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If you are new to cash registers, or are not too sure what you are looking for, some of the terms may be confusing. This page aims to define some of the definitions.
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Single or Twin Roll Printer.

Basic tills such as the Casio SEG-1, Sharp XE-A102 and SAM4s ER-180 are single roll machines, with very basic print detail. They will only show a price enter against a department number. Detail such as refund, void etc is normally pre-fixed against the price printing with characters such as V, VD or RF. These types of single roll tills are ideal for keeping a journal (detail of transaction) only. Run as a receipt the detail is pretty low and not suitable to give out as a customer receipt. Due to the low impact of the printer these types of tills will not run a carbon copy style till roll. (e.g. keeping constant receipt and journal)

If you need a receipt and journal, but don't want to spend too much on a twin roll (receipt and journal roll) you could either go for a till capable of running a twin ply paper & carbon copy roll (constant receipt and journal) or go for a thermal (see thermal printing) paper receipt printing till with an electronic journal (see electronic journal)

Electronic Journal

Many new single roll thermal printing keep the sales data that would normally be printed to a journal roll in the tills memory electronically. The till has a limitation on the amount of sales that can be recorded (journal memory) and can either be set to fill up, or overwrite earlier entries. The journal data can be printed out on a regular basis on the thermal printer to keep a detailed record. Some models. Consider the Sharp XEA-207, XEA-307, SAM4s NR-520R.

Thermal Printing

Most new models of Cash Register have a thermal printer. Thermal printers and quicker, quieter and more reliable. The paper is easier to fit as it normally will automatically feed, or just drop in to the printer compartment. Thermal paper works by a heated printer head coming into contact with the paper, just like the operation of a fax machine.

Departments (or Groups)

Departments can be used to produce financial breakdown reports to show how much has been sold to a particular department. You may need to look a tills specification to see that you have enough departments. Not all departments may be on the keyboard of the machine and items which are referenced by a PLU number or Barcode can be linked to departments not on the keyboard, but in memory. 

E.g clothing departments may be Menswear, Ladies, T-Shirts, Hats, Shoes etc.

E.g Pub departments may be Draught Beer, Bottled Beer, Spirits, Starters, Main Courses etc.

In using the till you would enter the price of the object and then press the department key.

If you intend to use items on the till e.g PLU items or Bar-coded products this will always be linked to a department.


PLU stands for Price Look Up, and is used as a reference code to a product. A product used on a cash register consists of a Description, Selling Price and link to a Department\Group.

A Barcode is the same as a PLU code, e.g. a numeric reference number to a Product being sold

On preset style hospitality or retail till, the PLU product can be placed on the Flat keyboard for quick reference.

Tills which use PLU can produce a PLU report. Such a report can show you how many items have been sold by PLU since the last time the report was taken. This can be used for checking stock!

Barcodes and Scanning

Tills which can have a barcode scanner attached cannot necessarily deal with all barcode.

They are some industry standards which the tills can deal with, these are known as EAN-8 and EAN-13. PC based cash register systems can decode other formats such as 3 of 9.

In order to be able to scan a product you will need to programme the Cash Register to recognise the Bar-code. This can either be carried out by entering the bar-code into a software utility or stock control software package and sending the item to the cash register memory via an RS-232 serial link cable from your PC, or by using the Cash Register as a stand alone system and putting the till into a programme mode, then entering a description, selling price and department link.

Tills which can be programmed stand alone for Bar-code set-up via an optional scanner

Machines which can be set-up with barcodes via an optional Windows Operating system Software Utility

Information to follow on bar tills, creating barcodes, PC based systems, Stock Control, Restaurant Systems, Kitchen Printers, Remote Communications, Hand Held Ordering Systems. Touch Screens. Any Customer Suggestions.


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