The USB barcode scanner is the most popular and widely sold scanner on the market today.
This scanner is directly plugged into the USB port on your computer.
Once you connect the scanner to the computer using the USB port, the scanner will be recognised by the computer as a second keyboard device.
You can then continue to scan bar codes with the scanner after that.
All the barcode data will go into your computer as if it was being typed using a keyboard.
You don’t need any additional software to operate the scanner.
USB scanners get their power from the computer’s USB port and there is no need for additional power supply to operate the scanner.
You should make sure that you have an open USB port on your computer before you opt for the USB barcode scanner.
If your computer doesn’t have an additional USB port to connect the scanner, you should consider buying a powered USB hub.
Keyboard port scanners were popular when computers were equipped with PS2 keyboard connectors.
The latest computers don’t have the PS2 keyboard connector. However, you can purchase a USB to PS2 converter if you still use a keyboard port scanner to scan barcodes.
First, disconnect the keyboard from the computer port and plug the barcode scanner directly into the keyboard port.
From there, connect the keyboard to the small jumper cable located at the end of the bar code scanner cable.
That way you won’t lose the functionality of the keyboard when operating the scanner.
Once you scan a barcode with the keyboard wedge scanner, the data will directly go into the computer through the keyboard port – similar to someone typing with a keyboard.
The scanner will behave just like a second keyboard connected to your computer.
You don’t need additional software to use the keyboard wedge scanner. Simply plug the scanner into the computer and start the scanning job.
RS232 Serial Port
You can also connect the barcode scanner directly to the RS232 serial port on the back of your PC with this method.
You will need an AC adaptor to supply power to the scanner because the RS232 port cannot supply enough power to operate the scanner.
With the RS232 output scanner, you need an application software to open and read the data when scanning bar codes.
Wireless Barcode Scanner Interface
The two most popular wireless barcode scanner interfaces are Bluetooth and Radio Frequency (RF).
The RF barcode scanner is a handheld and ruggedised unit – which is ideal for scanning at a distance from the POS system.
Bluetooth scanners come in many different sizes and prices. The keychain scanner is probably the most popular Bluetooth scanner on the market today.
You can easily pair this device with your smartphone or tablet.
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