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 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 devices, and a pole reader. Your POS software needs to issue the commands to differentiate between the text being sent to the pole reader and data being sent to the printer or other devices.

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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