Installing the Retail Peripherals

Take a minute to look at the list of hardware required if you have not already done so.

If you are installing the system for evaluation only, you don't need all the retail peripherals just yet. The scanner scale alone costs $1,500, and a receipt printer is about $700. If you might not be using the system, there is no point in buying everything now. We bought a used scanner scale at $800 for our first lab, and it still cost us about $2,000, all told, to put a lane together. A full complement of hardware is a very significant investment. Nevertheless, if the time has come to put everything together, this is how we set up our lanes:

The Receipt Printer

IS4C uses the parallel port Epson TM-H6000II. By default, IS4C assumes that /dev/lp0 points to your parallel port. Make sure that is the case. Connect the printer to the parallel port and issue the command

cd /pos/is4c
ls > /dev/lp0
If a list of IS4C files and directories come out of the printer, all is well, and you can skip to the section on cash drawer. If nothing comes out, and you can usually otherwise print via the parallel port from the same computer, then you'll have to find out which device corresponds to the parallel port on your system. After identifying your parallel device under /dev, and having made sure that you can print to it from the shell, give it permission for Apache-PHP to write to it. I open mine up completely.
chmod 777 /dev/[your parallel device]
If possible, make a link.
ln -s /dev/[your parallel device] /dev/lp0
The idea is to be able to print to /dev/lp0 so we don't have to change the IS4C code. If it comes to that, however, I'll be showing you where to do it later on. It's open source, after all.

The Cash Drawer

The cash drawer is connected to, and controlled via, the printer. It has to be of a model compatible with the printer, and with the correct interface. Locate the drawer cable and note that on some models the ends are not symmetrical. One plug is bigger than the other. One end goes into the jack marked "DK" (drawer kick) on the printer, the other goes into the underside of the drawer. Make sure that the drawer key is turned to the correct position or the drawer won't open. The printer will work without the cash drawer, but not vice versa.

The Programmable Keyboard

Here's more information. We use one with a PS/2 interface. Most likely you'll have to program it on a Windows computer. You will need a standard keyboard plugged into the same computer in order to do the programming. Most programmable keyboards come with a PS/2 receptacle so that you can daisy chain a standard keyboard for the purpose. After the keyboard is programmed, simply plug it into the lane computer.

The Scanner Scale

This is the most complicated of all the peripherals, and merits it's own section.

The Hand-Held Scanner

The older version, called a "keyboard wedge" scanner is a hand-held device that comes with two cables leading out. One cable plugs into the PS/2 keyboard receptacle on the computer. The keyboard is then connected to the other cable. The hand-held scanner therefore forms a "wedge" between the keyboard and the computer. Input from the scanner goes to wherever the keyboard has it's focus on the screen, as if from the keyboard. Newer versions connect via the USB port without involving the keyboard.

If you need one, simply plug it in. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer to program the scanner as needed.

If you do have a keyboard wedge hand-held scanner wedged in, so to speak, it will not be advisable to also then have a standard keyboard daisy chained to the programmable keyboard. Three devices on one port is too much, and they will all behave unreliably. Use a USB keyboard if you need a standard keyboard.

Once all the hardware is in place and properly installed, the lane is complete. There is, however, one more step before we have a cash register. We have to edit the main configuration file to put in settings specific for the lane.

A First Test configure the settings