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Top 5 most common Physical Inventory Scanner Problems


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Around this time, Retailers are beginning to perform their physical inventories (PI). As wonderful and lovely labor intensive as this task can be, you’ll find that it’s the smallest issues that usually prolong the day and make you want to go home and cry.

Scanner problems always seem to be one of these small issues. So here are top 5 most common scanner problems, and ways to resolve those issues.

Scans uploaded from PT scanner disappear from Rpro –

If you’re doing multiple scans, you might be prone to mistakenly wipe out previous scans.

Cause: Clicking “New” before uploading the next set of scans.

Resolution: You should only click on New when you’re first starting the Physical Inventory. Clicking New wipes out anything that is there.

Barcode Scanner Not Scanning Correctly –

When you first begin scanning your barcodes and find that it is not reading the barcode correctly, your first assumption might be that your scanner is broken. And perhaps this is true if you know that the scanner has been dropped a few times. But like most small Retailers, if you perform your physical inventories once a year – the scanner might need some dusting!

Cause: Lenses on the scanner are dirty.

Resolution: With an airbrush or soft cloth clean the lenses and test.

PT scanner is locked up –

If your PT scanner is frozen or locked up and it doesn’t respond to pressing any keys, you might want to brace yourself for a frustrating moment.

Cause: Simply put, if you scan too many items, this can happen. Ideally you shouldn’t scan more than a couple hundred items, then upload to Rpro.

Resolution: If the unit is frozen, hold down the ALPHA and ENTER buttons on the PT unit, and then pop out the batteries. Then put the batteries back in (while still holding the ALPHA and ENTER buttons). This will reset the unit.

PT scanner will not recharge –

Don’t be too quick on buying new Ni-Cad battery packs if your PT Scanners will not recharge when placed in the dock.

Cause: Believe it or not, the most common issue is incorrect DIP switch setting in the unit itself.

Resolution: Remove the Battery Pack from the unit. 2 DIP switches are located in the battery compartment. SW1 should be set to ON. This will allow the unit to recharge the battery pack.

Upload Failure (PT Scanner) –

This common problem can actually result from 6 different causes. And can occur many times during a physical inventory.

Causes 1 -3 (Less common causes)

Bad cable

Bad serial port

Defective PT scanner

Resolution 1-3

Try another cable.

Try another serial port on the same computer or attach it to another computer.

Reset PT scanner as follows: hold down the ALPHA and ENTER buttons on the PT unit, and then pop out the batteries. Then put the batteries back in (while still holding the ALPHA and ENTER buttons).

Cause 4 (Most common)

The settings for the unit are wrong in Retail Pro.

Resolution 4

Setting the PT Scanner settings in Retail Pro 8 Series:

Go into Options>Workstation Preferences>Peripherals>Portable Barcode

For Barcode Reader Type select RPRO PT

For Retail Pro PT Memory Size, select the memory size your unit came with; in most instances this is 128K

For Serial Port , select the appropriate com port number. Make sure you are selecting the correct com port # or the PT scanner will not upload. If you are not sure, try the other com port #s available, making sure to Save each time you select a different com port

Click on Save, to go back to main Retail Pro Screen

Cause 5

Another program or device is using the COM port.

Resolution 5 (Difficulty level: Advanced)

You will need an available com port for the PT Scanner so it can upload. The PT Scanner cannot share a COM port. It must be using a unique COM port. If there is another device using the same COM port as the PT Scanner try:

Switching the PT scanner to another port #, and going into the Rpro settings mentioned above to change which COM is specified for the scanner.

Some devices (such as internal modems) allow you to switch COM ports they are using.

If you have a touch screen installed, it also uses software that is assigned a COM port. You can try switching which port it uses (but you will also need to plug the cable into a different COM port). Or you may need to uninstall software altogether.

Some printers use a COM port. You can connect the printer to a different COM port. Depending on the printer you may also need to specify a different COM port in the printer’s software settings.

If there are no available com ports, you have no choice but to unplug any device using a com port so that the PT Scanner can use it, and upload data at this specific workstation. Some other devices that use a com port are modems, touch screens, printers, and older mouse units. You may need to disable or uninstall the software these devices use in addition to disconnecting them since they may grab hold of the COM port; making it inaccessible to the Scanner even if it is connected to that COM port.


If you are facing any kind of issues call us on our toll-free number 1-800-293-9401.

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