VRX Company Inc

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VRX FAQS

Definitions for Loss Prevention Technology

Q: What is a "POS TEXT INSERTER"

A: We define a "POS TEXT INSERTER" is an electronic device which interfaces to the transaction data output from a Point Of Sale system, or electronic cash register, and overlays onto closed circuit televisions (or similar) text characters reflecting the ongoing transaction. This is useful to a retail store owner who wants to find and stop employees theft.

Q: What is a "POS"

A: This three letter acronym can have many meanings, but at the VRX Company Inc. we define the three letter acronym "POS" as a Point Of Sale system or an electronic cash register.

Q: What is "CCTV"

A: An acronym for Closed Circuit Television also known as security camera system or Digital Video Recorder system.

Q: What is a "Journal Printer"

A: At the VRX Company Inc we follow the example set by several POS vendors and define a "Journal Printer" is any printer printing Journal Data. In Point Of Sale systems, Journal Data is a record (a journal) of what the cashier is doing at the point of sale. This data is ideally real time, and includes more information than would typically be shown on a customer display or operator display such as for example time of day, a transaction identification number, the cashier identification, department codes, as well as the items purchased, sales tax, cash tendered and change. Check your interface type before ordering, go to: Printer Interface Identification

Q: What is a "Customer Display"

A: Also known as Pole Display, Line Displays, or by their display technology VFD (Vacuum florescent) or LCD (Liquid Crystal) displays, these devices attach to or are built into a Point Of Sale system. They show the customer making a purchase what the cashier is ringing up and other transaction information. 

Q: I have a customer pole display, can I connect my Text Inserter to it?

A: Yes if you have a DB9 Serial port interface, Yes if you have a parallel port interface (these are very rare) and No if you have a USB Interface but you can change it out so it is Yes again. Visit this link to learn how to identify your interface type: Customer Display (Pole Display) Interface Identification

Q: I have a Receipt Printer, can I connect my Text Inserter to it?

A: Yes but the inserted text will be much less friendly than if you can connect to customer pole display data or journal printer data.

Loss Prevention FAQ

Q: We get a lot of calls asking something like,"Do you have a text inserter for Ruby Supper Systems?"

A: There are three answers to this question.Yes, Yes and Coming Soon.  We have kit solutions for these common situations.
For more information, please go to the  the page for Text Inserter Kits for Ruby (/Topaz) / Sapphire Server

Q: Do you have a list of compatible cash registers?  Or Are you compatible with XYZ point of sale?

A: Yes we have a web page explaining our approach to compatibility and a list of point of sale system with which our technology is known to have worked.  Please visit:  VR2004 POS (Point of Sale) Compatibility

Q: What are some of the common methods of fraud at the POS (Point of Sale)?

A: Cashiers can commit fraud against either the employer, the customer or both.
A cashier can charge an item to the customer which the customer did not buy and keep the item for themselves. A Text Inserter helps detect this type of fraud because the item charged was not what or in the quantity the customer brought to the counter.

A cashier can charge an item to the customer which the customer did not buy and then, after the customer leaves, refund the item and keep cash for themselves. A Text Inserter helps detect this type of fraud because the item was not refunded to the customer.

A cashier can charge an item to another department such as charging groceries on the department for lottery tickets. The customer leaves the store with the groceries they wanted at the price they expected. Later the cashier leaves the store with the easy to conceal lottery tickets.  A Text Inserter helps detect this type of fraud because you can see what the items are and what the cashier is ringing up.

Q: What about software to analyze transactions?

A: Not in our product. Some POS system produce reports which can help  identify suspicious behavior. This software can be quite expensive costing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars (See: http://www.taborcommunications.com/dsstar/01/0717/103275.html)
Once you have identified a patter for investigation, you still need to catch the theft during the act. A Text Inserter will help provide the prove which was only a suspicion based on the suspicious behavior identified by the POS software.


Belkin USB to Serial Adapter on 64 Bit Windows (Vista, Windows 7, ...)

Q: I cannot get my Belkin USB to Serial Adapter to work on Windows 7. It worked on XP but not newer Windows.

A: This is not our product but we have some of these adapters and so many of our customers have run into this problem that we wanted to share this solution someone else came up with: http://www.clearchain.com/blog/posts/how-to-use-a-belkin-f5u409f5u409-cu-usb-to-pda-serial-converter-in-visawindows-7-64bit-mac-osx-10


VR2004 Text Inserter FAQ

Q: What does a VR2004 Text Inserter cost and how do I get one?

A: Give us a call toll free 866-543-8398 from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time and we can assist you in what accessories could be needed and provide a quote for the VR2004.

Q: Do you support a particular Pole Display, Journal Printer, or POS System?

A: Check out our Compatibility Page, and if you don't find the answer there, then give us a call.

Q: What is the difference between the VR2004 and the Geovision data capture?

A: The Geovision Text Inserter only reformats the text output to send it to the Geovision DVR. The DVR inserts the text onto the stored video. The VR2004 actually overlays the text of the transactions onto the video. Then the video can be recorded by either a DVR or a VCR.

Q: What do you need to know to determine compatibility with our POS (Point of Sale) system?

A: Think of our Text Inserter at a Pole Display which happens to display on CCTV video.

So if the POS has an external serial (or parallel) pole display or can be set up for one our Text Inserter can probably be compatible.  The other methods of interface are to set the POS for Journal Printer or if available a Surveillance Interface. The store owner or manager will have to be responsible for setting the POS serial port for the appropriate interface. We are happy to help explain the requirement. Typical setup is 9600 bps, 8 Bit, 1 Stop, No Parity and Flow Control OFF. If you have the freedom to choose, set for Epson pole display or Logic Controls.

Q: What if VRX Company has never before heard of my POS type?

A: We would like to find a demo of the POS system software for testing to allow us to optimize our product setup.
What is the exact name of the POS system?
Who is the vendor, and do you have contact information?
Is there a web site?
What is the operating system used for the POS system? Is it Windows 2000 or XP for instance?

What is the exact brand and model number of the pole display?
Is the pole display serial, parallel or other?

Is the printer serial, parallel or other?
What is the exact brand and model number of the printer?
What is the cable into the serial printer? DB25, DB9 or Centronics?
What is the gender of the pins at the cable end to the printer?
Can you photograph the typical installation so we can guess at cable routing?

IMPORTANT: For most POS system, Journal Printers work much better than receipt printers work. For a receipt printer application, it is desirable to set the POS system to print the receipt line by line, as the cashier enters the sale. Only if this possible will a receipt printer solution be a good one.

Can we get some examples of receipts from the system? We would like normal transactions with several items and some transactions with Void, No Sale, Return or Refund and any other unusual transaction events.

If we cannot get the above POS software as a demo, may we ask you to make a HEX DUMP of some receipts with representative transaction types? We can help you find how to do a HEX DUMP for Epson and Star Printers. You can set our Text Inserter to make a HEX DUMP. See the Debug Menu in the user interface.
The following transactions are typically interesting for Text Inserter.
Normal transaction with several items. Items with and with out tax if applicable.
Void
No Sale
Return or refund
Other unusual transaction events.

Q:  How do I determine if my POS system can interface to your Text Inserter? Or are you compatible with ABC_BRAND point of sale system?

A: To better understand the answers and questions which follow it helps to explain that you should think of the Text Inserter as a POS peripheral. It interfaces to a POS system as if it is a Pole Display, or as if it is a Journal Printer. There is a new method of interface gradually becoming available with some POS systems. Some now provide for an output just for Text Inserters. With in the industry, there is, as yet, no standard name for such an interface. Some example names are “Serial Surveillance Interface” and “Security Video Output”. Lets also assume briefly that the interface hardware is RS232 serial, or (in the vocabulary of the Personal Computer) a COM port.

So now the compatibility question changes into, what serial Pole Displays will the POS support? Or the question becomes, can the POS support a serial port Journal Printer.

The VR2004 supports many different pole display command sets (or control code protocols) and the EPSON printer codes. You can see the supported pole display types at:
http://www.vrxinc.com/vr2003_pos_compatibility.html

For Journal Printer compatibility, the POS owner will need to set the POS for almost any Epson type, such as TM-88.


Consult the POS vendor or the user manual to identify which possible interface method or methods are available. The pole display is usually the easiest to interface. Journal printer or a Security Video interface may provide more insightful data but may be more difficult to setup. In the case of a Journal printer, the Text Inserter will usually need a handshake adapter to satisfy the flow control requirements. For all three interface methods, turn off flow control to the serial port if possible.

Once you have the POS set up for a particular serial pole display, or Journal Printer or Security Video interface, the Text Inserter’s user interface allows the VR2004 to be set to emulated the appropriate one of several pole display brands or the printer codes.

For really tough problems, VRX Company can help you identify the tasks and questions you may need to ask regarding the POS. The questions below help.

We would like to find a demo of the POS system software for testing to allow us to optimize our product setup. Is there a demo version?
What is the exact name of the POS system?
Who is the vendor, and do you have contact information?
Is there a web site?
What is the operating system used for the POS system? Is it Windows 2000 or XP for instance?

What is the exact brand and model number of the pole display?
Is the pole display serial, parallel or other?
Is the pole display set up for its’ native command set or to emulate another brand?

Is the printer serial, parallel or other? (The VR2004 only works with serial and parallel. The VR2004 does not support USB.)

What is the exact brand and model number of the printer?
What is the cable into the serial printer? DB25, DB9 or Centronics?
What is the gender of the pins at the cable end to the printer?
Can you photograph the typical installation so we can guess at cable routing?

IMPORTANT: For most POS system, Journal Printers work much better than receipt printers. For a receipt printer application, it is desirable to set the POS system to print the receipt line by line, as the cashier enters the sale. Only if this possible will a receipt printer solution be a good one.

Can we get some examples of receipts from the system? We would like normal transactions with several items and some transactions with Void, No Sale, Return or Refund and any other unusual transaction events.

If we cannot get the above POS software as a demo, may we ask you to make a HEX DUMP of some receipts with representative transaction types? We can help you find how to do a HEX DUMP for Epson and Star Printers. You can set our Text Inserter to make a HEX DUMP. See the Debug Menu in the user interface.
The following transactions are typically interesting for Text Inserter.
Normal transaction with several items. Items with and with out tax if applicable.
Void
No Sale
Return or refund
Other unusual transaction events.

Q: GSITE® is going End of Life, so I will be upgrading from GSITE® to PASSPORT® soon. Will my VR2004 require a new PROM chip to work with my new PASSPORT® register?

A: No, the change is easy. Refer to the VR2004 user manual to access the User Interface. Set the POS type from GSITE to GENERIC. Change the DB9 DEV to IEE. Set the Display Mode for 2 LINE POLE, (If you have scrolling advertisement on your pole display). You will need a short DB9 F-M cable or a DB9 splitter and possibly other cabling accessories. See our accessory page for cables and the DB9 splitter.

Q: I am thinking of changing cash registers in the near future. Will my VR2004 require a new PROM chip to work with my new register?

A: Through the user interface, the VR2004 can be set for many different pole display command sets or set to behave as a journal printer. The VR2004 has flash programmable program technology. So for unusual POS systems or POS systems which may be invented tomorrow, we can even provide a PC application which lets you program new software for compatibility not covered by our standard products.

Q: I am looking in the user setup, when can I use 2 LINE POLE display versus USE ALL LINES.?

A: You should usually be able to use all lines, but a few POS system have scrolling advertisement on the pole display. Scrolling advertisement will relentlessly fill the text inserter so that the text never clears. Your solution is to confine the text insertion to the top two lines by using 2 Line Pole display mode. In this mode the text inserter will emulate the pole display.

Q: I have two registers but only one camera. How do I connect two text inserters?

A: You can add a second camera so that you have one for each register or you can use a "Distribution Amplifier" to make two or more feeds off of one camera. Wire a dedicated feed to each text inserter and the video output of each text inserter to an input on your DVR. This only works if you have otherwise unused inputs on your DVR ore you can relocate an existing camera.

Q: My serial printer will not work with the VR2003. How do you configure the VR2003 HARDWARE for a serial printer loop through application?

A: As built, the RX pin on the VR2003 echoes back the input data on the TX and parallel port. This can interfere with some printer applications where there is flow control on the RX line. To configure the VR2003 for a printer loop through application a soldering Iron and a zero ohm jumper wire are required. Remove RDCE1, R72 and stuff R71 at Zero ohms.

Q: I am confused about RS232 Data. Do you have a good tutorial?

A: We have found lots of good tutorials on the internet.
B&B Electronics have a nice one here: http://www.bb-elec.com/tech_articles/FAQ_rs232_connections_work.asp
The wikipedia article has drawings and oscilloscope measurements of the data waveforms and lots of other useful information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-232


Parallel to Serial Conversion

Q: The VR2004 Text Inserter has both parallel and serial interfaces. Can it convert parallel data to serial?

A: It sure can We also have software to reformat serial data too. These are generally specialty situations so give us a call toll free 866-543-8398 from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time and we can assist you further.
You can also visit these web pages for help identifying the parallel and serial interfaces found on Point Of Sale systems.

Printer & Pole Display Interface Identification

Check Printer Interface
Check Customer Display (Pole Display) interface



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