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Mobile Device Charging Dock Options

Post Series: Hardware Selection

When it comes to deploying scanners across a single warehouse or even across multiple sites, giving your team the power to capture transactions relies on making sure the scanners have the power they need. Bad puns aside, there are a variety of options for charging your devices in the warehouse when not in use. Another post will review options for use on forklifts that require powered cradles; today we will focus on options for charging in the warehouse between shifts, breaks, or overnight. With choices ranging from the standard single cradle kit to 5 slot rack and wall mountable options, the selection can be overwhelming. We will first break down the main options presented to clients and then provide some general guidance on what to consider when purchasing. As always, the Panatrack team is available anytime to assist in hardware selection.

The Choices

Single Slot Charge Cradles

The standard kit listed with Panatrack scanners is a single slot cradle. This is an individual dock that includes the cradle and all power cords to charge a single device at a time. Often these cradles also include a spot to charge a single spare battery, check with your sales rep to confirm. These docks may offer USB communication in addition to power, this functionality can be used for connection to a PC for screen share, upgrades, or device debugging. Not all cradles support this, and depending on costs, Panatrack may encourage the purchase of individual USB cables for some scanners. For devices such as the TC21, cradles can be linked together with clips to keep contained in a single location.  Single Slot charge cradles are best when devices will be charged in different locations or in groups smaller than 4. This may be when two devices are in use and stored at receiving, two at the assembly line, and two at order fulfillment. With individual cradles at each location devices are in place when they are needed.

Single Device USB & Charge Cords

In addition to single slot charge cradles, many devices can be charged with a single USB charge cable. These usually take power off a USB brick and tend to charge slower than a dock given the voltage limitations. Many Zebra and Honeywell scanners have a proprietary connector, so this cannot be replaced by the USB cable you use for your phone. Although some of the newer devices do have a USB C port for communication and charging, including tablets. Panatrack will often quote or recommend a single cable when companies are purchasing cradles that do not offer USB connections so that the IT teams can use them if ever required. A disadvantage to using these as the only charge options is that the devices are not secured on a dock and can be disconnected or knocked off tables easier.  Scanners that are being issued to an individual team member for use on the road, at a job site, or the like will often benefit from these options as they can be used with a standard car charger.

Multi Slot Cradles

Panatrack offers multi slot cradles for most devices. These units can accommodate 4 or 5 scanners and sometimes include spare battery slots as well. With a multi slot cradle there is only one power supply and cord needed, allowing a cleaner install; additionally, many of these docks can be wall or rack mounted. The major benefits of a multi slot dock are the cost savings and ease of locating devices. For teams that place all scanners in one location at the end of a shift or the day, requiring all the scanners to be in a single location makes a visual identification very easy for the management team and aids in quickly realizing a misplaced scanner. The costs savings on many units come from removing the individual cradles from the kit and replacing them with a multi dock unit. Each scanner family will offer a different range of multi slot docks and Panatrack will help you select the right ones for your needs. Some customers may even purchase both single and multi-slot docks based on their needs.

Battery Chargers

While some of the docks mentioned above offer spare battery charging options, many organizations will need to charge spare batteries. For every scanner that offers swappable batteries, Panatrack offers battery chagrining options, often called toasters. Some charges will support 4, 89, 12, or even 20 batteries and prices vary. Let Panatrack know what your needs are, and we will provide the best options for your team.

Contact us to learn more about inventory control and your hardware options.

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