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Upgrade production line from multiple serial barcode scanners connected to one server, to new symbol scanners connected to server via ethernet network.

Posted on 2016-09-02
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Last Modified: 2016-09-22
I support a 10 person factory assembly line. They currently use serial barcode scanners using long serial cables connected to a single workstation via long serial cables running Winwedge which collects the data and imputs it into a terminal emulation program in keyboard-wedge mode.  I want to upgrade to Symbol barcode scanners which would connect directly to the network. They server would then use a version of Winwedge or some other software to enter the scanned barcode info into they database through the emulation software. Anyone with experience using serial to ethernet adapters like Moxa nport to transmit data to a database?
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Question by:Michael Gray
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Expert Comment

by:ArneLovius
ID: 41782596
If you are currently using WinWedge in keyboard-wedge mode, you are in effect using the barcode scanners as "automated" number keypads.

Replacing this method with TCP/IP connected scanners is usually not a simple operation.

the Moxa NPort devices provide an Ethernet TCP/IP connected serial port to a Windows or Linux PC, after you have installed the NPort driver, to the computer running WinWedge, it would appear that it had additional serial ports, just like additional physical com ports on the computer. This means that you could use NPort devices next to each scanning station and then an Ethernet (could be bridged to WiFi) connection back to the computer running WinWedge. This can be used to great effect to provide access to a serial device which would not be practical with a serial cable, such as moving a scanning station to a different building.

Although It would be theoretically possible to use an NPort device in "reverse", where it connects to the PC using serial and the scanner over the network, the scanner would need an NPort driver written for it, this would usually not be a simple operation.

if your existing database application does not have a network API, then you are limited to the same method you are currently using.

if your database has a network API, then WinCE/Android based scanners would usually have an application written for them that connects directly to the database for data entry.
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by:Michael Gray
ID: 41787751
This process we are using was designed by someone years ago to resolve problems with accessing the database in a more conventional manner. I'm basically stuck with this approach. So what I need is a way to replace the serial scanners and cables that run from each scanner to the WinWedge computer. I am open to any current technology that will work better than what I have. We have new Symbol barcode scanners that can connect using serial or usb. I mentioned the NPort adapters because I like the flexability of just providing an ethernet drop for each user for whatever scanner we provide. The 10 workers involved are all within 30 feet or less of the WinWedge computer so there is no long distance connection issues. Could I use USB scanners connected to a USB hub that connects to the WinWedge machine? I'm going to replace the machine running winwedge. I can purchase the latest version. I want something as up-to-date and flexible as possible.
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ArneLovius earned 2000 total points
ID: 41795197
Unless you've had issues with the serial cables, there is something to be said for sticking with what you have and already works.

I would go with nport and Ethernet cabling rather than USB
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