LAVA SimulCharge adapters are used in a variety of industries and if our customers face a problem using our commercial adapters, we can innovate and create unique solutions that serve their needs. This article will look at how one customer’s problem led to the creation of one of these new adapters – the eSynC-P1UE.
An oil-drilling equipment company based in Texas had come to LAVA with a problem. They had purchased several SynC+ P2UE adapters for the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active Pro (SM-T547) tablets they use with their machinery. The SynC+ P2UE adapter allowed the customer to attach a barcode scanner via one of its USB-A ports. The adapter kept the tablet and scanner charged through Power over Ethernet (PoE). However, when the scanner was hooked up to the adapter, it lost its connection to the tablet.
The customer sent one of their tablets and scanners to LAVA to troubleshoot the problem. With the devices in-hand, LAVA engineers discovered the source of the issue. The scanner was paired with the tablet via Bluetooth but when it was attached to the SynC+ P2UE, it switched to a hardwired connection. When this happened, the tablet’s software no longer recognized the scanner and the data connection would drop out.
Our engineers determined the best solution was to modify the SynC+ P2UE’s board, creating an entirely new SimulCharge adapter – the new eSynC-P1UE.
The main difference between the two adapters is that the eSynC-P1UE features only one USB-A port (as opposed to two) and it provides power without a data connection. The USB-A port sends up to 5V at 1 Amp power to a peripheral, which is double the amperage of a standard USB port. This ensures the peripheral has ample operating and charging power. As a safety precaution, if the current goes above 1 Amp, the port powers off. (On standard P2UE adapters, if the current goes over 500mA the port powers off.) With this new setup, the scanner can be powered through the USB port but at the same time maintains its Bluetooth connection to the tablet, circumventing the software issue.
The removal of the second USB-A port was twofold. Firstly, it was removed to avoid confusion. This way, users wouldn’t mix up which port provided data and power and which provided only power. Secondly, it was done to ensure the scanner would receive enough power to operate while not maxing out the power budget of the system. Through testing, LAVA engineers determined the scanner drew a fair amount of power. It was close to the limit of the default USB-A specification of 500mA. If another peripheral was plugged into the second USB-A port (delivering a maximum of 5V at 500 mA), the scanner, or system in general, might not get enough power to function and brown out.
Keeping the standard eSynC (SynC+) features
With PoE, power and a reliable wired network connection are provided through the same Ethernet cable, eliminating the need for a separate charging cable. When connected to a PoE-capable network switch, the adapter can be installed up to 328 ft (100 m) from the power source. If no PoE-capable switch is available, the adapter can be plugged into an electrical outlet with a standard 5V power cable.
The RBM-equipped adapter provides Battery Modulation that protects the mobile device from overcharging and battery bloating, which can cause severe damage to the device. Through the LAVA Tablet Manager (LTM) app installed on the mobile device, the adapter can access the actual battery level. The user can configure upper and lower charging thresholds to ensure the battery never overcharges, protecting the lifespan of the battery. It also includes a Network Recovery feature that can force the tablet to reinitiate the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) lookup if the connection to the server drops out. This makes the 10/100-capable Ethernet connection more reliable. With Screen Brightness Management control, you can schedule daytime and night-time brightness levels to reduce heat generation off-hours. Network Recovery, Battery Modulation and Screen Brightness Management control can all be configured through the LTM app. With RBM, you can keep the mobile device plugged in 24/7, without having to worry about the device overcharging or overheating.
The eSynC-P1UE is an example of how LAVA is able to solve issues for its customers, especially when we get access to their other hardware to help with troubleshooting. Because the customer sent LAVA one of the Samsung Tab Active Pro tablets and barcode scanners it was using, we could do testing in-house to make sure the adapter worked properly. The eSynC-P1UE delivered a sufficient charge to the barcode scanner through the USB-A port and the Bluetooth connection was no longer affected. After our successful internal testing, we sent one eSynC-P1UE to the customer for final testing in the field. They were happy with the solution and deployed 400 units to the field.
For more on the eSynC-P1UE adapter, please check out the Special Projects section of our website.