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Bar code scanners come in four basic styles: light pen (usually called wand), linear CCD (Charged Couple Device), laser and video (CCD array). Wand scanners are the least expensive but require contact with the bar code label. Linear CCD scanners are one-dimensional camera-like devices built in a hand-held configuration. More expensive than wand scanners, but still costing less than full two-dimensional video and laser scanners, the newest linear CCD scanners now have a limited depth of field, allowing them to be used in applications involving very short range non-contact scanning of symbols less than 4" wide. The most versatile bar code scanners are laser scanners. Based on advanced Visible Laser Diode (VLD) technology, laser scanners come in a wide range of both hand-held and fixed mount configurations. Standard optical and "personality" options allow scanning under the most difficult conditions. Video scanners are usually reserved for the emerging two-dimensional "stacked" or "matrix" symbologies. 

The scanner component sends the raw signal or "scan profile" generated by the scan to a separate device called a decoder, which actually interprets the signal as a bar code and then sends the ASCII message encoded in the symbol to the host computer or terminal. Decoders are generally of two types, keyboard wedge or serial wedge, the name being derived from the type of computer interface being used. Serial wedge decoders are most common in mainframe terminal applications, whereas keyboard wedge interfaces are popular in the PC and Macintosh environments because they allow bar code scanning to be added to almost any application without modification to the application software. This means that bar code data can be easily scanned and entered into almost any off-the-shelf software without expensive customization. Today, many scanners have the decoder logic incorporated into a chip within the scanner, eliminating the need for a separate piece of hardware. Since components you don't have can't fail, PIPS strongly recommends this approach whenever possible.

PIPS, Inc. sells and maintains in inventory a broad selection of scanners for a wide variety of industrial data collection and retail POS applications.

PIPS offers data collection terminals with expert customer service and we are well versed in a wide variety of PDTs from many manufacturers. PIPS, Inc. sales engineers have extensive knowledge and years of hands-on training to provide YOU with custom solutions and/or just the amount of product support you require. Our sales engineers will be pleased to review your application requirements and propose an appropriate solution.


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