Flexible Solutions Inc. manufactures Golden Touch Point-of-Sale (POS) systems used in large establishments, smaller cafes, and quick service restaurants. Flexible Solutions’ touch-screen POS stations help cashiers, bartenders, waiters, and phone order personnel enter and process food orders.
The Ports Problem
A Golden Touch POS system handles tasks that include order entry, password verification, status reporting, receipt and order printing, credit card authorization, caller ID display, continuous data backup, and timekeeping. Additional hardware peripherals need to be attached to a basic computer to complete a POS station. Such a system can require as many as seven COM ports per station. Motherboards usually have just two serial ports, so more need to be added. In some cases an additional parallel port is needed as well.
Flexible Solutions’ Jason Howard uses the LAVA 2SP-ISA card in the majority of systems he builds. The 2SP-ISA is an ISA-bus card with two 16550 serial ports and one parallel port. One or two 2SP-ISAs fill the expansion needs of a typical POS station.
The Configuration Problem
Flexible Solutions usually installs these cards in 486-based motherboards, using ISA slots. Although not leading-edge technology, a 486 processor is cost-effective and can easily handle the processing required by the DOS-based software Flexible Solutions writes and installs. However, since the Golden Touch software is DOS-based, setting port addresses and IRQs for the numerous serial ports of a POS system can be difficult unless a card is flexible and configurable.
The Standards Problem
The Golden Touch stations are all integrated across a network, with local or remote printers in such locations as kitchens, bars, and food preparation areas. High reliability and standardization are essential. As a result, Flexible Solutions’ Golden Touch System runs on standard PCs, on a PC network. Receipt printers and touch screens are industry standard “off-the-shelf” products and Flexible Solutions uses no proprietary hardware.
The 2SP-ISA is ideal here: its jumpers for setting port addresses and IRQs are plainly identified, and the card’s operation is reliable and completely standard. PCI-bus expansion cards pose a problem for the systems Flexible Solutions builds because they automatically assign resources to a port, and those assignments may not match the assignments that the DOS software expects. As an ISA-bus card, the 2SP-ISA is manually configurable to the specific requirements of Flexible Solutions’ software.
Flexible Solutions builds its touch-screen systems using LAVA cards. They meet all relevant standards for data transfer and bus interfacing, and can be depended upon to install into any basic system without a hitch.
“You have a great product, I love it,” says Jason. To date, Flexible Solutions has used 80 to 90 2SP-ISA cards in systems they have built, and are very happy with the results. And, as motherboards with ISA slots become harder to source, Flexible Solutions is moving to Windows-based software running on PCI-bus motherboards. LAVA’s best-selling DSerial-PCI, Quattro-PCI, and 2SP-PCI are candidates for the next generation of Golden Touch POS devices.