H21 numeric front.jpg

The H-21 is Opticon's Windows Mobile 6.5 smart phone with an embedded scan engine.

Device Customization

Adding or Removing Items from the Today Screen

The list of items on the Today screen is controlled from within the device's Settings menu. The Today screen is the screen that appears when the device is first turned on. Note that in order to add a custom item to a device's Today screen, the program you would like to add must have used Microsoft's API for creating a Today screen item. The Today screen functions differently from the Start menu as it allows programs to display status updates and other information.

To modify the Today screen, select "Start," then "Settings," then "Today."

  • Changing the appearance of the screen can be accomplished from the "Appearance" tab.
  • To remove items from the Today screen, navigate to the "Items" tab, and uncheck "Windows Default," then check the items you would like to appear on the Today screen.

How To

Cold Boot

A cold boot is when a device boots from a completely cold (meaning off) state. This applies when the device was shut down properly and when power is cut prematurely such as by pulling the battery (but only when the backup battery is also dead otherwise the device just goes to sleep (see below). To properly power off the device press and hold the power key for a full 2 seconds. You will be prompted with an 'OK/Cancel' decision box. Select 'OK'. Certain programs can lose data in this case if you have not properly saved whatever you were working on at the time the power off is performed.

Warm Boot

A warm boot is when a device is rebooted without ever having been fully powered down. Certain programs can lose data in this case if you have not properly saved whatever you were working on at the time the reboot is performed. To perform a warm boot use the stylus to tap the reset switch on the left side of the unit.

Suspend / Resume

H21 device can be placed in suspend mode (also called sleep mode) if you tap the power key once. It is resumed (woken up) the same way. The display will be completely off in this state but some of the status LEDs will continue to blink slowly and you can still receive incoming calls and other alerts. The device will automatically enter a suspend state after a set time period has elapsed. The default time for this is 1 minute but can be configured in the 'Power' application.

Configure a Static IP Address

On Wifi

First, open Wireless Manager by tapping the wireless connections icon, or by navigating to Start->Settings->Connections->Wireless Manager. From here, select Menu->Wifi-Settings. Choose the Network Adapters tab, and then tap on Broadcom 802.11 DHD Network Adapter.

From this screen you can configure your static IP address, as well as your subnet mask, and default gateway. The Name Servers tab also allows you to configure up to two DNS or WINS servers to query during hostname lookups.

Set up Mobile Internet

These instructions step you through setting up internet connections on the H-21 through your cellular carrier.

  1. Install SIM card with valid Data plan
    1. Your cellular account must have a valid data plan activated for internet connections to function on the H-21. Contact your carrier for details.
    2. The SIM card must be installed under the battery of the device for internet connections to function on the H-21.
    3. Power on your device
  2. Enable Phone
    1. Navigate to Start > Settings > Connections > Wireless Manager
    2. If the Phone button is OFF tap it once to turn it ON
    3. Tap OK
  3. Select the proper connection.
    1. Navigate to Start > Settings > Connections > Connections
    2. In the section My ISP find and tap Manage Existing Connections
    3. Select the entry with the correct Access point name for your carrier (AT&T: wap.cingular, T-Mobile: wap.voicestream.com) and tap Next
      Note: The Access point name can differ from region to region. Contact your carrier if the above access points do not work.

Factory Reset

Warning! - Performing a factory reset will delete any and all user data and personal applications that are loaded on the device. Please back up your data before performing this operation. Note that the 'FlashDisk' portion of the disk is untouched by this operation and can safely be used as permanent data storage in such circumstances.

Software Method

This factory reset method uses an application within Windows Mobile to perform a reset to factory defaults.

  • Navigate to 'Start' > 'Settings' > 'System' > 'Restore To Factory'
  • Type '1234' in the box as prompted
  • Tap 'Reset' (which is unavailable until you type '1234' correctly
  • Tap 'Yes' when prompted
  • You will see the white splash screen again, this time for a bit longer than usual. The operation is complete when you see the following text:
Tap the screen to set up your
Windows(r) phone.

Hardware Method

This factory reset method uses a hardware button combination to perform a factory reset. It is best used for when some event causes Windows to be inaccessible.

  • Power Off the H21
    • Press and hold the red power button on the top of the device for a full 3 seconds.
    • Tap 'Yes' when prompted
  • While pressing and holding [CAPTURE] + [END] additionally press and hold [POWER] for approximately 3 seconds or until you feel the H21 vibrate briefly.
The CAPTURE button is the camera key on the lower right side of the device.
The END key is the red phone disconnect button on the front right of the device.
  • You will see the normal white bootup splash screen for a couple of seconds. Next you will see a large WARNING dialog with 'YES' and 'NO' options.
  • Using the buttons below the screen choose either 'YES' or 'NO' (note that the touch screen does not work outside of Windows).
The buttons to use are just below the display and are labeled simply with a small black dot to indicate that they are for use with whatever the screen says above them.
  • You will see the white splash screen again, this time for a bit longer than usual. The operation is complete when you see the following text:
Tap the screen to set up your
Windows(r) phone.

Configure the Scanner

The H21 supports many different options that control the behavior of the barcode scanner embedded in the device. All of these options can be found within a single application. To find this application follow the path below.

Start > Settings > System > Scanner Settings > Code Options (tab).
An explanation of each setting follows, separated into groups here as they are separated by tabs within the H21 Scanner Settings application.

Basic Settings

  • Enable Barcode Reader: This options, when checked, indicates that the barcode reader has power and is on.
  • Trigger Key
    • Enable trigger key: This options, when enabled, indicates that the software wedge is active. This means that barcode data will appear wherever the cursor happens to be and if no cursor is on the screen then no barcode data will be seen. Note that further Trigger key options must be enabled for any specific trigger key to actually work.
    • Side: This options enables both of the side trigger keys.
    • F1: This options turns the F1 function key into a trigger key.
    • F2: This options turns the F2 function key into a trigger key.
    • F3 Only available on numeric keyboard models: This options turns the F3 function key into a trigger key.
    • F4 Only available on numeric keyboard models: This options turns the F4 function key into a trigger key.
  • Output mode
    • Buffer: This output mode is only to be used when the Opticon H21 SDK has been used to directly control the barcode scanner from within an application. Typical users will not use this option.
    • Keyboard: When this options is selected, data is injected wherever the cursor happens to be as if the data had been typed by pressing physical keys on the device.
    • Clipboard: When this option is selected, data is first copied into the devices clipboard and then transmitted to the screen. This option is the default.
  • Special Suffix: This option allows you to configure a custom suffix that is appended to the end of every barcode transmission. Developers note that this suffix is appended after data has been transmitted from the scanner. This suffix is not added by the barcode scanner. See the Additional Settings section for additional prefix and suffix options.
  • Good read notification: This option allows you to configure what happens when a barcode is successfully decoded. The four options are as follows. Please note that the Confirm button is used to test settings while making selections and to enable a setting after making a selection.
    • The Buzzer option emits an audible notification, by playing a the .wav file selected in the drop box at the bottom of the screen.
    • The Vibrator option causes the vibrator to activate for a moment upon each successful decode thus providing the user with haptic feedback.
    • The Buzzer and vibrator provides both of the above forms of feedback.
    • The None option provides no form of good read notification.

Custom Buzzer Sound

You can change the buzzer sound to any wav sound clip using the process below.

  • Select and download a wav file that you would like to use.
  • Connect the H21 to your computer using Windows Mobile Device Center.
  • Navigate to the \\windows\ folder on your H21.
  • Copy the .wav file into this folder.
  • Follow the instructions under Good Read Notification in the Basic Settings section of this page to change the default buzzer.

Code Options

The Code Options tab allows you to configure what barcode symbologies are enabled and allows configuration of a variety of options specific to each symbology. A check mark next to a symbology name means that barcodes of the given symbology can be scanned. Additional settings specific to each symbology can be found by tap-holding a symbology name and then selecting the sub symbology name from the list that appears.

  • The Set defaults button on the main screen here will reset the list of enabled symbologies back to the default. Note that this option does not change any of the symbology specific settings.
  • Within each symbology settings page there is a separate Default button that will reset the options on the specific page.

Read Options

The options on this tab change the behavior of the barcode scanner in ways that are not specific to the H21 or to a specific barcode symbology.

  • Read mode
    • Single: When this option is selected the barcode scanner will cut off immediately upon a single successful barcode scan.
    • Multiple: When this option is selected the barcode scanner will not cut off upon a successful barcode scan, allowing multiple barcodes to be scanned in a single trigger press. Note that the Read Time options still apply.
  • Read time
    • 1-9: This options represents the number of seconds the barcode scanner will remain on when triggered. Even if the trigger key is held down the scanner will still turn off when this time elapses.
    • 0: This option causes the barcode scanner to remain on exactly as long as you continue to hold the trigger key. For someone new to barcode scanning this options is usually the most intuitive. If Single scan mode is selected a successful scan will still cause the scanner to cut off.
    • Indefinitely: When this option is selected the barcode scanner will not cut off due to time considerations. Note that is Multiple scan mode is enabled then the barcode scanner will not turn off until the barcode scanner itself is turned off manually.
  • Margin check: Every barcode requires a stretch of blank section on the relevant edges of the barcode (such as both left and right sides for a typical grocery store barcode). This area is known as a margin and is necessary for a barcode scanner to easily find the barcode. This option allows you to adjust the required margin allowing for scanning of barcodes that were not printed within specifications.
  • Redundancy: By default, Opticon barcode scanners will actually successfully decode a specific barcode twice before transmitting the barcode data and indicating success (beeping, vibrating, etc.). Adjust this setting to either increase the redundancy, thereby increasing the reliability of getting the correct data from a specific barcode, or to reduce the redundancy, which can increase scan speed very slightly or make it more likely to scan extremely poor barcodes.
  • Positive and negative: This option allows you to scan barcodes that are printed in reverse (white bars on black background), normal (positive) or both. Note that enabling Both effectively cuts the decode speed in half as the barcode scanner must switch between positive and negative decoding in alternating sweeps of the decoder.
  • Scan angle
    • Normal: Coming Soon!
    • Narrow: Coming Soon!

Additional Settings

The Additional Settings tab is a place to configure specific and advanced configuration options.

  • Update: This button is pressed after you have made your changes and wish them to take effect. Note that it does not matter if the Barcode Reader is enabled or disabled at the time you click the button but that the changes will not take effect unless or until the barcode reader is enabled.
  • Edit: This button, when clicked, will launch Word Mobile and open the text file that contains additional codes in a free format. See further down in this section for additional details.
  • Ellipsis Button: The button with three dots, called an ellipsis, is used to browse and choose the file that contains all of the additional settings you wish to use. The default file path is:
    \My Documents\BCR\InitBCR.bcr
  • Set defaults: This button is used to reset all defaults of the barcode scanner, including options on other tabs.
Menu Codes

Menu Codes are Opticon's configuration settings, and each correspond to a particular setting, for example enabling and disabling Code 39. Nearly all of Opticon's products use the same set of menu codes for all possible configuration options. In the case of the H21, many of these options are expressed as buttons and drop down boxes on the various tabs of the Scanner Settings program as described above. A few options, notably those categorized as Data Wizard options must still be configured manually. These menu codes, when known, are placed in the flat text file Initbcr.bcr as described above. The Data Wizard is a series of Menu Codes that allow for basic string manipulations such as removing or replacing certain characters within the barcode data or only transmitting certain portions based on matching criteria. Please Contact Us for additional details on these features. A specific example of these codes (used to remove a possible 18th digit from a normally 17 digit VIN) and instruction in their use can be found below.

How do I strip out the 18th digit from Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs)
  • Navigate to Start > Settings > System > Scanner Settings > Code Options (tab).
  1. tap-hold UPC
  2. Select UPC-A when prompted
  3. under section 'Transmit CD' change to "No leading zero, not transmit CD"
  4. tap 'OK'
  5. Tap 'Additional Settings' (tab)
  6. Tap 'Edit' (button)
  7. the text "HC" is present by default. Go to a new line and type the following exactly as you see it here:
  8. Tap 'ok' to save the text file
  9. Tap 'Update' to save these settings
  10. You should see a popup containing 'Transmit command success'. If you do not please start again at step 1.
  11. Tap 'ok on the popup and 'ok' again to close the scanner settings.
  12. You will see a 'wait' icon for a second or two and when gone you are ready to go.

Collect Information

Windows Mobile Firmware Version

You should only need to look up this information when prompted to do so by an Opticon employee.

  • Navigate to: 'Start' > 'Settings' > 'System' > 'Device Information' > 'Version' (tab)
  • Take note of the following two lines:
    • ROM date
    • ROM version It is only necessary to report the first two groups of numbers (i.e. 4.530)

Barcode Scanner Firmware Version

You should only need to look up this information when prompted to do so by an Opticon employee.

  • Navigate to: 'Start' > 'Settings' > 'System' > 'Scanner Settings' > 'Information' (tab)
  • Take note of the line beginning with 'Firmware version:'

Loading Firmware

Windows Mobile

SD Card Method

This process requires a micro SD card. The H21 supports sizes up to 16GB.

  • Download the latest firmware for your specific H21 from here.
  • Copy the firmware files to a blank micro SD card. The firmware files must be uncompressed (unzipped) before copying to the SD card. There are many files in the 'flash' download. All must be copied to the SD card for the installation to be successful.
  • Power off our H21.
  • Install the SD card into the H21. Note that there is a slide lock for the SD card door inside the battery compartment that must be unlock before the door will open. It is recommended to lock this door during the upgrade process. when properly inserted the contacts on the SD card will be facing the front of the device.
  • Install a battery with at least 30% charge and close the battery door. Both the slide and turn lock must be engaged for the upgrade to proceed.
  • While holding the keys <capture>, <right scan> and <volume down> press and hold the power key.
The capture key is on the right side of the phone with an icon of a camera on it. The right scan key is just above the capture key. The volume down key is the portion of the double-button on the left side of the phone that is closest to the left scan key.
  • It takes only a second for the firmware upgrade screen to load. This is a black screen with cyan (bluish) text. It takes only a minute or two for the firmware upgrade to complete.
  • The process is done when you see the following text on the screen. This will be spelled out very large at the bottom of the screen.
  • Using the stylus press the reset switch on the left side of the device. If the device does not reboot automatically simply press the power key at the top of the device.
  • The firmware upgrade is complete when you see the following text on screen. You will hear two beeps from the H21 while it is loading. On the second you should see this text.
Tap the screen to set up your
Windows® phone

Barcode Scanner

Not currently supported (or necessary) on this device.

Share a 3G or 4G Connection with a Windows PC

  1. From the main screen, select Start.
  2. Choose Connection Sharing. This application allows you to configure how you want to share the phone's network connection. You can share the connection over Bluetooth or USB.
  3. Choose the type of connection you've established between the H21 and the PC, either Bluetooth or USB.
  4. Finally, select Connect. The H21 will automatically establish a connection with the mobile network, and then it will begin sharing that connection with your PC.

Software Development

I want to add the default Windows Mobile camera interface to my .NET app, so that users can take pictures. How do I do that?

This is easily accomplished by using the Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Forms namespace in your .NET application, and using the CameraCaptureDialog class. You can use an instance of the class to show a dialog that provides exactly the same interface you'd find if you opened the camera from OS. Note that the Microsoft.WindowsMobile.Forms DLL is not part of the .NET Compact Framework by default, and is not present on the H21 by default; you must add it as a reference to your .NET application, and deploy it with your application.

Does the H21 SDK have classes to manage and communicate via the IrDA port?

No it doesn't - Microsoft has already included classes in the .NET Compact Framework to deal with IrDA communication. See the System.Net.IrDA namespace.

Universal Menu Book commands that deal with symbology options return false when sent with the BarcodeDecoder.SendCommand() method. What's going on?

This behavior is actually by design, because it’s configurable through a different interface.
If you bring up the ScannerManager app, and go to the Code Options tab, you can hold down the stylus on a symbology and bring up an options page for that symbology. You're able to set different symbology options there.
In code, say you wanted to send the leading check digit of UPCE codes (menu book code 'E6') to distinguish between UPCE0 and UPCE1. You would do this:


Help! My device won't connect over ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center! What do I do?

Usually this problem can be solved by turning off the "Advanced Network Functionality" that is built into the H-21 for use in making Activesync connections. To disable that functionality, select "Start," "Settings," "Connections," and "USB to PC." Uncheck "Enable advanced network functionality" to turn that feature off.

My device slows down after I scan a lot of barcodes. What can I do to fix this?

Microsoft includes a feature with Windows Mobile called Autocomplete. Autocomplete collects words that you type as you type them so that it can then suggest them to you in the future. This is important because with the keyboard wedge enabled on the H-21, which is typically how the device is used, Autocomplete will store your barcode scans as if they are typed words, and then suggest them back to you as you scan additional barcodes.

This isn't a problem with small quantities of scans, but if you scan hundreds or thousands of barcodes a day, the Autocomplete database can become very large, which can cause Autocomplete lookups to take a very long time.

To disable Autocomplete, go to Start->Settings->Personal->Input, then select the "Word Completion" tab. Uncheck both the "Suggest words when entering text" and "Enable Auto Correct" options. This will eliminate the slowdown that comes from Autocomplete. You can also free up the space taken up by stored entires by pressing "Clear Stored Entries."

Help! I just upgraded my Windows 10 computer and it will no longer connect to my device! What do I do?

Microsft made some changes in the 1703 edition in Windows also known as the Creative update. If your device can no longer connect to Windows Mobile Device Center, verify you have edition 1703 or later:

Click on the start menu and type about your PC and read the version number. If you have version number 1703 or higher, you can follow the below steps to enable your device to connect to Windows Mobile Device Center.

  1. Install the .NET Framework 3.5. To install it simply right click on ?'Start' and go to 'Control Panel' > 'programs' > 'Programs and Features' > 'Turn Windows features on or off' and select the '.NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)'.
  2. Click on the start menu and type cmd
  3. Right click on command prompt and choose run as administrator
  4. Copy this line below and paste it into command prompt:
  5. REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RapiMgr /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
  6. Hit ENTER
  7. Copy this line below and paste it into command prompt:
  8. REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WcesComm /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
  9. Hit ENTER
  10. Reboot your computer
  11. On the H21 go to Connects > USB to PC > uncheck enable advanced network functionality and then click OK on the top right hand corner of the screen to save the settings
  12. Plug the device into the computer wait a few seconds for Windows Mobile Device center to open and start running.
  13. Go to task manager (CTRL ALT DELETE) and end the task Windows Mobile Device Center
  14. Go to start menu type in Windows Mobile Device Center and run it.
  15. It should open up and you should see a loading Icon saying it is connecting. You will then be connected.

Ordering Information

Package Contents

The following list of items are the contents of the accessory kit that comes with every H21 kit purchase.

  • H21 Device
  • H21 Quick Start Guide (QSG)
  • H21 Getting Started Disc
  • H21 Stylus
  • H21 Standard Battery
  • H21 Standard Battery Door
  • H21 Worldwide Travel Charger (100-240V 50-60 Hz)
  • International Plug Adapters (3)
  • USB Data/Charging Cable
  • Leather Case
  • Wrist Strap
  • Stylus Tether Cord
  • Wired Stereo Headset
  • Screen Protective Cover
  • Device Latch Key


Notice: The downloading and use of any Opticon software implies consent with Opticon's End User License Agreement.


Document Description Version Download
User Manual This is the user manual for the H-21 Download
Datasheet Technical details at a glance. 102014 Download


Software Description Version Download
SDK The H-21 SDK is two part. The system SDK which is a C++ LIB and Header file as well as the Barcode Reader (BCR) SDK which is installed via the included MSI (Microsoft Installer) program. The BCR portion supports both native and .NET development. See the included documentation. Download
Firmware: Windows Mobile (SD Card Install Method) - English ROM See Upgrade Instructions for details on installation. 5.761 Download
Firmware: Windows Mobile (SD Card Install Method) - Spanish ROM See Upgrade Instructions for details on installation. 5.771 Download