Cleaning Barcode Scanner

Background

This document describes how to clean the M250 barcode scanner that becomes slow or does not read at all.  It does not apply to the M260 barcode reader.  If you have an m260, m280 or m310 barcode reader, click here.

The 2D Bar Code scanner slot naturally collects the accumulated material  (dirt) on the surface on drivers’ licenses.  Sometimes small bits of the license actually break off and remain in the slot.  In states that use paper stickers, parts of the paper sticker will rip off and remain in the slot.   All these materials may block part of the optical scanner and/or the mechanical switches that detect insertion/removal of the license.  By following the procedure outlined in this document, it is possible to clean the scanner and return it to normal operating status.

First determine if the scanner is SLOW (meaning it takes 5+ seconds for the beep after the card is withdrawn) or NON-FUNCTIONAL (scanner does not beep at all)

Diagnosing the problem.

First make sure you have an M250 reader and the GREEN power light on.

If the RED LED turns on and stays SOLID (i.e. does not flicker), proceed to stuck switch procedure below.

If the RED LED turns on and FLICKERS when the card is inserted and removed but the scanner does not beep OR it takes 10 seconds or more to beep, proceed to the Cleaning Procedure

Cleaning Procedure

Cleaning Procedures –  this is for M250 readers whose RED LED flickers when the card is inserted and removed – try in the following order.

  1. Take a flashlight or other strong light source and look down into the bar code reader slot.  Look for any foreign material and if present, try clearing it by first flipping the unit over and shaking the scanner.  If shaking does not remove the material, try using a plastic knife or credit card to dislodge the material.  Don’t use metal objects that could short out the electrical circuits and/or scratch the optics.
  2. After removing the material (if applicable), try Scanning a license.
  3. For units which are slow to read, try a can of compressed air available at office supply stores and direct a blast of air into the bar code reader slot.   Make sure that only air comes out, as these cans can spray liquid propellant if tipped to far to the side. This procedure is intended to blow dust off the optics inside the scanner and normally works for scanners that have become intermittent.

If none of the above works, then its time to call support at 800 574 5034 x2 and request an RMA form which includes return directions and payment information for repairs not covered under warranty.

Note: if some licenses from some states read fine while others take much longer or don’t read at all, chances are there is something partially blocking the optics.  Those states which work have have barcodes which are not affected by the blockage while those that are slow to read have barcodes positioned in areas blocked by the foreign material.  Sometimes the material is hard to see from the top card slot as it is very thin protective card overlays which get wedged in the reader mechanism.    Only have dis-assembly can we find and remove these items which is why the scanner may need to come in for service.

 

Free Stuck Switch Procedure

Stuck Switch Procedures – This is for M250 reader whose RED LED stays solid when the card is inserted and removed.  Try in the following order.

  1.  Take a flashlight or other strong light source and look down into the bar code reader slot.  Look for any foreign material and if present, try clearing it by first flipping the unit over and shaking the scanner.  If shaking does not remove the material, try using a plastic knife or credit card to dislodge the material.  Don’t use metal objects that could short out the electrical circuits and/or scratch the optics.
  2. After removing the material (if applicable), try Scanning a license.
  3. For units which do NOT read at all (the RED LED stays solid and does NOT flicker), try this as a last resort.  (Do not try this if the unit is slow to read – only try this for scanners which do not read) , then hold the bar code scanner in your right hand with the bar code reader slot facing towards the floor and bang it against the heel of your left hand 3 or 4 times.  Try scanning a license.  If that does not work, switch hands and with the bar code reader slot still facing down, try 3 or 4 good knocks against the heel of your right hand.  Again, try scanning a license.  This process is meant to dislodge material from the switch at the bottom of the scanner slot.  It will not fix a scanner that is slow to read only one that does NOT read any licenses.

If none of the above works, then its time to call support at 800 574 5034 x2 and request an RMA form which includes return directions and payment information for repairs not covered under warranty.

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Posted in IDWedge M250, Setup, Troubleshooting