Those Pesky Receipt Printers

Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
78
#1
Hello all, I currently "manage" all the equipment in the cabinet, and with my recent promotion to the front, I am now adding all the Registers to my list. We have pretty old registers, we must be due for replacement sometime soon, but for right now, I have to make everything work. So far I have been successful in getting all but one lane to work (trust me, a great feat, I inherited a mess.) I will set my frustrations with the Card Reader Pens and Hand scanners aside to ask is anybody has a solution to my biggest issue.

Those friggin Receipt Printers! I've about had it with Barcodes that won't scan and numbers that are unreadable on receipts. It is not just my store, I see similar receipts from stores all around me. My question is, is there any way to do anything about it? I have tried most things, I realize these are thermal printers, I first though there might be some gunk on the burn strips. While I did find some gunk and cleaned it spotless, the receipts still have issues, abet a bit less. Is there any trick to cleaning them, or must they just be sent in for repair? I am hoping I can fix them, because every single printer has the issue, ranging from a few lines to absolutely the entire printout. I have tried to move the worst ones to the lesser used registers, but I'd prefer a solution.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
151
#2
I don't work for Target, but I am pretty handy with tech stuff.

I could be wrong, but unfortunately for you, I don't think there is a fix.

If it was just one or two printers, then I'd say, clean it, check the strobe settings, make sure your paper is inserted correctly, etc.

In my experience, bassackward paper is the number one reason for thermal printer "malfunction."

But, if you are having problems with all of your printers, in a store the size of Target, then it sounds likes to me they are simply aging out.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
210
#5
Hello all, I currently "manage" all the equipment in the cabinet, and with my recent promotion to the front, I am now adding all the Registers to my list. We have pretty old registers, we must be due for replacement sometime soon, but for right now, I have to make everything work. So far I have been successful in getting all but one lane to work (trust me, a great feat, I inherited a mess.) I will set my frustrations with the Card Reader Pens and Hand scanners aside to ask is anybody has a solution to my biggest issue.

Those friggin Receipt Printers! I've about had it with Barcodes that won't scan and numbers that are unreadable on receipts. It is not just my store, I see similar receipts from stores all around me. My question is, is there any way to do anything about it? I have tried most things, I realize these are thermal printers, I first though there might be some gunk on the burn strips. While I did find some gunk and cleaned it spotless, the receipts still have issues, abet a bit less. Is there any trick to cleaning them, or must they just be sent in for repair? I am hoping I can fix them, because every single printer has the issue, ranging from a few lines to absolutely the entire printout. I have tried to move the worst ones to the lesser used registers, but I'd prefer a solution.

We have just one register at our store where the bar codes on the receipts don't scan; I can't imagine having them all like that! Also our little portable printers lately have all been having issues connecting to the wireless network. They'll be working fine, then all of a sudden they will turn red and just quit on us for anywhere from a minute or two to the entire day. Of course this usually happens just as I am about to process a basketful of defectives at the service desk.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
52
#6
I don't think there's much you can do yourself, if you've already attempted to clean them. Because they're old, it's most likely some of the heating elements on the thermal printers have burnt out or can't get hot enough. It's something that just happens as the machine ages.
 

mrknownothing

purveyor of things
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
10,151
#7
We had that problem at my store before we got our registers replaced in the spring. I always told the GSTLs when guests complained that their receipts weren't readable or I couldn't scan them, and they said they couldn't do anything about it (one of them was good with fixing registers and whatnot). Only the printers on the least used registers would print good receipts, and of course no one ever thought to switch them around. If nothing happens when the tech comes for the 4th quarter, I would ask the district office if they can do anything about it.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
25,300
#8
We have just one register at our store where the bar codes on the receipts don't scan; I can't imagine having them all like that! Also our little portable printers lately have all been having issues connecting to the wireless network. They'll be working fine, then all of a sudden they will turn red and just quit on us for anywhere from a minute or two to the entire day. Of course this usually happens just as I am about to process a basketful of defectives at the service desk.
Use a PDA & check your network signal. You may have a bad sensor in your area.
 
OP
OP
S
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
78
#9
I had a feeling that was the case. I am in school for IT and I had taken a class about printers, yeah, a whole class about printers. I tried to remember back to the section on Thermal printing. Like I said, the registers are old, original from when the store opened, so about 7-8 years old. I'm hoping they get replaced when we go through out P-Fresh remodel. Of note to the "tech" coming out. I did read in the 4th quarter prep guide that every store that didn't receive new registers should have had a tech come out and look them over. I say that because it was assumed to me as "past tense" and nobody in my store knew about it. I was hoping somebody had a secret fix. ;)

As far as the Portable Printer issues. Welcome to my biggest nightmare! I have that happening all the time in my store. I have called in about it and done everything I can. It is just random and happens to all printers. Every time I call in they start working while on the phone and the Tech makes me look like a fool. I did however notice a "Global" issue related to the "Unable to find Printer" issue a few weeks about. It seems to be solved in my store, I haven't had the issue for awhile. That and the Butchered Software Rollout has made me question some decisions in the Target IT department.
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
17,909
#11
Are your systems NCR or IBM?
Re: register printers - run a test strip by putting them in training mode & printing out a training receipt. Where it says "Target" at the top, it should be completely black, no white lines running through it. If not, the printer needs to be replaced as the thermal bar is degrading (esp on equipment as old as yours). There should be a tech out for Q4 equipment shakedown &, if you've checked all the printers, you should be able to present a list of which ones need replacing. Put it to leadership this way: if the printers don't work, receipts don't scan. Neither do temporary credit/checkcard slips. Do they want to see their conversion plummet?
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
151
#12
I once got a aged out printer replaced by "accidentally" dropping it.

Repeatedly.

Until it broke into pieces.

I doubt that would work with more than one printer though.

I don't know about Target, but in my general experience, they aren't going to spend the money to replace a printer unless they have a LOT of customer complaints.

Or, it's in pieces in the floor because you accidentally dropped it.
 
OP
OP
S
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
78
#14
Are your systems NCR or IBM?
Re: register printers - run a test strip by putting them in training mode & printing out a training receipt. Where it says "Target" at the top, it should be completely black, no white lines running through it. If not, the printer needs to be replaced as the thermal bar is degrading (esp on equipment as old as yours). There should be a tech out for Q4 equipment shakedown &, if you've checked all the printers, you should be able to present a list of which ones need replacing. Put it to leadership this way: if the printers don't work, receipts don't scan. Neither do temporary credit/checkcard slips. Do they want to see their conversion plummet?
NCR, I'm working on making up a list, but the list is pretty much "All of them" Some are worse then others, but by far, every single printer has at least a few lines. Are the newer ones IBM? It amazes me that even the new registers are still so outdated. I hate to say it, if you want to see what registers SHOULD look like these days. Look at what Walmart is deploying. Those registers take less space, put all the info you need right in front of both the guest and your face, and they WORK!
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
17,909
#15
Our newer ones are NCR. I'm surprised that Spot still uses 2 different systems but, oh well.
We got ours almost 2 yrs ago & the large color screen is definately a plus. There are 2 types of the metro card scanners: one uses just a plastic stylus & the other uses a magnetized stylus (which is what we have). The latter is a pain because they break pretty often (especially when parents are trying to yank it out of a toddler's hand w/o cancelling their swipe). The former are held on by a flimsy plastic spiral which also breaks easily.
If you're still on the old operating system, your leadership may simply tell you to tough it out until the new stuff arrives. If there's a store around you that's getting an upgrade first, see if you can swap out some printers (if theirs are any better) before they ship off the old ones.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
151
#16
The last company I worked for had a total of 28 stores and across 28 stores, they had four completely different POS systems, along with Dell computers running the worst back office software I've ever seen in my life.

They were eventually forced to upgrade the POS systems in order for them to be PCI compliant.

The store I was at was upgraded to a touch screen system that as far as appearances go, it looks more advanced than what my local Target is using.
 

mrknownothing

purveyor of things
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
10,151
#17
I was so happy when we got our registers replaced in the spring. Those IBMs were horrible. When we got the NCRs, I was amazed at how quickly it did everything. Plus, it was nice to be able to adjust the monitor (I'm tall, so I always have to turn the monitor up). Of course, the Item Locate still takes a half hour to load...
 

redeye58

Hasta Ba Rista, Baby!
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
17,909
#18
I don't know about the IBM systems but the NCRs are touch-enabled on the card scanners for everything but signature (hence, the stylus) but the register screens are touch-enabled only at FA & Starbux.
And, yeh, item loc is still slow as sludge.
 

mrknownothing

purveyor of things
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
10,151
#19
I don't know about the IBM systems but the NCRs are touch-enabled on the card scanners for everything but signature (hence, the stylus) but the register screens are touch-enabled only at FA & Starbux.
And, yeh, item loc is still slow as sludge.
We had the same card readers with the IBMs. I never saw the plastic stylus ones.
 
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