powered by Pro Mach video

Pro Mach Web Site
ProCustomer Industry Leading Aftermarket Support
Allpax Retort Sterilization & Automation Systems
Axon Shrink & Stretch Sleeve Application Systems
Benchmark Food Distribution & Loading Systems
Brenton Case & Tray Packing & Robotic Systems
Currie by Brenton Conventional & Robotic Palletizing Systems
Dekka Case Taping Systems
Edson High Performance Case & Tray Packing Systems
EOL Packaging End of line Applications & Systems
EPI Labelers Flexible Packaging Labeling Systems
Federal Liquid Filling & Capping Systems
Flexible Packaging Flexible Packaging Applications & Systems
FLtecnics Rollstock Pouch Packaging Systems
Greydon Flexible Packaging Coding Systems
ID Technology Labeling, Marking & Coding Systems
Inever Stickpack & Sachet Packaging Systems
IPak Machinery Tray & Bliss Forming Systems
Jalbert Automation Services
KLEENLine Sanitary Product Handling Systems
LSI Pressure Sensitive Labeling Systems
Matrix Vertical Form Fill Seal Systems
NJM Packaging Pharmaceutical Packaging Systems
Orion Packaging Stretch & Pallet Wrapping Systems
Ossid Tray Packaging & Weighing Systems
Pace Packaging Bottle Unscrambling & Orienting Systems
Pacific Packaging Viscous Filling & Capping Systems
P.E. Labellers Decorative Labeling Systems
Rennco Vertical Bagging & Heat Sealing Systems
Roberts PolyPro Bottle & Box Handles & Application Systems
Shuttleworth Conveying & Material Handling Systems
Southern Packaging Rollstock Pouch Packaging Systems
Tekkra Shrink Bundling Systems
Texwrap Shrink Wrapping Systems
Toyo Jidoki Pre-Made Pouch Packaging Systems
Weiler Labeling Labeling & Serialization Systems
Wexxar/BEL Case Forming & Sealing Systems
Zalkin Americas Capping & Cap Handling Systems
Zalkin EMAA Capping & Cap Handling Systems
Zarpac Engineering & Integration Services

Powered by Pro Mach

Honeywell 8650 Ring Scanner Review

I’m always surprised that products like the Honeywell 8650 scanner are not more widely used – they seem to be a concept that could make life easier for a large group of users.

Imagine that you work in a busy warehouse or distribution center. A big part of your day consists of moving boxes or pallets around – jobs that require you to use both of your hands. If you need to be able to scan the barcodes on the items at the same time time, it all becomes a bit of a juggling act. You have to be able to use your hands to move the boxes and use a handheld scanner or mobile computer at the same time. Doesn’t seem quite right to me.

A wearable scanner, leaving both hands free to actually do some work seems like a good idea to me.

The wearable scanner concept isn’t new.

Symbol WS1000 ancient wearable computer

Symbol WS1000

An early example was Symbol’s WS1000, a wearable computer with an attached ring scanner. This was apparently developed in the early 1990’s to meet a request from UPS who’s drivers are the classic example of needing to be able to handle packages while having the ability to scan barcodes at the same time. Since then, Symbol (now Motorola Solutions) has continued to produce wearable computers and scanning systems.

The Honeywell 8650 Scanner actually uses a Motorola Solutions scanner module as a key part of the design.

Honeywell 8650 Ring Scanner

Honeywell 8650

The 8650 device was designed by LXE a while ago, before the company was purchased by Honeywell. While I’m never a fan of good small businesses being taken over by large ones, it is nice to see that Honeywell has continued most of the LXE product line – including this scanner.

Most of the ring type scanner on the market, are connected to a mobile device via a cable so can really only be used with that manufacturers own system. The Honeywell 8650 on the other hand, is Bluetooth enabled. In theory it can be used with any Bluetooth computer, such as a rugged handheld computer, PC or tablet device. My plan is to try and get the review unit working with my iPhone.

Honeywell 8650 First Thoughts

We had requested a demo unit because a client has a possible need for some of these and the package arrived today.

Inside the box is the scanner itself, the Bluetooth interface unit, battery, battery charger and arm mounting strap. Actually there are two of the straps in the package, I think to enable fitting on different size arms. Everything is marked with the LXE logo – no Honeywell to be seen.

Scanning with the Honeywell 8650 ring scannerThe 8650 is available with a linear laser scanner unit or with an area imager. This demo unit has the imager option – nice in that it can handle both linear and 2D barcodes.

I found it was easy to set the scanner unit on my finger and strap the Bluetooth part to my forearm.

The scanner does feel a little wobbly perched on my finger (I’m thinking the Motorola RS507 would be better in this area), but this might just be a case of getting used to it. Scanning barcodes by pressing the scan button with my thumb is no problem.

Connectivity

Well, after charging the battery and getting the scanner strapped to my finger and wrist, I was ready to get connected.

This is where the first disappointment comes in. Switching on the Bluetooth in my iPhone, the scanner isn’t seen. No problem, time for a Google search to find out how to do it properly.

What I learn is that to connect the 8650 to an iOS device a third party bridge dongle is needed – so much for the claim of being able to use the scanner with any Bluetooth device.

Not to be deterred by a slight setback I reach for the laptop instead. Well, actually, I borrow a laptop since the Bluetooth on mine seems to not exist.

Anyway, good news – the laptop Bluetooth sees the 8650 and I can pair the two devices. Time for some serious barcode scanning!

Not so fast!

The scanner comes with a standard Bluetooth Serial profile and seems to be lacking the Human Interface Device (HID) profile that is needed to use the scanner as keyboard input into applications.

OK, off to the Honeywell site to find the download for the driver needed to get it working. Hmm, no sign of it. A quick call to tech support determines that there is no download and really no interest in helping. Not sure why Honeywell would buy LXE if they don’t want to support LXE products!

Luckily, we purchase a lot of the hardware we sell through ScanSource, a Value Added Distributor, and the ScanSource tech support guys are actually very helpful. Turns out there is indeed a software wedge application that should solve my problem. Still no download though – for some reason, the software is only available on a CD – this is 2012, right?

** Interlude waiting for FedEx to deliver the CD**

LXE Bluetooth Software Alrighty, the review is back on track after the nice FedEx people delivered the software needed.

Let’s get it installed and see what happens!

So far so good – admin rights issues on one PC, but it works OK on another.

However, for our client who is interested in purchasing some of these scanners, they need to be able to scan into computers that are not Bluetooth enabled. My friend Darrin at Honeywell suggests using this Bluetooth dongle from IOGear: http://www.iogear.com/product/GBU321/ Should have one here to check out in the next day or so.

Well, I did get the dongle, but I really don’t have a working set up yet. I’ll update the review if I ever succeed with this. I suspect that using the scanner with an LXE (Honeywell) device would be a lot easier than trying to connect it to a random computer. Nevertheless, it is very frustrating that the various parts don’t seem to work nicely together.

So here’s my thoughts on the Honeywell 8650 Scanner:

What I Like

  • The concept of a wearable scanner that can connect to a computer and allow workers to have both hands free for actual work
  • The actual embedded Symbol scan engine. Reads just about all barcodes and very fast too

What I Don’t Like

  • The fact the scanner slips around on my finger – the two finger one from Motorola looks as though it would be more stable to use
  • The lack of support from Honeywell
  • The aggravation of getting it working. Maybe I was too ambitious trying to use a non-LXE computer, but they do claim it works with any Bluetooth enabled computer so it should be easier than this.

Would I Buy It?

If I was using an LXE mobile or vehicle mount computer, I’d consider it. After trying to get this one working, I’m really no longer surprised these devices are not seen that often.

Update – April 2, 2013

We’ve been working with a client to get the ring scanner working. So far, using the Bluetooth adapter we can successfully use it with Windows XP and Windows 7. Once the connection is made, the scanner works very well.

I feel that Honeywell could sell a lot of these if the interface issues were easier to deal with. Being able to use something like Intermec’s SD61 might help too – with the new combined HoneyMech organization might give this some thought?

Share Button

Comments

  1. Gustavo says:

    What is the best ring barcode scanner? In addition to LXE and Motorola I’ve seen a lightweight version from Baracoda.
    Kind Regards,
    Gustavo

  2. David Holliday says:

    Gustavo, I’ve not had the chance to use the Baracoda ring scanner so can’t comment on that – I have a feeling it might be discontinued as well.

    With the Moto one, I like the fact it is shaped to fit around two fingers. The LXE/Honeywell scanner fits around one finger and tends to move about too much for my liking. The biggest issue with the LXE is that when the Bluetooth connection is dropped as the user moves too far from the computer, it doesn’t always reconnect smoothly. We’ve recently tried the latest version of the LXE and it suffers the same problem.

  3. I understand that the LXE ring scanner is not HID comliant and does not bluetorrh pair with Windows 8 tablet. What about the Socket Mobile Bluetooth ring scanner series 9, have you tested it ?

  4. David Holliday says:

    Hi Steve,

    Getting the LXE scanner to connect to an XP or Win7 computer was the biggest challenge. I believe you are correct when you say it is not HID compliant.

    I’ve not had the chance to test the Socket Mobile scanner. From the specs it looks to be quite interesting and I’ve had good luck with other Socket Mobile products in the past. Is this something you plan on trying?

  5. Chris Haycox says:

    Hi Steve,
    I just received the Honeywell 8650 demo kit for testing. I was hoping to use it for hands free scanning in our Windows 7 environment, but have come up against the same problems you mention. You can’t just pair it and go, and still no luck after trying a couple of different bits of scan wedge software.
    Was the only solution you found to use the Iogear dongle?
    It seems crazy to me that no-one to makes a device like this that can be easily paired the potential for productivity gains seem really promising.
    Great article anyway.
    Thanks
    Chris

  6. David Holliday says:

    Chris, I’ve not done anything with this scanner for a couple of years (at least). While we were able to get it working, using the BT dongle, we still had problems.

    The main issue was that if the operator walked out of BlueTooth range, on returning, the scanner would never automatically reconnect with the dongle, it needed to go through the pairing process each time.

    In the end, both the customer and myself got frustrated and didn’t pursue this any further.

Speak Your Mind

*