For barcode reading, the Symbol DS6708 scanner is our recommendation — it plugs into your computer via USB, behaves as a keyboard (e.g., no special drivers are required), and as of this writing the scanner plus the correct USB cable are available for around $300 from multiple GSAAdvantage.com vendors (scanner, cable, see part numbers below if you're going to search on your own).
Part numbers for current DS6708 scanners and cables:
Note that you need to order both the scanner and a cable for the scanner! These previously were available in kits that included both the scanner and cable, but Symbol now broke the two apart; be sure to order both.
- DS6708-SR20001ZZR: DS6708, white, without any cables
- DS6708-SR20007ZZR: DS6708, black, without any cables
- CBA-U01-S07ZAR: 7-foot straight USB cable for either of the above scanners
- CBA-U09-C15ZAR: 15-foot coiled USB cable for either of the above scanners
We have a programming cheat sheet for this line of Symbol/Motorola scanners, which configures the scanner to always add a carriage return at the end of the scanned data.
Our primary recommendation for a barcode printer is the Zebra ZT410, specifically Zebra part number ZT41043-T010000Z. (This part number includes the correct 300-dpi print head and the network interface.) At the time of this writing, the printer is approximately $1,500 via several vendors on GSAAdvantage.com.
If you specifically don't need smaller labels or labels that withstand all the extreme storage conditions in the lab, you might be OK with our recommended smaller desktop printer, the Zebra GX430t (Zebra part number GX43-102410-000 which includes the correct 305-dpi print head and network interface). At the time of this writing, it's just over $600 via several GSAAdvantage.com vendors. It's good for paper labels, and can probably do OK with alternate-material labels that aren't too small — the Zebra desktop-level printers aren't great about label alignment, which is where using smaller labels gets into trouble.
For Labmatrix to be able to print labels for you, your barcode printer must be networked — meaning that it needs to have a network interface, be plugged into the network, be set up correctly on the network by CBIIT, and then be configured on our Labmatrix label print server. We're happy to work with you to make this all happen and to debug issues as they arise. But Labmatrix cannot print to label printers which are only connected to one of your desktop computers; at a minimum, your label printer(s) must be networked.
- Brady THT-155-490-3: Brady Freezerbondz matte polyester label, 1.625" x 0.600"; will wrap around small Nunc/Eppendorf tubes with slight overlap to assure that the label will stay on. Good from autoclave all the way down to liquid nitrogen. (These are what we are moving to in our Tissue Procurement and Processing Facility.) Needs R4300 ribbon. These are our most highly-recommended labels.
- Brady THT-164-481-2.5-SC (sized specific to GX420t/GX430t printers!): Brady StainerBondz slide labels, 0.9" x 0.9", intended for microscope slides. Needs R6400 ribbon (GX420t/GX430t sized ribbon here).
- Brady THT-181-492-3: FreezerBondz label with wrap-around (1" x 0.5") and vial top dot (0.375"), good all the way down to liquid nitrogen and up to boiling – needs R6400 ribbon, but R4300-series ribbons can be used if there's no need for tolerance to xylene, ethylene, or toluene
- Brady THT-182-492-3: FreezerBondz label with wrap-around (1" x 0.5") and vial top dot (0.44"), good all the way down to liquid nitrogen and up to boiling – needs R6400 ribbon, but R4300-series ribbons can be used if there's no need for tolerance to xylene, ethylene, or toluene
- Brady THT-163-499-3: nylon label with wrap-around (1" x 0.375") and vial top dot (0.375"), good for freezing down to -40 and up to boiling (catalog says good to liquid nitrogen too, but Brady material page doesn't have any info about that, so I'm suspicious) – needs R4302 ribbon
- Brady THT-125-499-3: nylon cloth label (0.9" x 0.5"), good for LN all the way up to autoclave. Needs R4902 ribbon.
- Zebra Z-Select 4000D P/N 56001: plain-paper, direct-thermal label that's 1" tall x 2" wide, perfect for printing labels to stick onto paperwork.