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POS System Components in Detail
Below, we've listed the various components that can make up a POS system. You may need all of them or only some of them.
Desktop PC - The most important component of a POS system is the computer that runs the POS system software. Keep in mind that setup and support will be easier if you purchase the PC's as part of the POS system from the POS software supplier. If you want to purchase PC's on your own, make sure you understand the requirements of the POS software to avoid compatibility problems.
Although most POS software systems aren't very demanding on the computer, make sure you select a reliable hardware supplier. Get the "on-site" service option in case there are problems. Don't re-use older equipment if you can afford to purchase new. With base systems starting at around $600, it's not worth the headache of doing the software installation and configuration only to have the older computer fail in the first 3 months.
Touch Terminals combine the PC and a touch screen in an integrated housing. Generally used in high end POS applications, the touch terminal takes up less space than a standard PC and LCD monitor. Many of these have options for integrated magnetic stripe readers and fingerprint sensors and save a significant amount of counter space.
Network Server - If the POS stations are networked together updating a common database, you'll need a server in the "back office" to serve as the central data repository. Depending on the number of check-out stations, you may want to make this a stand alone machine with no other functions. It's important to have backup software and an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for this computer. If the power goes off, the system continues to operate.
Power - Your POS system computers will need a source of "clean" electrical power free of spikes and dips in voltage and amperage. This is critical for the life of your equipment. Fluctuations in power can occur from the use of other electrical equipment on the same circuit. These fluctuations can seriously shorten the life of your computer and attached equipment. There are 2 solutions to this problem. First, you can install power filtering equipment at the outlets that the computers and other POS equipment plug in to. Second, you can wire a separate circuit into the breaker box with an isolated ground for the POS equipment. Power fluctuations are the biggest cause of computer failure in POS systems. Have your vendor access the quality of the power supply and recommend any corrective actions.
Continue to more POS system components on the POS Components 2 page.