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question about barcode scanner and scanning an lcd screen (cell phone screen or laptop monitor)

Posted on 2015-01-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2015-02-05
Hi I have a usb barcode scanner that I got on for arround $20 and it works great the only thing that I wish it did that it does not do is scan barcodes directly off of an LCD screen.

I was wondering what kind of barcode scanner would I need to be able to do that? I was watching a review on youtube and they showed two models that they suggested, one was a Motorola DS6708 and the other was a Honeywell xenon scanner. These are both 2d image scanners. So my question is will any 2d barcode scanner work? Or just certain models?

If only special models scan the screens I was wondering if anyone knows a model that is cheaper then the two I mentioned that works good? I do not need it to be wireless.
Question by:hydrive1902
LVL 37

Expert Comment

ID: 40535237
Sadly, problem isn't tackled easily. Some scanners work VERY good, some work only with a lot of fiddling (retrying, other angles etc). If it's a matte LCD, it already helps a lot (because more and more often, people now want to scan off their shiny glass phones).
I guess a specialized shop would be the best way to help/advice you, even let you try a few models. And hopefully your situation doesn't change too much (different LCD screens? Maybe even glossy tablets/phones?). That's because if you decide on a model (and maybe pay dearly for it), and you suddenly change the screens, it could be that you have non-functional scanners now.

Author Comment

ID: 40535307
thanks for the info, the only LCD I would be scanning is my laptop screen (17 inch hp laptop but the display isnt matte, its a touch screen laptop so it has a digitizer over the screen which may make it harder to read?) and my cell phone is a samsung galaxy s5. I would not be scanning customers phones or all different types of phones, I would mostly use it for scanning my laptop LCD and once and a while on my cell phone. It is only for personal use in helping me organize barcodes we use for my work.

I do not have a shop in my area that sells them so unfortunately I may have to order them in order to test them. The two I mentioned seem to work pretty good on this review but they are expensive.

Assisted Solution

tncode earned 400 total points
ID: 40535614
You need a CCD scanner with at least 2500 pixels, for example this SC1500 USB scanner which I have used to scan off an LCD screen. Also, the barcodes presented on the screen must be at the proper resolution so they are not corrupted or no scanner can read them.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

ID: 40536015
Just tested a CINO Fuzzyscan F560-BSU on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (as it's similar to your SGS5, shiny glossy corning glass) and it works perfectly. So now you have the option from the Expert above, and this one.
You can also conclude the higher versions like the F680 will work even better.
If you can't find both, check the specs of the ones you can get, and compare every bit of information with the specs pages of the two scanners types.
For instance, if you find something that also says this (or better), you can buy it with almost 100% insurance it will scan correctly:

Optical System       High performance Linear Imaging Engine
Print Contrast      20% minimum reflective difference
Minimum Resolution      Typical 3 mil (code 39, PCS 0.9)
Working Distance       More than 13 inches on 100% UPC/EAN symbols
 Up to 18 inches on 20 mil Code 39
Light Source      630nm visible red LED
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 40536961
I recently got a free barcode scanning app for my tablet - a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.

It works pretty well, it probably got about 80% of the sample codes on the wiki page here, across many different code types:

May work better than a conventional reader as it uses the camera, not reflected light?

Author Comment

ID: 40537101
thanks for the info. I looked both models up that were mentioned and both are priced on the high end, over $100. I was trying to spend around $30-$40 if I can.

Also I have an app that scans the barcodes and it works well but I would rather just use a dedicated barcode scanner but thanks for the idea of using an app.

I found a ccd barcode scanner on amazon here

it does not say the resolution but it is only $30 and has a ccd sensor.  We only need to use the barcode scanner for about 10 minutes every day so it is not like we need a very expensive unit. So is it likley that the one I found on amazon will work? Or is it better to buy the $100 machine even though we are using it in very low volume?
LVL 37

Accepted Solution

Kimputer earned 1600 total points
ID: 40537365
As usual with these ultra cheap models from China, it might work. It also might not work. The problem is, on the original webpage is only states a 1 year warranty, and a 45 day money back policy (only if goods didn't arrive within 45 days).
While many reputable webshops these days have a xx days money back return policy with NO questions asked (so it could be just that you don't like/want the product after all), this shop doesn't not. For you to return it would only be viable if you can't scan a normal barcode from paper (because it didn't specifically said you are able to scan of a reflective LCD or phone screen).
So the question is, do you take the risk for 30$, with the possibility to have to buy the expensive model anyway? As with all things in life, choices:
situation 1: buy for 30$ and it turns out it works!
situation 2: buy for 30$ and it doesn't work! Still need to spend 100+$ EXTRA.
situation 3: Spend 100+$, know for 100% it will work (at least the CINO)

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40592810
thanks for the info!

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