How To: A simple, custom POS

eye_suc

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Feb 14, 2005
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4,168
hey guys

i've been toying with the idea of constructing our own POS for the pub, but the motivation has never been there for the investor (father). however, after recent events he has seen the light and is fully backing me in this little side project.

the problem: bartenders give out "free" drinks and pocket the money, while we have no way of tracking it. also, major alleged spillage is taking place, way beyond expected limits. and of course, the tips they receive is way out of whack (i have worked there long enough to know how much you SHOULD get)

the solution: build a simple POS using an old PC and a new 17" touch screen. create simple POS software using .NET WPF

my questions at this point would be, where can i get a USB/RS232 cash drawer for relatively cheap? the catch is, how do i know i would be able to integrate it into the system before buying it? i saw a few floating around for about R1200 but for that kind of money i want to be SURE i can tap into the till

then, handheld scanners (not for barcodes, the image scanner type). the idea would be to get a scanned copy of the clients ID before they open a Tab, since that would facilitate tracking them down. this is especially a problem with non-regulars. the image would be stored in the DB as a blob, no mess, no fuss. do they even still make these things?

and finally, a USB/RS232 scale. once again, i find lots of links to these things in america, but over here they seem a bit more scarce. this will be needed to weigh the open bottles to determine the usage. i have a really old money scale which should work fine in the mean time, but i would prefer a more automated method instead of a manual weigh-click-type-save kind of thing.

any thoughts, ideas, recommendations, etc. please feel free to post :D

PS: those kiosk things are OVERKILL for us. they cost an arm and a leg and we do not need even half the features. for one, we do not cater for credit card payments. stricly cash only, and therein lies the problem with the thieves.
 

eye_suc

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Feb 14, 2005
Messages
4,168
Speak to tco21 he started a similar thread yesterday here.

Maybe you guys can collaborate you efforts...
he is looking at something of a much larger scale and he is using the kiosks which are incredibly expensive. our requirements are strictly cash only and for pub/bar usage

These guys can help you with the Sales unit...
http://www.proscan.co.za/

These guys sell USB barcode scanners at a good price...
www.comx-computers.co.za/

Matrix Warehouse also has those USB to RS232 Cables, or can order them for you. But proscan should also have them.
i was thinking i would have to go the converter route yes, but that does not solve the issue of not being able to test it before i purchase it

and like i mentioned, we are not looking for a barcode scanner, since its impossible to scan the glass before you hand it to the customer. this is for use in a pub

thanks for the links, i will bookmark them for future reference :)
 

Gambit

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Apr 26, 2005
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1,592
Instead of using a handheld scanner an easier option might be to just use a good quality web cam.
 

LazyLion

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he is looking at something of a much larger scale and he is using the kiosks which are incredibly expensive. our requirements are strictly cash only and for pub/bar usage


i was thinking i would have to go the converter route yes, but that does not solve the issue of not being able to test it before i purchase it

and like i mentioned, we are not looking for a barcode scanner, since its impossible to scan the glass before you hand it to the customer. this is for use in a pub

thanks for the links, i will bookmark them for future reference :)

you can also get good free barcode and image scanners for cellphone cameras that can then upload to an e-mail or download to the PC...
 

eye_suc

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Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
4,168
Instead of using a handheld scanner an easier option might be to just use a good quality web cam.
sounds good yes, thanks for this one

will work out very cheap and quite simple to implement

+1 rep
 

greggpb

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Apr 22, 2005
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for tab's... copy of Id and Credit card matching the ID should be kept behind the bar...
 

ColinR

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Aug 24, 2006
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handheld scanners (not for barcodes, the image scanner type). the idea would be to get a scanned copy of the clients ID before they open a Tab, since that would facilitate tracking them down.

That would reply on the guy having his ID with them, and would rely on the qaulity of the image being really good. What about a mug shot using the webcam, and if they have their ID on them, scan the ID book barcode (normal USB scanner) to get the ID number.
 

eye_suc

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Feb 14, 2005
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That would reply on the guy having his ID with them, and would rely on the qaulity of the image being really good. What about a mug shot using the webcam, and if they have their ID on them, scan the ID book barcode (normal USB scanner) to get the ID number.
yeah we have kind of decided now to use a copy/scan of some kind of the ID and a mug shot (smile!). the barcode scanner would then only be used for tabs which would be kind of a waste. if we had more use for it it could be justified.

luckily a persons' details would only be captured once, which is fine for our regulars :)
 

Biggie

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
734
hey guys

i've been toying with the idea of constructing our own POS for the pub, but the motivation has never been there for the investor (father). however, after recent events he has seen the light and is fully backing me in this little side project.

the problem: bartenders give out "free" drinks and pocket the money, while we have no way of tracking it. also, major alleged spillage is taking place, way beyond expected limits. and of course, the tips they receive is way out of whack (i have worked there long enough to know how much you SHOULD get)

the solution: build a simple POS using an old PC and a new 17" touch screen. create simple POS software using .NET WPF

my questions at this point would be, where can i get a USB/RS232 cash drawer for relatively cheap? the catch is, how do i know i would be able to integrate it into the system before buying it? i saw a few floating around for about R1200 but for that kind of money i want to be SURE i can tap into the till

then, handheld scanners (not for barcodes, the image scanner type). the idea would be to get a scanned copy of the clients ID before they open a Tab, since that would facilitate tracking them down. this is especially a problem with non-regulars. the image would be stored in the DB as a blob, no mess, no fuss. do they even still make these things?

and finally, a USB/RS232 scale. once again, i find lots of links to these things in america, but over here they seem a bit more scarce. this will be needed to weigh the open bottles to determine the usage. i have a really old money scale which should work fine in the mean time, but i would prefer a more automated method instead of a manual weigh-click-type-save kind of thing.

any thoughts, ideas, recommendations, etc. please feel free to post :D

PS: those kiosk things are OVERKILL for us. they cost an arm and a leg and we do not need even half the features. for one, we do not cater for credit card payments. stricly cash only, and therein lies the problem with the thieves.

My 2cents

1 Cash drawer.Most drawers connect to the receipt printer thru rj-11.The receipt printer sends out a signal to open the drawer.You need to have the control codes from the printer for your software.Your software should support it,you worry should not be with the hardware.

The "open drawer function" is not really that important.You can open it manually with the key.With the pos software keeping track of all the money it doesn't really matter who opens it.

2 Barcode scanner. You can generate (print out) barcodes and use it with your glasses or any other items with no barcodes.Just attached it somewhere near the product and scan it from there.Or use any other barcode from an existing product,something you don't sell,like those on meatpacks for example.You can just enter your info when you set it up.Most barcode scanner also come with some sample "blank barcodes" you can use.

3 Image scanner. Why not just use a cheap digital camera?.I know this option is not intergrated but it's a once off thing.You can later import it into the software.

4 Why use a scale.Why not use those bottle meters.It's a card you hold against the bottle that counts the tots.Afaik there's 29.5 singles in a bottle.You load 29 units into your stock table and leave the half for spileage.

Hope this helps.
 

mh348

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2006
Messages
4,203
check out Dale Harris POS, its a complete point of sale system, completely free, no catch.

I tested it out some time back and it works well, give it a try.

This is a complete Point of sale software / Cash register program.

This is not just the stand alone version it is for networks too..

This is not a demo version that you try out.

This is not a trial version that will quit working.

This is not a crippled version that is missing features.

This is not an evaluation version to see if you like it.

There is no shipping or handling charge, just download it.

This is not shareware, it is totally FREE.

There is nothing for sale here.
If you download this file you will receive a complete point of sale software / cash register program that will work on any PC computer running any version of DOS or Windows. It is a DOS program. (Trust me, your money doesn't care.) It will work with almost any receipt printer or regular computer printer. It will work without a printer but then you can't print receipts.

It will pop open a cash drawer attached to a receipt printer or some serial cash drawers. You can use a scanner to read stock numbers.

Track up to 13,000 different items for a medium sized retail business or with almost no setup use in "minimal mode" for a garage sale, flea market, snack bar.

For a complete description: Online version of POS user's guide.
 

eye_suc

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
4,168
check out Dale Harris POS, its a complete point of sale system, completely free, no catch.

I tested it out some time back and it works well, give it a try.
hmmm, free is good, but that system looks about the same as the "video shop pos" i worked on (as an employee) back in 1999

we would prefer touch screen interaction with some nice, but not flashy, visuals.
 

eye_suc

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
4,168
My 2cents

1 Cash drawer.Most drawers connect to the receipt printer thru rj-11.The receipt printer sends out a signal to open the drawer.You need to have the control codes from the printer for your software.Your software should support it,you worry should not be with the hardware.

The "open drawer function" is not really that important.You can open it manually with the key.With the pos software keeping track of all the money it doesn't really matter who opens it.

2 Barcode scanner. You can generate (print out) barcodes and use it with your glasses or any other items with no barcodes.Just attached it somewhere near the product and scan it from there.Or use any other barcode from an existing product,something you don't sell,like those on meatpacks for example.You can just enter your info when you set it up.Most barcode scanner also come with some sample "blank barcodes" you can use.

3 Image scanner. Why not just use a cheap digital camera?.I know this option is not intergrated but it's a once off thing.You can later import it into the software.

4 Why use a scale.Why not use those bottle meters.It's a card you hold against the bottle that counts the tots.Afaik there's 29.5 singles in a bottle.You load 29 units into your stock table and leave the half for spileage.

Hope this helps.
awesome stuff :) will take all this into consideration
 

tco21

Cynical Grinch
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
Messages
4,974
Hey. I also rate that you hook up a webcam and run it to a computer in your office.

As for the spillages, why don't you just go back to basics. Install wall mountings for the bottles and use those shot measuring things where it dispenses enough booze for a shot at a time?

P.S with regards to my thread, I'm looking to get a custom Kiosk made :D and yes, they're expensive.
 

eye_suc

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
4,168
Hey. I also rate that you hook up a webcam and run it to a computer in your office.

As for the spillages, why don't you just go back to basics. Install wall mountings for the bottles and use those shot measuring things where it dispenses enough booze for a shot at a time?

P.S with regards to my thread, I'm looking to get a custom Kiosk made :D and yes, they're expensive.
we have been using optics for the bottles since the place opened up. that works fine :) the regular use hard tack bottles are on optics, while the less frequently used liquors use the tot measure nozzle. works splendidly

good luck with that kiosk! rather you than me :p
 
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