A little while back, I wrote a blog based on questions that I’ve received about L-Tron’s new 4910LR driver’s license barcode reader. In case you missed that blog, you can read it here. Here is “Part 2” of that blog, which answers the question of 4910LR software compatibility. Feel free to comment below or contact me with any additional questions!
“We use (fill in the blank) mobile software for electronic citation and accident reporting in the field. Will the 4910LR work with our software?”
The short answer is “Probably.”
The medium length answer is “If your mobile software supports driver’s license barcode input, yes.”
The really long answer is, well the rest of this post. The 4910 has a typical Type A USB connection to your vehicle computer, but once connected, it can communicate with the host computer in one of three ways.
COM Port Emulation This is the default mode of the 4910. COM port is the communication protocol of the serial port. USB devices that communicate via COM protocol obviously aren’t connected to a 9 pin serial port, so they require a driver to emulate it. It’s a point to point protocol, so if you need to send data to multiple applications you either need to pass the data from one application to the next or use a virtual COM splitter. The upside of this is that if your application is running, it’s “listening” for data on the dedicated COM port at all times.
USB HID Keyboard Emulation To install a USB keyboard on any current PC, you plug it in and it works. No driver required. You can take the 4910 out of its bag and scan a barcode to put it into USB keyboard emulation mode and it works just like a keyboard. That is, the contents of the barcode you scan are passed to the host computer exactly as if they were typed in by hand. The significance of this is that the user must have focus on the correct application window and the curser in the correct field or the data won’t be received. It’s also worth considering that this is a one-way communication protocol. In order to capture images with the 4910, the application must be able to address the scanner. This isn’t possible in keyboard emulation mode.
USB HID Barcode Scanner HID barcode scanner protocol is built into Windows XP and later operating systems, so there are no drivers to install. Take the 4910 out of the bag, scan a barcode, and you’re in business. It offers bi-directional communication (so you can use image capture if your software supports it) and doesn’t limit input in the way that HID keyboard emulation does. It’s also the newest of these three protocols and therefore the least popular, which is unfortunate.
In closing, I will make this offer. L-Tron works with multiple software vendors who either recommend or resell our Law Enforcement barcode scanners and we are more than happy to work with yours. We can send a loaner unit for their development use or sell them a unit at a subsidized price. We’re also available to assist them with support they require in order to get our hardware working with their software. Please feel free to contact me or invite your software vendor to do the same.