Falcon Scanner: Quick Start Guide to Remote Scanning to Destiny

This post can be used by district media specialists and textbook managers to setup and begin using the Falcon 4220 wireless barcode scanner.

> This is not a comprehensive guide. Please see this post for links to Falcon user guides on Follett’s web site.

> Please review this entire post before starting – taking a minute to preview the entire process may save you some grief later on.

> Don’t be put off by these seemingly long and arduous instructions. After using the Falcon just a few times it will become a routine and simple process with great benefits.

> Do not be intimidated by the initial setup and configuration process. Most of you probably can complete the task yourself, but you certainly may have your school technician or aid do the setup. In that case, print this post or forward its link to your school technician as it may save them some legwork.

First, get your bits and pieces together.
You will need the following:

  • The Falcon sync cradle/charger (a black plastic base unit about the size of a Hardees Super Extra Triple ThickBurger).
  • The sync cradle’s power cord/adapter (small black brick with power outlets that plug into the wall and the back of unit)
  • USB cable that plugs from back of cradle to a USB port on your PC
  • The Falcon 4220 Scanner. (It sort of looks like a really big and heavy Palm Pilot.) The Falcon should also have a yellow plastic stylus stored on the back of the unit.
  • Lithium Battery for the Falcon PDA (flat/rectangular) if not already installed

Prepare the Falcon.
You must charge the Falcon battery for at least 13-hours before using the first time, or about 4-hours on subsequent charges. (If the battery is not installed, please see this post for install directions.) Assuming the battery already is installed in the Falcon, charge it by plugging the sync cradle into any power source (it is not necessary now to connect to the computer) and firmly seating the Falcon in the cradle. While the battery pack is charging, the power indicator on the Falcon turns red. When the battery pack is fully charged, the power indicator turns green.

Prepare the workspace.
The Falcon and its sync cradle will not require a great deal of real estate, but the cradle requires a power connection and a USB port on the PC. As you may want to use the Falcon on more than one PC, you may want to setup your workspace so that you can easily get to the power plug, USB plugin, etc.

Prepare the PC.
The computer(s) you use to connect the Falcon to the Destiny database must have a bit of software that is not on the standard district image.

  • Click this link to download the Microsoft ActivSync software that will connect the Falcon to your PC. Don’t download the file – just choose ‘Run’ or ‘Open’ to install directly from the website. When the install begins, choose all default options. Enter anything for the username/organization. Be patient: the installation appears to stall at a certain point, but that is normal. It took me a total of 5-minutes. When ActivSync is installed you should reboot the PC.

Now let’s test the system.
In this section we will scan a book and then sync that data to the PC and import into Destiny.

1. Turn on the <charged> Falcon by pressing the yellow power button on the keypad.

  • Glitch Alert: Note that the power button is protected by little plastic ‘walls’ to prevent inadvertent powering on/off. That means you may have to kind of work your fingertip in there to fully press/depress the power button.
  • Glitch Alert: If the ‘Wireless Information’ page appears just close that window by pressing the red ‘X’ with the Falcon’s stylus. See the ‘Glitch Fix’ post to resolve this issue.
  • Glitch Alert: The touch-screen is not as responsive as a mouse-click, so it may take a try or three to close that window. For me it seems to work better if I lightly press/hold the stylus point onto the ‘X’. See the ‘Glitch Fix’ post to resolve this issue.

2. Click Destiny Remote to open that application and from the Function menu choose ‘Library Circulation’ (Note that you can toggle back and forth between checkin and checkout. Choose either one for this test.)

3. Scan a book by holding down the yellow scan button on either side of the unit. You will see a successful scan update on the screen, and you also can look for the green light.

  • Glitch Alert: If you do not get an audible beep when scanning successfully, see the ‘Glitch Fix’ post to fix that.

4. Scan as many books as you like, then close Destiny Remote by choosing File > Exit

  • Road Hazard Ahead: If you are syncing your Falcon to the PC for the first time, there will be a couple of one-time steps in the process that you normally will not see again. Please read ahead before syncing the first time to know what to expect…

5. Connect the sync cradle to the PC which had the ActivSync software installed per the above directions, then seat the Falcon into the cradle.

  • Glitch Alert: Of the half-dozen times I have synced a Falcon to date, I have had to seat/reseat the unit two or three times to establish a connection. Don’t use brute force, but do be sure to get a good, snug connection.

6. You probably will see Windows find new hardware and install the driver for the new USB device (the Falcon). After the process is complete, the ActivSync software should launch. Give it some time, but if it does not eventually start, you may need to reseat the Falcon a couple of times (as I had to do).

7. The first time you sync the Falcon you will see a ‘Set up a Partnership’ wizard window pop up. Click Yes > Next and then choose ‘Yes, I want to synchronize with only this computer’. Then, in the ‘Select Synchronization Settings’ window clear all the checkboxes and click Next > Finish

8. Now your Falcon is set up to communicate with your PC through ActiveSync. Adjacent to your clock in the system tray of your Windows desktop is the ActiveSync icon— a circle with arrows inside. Green indicates that there is an active connection; grey indicates that there is no connection.

9. When a sync begins you get alerts on both the Falcon and the PC, and you should see the ‘Microsoft ActivSync’ application window appear. When the sync completes, click the ActivSync ‘Explore’ button. That will open the file explorer on the Falcon.

  • Encouraging Words: You’re doing great! Hang in there! Almost home! With just a little experience this process will become quick and easy.

10. In the ActivSync file explorer window, open DiskonChip > Destiny Remote to see the files that have been saved to the Falcon. Depending on previous use, you may see any number of files, but you should at least see the file we created when we scanned books per the above directions. The file name includes a date stamp, so the file I just created now reads like so: ‘LibraryCirculation2008-01-11.txt’

  • Tip: I find that viewing files in a Windows explorer window is easier when you click View > Details

11. Right-click the circulation file and choose ‘Copy’ and then paste that file to your PC desktop. (Tip: Once you have copied the file, just click the Address field down arrow in that same window, choose Desktop from the drop-down list, right-click on empty white space, and choose ‘Paste’)

12. Now we import the scanned data to Destiny. For the purpose of this test we used the Destiny Remote circulation function, so we will log onto Destiny and go to Circulation > Offline Circulation, click the ‘Browse’ button in the Transaction File field, fish for that file you saved to the Desktop in a previous step above, clear all the checkboxes, then click ‘Upload’

DONE! Now you can roam freely throughout the building and scan away…