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Remote head for newer scanners success

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#1
Based on some posts by Upman, and some things I had been thinking about, I decided to do a project.
I already had several 8" Windows 8 tablets (Dell Venue Pro, Lenovo MX, Winbook TW802).

So there are several challenges:
1. You need to be able to charge the tablet while running the scanner through USB, and most all tablets in that size have only one micro USB port to both charge and do USB, and in general can NOT charge while a USB device is inserted.

A while ago I found a USB powered hub that does in fact work that way on both the Dell and the IBM. It is called simply "USB 2.0 4 port OTG hub" with no makers name or other info. If you search around, Amazon has some similar devices that will work on specific tablets. The Winbook has a full sized USB port as well as a micro for charging, so that issue is solved on that unit.

2. Next you need control software. This is a real problem, as I tried Free Scan, the display is too small to be useful in the car. Next ARC software, it does work, but the interface is small and cluttered, again not good for car use. I tried BC Tool, and it give a nice usable remote interface, but of course it stops at the 996T in 2010.

I then went to ProScan, which I already use on the desktop. ProScan is "sort of" a good solution. Here is the problem: In the car, you would most likely use the remote in a vertical position, depending on space considerations. ProScan only displays properly, in portrait, in very small text size. So small as to be almost useless. Flip it horizontal, you can go up to about 160% text size and get a nice big usable display. Flip that back to portrait, and you lose the hold and scan buttons, which is what it is all about.

3. Polarization is the next issue. Most of us wear polarized sun glasses in the daytime to drive, and all tablet screens I have seen are polarized in one direction, meaning they simply black out in either portrait or landscape mode (many phones have had this problem in the past, lately they seem to have figured out how to make them polarized on a diagonal so you can see them either way. I did not buy the HTC 8 because when I went into the store it blacked out in portrait, which is the only way I use the phone in the car for navigation).

So I found the Dell and the Winbook work in portrait, but not in landscape. The IBM is the opposite, it works in landscape. Sure wish the Winbook did, with the full size USB it would solve a lot of problems.

4. Next, you need a way to connect to the scanner. Since my newest scanner from Uniden is a 996T, I used a USB to serial adapter. You also need to get the cable from the rear of the car to the front. A 6' USB extension does work, and I think you need a USB 3.0 extension cable. I seem to recall from some prior project that a USB 2 cable will not carry both power and data.

5. To get the audio to the front, I used a standard speaker wire with an extension, and plugged into a iHome USB speaker with both Bluetooth and audio in. This solves the volume issue, and as it has a volume control and plugs directly into the USB power port in the car.

Note, my SUV has a built in 115 Volt outlet with a switch on the dash, so the issue of powering on and off is not an issue for me. I don't know if ProScan can turn the 536 on and off. Most surely not ON, don't know about off.

So I got this setup working with a 996T, and also a Radio Shack PRO-668, which is already USB so all it takes is the extension cable and it does charge. No doubt I will corrupt some SD cards since the radio is not being shut off normally.

It would not be difficult for someone to build a dedicated tablet for sale as a remote head. It could run off Linux - no royalties. It just needs a USB port and separate power port, and control software.

If only I could get ProScan to add a "tablet interface" - in other words, a large square control box that could be run at a large size and show the text and control buttons. As I said the one in BC tools was pretty good. You don't need a direct representation of the scanner, just a face view and easy to use controls.

But the project did work. Some local MicroCenter stores have an occasional open box TW802 in stock for around $70, and that makes it easy. Just add some cables and ProScan and you have a remote control.
 
Joined
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#3
I hate to keep replying to my own posts, but after some further work, ARC Patrol for the 996 (what I have right now) works great in virtual mode if you boost the text size to about 180%. You get a big display and all the controls in portrait mode, and flip it to landscape and you get the number buttons. Wish I could adjust the colors, it is a black and white display, but it will fill all the needs for virtual control on a tablet.
 
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#4
posting and replying to your own posts is a sign of efficiency. LOL

very nice info and good work
 

alphaacres

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#5
I use the 536 in access point mode wifi for my tablet best remote head ever even has audio with proscan at home or your car you can change the view to scanner only in the view tab in proscan
 
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