Quick Check Verifier: Godspeed, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust.

 In 101

It’s incredibly bad political correctness to critique the soon-to-be defunct Quick Check 800. But for the hoards of Quick Check loyalists, who may be scratching their heads and asking themselves what they should do, this posting is intended to help them better understand the loss—not to kick the dead.

Quick Check verifiers are long in the tooth: their retirement comes none-too-soon

The Quick Check verifier, which includes the QC 800 and QC 850 are all portables, powered by four NiCAD AA’s. The Quick Check 890 is confusingly different in almost every way and will not be discussed here–but it too is being discontinued.

You give up a lot for the portability of the Quick Check verifier. The clunky LCD display shows you the verification reports in tiny bits and snatches so you have to scroll over and down and around to see the whole thing. Not a big deal if the grade is a C or better, but a pain if it isn’t.

But if you need to capture the report and save it, well here’s the trade-off part with the Quick Check verifier. The non-portable Quick Check printers are (let’s say) old school. It’s a slow, loud, dot matrix adding machine tape with a typewriter ink ribbon and even the so-called high speed printer is laughably slow.

The Quick Check  800’s can be set to automatically save reports if you’re out in the field, testing barcodes. When you come back to the wall-current-powered printer and plug it in, you have to dump the entire contents of the onboard memory to the printer. You can’t view and select which reports to print. It takes about 30 seconds to print a single short-form report. The QC800 can hold an average of 150 normal UPC’s. You can do the math. Oh, and after over an hour of printing, your ink ribbon will be toast.

Quick Check printers are almost a joke

There is a choice—a pc interface called QC Viewer and its pretty slick, sort of. As its name implies, you connect the Quick Check to your pc and behold, the report lands on your display in glorious, uh, black and white, looking exactly like an adding machine tape. The interface cable is a (let’s say) old school serial (as in 9 pin) connector—bet your laptop doesn’t have one. USB not available.

QC Viewer is a lot better than the Quick Check Printer—you have to call up each of the 150 reports individually and decide which to print and which to delete. You can’t save them in anything but the proprietary application so they are useless to attach and email to anyone—unless they have the same proprietary application. If you print them, each is an adding machine report down the middle of your letter-sized paper. Good grief.

Then there’s the QC800 verifier itself. Where do I begin? It comes (or came) from the factory with a specially modified version of Honeywell’s 3800 scanner. A nice enough device. Easy to use, no learning curve. But the variable distance and angle from the barcode means it can’t test reflectivity or contrast.

Quick Check portable verifiers did not test reflectivity and color contrast–who knew?

The literature never clearly spelled this out—these two parameters were simply missing, but the overall symbol grade was still there. What this means is that you got less than a full evaluation but (apparently) a full grade. If reflectivity or contrast were somehow at a failing level, you simply wouldn’t know. Honeywell was less than forthcoming about this; many resellers were equally evasive, or just ignorant.

For those who figured it out, there was a (let’s say) old school solution: a wand. Hey, it’s a contact device with a fixed angle and distance so it would provide a full report based on all of the essential attributes. Trouble is, you’d need five different wands to cover all the aperture sizes you potentially need to test a full range of symbologies—at $375 each.

There are several other, uh, idiosyncrasies that made the Quick Check 800’s, well, special. Some of them are so esoteric they’ll sound nit-picky and silly so I won’t go there.

But there’s no meanness intended. The dear old Quick Checks are lying on their death bed, breathing their last. A huge family representing many generations of users is gathering around to wish them well and see them off. We will be sad, reminisce about old times and then we will get on with our lives—better lives, better served with modern and forward-looking devices, with all the advantages and far fewer of the old school silliness of the Quick Checks.

Honeywell did one thing right—well actually two things. They finally killed off the old Quick Check, and they recommended everybody to Axicon.

Godspeed, Quick Check.

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