Advancing Electrical Technology

Changing electrical advancements have included changes in the way cash registers work.  In fact, I am unsure if “cash register” is still an accurate description of the modern version of determining your bill at the check-out counter.  Maybe it’s no longer called the check-out counter anymore, either.

The old style cash register could pretty much be placed on a counter at any given spot and used as it was.  As the cash registers became electronically controlled, wiring and grounding became necessary – limiting their movement from where they were installed.  When bar code scanners were introduced the grounding requirements became more involved.

For the bar code scanners we had to run new circuits that would not pick up any stray currents that would interfere with the working of the scanners.

In one installation, the location of the scanner was 60 feet away from the circuit source.  The store was already in existence and was sitting on a concrete slab.  Since there was no basement, I could not run a ground wire underneath the floor.

I drilled a hole through the concrete slab and then drove a ground rod down to floor level.  I had no idea if there were any man-made and/or installed impediments below.  I was hoping that I would not “interdict” any gas lines, water lines, sewer lines, etc. with my ground rod.

I wondered why they couldn’t make a better system of wiring within the scanner itself so that the external grounding would not be necessary.  As usual with all of my good ideas, within a few years the manufacturers of the bar code scanners had done just that.

Of course, that necessitated replacement of all of the old scanners.  I guess you sell more equipment that way.   If you remember back a few of these blogs – (well more than a “few”) – that’s what happened with the bowling pin setter machines.

As the saying goes; “That’s the cost of progress.”

I have in my office an early vestige of such progress.  In wiring hotel rooms in the area, I saw how wiring operations have changed over the years.  Hanging in some rooms there used to be a sign indicating the progress of electrical technology.  The sample I have reads:

“This room is equipped with Edison Electric Light.  Do not attempt to light with match.  Simply turn key on wall by the door.  The use of Electricity for lighting is in no way harmful to health, nor does it affect the soundness of sleep.”

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