Check-in a Box 2.0

Well here we go again.  In a meeting last week we found out that our newest campus was going to meet at a different location in a couple of weeks.  No big deal, everything is meant to be set up and torn down every Sunday.  Oh wait, there’s a catch. No network drops will be available for us to plug-in Check-in a Box for our children’s ministry.  Solution….. Check-in a Box 2.0

In reality, all we did was switch out the wireless router and add a mifi card.  The difference is, the new router is amazing.

The MBR1200 – Failsafe Gigabit N Router for Mobile Broadband works like a normal wireless router, but can connect to a 3G or 4G mobile device.  Check out the product page here.  The router has a very impressive web interface where you can pretty much adjust any aspect of the device that you want.  It also accepts a plethora of mobile broadband devices (tethering phones, usb dongles, and pci cards).  Another nice feature was that after plugging the router in, it said, “Good Morning Michael.”

When running check-in on all 4 Duo’s going across the mifi there was some substantial slowness, but it worked.  For a more long-term solution we would like to purchase a 4G unit to connect to it.  Either way, it’s a great way to run check-in when you have no network drops available.  Can you say outside at a sports camp?

Check-in a Box

Finally!  It has been so awesome to see one of our BIG ideas come to reality.  It was a lot of work, but well worth it.  I am very pleased to introduce you to Check-in a Box.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Check-in a Box is our mobile solution for checking kids into Sunday school.  We just opened a new campus at our church that has to be completely set up and torn down each Sunday.  We wanted a solution for our Fellowship One (Our CHMS (Church Management Software) that has a native application used for keeping attendance and managing volunteers) check-in stations that would be easy to set up and tear down while at the same time have a minimal amount of points of failure.  We initially looked at all-in-one desktops with touch screens, but it just didnt’ flow well with the building we were in.  Using iPads had intrigued us for some time, but the truth is, as much as I love the iPad, the back side of the set up was too complicated and came with too many points of failure.  Then we read about the Dell Inspiron Duo.  Instead of me writing about it, watch this:

So here’s the breakdown of what’s in the box:

4 Dell Inspiron Duo’s (we stripped a ton of pre-installed apps off of these guys, so they are running very smooth)

  • Intel N550 Dual Core, 1.5GHz, 2 x 512K L2 Cache
  • 2GB,DDR3,1333MHz, Runs at 800MHz
  • 10.1 in W 16:9 RGBW HD, Multi-touch, 1.3M Webcam (1366×768)
  • 320G, 2.5inch, 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 29WHr Lithium-Ion Battery (4-cell)

4 Zebra TLP 2884-Z Label Printers

Zebra PS4000 Wireless Print Server

Belkin Wireless Router

The PS4000 was easy to come by, but the management port cable (Serial to RJ45, apparently a very specific type BL17502-2) wasn’t easy to find.  We ended up finding the cable at Barcodediscount.com (Item: Zebra AK18350-1
Cable Kit for PS4000, DNLD Shield, DB-9 ).  Once the correct cable was obtained the server was very easy to set up.

Each of the Duo’s is mapped to all 4 printers, with each tablet having a different default.  The printers have the same IP address, but with different ports (all of which are tweakable via the console port software for the server).

Update: We’ve added a new feature to Check-in a Box.

Please comment with any questions you have and I will update the post with more info if requested.

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