Hey remember the other day how I put up instructions on how to set a custom beep on your DS4800? Well I thought it’d be good to get some documented proof of it using a custom tone. Yes I used my iPhone in portrait mode to record it.

Did you know the DS4800 can play customizable audio tones when you scan a barcode? Yeah, no kidding, it can do that. I was told this from product launch, but I was never able to figure it out. Then the newest version of 123Scan added a curious “Custom Scan Tone 6” selection to the DS4800’s list of tones. But I couldn’t find a way to get the data onto the scanner, until yesterday.

In its current incarnation, it requires quite a few steps, and a lot of trial and error, but hopefully I’ve cleared most of that up so you can have an easier time getting whatever you want onto your DS4800. I’ve been told it’ll eventually be incorporated into 123Scan, but in the meantime it takes a few extra steps.


So this turned into a recipe rather quick, seems like a fun way to explain it all. Anyway, these are the PDFs and applications you’ll need to customize your DS4800:

DS4800 Product Reference Guide – It’s 478 pages, it talks about everything from optimal viewing angles to setting the scanner up to support traditional Korean keysets.

DS4800 PRG Appendix J – This is the section of the Product Reference Guide that covers setting custom tones.

Motorola Scanner SDK – This is the software you use to upload audio tones to the scanner. It has a ton of other really cool stuff too, like a way to test image capture or scale output. If you’re providing support for customers with Motorola or Symbol scanners, this should be in your toolset.

Motorola Scanner SDK For Windows Developer’s Guide – At 142 pages, it’s a bit big, but it does have error code descriptions and general tips for using the software. It’s not fully necessary, but it’s good to have in case something weird happens.

An Audio Editor – I’m using Audacity because it’s free and is pretty easy to set up. But if you have an audio editor in mind that can set sampling rates, bitrates, and can export as WAV, that works too.

I’d recommend installing the apps prior to getting started. The Motorola Scanner SDK requires additional software, so there may be a couple reboots before it’s ready to go. Audacity might require additional software to be installed prior as well. But once they’re installed, we can begin.

Audio File Prep

(I’ve created the walkthrough for Audacity. If you have your own software, your mileage may vary.)

The DS4800 has very specific requirements for audio files:

  • WAV file format
  • 16 kHz sampling rate
  • 16-bit audio
  • Under 128 KB

If there’s even mild deviation from these settings, the file won’t upload. Thankfully, it won’t break the scanner either. I’d recommend making a few, you never know if you’ll want to hear the Pac Man noise with every scan in perpetuity, or if you’d prefer the coin noise from Super Mario Brothers. Or Angie from 30 Rock saying Ham. She says it really well. Regardless of the file, you’re going to need something that is about 1 second long, otherwise it’ll be too large, even when downsampled.

Once the audio clip is trimmed to your liking, you’ll need to prep it for import, which is a few extra steps.
The first is to change the sample format to 16-bit. This is located on the audio wave form, next to the file name. You expand that menu and choose “Set Sample Format” then “16-Bit PCM”.

Next, go to the track menu and select “Resample”, then set the new sample rate to 16000 Hz.

Finally, change the “Project Rate (Hz)” at the bottom left of the screen to 16000 as well.
Now whatever you export should be ready to go onto the DS4800. From the file menu, choose Export Audio, and save it to a location on your computer. The filetype should default to “WAV (Microsoft) signed 16 bit PCM.”

Scanner Prep

So you have your files, and probably a big grin on your face, because who doesn’t want their scanner to shout IGNORE ME after every scan? Now to get those files onto the DS4800.

The first thing is to set your scanner to Symbol Native API (SNAPI) with Imaging Interface. This allows the scanner SDK to connect to it and send files back and forth. It’s also as easy as scanning this barcode right here:
You can also find it in the Product Reference Guide in section 3-5 (Page 37).

Now that it’s switched, unplug the scanner and start up the “Motorola Scanner SDK C++ Sample Application.” That’s a hell of a name. It’s located in your start menu, so Start->Motorola Scanner->Scanner SDK->C++ Sample Application.

Plug the scanner back in, and once it’s started up and ready, it will be identified in the software after clicking the “Discover Scanners” button in the upper left.
Next, click the Advanced tab. At the bottom of that tab is a section, “Custom Good Decode Tone,” that’s where you can upload the file. Click browse, navigate to the file and click Open. Then click upload. At this point you’ll see a status message at the bottom left of the screen:

UPDATE_DECODE_TONE – Command Success – This means you now have your very own custom tone on your DS4800.

With the audio file added to the scanner, it’s time to test it out. Scan the “Scan Tone 6” configuration barcode, either from the PRG, the Appendix, or this picture right here:
And now test it out! Scan some barcodes! It’ll be so novel!


I ran into more than a few issues while setting this up, primarily having to do with the filesize and precise formatting of the audio files. Since this product is so new, there isn’t a lot of documentation available for it. If you try to upload an incompatible audio file, the SDK will display some error codes. I’ve listed what the Motorola Scanner SDK For Windows Developer’s Guide describes the error as, along with what I assume is going on.

UPDATE_DECODE_TONE – Command Failed. Error:107 – Invalid Argument – This one only happened for me when I tried uploading files from a network location and not something directly stored on my computer.

UPDATE_DECODE_TONE – Command Failed. Error:117 – Operation Failed In Device – This means the audio file is not exactly what the scanner is expecting, so maybe the bitrate is off, or the Hz, or something else.
Update 10-16-2014: It also means the firmware is not new enough to support custom audio tones.

UPDATE_DECODE_TONE – Command Failed. Error:308 – Arguments in inXML are not Valid – I don’t know what this one meant, it was sort of a variation on Error 117 I guess. It happened on a couple files that were too large, but also happened on some that were over 60 Kbyte but less than 128 Kbyte.

These issues shouldn’t crop up if you follow the steps up above. If they do, please shoot me a comment or an email or maybe send a carrier pigeon my way with your question.

DS4800 Video Coverage

January 9, 2014

Hey isn’t this great? We’ve made a video of the DS4800 so you can see it in all its glory. And what a lot of glory.



The Motorola DS4800

January 8, 2014

Motorola DS4800Man it’s fun to test out stuff before it’s available for public consumption. I feel fancy. Anyway, there’s a new Motorola scanner that was announced today, the DS4800, and I wanted to talk about it since that’s my job.

The DS4800 is a fancy pants 2D area imager. And most likely pretty spendy. I don’t know for sure yet, there’s no MSRP listed. But check the lines on this thing, really sleek, really smooth. It looks like a fancy phone. I think we were calling it the batwing when we were messing around with it.

For the trigger, instead of a button, the DS4800 uses a capacitive trigger system with haptic feedback, which is pretty fun to mess with. It cuts down on moving parts too, so it could be a little burly. But I don’t want to drop this thing at all.

Oh and the sounds. That’s a whole thing there. So you know how scanners make a beep tone when they scan? It’s usually a chip that chirps one of a few tones? Well the DS4800 ditches that for a speaker and the ability to play audio files. The first time you’ll notice is on power up, when it plays a gravitas-filled crescendo. And then successful scans come with a nice tone. However, this means that with 123scan, you can switch the tones to be whatever you want. Clearly many audio clips have licensing fees associated with them, but imagine the Star Trek teleporter sound on powerup and phaser noises during scanning. It’d be awesome!

I haven’t even gotten to performance yet. So it’s a 2D imager, it’s a bit different version than the Blockbuster they’ve been putting into their mobile computers and the DS6878 and DS9808. But it’s a great scan engine, with about a foot and a half depth of field on regular retail barcodes. The scanner can read off screens remarkably well, so mobile couponing or mobile ticketing would be no big deal.

Options are available with driver’s license parsing, so you could see the DS4800 as a credit card signup scanner, or maybe in admitting in hospitals, or age verification in fancy bars. The possibilities are limitless.

There are also customization options available at certain order thresholds. If you need a lot of scanners, like a whole lot, Motorola can customize your DS4800 fleet to match whatever you want. Want to slap your brand logo on it? They can do it! Want the scanner to shout “Woo hoo!” on successful scan right out of the box? Done and done. There are a ton of potentialities here, and it’s terrific.

Once pricing is squared away, I’m sure these things will fly off the shelf. It’s very much a new era in data capture, and it’s great to see manufacturers shifting away from the same design that’s been in use for 20 some years. You can learn more about the scanner at Motorola as well.

Hey we have more videos, this time of the Motorola LI2208 scanner. While the first video showed us trying to break the scanner, this one covers more of the functionality of the scanner. It’s a very functional scanner. I really do like the “Auto-Aim” mode as a means to improve accuracy, especially with how fast the scanner is. And that 3-foot scan range for regular retail barcodes is going to make it wicked easy for anyone to get a good read.

So we have video now of the scanner we’ll still not name going up against Symbol’s LS2208. As you can see, while the knockoff scanner costs tremendously less than the LS2208, it is also a lot cheaper. Totally not worth it.

Motorola LI4278

January 16, 2012

Motorola LI4278 Barcode ScannerI’ve traditionally pegged Motorola (really Symbol) as the company that makes great laser scanners. Their LS2208 has been selling a ton since the beginning of time, and it’s a great choice for a lot of retailers. However, with their creation of the Blockbuster 2D imager, and now their linear imager, they’re distancing themselves from the pack as a premier data capture manufacturer. Their first entry into the linear imager market, the Motorola LI4278, has a list of specs that make it a fantastic choice for cordless scanning.

The LI4278 looks very much like their LS4278, and is a cordless 1D barcode scanner. I do believe it will be supplanting the LS4278 eventually, so the transition should look pretty seamless. And it’s compatible with the LS4278 cradles, so if you have an old LS4278 and you want to upgrade, you just need the scanner. That is great forward thinking on Motorola’s part. There are plenty of LS4278’s in the wild, and if the LI4278’s spec sheet is any indication, upgrading is a no-brainer.

In terms of scanning, the LI4278 is a fantastic device. For standard UPC barcodes, you can get a read from an inch to 31 inches out. Most linear imagers out there can get reads from 18 inches back, some of the higher end ones make it to about 25-30 inches, so a retail scanner getting reads from that distance is going to be a boon to many businesses. Especially places like Costco, where maybe you can’t reach the barcode way up on the second or third shelf. High volume scanning should be no sweat for the LI4278. A maximum scan speed of 547 scans per second hangs in with even some presentation scanners, and the barcode scanner’s motion tolerance of 25″ per sec (1.4 mph) is pretty solid for a linear imager.

Bluetooth powers the wireless radio on the LI4278, Bluetooth v2.1 Class 2 to be exact. Most manufacturers run with this radio, as it can send data pretty quickly, and data transmissions are encrypted. Why you don’t want prying eyes to know you just scanned a case of Mountain Dew is a little beyond me, but I guess it’s important when you’re scanning like drivers license or customer data. With this radio, you get 330 feet of effective range, way beyond most cordless scanners and their paltry 33 feet of radio range. The Bluetooth radio also allows you to connect the LI4278 to a mobile computer or laptop, maybe even your iPhone or Motorola ET1 tablet. It runs in HID mode, so scanned data will be sent as keyboard input, making it really easy to integrate into a lot of mobility applications.

The LI4278’s battery provides more than a shift’s worth of scanning, eliminating nagging fears that the scanner’s just going to stop partway through a day. The replaceable battery with “green sustainability” can run for 72 hours on a full charge, or up to 57,000 scans. I can see why they’d put an either or. At the max scan rate, you can hit 57,000 scans in a little under two minutes. Or if you stayed at that scan rate for 72 hours, you’d read 141.7 million barcodes.

Motorola built the LI4278 for retail and maybe light industrial applications, and the durability matches up with those needs pretty well. The scanner sports an IP54 seal, though it’s advertised as a “gasket seal to protect from dust and water sprays.” It’s also built to withstand 100 consecutive 5-foot drops to concrete, so even a really clumsy person should be okay to use it.

I’m trying to get one in house to really put it through its paces, but so far the LI4278 is poised to be a fantastic scanner and a great release to start 2012. The 330-foot range and advanced scanning capabilities ensure that it’ll exceed most business’s needs for quite some time. And personally I’d rather have a product that does a lot more than I need, rather than a lot less.

%d bloggers like this: