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Thread: Point of Sale PC for Home Use

  1. #1

    Default Point of Sale PC for Home Use

    Has anyone used a Point of Sale PC for home/entertainment use? If so I would like to see pics of setups.

  2. #2
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    POS systems are not and were never intended for such uses. I've had around a dozen of them over the years, and they were pretty much useless.

    The CPUs are slow, they have limited RAM and the screens are low resolution and of dubious quality. Besides the POS/kiosk software written for them, nothing else makes use of them, meaning that you'd have to write all of your own software to take advantage of them.

    The last one I had used a 1 GHz Atom with 2 GB of RAM and had a 5400 RPM laptop drive. The screen was 1024x768 and had a very high refresh latency, so it had bad ghosting problems.

  3. #3

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    They often get totally thrashed by belligerent teenage wage slaves and contaminated with filth as well. I used to do field work on PoS gear for HP. Some memorable examples;

    - An RP7 that spent it's short life in a beachfront ice cream shop. Warm moist sea spray/breeze would get pulled in by the fans and dry out on the way through it's guts, resulting in stalagtite-like columns of salt hanging vertically in the breeze from the backside of the CPU heatsink and the rear fan grilles. Quite an amazing sight to behold if I'm honest. And we still did three machines for them under warranty.
    - Another RP7 from a burger joint that had a coating of grease over every internal surface that was subject to airflow, and had failed touchscreen due to grease between the screen and the capacitance touch film.
    - Several rp5800's in a community swimming pool that were riddled with corrosion from the chlorine in the air. Again, covered under warranty.
    - Cockroach nests. So many cockroach nests.. That my friends is a stench that will outlast religion *shudders*

    Having bumped into a few Micros techs in my travels I have heard similar tales of woe from them as well, vermin, liquid and dust ingress, god knows what you'll be getting even if you go for a reconditioned unit. And I'd be inclined to agree with GiGaBiTe. They are made for very specific tasks with minimum hardware specs and not really terribly useful beyond running simple C based PoS frontends. I considered pinching one to turn into the head unit for a CNC, or possibly embedding one into the shed wall as a media center kinda thing (as you are considering) but it felt like too much effort as I would have needed to kludge up a front end somehow and my code chops are atrocious. But hell man, if you have the gear on hand give it a red hot run. You might be the guy who cracks the case.
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    One of my favorite computers of all time is the NCR PC4 (or 4i, don't ask me the difference). Externally it resembles the Decision Mate. Just a plain old 8088 internally, but for the enhanced graphics and accompanying color crt. I passed up an opportunity to get a nearly brand new one several years ago. Of course I endeavored to obtain one back in 1986, but the vendor sold the last one from under me. Now all I have is a non functional monocrome version with significant screen burn (it had worked since I got it, but not all 3. Had to trash 2 as no one was interested).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATSystems View Post
    They often get totally thrashed by belligerent teenage wage slaves and contaminated with filth as well. I used to do field work on PoS gear for HP.
    I've done field work for restaurant gear on and off since 2000, I've seen everything that can happen to these machines as well.

    The worst machine I ever came across was a back office server which had recently had a rat/mouse living in it. There was so much mouse piss on the case that it corroded deep pits into the metal. Mouse crap was also everywhere, along with nesting material. What baffled me is that there were no openings on the case for it to get in/out, had no clue how it was getting in the case. It was really fortunate that no mouse piss got on the motherboard and it didn't chew any of the wires, but I was the unfortunate one that had to completely disassemble the computer and clean all of it.

    Grease choked machines is pretty much the norm in fast food environments, followed by alcohol soaked machines in bars or upscale restaurants.

  6. #6

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    I used to work on/install POS AIO touchscreen machines 10 years ago.

    Pretty much what everyone says here is true; they aren't fast and generally are built to a budget. The touchscreens were also pretty horrendous; always requiring service calls just to recalibrate them.

    The company I worked for used to put ones into things like libraries, schools and even law firms. They used to run Windows XP with some software which would autorun on boot.

    For home entertainment purposes you'd probably get more power out of a Raspberry Pi velcroed behind a standalone touchscreen.
    System 80 Expansion Interface located! Thanks to all who helped out and the good people in the NZ vintage computer forums!

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    ...or if you want something performance-limited and moderately retro, find a used thin client.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
    What baffled me is that there were no openings on the case for it to get in/out, had no clue how it was getting in the case.
    The first time I've ever seen this I figured insects took up residence, as seemingly there wasn't anything approaching a whole large enough for a rodent to enter. They say though that if a hole is big enough (wide enough maybe) for a mouse to get their head in, the rest is doable. So maybe through the disk drive opening? That's the only possible explanation. And iirc, and won't swear to it, there was mouse fluff inside the p/s. Whatever.

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    I should also have pointed out the NCR PC4 was oftentimes used in pos settings.

  10. #10
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    The only thing I found interesting in POS systems were the early small (9"?) CRT displays and some of the early LCD that looked like native VGA, but not the systems themselves.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

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