Something happened. You don’t know what. But now, all of a sudden, your POS system won’t do what it’s been doing all day. Lines are getting longer, patience is getting shorter, and the last thing you want to do is sit on hold on the phone.
To say it’s a stressful situation is an understatement. Let’s avoid that situation with five helpful fixes to common POS problems from Total Merchant Supply. We have been in business for 20 years and counting. In that time, we have seen a whole host of tech calls from customers freaking out, convinced their POS system is possessed or is about to die on them—only to find out that a simple fix cleared it up in no time. Knowing how to do point-of-sale troubleshooting for these problems yourself can save you the time and stress of waiting to talk to tech support. While there is no guarantee these solutions will solve the problem every time it happens, it will ensure that when you do have to call the tech support line, it is for a legitimate concern.
Issue: The Thermal POS Receipt Printer Is Only Printing Blank Receipts
You just changed the receipt paper. You tell the POS software to print a customer’s receipt. The printer prints out a piece of paper that appears to be the right length of a customer’s receipt, but it is completely blank.
Solution: Make sure the roll of paper you just loaded into the printer is a thermal receipt paper roll. If it is, then take the paper roll out, flip it over, load it back into the printer.
Two things could cause this issue. Either you put in a kitchen impact paper roll into the thermal receipt printer, or you loaded the thermal receipt paper roll into the printer upside down.
Issue: Cannot Enter Descriptions or Quantities Into Any Field in the POS Software
You want to search for a customer by name, or you want to enter the number “12” as the number of items to sell, but the software won’t let you. You tap the touch screen, trying to type on the on-screen keyboard or number pad, but nothing shows up. Alternatively, a repeating letter or number instantly fills the field as soon as you select it.
Solution: Check all the USB ports. Find the external keyboard and unplug it.
Another way to troubleshoot this common POS problem is to check if something is sitting on the keyboard and holding down a key. This forces a constant command to the computer and does not allow the computer to react to any other command.
Issue: Orders Sent to the Kitchen Are Not Printing at the Kitchen Printer, the Printer Is On
It’s a busy night. Many orders are coming in, and the kitchen printer was working just fine a minute ago. Now, error messages show up on the POS stations, or kitchen orders go to other kitchen printers. Nothing is printing to the right kitchen printer. That kitchen printer is on and the cables to it are firmly connected.
Solution: Press the power button to turn off the kitchen printer. Hold down the feed button, then press the power button to turn the kitchen printer back on. Release the feed button.
You just performed what is called a print dump. The kitchen printer will print out its specs, then a print test. Just like a computer, kitchen printers have memory. Sometimes, for several reasons, this memory gets bogged down. By performing a print dump, you clear out the printer’s memory. This gives it a clean slate to accept print jobs from the POS system again.
Issue: You Just Dropped a New Roll of Thermal Paper Into the Thermal POS Printer, and the Lid Will Not Close
You are printing something with a customer standing right in front of you. Half a receipt prints out. In one swift motion, you pull out the receipt, pop open the printer lid, grab a new receipt paper roll, and drop it in. You slam the lid down but it bounces back up. The lid will not go down, and you need to print something now!
Solution: SLOW DOWN! Take out the new roll. Then take the old receipt paper core out. Drop the new paper roll in. Close the printer lid slowly.
In your haste or stress, you forgot that every thermal paper roll has a plastic core. There is not enough room inside a thermal printer for a core and a new paper roll. So slow down and do not force anything, or you will only break it.
Issue: The Cash Drawer Will Not Open
You walk up to a POS station to check out a customer. The customer pays with cash. The amount of their change shows on the POS screen, but the cash drawer did not open for you to retrieve it.
Solution: Make sure the thermal printer is turned on and has paper in it. Then, check that the cash drawer is not locked.
A few things can cause a cash drawer not to open. Mainly, it’s the thermal printer. The cash drawer plugs directly into the thermal printer, and the printer controls the cash drawer, not the POS computer. When the printer is off, the cash drawer won’t open. Also, many thermal printers won’t allow the cash drawer to open if there is a paper error, like if the thermal printer is very low or out of paper. Replacing the paper roll will fix this. Lastly, a lot of cash drawers have locks on them. If the lock is turned to the left, the cash drawer is locked. Use the key and turn it back to the right to unlock.
We all want sales to go smoothly, and no one ever wants to deal with a random issue in the POS system. But sooner or later, something will gum up the works. If these solutions don’t fix the problem, then you can be assured the issue does require a tech call. Total Merchant Supply can also help with our expert knowledge. We can fix several printer and cash drawer problems. Contact us to see if we can help. Of course, if all else fails, turn it off and back on again!