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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X Scanners
Mac OS X recognizes the Symbol PL470 wireless barcode scanner as a keyboard when the base station is plugged in via USB, but it is not able to understand it. There is a specific trick involved in getting the input to match up. I use the scanner mainly to input bar codes into Delicious Library (and Delicious Library will crash if the input is not valid!).

Here's how to get it to work. It's a weird series of steps.
  1. Make sure the scanner is synced to the base station and the base station plugged into your Mac.
  2. Open a new document in TextEdit or TextWrangler.
  3. Scan in a bar code.
  4. If it doesn't work, you will either see junk/whitespace or nothing.
  5. Now, unplug the power from the base station.
  6. Scan again. You will get an error on the scanner saying it can't contact the base station.
  7. Plug the base station back into the electrical and hit enter on the scanner to have it reconnect.
  8. Try scanning again. You should now have a valid bar code, e.g. 781932386776 followed by a line break (a keyboard return is included at the end of a valid scan).
I'm not entirely sure what is happening here; my best guess is that the lack of base station connectivity causes the scanner to reset its keyboard encoding output. That, or reconnecting to the base station causes a reset or renegotiation with the computer. Whatever the reason, it works -- happy scanning!
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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X | 8 comments | Create New Account
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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X
Authored by: leamanc on Mar 25, '10 08:40:31AM

Hmmm...we use several Symbol barcode scanners with FileMaker Pro apps developed in-house, and we've never had a problem. As mentioned, the Mac sees it as a keyboard, and the output from the scanner has always worked like a charm. It will happily place the text from the scan into FMP, Word, TextEdit, text fiield forms in Firefox...anything we throw at it!



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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X
Authored by: CyberSkull on Mar 25, '10 01:46:09PM

Really? Either your in-house devs know something we don't or whatever model your using works better.



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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X
Authored by: leamanc on Mar 26, '10 07:12:43PM

We use the Symbol LS 4278 (link from where I buy them, CDW).

And no, the devs don't know anything special. They asked me to find something that could scan barcodes and barf out the output into a FileMaker Pro database field. I read good things about that model, bought one to try, and we've bought several since as we do more and more projects that include barcode scanning.

Edit: macosxhints.com user cliffkujala also notes below that he uses the LS 4278. Maybe that model is just super Mac friendly? We also use a wired USB model that works well too, but I don't have that model number on hand.

Edited on Mar 26, '10 07:15:18PM by leamanc


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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X
Authored by: limbikity on Mar 25, '10 08:42:27AM

so lemme get this right... you use a $600 barcode scanner JUST for your delicious library?



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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X
Authored by: CyberSkull on Mar 25, '10 01:44:06PM

Well, it's actually my friend's barcode scanner. Borrowing from a friend is better than paying $180 for a new one. ;)



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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X
Authored by: earthsaver on Mar 25, '10 01:56:33PM
This support article from Xsilva might also be relevant.
---
- Ben Rosenthal
MacBook Pro 2.8GHz - Snow Leopard


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Make a Symbol barcode scanner work with Mac OS X
Authored by: cliffkujala on Mar 25, '10 07:04:19PM

We use Symbol scanners with our Macs. We use them with Xsilva LightSpeed, but they will also work with DL, or any other application that needs a barcode data set typed in followed by a carriage return.

We are even using them without the proprietary wireless Symbol communication base. We go straight from the scanner to the Mac, via Bluetooth. The model we use is LS4278 Wireless Bluetooth Scanner.

Works great.



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No problems here too
Authored by: tice on Mar 26, '10 12:13:55AM

I had to buy a barcode scanner some years ago for my business and was a bit worried about the compatibility. Anyway, I bought a "Cypher LAB" scanner (don't have a number right now) and it worked without installing anything.



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