What are Pole Displays?

Pole displays are also known as customer displays and show item and price information to the customer. They are common in fast food establishments at the check out counter. Most pole displays vary from one to three lines of display and some support advertising. They typically stand alone with a weighted based and can be extended to various heights. Some can be mounted directly to your terminal. There are also table top displays that functionally are the same as pole displays, but, as the name implies, sit on a surface rather than being mounted on a pole.

Most pole displays connect directly to a serial port and require the correct serial port (COM) to be selected in point of sale software in order to work. This is a configuration that will be specific to the display you buy and the software you use. USB pole displays also use the serial port, but create their own "virtual" COM port to communicate with your software. There are also parallel port interface configurations and a configuration called "pass-through" for either serial or parallel port configurations that allow the port to be used for both a printer, or other device, and a pole reader. Your POS software needs to issue the commands to differentiate between text being sent to the pole reader and data being sent to the printer or other device.

There are many different command sets that interface with pole displays. These include Logic Controls, Epson, Aedex, Emax, PTC, Noritaki, and others, as well as a universal command set. The universal command set will work with any pole display and software assuming the right drivers are downloaded. Most POS software works with the Logic Controls command set. The other command sets are designed to be plug and play with software that requires them. If you are not sure what command set your software supports, or you haven't yet purchased software, you should buy the universal command set pole display.

Many pole displays also come with two sided displays so that both the customer and clerk can see the display. Messages (like marketing messages, or thank yous, etc.) can also be programmed in pole displays that support this feature. Your POS software vendor should be able to help you get up to speed on the feature sets and capabilities of your pole readers

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