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Third-Party Scanner Troubleshooting

Although we cannot support scanners that haven’t been purchased from COMPanion, we would still like to offer troubleshooting steps for third-party scanners. 

Our product development team performs extensive testing on the scanners we sell to ensure they will work with our software. We also create our own program guides to facilitate easy setups and offer excellent support for any questions or issues that might occur.

However, we cannot support or even guarantee that a scanner not purchased from COMPanion will work with our programs. For example, third party scanners may work in some interfaces but not others. Or, they may present challenges when libraries use more than one symbology. This is why we recommend buying scanners that have been tested and approved by COMPanion!

For more information on COMPanion supported scanners, visit our online store.
1. Gather your scanner’s information

Before troubleshooting your scanner, you need to do a few things first:

  1. Locate the manufacturer name and model number of your scanner.
  2. Locate the manufacturer’s program guide online by performing an internet search with the manufacturer’s name, model number, and the words “program guide” (you can search “free online program guide” as well). The guide may be needed to restore the scanner to factory defaults or set the scanner in a mode that’s compatible with Alexandria. 
2. Identify the issue

Now that you’ve found the program guide, go through these basic troubleshooting steps to find out what is going on with the scanner:

  1. Laser: Is the scanner producing a laser?
    1. Yes: Move on to the next step in this section.
    2. No: The scanner may need to be charged. If you have been charging, try changing the port or outlet the scanner is plugged into. If you are using a port doc connected to the computer, try using a port on the actual computer. Sometimes doc strips don’t have enough power to charge devices.
  2. Scan: Does the scanner scan anything? If so, what’s it scanning? One of the most common problems is the scanner scanning something incorrectly.
    1. Open a simple text document to test your scanner’s scan results. Mac users can open Text Edit in Applications, and Windows users can open Notepad by searching for the program. A scanner is just like a keyboard or mouse. It is going to interact with whatever program or application you have active on your computer screen. If you can click or type into the program or application with the keyboard or mouse, the scanner should be able to as well.
    2. Scan an item’s barcode into the text program.
      1. Good Scan: You should see the barcode appear in the text document exactly how it appears on the barcode label, and the cursor should be blinking immediately after the barcode. If you have a carriage return set on the scanner, the cursor should appear on the next line directly under the barcode you just scanned. 
      2. Bad Scan: Nothing is scanned into the blank text document, there’s a double carriage return after scanning the barcode (the cursor will be blinking 2 lines below the barcode scanned), or the barcode number displayed does not match the barcode label you scanned.
3. Fix the issue

Once you have figured out what’s wrong, you can find the right solution. Please note that you may need the assistance of your library’s tech to move forward. Here are a few potential solutions for bad scans:

  • Nothing is scanned into the blank text document:
    • Charge the scanner.
    • Make sure your computer is recognizing the scanner.
    • Try a different port on the computer.
    • Make sure the scanner is paired with the computer (if wireless).
    • Reset the scanner to factory defaults using the manufacturer’s program guide.
  • There’s a double carriage return after scanning the barcode:
    • Using the manufacturer’s scanner guide, restore factory defaults and set the scanner to use a SINGLE carriage return. This should be a program setting in the scanner guide.
  • The barcode number displayed does not match the barcode label you scanned:
    • Find out what’s different about the scanned barcode number, and reset the scanner to factory defaults using the manufacturer’s program guide. Then scan the program settings in the guide that will allow the scanner to scan the barcode. Test the scanner in the text document until the barcode numbers match.
Alexandria supports a wide range of symbologies as long as there are no more than 14 digits and all digits are entered. Barcodes must only consist of unaccented uppercase letters and numbers. There must also be no check digits or excess characters for checksum handling. When Alexandria prints barcodes, it’s done in Code 39.

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