Power’s Probably the Problem

Cheap Power Strip

I wish someone could sit in my seat all day and see just how many calls The Computer Peeps get that seem to be issues with consignment software, tag printers, receipt printers, etc…only to find, it was a power-related issue.

Power — it’s essentially everything.  In a consignment store, you might not always have the *best* power available.  Whether it’s a limited amount of outlets, older buildings with older wiring, or outlet location (which means things like jewelry case lighting, vacuums, fans, etc. are plugged-in where computers are plugged-in), power-related issues are probably one of the most common calls we receive.

First, here’s a list of some do’s and don’ts:

  • Avoid those cheap, white, plastic power strips (notice I didn’t call it a surge strip) like the plague.  Many of them don’t work and if you have thermal tag printers, thermal receipt printers, and/or laser printers plugged-in to these, they can easily be overwhelmed, which causes your printers to stop working…which depending on your consignment software, causes it to crash or misbehave.
  • Don’t use extension cords for printers or computers.
  • Make sure each computer is on a managed battery backup — i.e. one that has a USB cable and software that will email you when there’s a power alert.  This alone, has helped us identify issues such as printers plugged-in to a battery backup, so we can help our customers avoid bigger issues down the road.
  • Never plug-in fans, printers, lamps, vacuums, or anything other than your computer, its monitor, and its USB hub to a battery backup.

Your electrical setup is your foundation.  On top of that, your computers, printers, and consignment software all reside.  Unstable/overloaded/unreliable power = unstable/unreliable systems.  All of the above can lead to Windows damage (which means your computer is down until Windows is repaired/restored/reinstalled), or even hardware damage…and if backups aren’t in place, now we’re talking about losing data, consignor info., sales history, etc.

If you do have to use a surge strip, The Computer Peeps recommend something like this APC SurgeArrest — notice it’s rated for over 3,000 Joules.

For battery backups, The Computer Peeps recommend CyberPower in conjunction with their PowerPanel Business Edition software.  Furthermore, label your battery backup like this — you’d be amazed how many issues this prevents:




I am a Software Developer, System Administrator, and consignment software specialist. I currently manage hundreds of consignment workstations, point of sale systems, and database servers all across North America and I am the developer of Peeps' Software, Peeps2Go, and Peeps' Consignor Login for iOS and Android. I've been helping consignment & resale store-owners since 2003. I started The Computer Peeps in February of 2010. Peeps' Software launched in 2016 and is now on hundreds of systems all across North America. I have successfully converted dozens of stores from all of the major consignment software systems. After 20 years of working with consignment stores, I understand the unique challenges consignment & resale store-owners face. From electrical issues in old buildings or strip malls, to advocating for them when their old consignment software keeps crashing.

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