Frequently Asked Questions

Browse frequently asked point of sale hardware questions:

Types of Printers

There are basically three types of receipt printers: Thermal printers, Dot-Matrix Impact printers, and Hybrid printers that have both thermal and impact features.

Thermal Printer: prints using a combination of a heat-producing printhead and thermal paper. Thermal paper typically has a white top layer, a black middle layer, and a white bottom layer. The thermal printhead produces heat that burns through the top layer of white paper to expose the black beneath — this is what produces “print.” Because of this process, thermal printers typically print faster than impact printers. Thermal printers can print multiple copies of a receipt sequentially. Thermal printers generally print from 4 inches to 9 inches per second.

Dot-Matrix Impact Printer: prints onto regular paper rolls using an ink ribbon. The printhead strikes through the ribbon onto the paper to produce print. Impact printers can be used to make multiple copies of a receipt by using multi-layered paper rolls (e.g., a white and yellow copy). Impact printers can also be used to endorse checks, print on multi-layered forms, and print on any other standard paper (slip printers). Impact printers generally print from 2.5 lines per second to 7 lines per second.

Hybrid Printer: has both thermal and dot-matrix capabilities. It prints thermal receipts but can also read checks, endorse or frank checks, print validations, and do slip printing using a second dot-matrix printhead.

Printer Connections

Printers can be attached to the computer or POS system using a parallel (LPT) port, serial (COM) port or USB port. Printers can also be attached to a network as LAN (network) printers or WiFi printers, and used as shared devices. Always check with your software manufacturer to see what they recommend for connections before you purchase to avoid delays and returns. Not all software is compatible with USB or network connection printers.

Drawer Connections

There are several ways for a cash drawer to connect to a POS system.

First, and probably most common, the drawer plugs into the back of the receipt printer–the printer receives an electronic impulse from the computer which causes it to print, and another electronic impulse causes the drawer to open. The electronic impulse signal is sent out and regulated by the POS software.

Second, the drawer can plug directly into the computer via a parallel (LPT), serial (COM), or USB port. Again, the software sends an electronic impulse signal through the specified port to cause the drawer to open.

Check with your software manufacturer to determine what kind of drawer is recommended for use with your system. If the drawer is to plug directly into a port on your computer, determine what connection, LPT, COM or USB, is recommended by the software manufacturer. Not all software works with USB connections. Not all computers have COM ports or LPT ports. Make sure you know what your software requirements are, and what your hardware configuration is, before you purchase to avoid purchasing incompatible products!

Media Slots?

Media Slots are horizontal slots in the face of the cash drawer that allow the user to put a credit card receipt or check through the slot into the drawer without opening the drawer. This security feature prevents your cash from being exposed unnecessarily.

Through advanced computer technology, touch screen computers have become the way of the future. Their revolutionary design has been implemented in several digital appliances, such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), mobile phones, satellite navigation devices, and video games.

What indicates the presence of a touch screen system?

There are a number of types of touch screen technology. Touch screen computers have two key features: they allow interaction with what is directly displayed on the monitor, rather than indirectly with a mouse or touchpad; and they allow one to interact devoid of any intermediate device. Touch screen monitors are compatible with some existing systems and can be attached to other computers, monitors or networks.

There are several features and functions to look for in a good quality touch screen computer. When choosing the right touch screen computer, one must consider the following:

  • Touch resolution
  • Image quality
  • Durability
  • Cost
  • Vandal resistance/breakage
  • Power consumption
  • Size
  • System compatibility

How long is a POS touch screen computer system’s expected lifetime?

POS Touch computers hold durability in a point of sale location, as they are able to withstand up to 50 million touches in any one location. Infrared and surface acoustic wave are extremely durable, as they practically have a limitless lifecycle. Both of these systems are least susceptible to damage, followed by capacitive, and matrix/analog resistive. Matrix and analog technologies do not require external power supplies, since they are made to operate with the signal power from a COM port. Also, since product manufacturers ensure sealing of most touch monitors, they are fairly impenetrable by spills, dust, and damage.

Speak with a Step One POS representative today and benefit from professional, friendly, and objective advice on finding the right new or replacement touch screen computer for your point of sale.

Call us toll free at (877) 337-7767 or take a look at our great products to buy now on our online Point of Sale shop.

The design of diverse user applications makes the touch screen system suitable for all types of industries, such as industrial, hospitality, medical, kiosks, transportation, retail, office automation, POS, and gaming.

At Step One POS, elo touch screens, point-of sale touch screen, and touch monitors offer the best blend of efficiency, reliability, price and ease of installation and use.

What should you look for in a touch screen system?

When selecting a touch screen monitor, it is important to consider the various touch systems that offer superior optical performance as well as those that have a long-lasting life-cycle. Resistive touch is pressure sensitive, which allows for the ability to touch with hand, gloves, credit card, or stylus, whereas Capacitive touch is triggered solely by body contact. Though Matrix touch technology is capable of registering dual touch, it is the only touch technology that does not have sufficient resolution to acknowledge finger input.

Which touch screen system offers superior optical imaging?

In view of image quality, non-resistive touch technologies perform better than resistive touch systems. Since Infrared touch technologies have no glass in front of the monitor, the image quality is enhanced.

Why should you choose a touch screen system?

  • Keyboard emulation eliminates susceptibility to damage and repetitive-motion injuries
  • Touch systems reduce the time required to learn about hand-held devices, allowing for accuracy in use
  • By combining different sizes, touch monitors are ideal for all types of industries
  • USB interface allows for computer peripheral connections
  • The duration of a touch screen system can carry on for several years, outlasting the life-cycle of most keyboards and mice

Contact Step One POS for all your questions about a POS touch screen system and we’ll advise you on the best one suited to your individual business needs.

Call us toll free at (877) 337-7767 or take a look at our great products to buy now in our online Point of Sale shop.

There are different kinds of credit card readers based on your application. Step One POS offers the easiest credit card reader available for magnetic strip scanning, connecting via USB port.

A credit card reader setup consists of a magnetic stripe reader, a keypad to enter prices and other information, and a small display. The mag stripe reader on the credit card is able to interpret one’s account information and then automatically processes the transaction. Depending on the type of data you may be reading, you may just need a credit card-only reader which reads two stripes of data, or look into more flexible three stripe readers which can read licenses, ID’s and credit cards.

At Step One POS, our magnetic stripe readers are ideal for all types of applications – they are efficient, reliable and easy to use!

What should you know about a credit card reader for your point-of-sale?

Your credit card reader may integrate with a complete point of sale setup. The display attached a credit card reader can vary in size, and is measured in lines and columns. For example, a 5 x 10 display has 5 lines of text, 10 columns wide. Most point of sale displays have a backlit display, which helps with visibility in poorly lit areas.

Working with a flexible keypad with more keys allows for the option of assigning commonly-used functions to designated keys. Typically, a larger keypad offers ease of visibility and use. However, in cell-phone based applications, your phone keys are set to do the trick. Where the USB port is connected to the computer terminal, most terminals have flexible setups for data entry.

Complete credit card reader setups can either have a built-in printer, or one that can be attached as a separate component. All wireless credit card readers have built-in printers, but when purchasing such a system it is important to consider battery life, range, weight, and shock-resistance.

You should ask yourself the following questions before choosing a credit card reader:

  • Is it Battery-powered?
  • Is it able to uphold 2 or three tracks of data, allowing flexibility in card type, such as credit, drivers, or ID?
  • Does it have a USB interface for computer peripheral connections?
  • Does its portability allow you as the merchant to obtain real-time authorizations without delay?

Contact Step One POS for all your questions about a POS credit card reader and we’ll advise you on the best one suited to your individual business needs.

Call us toll free at (877) 337-7767 or take a look at our great products to buy now in our online Point of Sale shop.

In most cases, Barcode Printers are used in industrial businesses, such as distribution and manufacturing warehouses, but their variation in sizes and applications makes them ideal for other markets as well. For retail and office environments, desktop barcode printers are most common.

There are several features and functions to look for in a good quality barcode printer. When choosing the right barcode printer, it is important to consider the following:

  • Label size, and lifespan of the bar code
  • Parallel / serial / USB interface
  • Size of footprint and speed
  • Supported bar code languages
  • Anticipated volume and amount of labels required
  • Potential damage in your facility
  • Portability
  • Warehouse Management System and printer integration
  • Barcode verification to ensure bar codes are up to standard
  • Levels of print quality and print resolution

What is the difference between a Direct Thermal Printer and a Thermal Transfer printer?

Barcode printers utilize two different printing technologies: ribbons versus thermal. Direct thermal printers employ a printhead to generate heat that causes a chemical reaction in specially designed paper, turning the paper black. The Zebra 2824dt is a great example of a direct thermal printer

Thermal transfer printers use heat as well, but instead of reacting with the paper they melt a waxy or resin substance on a ribbon. The heat then transfers the ink from the ribbon onto the label or tag. The Biloxon SLP-T400 is a perfect example of a thermal transfer printer.

How much should you pay for a Barcode Printer?

Barcode label printers range in price. They can cost as low as a few hundred dollars up to $6,000. To put it simply, if you spend less, chances are that the barcode label printing may be of lesser quality, and its life-cycle will be shorter than more expensive barcode label printers. You may also have speed of print limitations or lack of flexibility in label sizes or materials. However, the lower cost options may be perfectly suitable for office or small-run environments.

Direct thermal printers are less expensive, but its labels can become unreadable if exposed to heat, direct sunlight, or chemical vapors.

It makes sense to get the right barcode printer for your point of sale system the first time you buy. Speak with a Step One POS representative today and benefit from professional, friendly, and objective advice on finding the right barcode printer for your point of sale.

Call us toll free at (877) 337-7767 or take a look at our great products to buy now in our online Point of Sale shop.