Improving the Performance of a Honeywell CK3X Computer

We were at a customer site recently that has been using Intermec CKB computers for the past seven years. The CK3B is going end of service at the end of this year, so they purchased some CK3X computers to begin replacing the older units.

When we asked how the new units were working they told us that nobody was using them because they were slower than the CK3Bs.  This was surprising since the the CK3X has a faster processor, a faster radio, and more memory than the CK3B.  Both computers were running the same program and were connected to the same access points.

We confirmed the issue by doing an inventory transfer transaction with both computers which hit the database multiple times. The transaction validates the location and item number then does an update to a location table. The CK3B’s response time was about half a second while the CK3X took over a second to do the same transaction.

The culprit turned out to be the power setting on the radio.  By default the CK3X is configured Fast PSP (Power Saving Protocol) which turns off the radio at idle times to save battery life. When we switched this to CAM (Constant Awake Mode) the CK3X outperformed the CK3B. It seems that the CK3X radio was going to sleep in between transactions. This is probably a mistake by Honeywell aggressively trying to maximize battery life.

We did some testing to see how much the CAM setting impacted battery life. We pinged a CK3X every two seconds until the battery died and found that when in Fast PSP mode the battery ran for an average of 21 hours and ran for 14 hours in CAM mode, or a one third reduction in battery life.

Since 14 hours if well past the full shift needed for a battery, we think that CAM should be enabled for the CK3X, and that the increase in performance is worth the loss in battery life, especially when transactions are doing a lot of I/O.

To get to this setting on the CK3X click on Start, Settings, System, then Intermec Settings. Next, go to Communications, 802.11 Radio, Funk Security,  Profile 1, and scroll down. Under the SSID will be two radio buttons for Power Mode.

CN80 Preliminary Test Results

We got a couple of demo CN80 computers from Honeywell and were surprised by the results of some of the testing we put it through.

The first is the range of the radio. Normally, we’d see a Honeywell reader drop off the network at when it got 350 to 400 feet away from an access point. We were able to get over 700 feet away with the CN80. We repeated the test with an old Cisco 1242 access point (802.11g only) to see if it was beam forming that accounted for the extended range, but we got the same results with the old access point. This will be of great interest to anyone who has an outdoor wireless network.

The second surprising result was the standard range 2D scanner, which uses the Honeywell N6603ER engine. We enabled DPM mode and it read most of our DPM samples as well, if not better than dedicated DPM scanners. It’s performance was very impressive.

CK3B CK3X CK71 and CK75 batteries

These four hand held computers from Intermec, now Honeywell, have used similar batteries:

From left to right

318-046-031 – Compatible with all CK series computers

318-046-001 – Compatible with CK75, CK71, CK3X

318-034-003 – Compatible with CK3X, CK3B

318-034-001 – Compatible with CK3X, CK3B

Note that the current CK3 battery part number is 318-034-023 (replaces the last two above) and the current CK7X battery is 318-046-031.

There is a new battery for the cold storage CK75, part number 318-046-032.

What’s the warranty on Honeywell barcode equipment?

It’s not so easy to find, but the official list is here.

In general, with few exceptions:

Hand held computers: 1 year

Tethered scanners: 5 years

Battery operated scanner: 3 years

Presentation and hands free scanners: 2 years

Printers: 1 year

Printheads: One year or one million lineal inches, whichever comes first (note that you get free printhead replacements if you use Honeywell media)

Vehicle mount computer: 1 year

Accessories: 90 days

Running Windows Mobile Device Center under Windows 10

In my previous post I said that Microsoft broke Windows Mobile Device Center is Windows 10. This is true, but there is somewhat of a workaround.

First off, if you use WMDC regularly and you’re using Windows 10, make your life easier and run Win 7 in a virtual machine and use it there.

I saw this tip on getting WMDC running on Win 10 at a Microsoft tech support site.

Click on Start, then type “Services” and launch the services application. Scroll down to the “Window Mobile-2003 based device connectivity” service:

Double click on this and click on the “Log On“ tab at the top of the screen.

Click on the “Local System account” button and turn on the “Allow service to interact with desktop” check box. Apply these setting and go back to the “General” tab and make sure the service is running, then exit the application.

Now click on Start, type in “Mobile Device Manager”, right click on the app and pin it to your task bar. Click on the round green icon in the task bar and WMDC should start.

Put your reader into a dock that’s connected to your PC with a USB cable; you should hear the connection sound. If you hear a loud beep and get a synchronization error, WMDC has crashed. Remove the reader from the dock and restart WMDC. If it doesn’t start, check the log on options in the services app again.

If you do hear the connection sound but WMDC shows “Not Connected”, double click on My PC and you should see your reader in the Devices and drives section:

If you double click on the device you’ll see its file system and you’ll be able to copy files to and from it with Windows File Manager.

It’s not perfect solution, but if you have some quick copying to do, it may help.

How to copy files to a CN70 or CK70 computer

This post covers copying files to the Intermec/Honeywell CN and CK series computer with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, it doesn’t cover the new Android computers.

Connecting a dock to your computer with a USB cable and using Windows Mobile Device Center is very  easy, but Microsoft broke this in Windows 10. WMDC works fine under Windows 7 and is your best choice if you are running this OS. There are some tips on the internet about running WMDC in compatibility mode under Win 10, but they didn’t work for me.

Another easy option is to put your files on a USB stick and then plug the stick into the USB A connector on the side of a single docking station for your CN/CK computer.  Once inserted click on Start, File Explorer, My Device and you should see the USB key in the pull down menu show up as “Hard Disk”:

You can copy files to the computer over your wireless network too. There’s an FTP server program available on these devices, but it’s a hidden file. Click on Start, File Explorer, then scroll down to the Windows folder. Click on the Menu button on the bottom of the screen and click on “Show All Files”. Now scroll down this folder listing and look for the file “ftpdce”.  Press the stylus on this filename and hold it for a couple of seconds until the menu pops up and select “copy”.  Scroll back to the top of the Windows folder and click on the Start Up folder. Press the stylus on some white space and hold if for a couple of seconds. When the menu pops up select “Past Shortcut”. Now the FTP server will start when window boots.

Press the power key and choose the Reboot option.

I use FileZilla as an FTP client, but feel free to try your own; I had no luck using FTP within a browser. Find the IP address of your your computer by clicking on Start then ISpyWiFi. Keythis IP number into FileZilla and log in with the user name “intermec” and a password of “cr52401” and you should see this screen:

Other options are Intermec’s Smart Systems (free, big install) or Soti’s Mobi Control (licensed, reliable, if you have a lot of devices).

Good luck, email any questions to info@accuratedata.com.