General Information


Why do I need to do stocktake?

The simple answer is that you need to do stocktakes to make sure that your business is operating profitably.  Your stock (which can also be called your inventory) is basically anything that your business makes or buys to sell or trade, or changes into other products or goods for sale or trade.  An annual stocktake is an essential part of inventory control and it’s the best way to keep track of your stock.  Stocktaking involves physically counting all of your stock so you can find out exactly what you have, and its value.  Once you’ve counted your inventory, you can compare it to your previous stocktake, which lets you see which of your products are selling, and which are not.  A stocktake will also identify lost, stolen, or damaged items, which you may be able to write off as a loss.  Stocktaking can help you to identify stock control issues and areas of your business that need to improve in order to be more profitable.  In the day-to-day running of your business, you can easily lose track of which products are winners and which products you could probably do without.  Nothing brings your finances into focus like a good stocktake – it’s a great opportunity to analyse your sales and profits and revise any pricing strategies that aren’t generating maximum profit for you.


What barcode symbology should I use?

The best barcode to use depends greatly on how you’re intending to use it.  Barcode fonts are great, but none of them are as simple to use as changing the font of a block of text in Microsoft Word.


Code 39 is probably the simplest font, but you need to add an asterisk before and after the barcode.  So, to print a barcode that says 1234, you need to specify it as *1234* – the asterisks are turned into special “start and stop” characters that are needed to create a valid Code 39 barcode.  If you don’t add them, what you end up with may look like a barcode, but it won’t be valid and the barcode scanner will not scan it.


Code 128 can create shorter barcodes than Code 39, but you need to add calculated check-digits into the code, so it’s not possible without some kind of helper application, or a dedicated barcode printing software package.  If the correct check-digits and Code 128 specific start and stop characters (not asterisks like Code 39) are not there, the barcode will not be readable.


UPC/EAN product barcodes are also available as a font, but they’re quite like Code 128 in that they need a special start code, a special code in the middle, and a special stop code, as well as needing a calculated check-digit.  Again, leave the important bits out and it won’t work.


Most other barcodes are similar, and not easy to create by hand.


If you want to occasionally make a word document with a couple of barcodes in it that you’re going to type in by hand, AND you want to print it on an A4 sheet of plain paper in a laser printer, AND you don’t need anything in the barcode other than numbers and upper case letters (no spaces or lower case letters or punctuation), then a Code 39 font is probably easiest, since all you need to do is add an asterisk at each end of the code.  Sizing the font to 24-point will probably give you something readable.  ASP has our own Code 39 font – Just drop us a line for more information.


If you need to print a few sticky labels, I think some of the cheap label-makers that office equipment suppliers stock have barcode capability.  You need to think about the application as the durability of these labels may not be suitable – ASP can also guide you through that as well.  At the other end of the scale, dedicated barcode label printers and label printing software can churn out quality labels all day long every day.


Otherwise, if you just want to contact us and let us know exactly what you want to create and where the data that you want to print is coming from, we can probably come up with something workable for you.


We’re currently writing an eguide on everything barcodes including QR Code but we hope this has assisted you for now.  Please check back in a few months.


At the end of the day if the pickers have not completed the order, can the picking details be saved until the next day. At the moment they log out of ASPluris each night which I think is clearing out their pick quantities. If they stay logged into ASPluris but just logout as a user will the pick quantities remain until the following day when they finish picking the order?

While an order is being picked, the pick is stored in the physical scanner that is being used.  Provided that they use the same scanner, they can continue scanning the next day.


Does ASPluris support Two Dimensional Barcodes?

It depends on what you are wanting to achieve.  Here are the factors

  1. Firstly you will need a units that has an imager rather than a laser.  As an example the DT-X200 has a 10E model which uses a laser engine and a 20E which uses an imager.  2D scanners using an imager can read standard barcodes [in any orientation] and can read most 2D codes.
  2. If the client is just using the 2D code as an identifier ie just like a standard barcode but in a 2D code, then ASPluris supports that out of the box but needs an imager to read the 2D code.
  3. If the client has other data in the 2D code other than just the identifier [a QR Code which is a form of 2D can have more than 5000 characters] such as serial number or batch number or both or anything else, then we will need to understand the requirements.  Once we know that, we will be able to match the functionality in ASPluris to the specific requirements.
  4. You can find more information on QR Code which is a form of 2D here https://www.qrcode.com


Mobile phone bands in Australia

If you’re considering adopting a 3G/4G Wireless Wide Area Network [WWAN] solution for your rugged handheld terminals, here are the bands in use in Australia, and which carriers are using them.  Not all rugged terminals are equipped with every band, so check the brochure or contact one our fantastic sales staff who will provide all the information you need to make the right choice.  If your organisation is locked into using only a certain carrier, then let ASP manage your data plans if they need to be with another carrier.

Note that all carriers have announced their intention to drop 3G over the next few years and move those frequencies/bands to 4G and 5G.



Is my company too small to need a stocktake?

As long as you are carrying stock you are never too small to conduct stocktakes.  What you need to determine is the method and investment.  If you are a smaller organisation then a simple paper based systems will only cost you time.  The range in cost of automated systems can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars for a larger automated systems using barcode or RFID running on a wireless infrastructure.  If time is money then investing in an automated system should give you a fast return on investment [ROI].


Is it better to use software or is paper good enough?

There are two parts to a stocktake – the physical counting, and the analysis.  Yes, you could count your stock and record the counts on sheets of paper, and some businesses still do, but it can be stressful and very labour intensive, and until you enter the counts into a computer, you won’t be able to analyse it properly anyway.  With paper stock count sheets, you need to go to each stock item, write the item code or description down on the sheet, then count the items and write that count onto the sheet.  Then, you need to take the sheets back to a computer, and enter the item codes and counts into your accounting program (like MYOB or QuickBooks) or perhaps into a spreadsheet.  Does that sound like much fun to you?  The alternative is to use a barcode scanner.  Most items now days have a barcode label on them already, but even if your products don’t, you can easily make your own labels with a computer, a laser printer, and pre-cut laser label sheets, and attach them to your products.  There are two main types of barcode scanners – devices that connect directly to a PC (or notebook) via a cable or Bluetooth, and self-contained portable battery powered units with their own display and keypad.  With the first type of barcode scanner, you scan the barcodes on your stock directly into your accounting program or spreadsheet, then type in the count.  With the second type of barcode scanner, you take a small handheld device around with you, scanning barcodes and typing in quantities on the barcode scanner itself, then bring the barcode scanner back to your computer and download all the collected stocktake information into your accounting program or spreadsheet.  With this type of barcode scanner, each person conducting the stocktake would have their own barcode scanners, which will allow the stocktake to be finished much sooner.


Different levels of solutions for different operations/objectives, explained

Your business records could be as simple as a paper notebook where you record each item you sell.  Or, you could be using a spreadsheet that you’ve developed yourself, or a Quicken, Reckon, or MYOB small business accounting program, all the way up to a full ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, or a WMS (Warehouse Management System).  Whatever you’re using, you need a system of inventory control.  And inventory control starts with a stocktake.  As we’ve described above, the biggest time and effort saver when stocktaking is collecting the stock counts electronically, and this usually means using barcodes.  Barcodes are most easily read with a barcode scanner, and these can scan barcodes directly into a computer, or a shelf, row, or even a whole warehouse of scans and counts can be collected and then brought back to a computer.  If you are keeping your business records on a spreadsheet on a notebook or PC, a stocktaking system might consist of a barcode scanner that plugs directly into the computer, and allows you to scan the item barcodes directly into the spreadsheet, then type in the count on the notebook or PC’s keyboard.  This system has the disadvantage that you need to bring the notebook or PC to the stock.  A step up from this simple solution would be to use a portable barcode scanner, which you take to the stock, scan the item’s barcode, then count the items and enter the count into the portable barcode scanner.  After you’ve finished the stocktake (or a section of it), you bring the portable barcode scanner back to your notebook or PC and download all the collected data into your spreadsheet.  If you’re using a small business accounting system, the barcode scanning options are pretty similar to the previous paragraph, except that many of these accounting systems don’t provide an easy way to import stocktaking data into the accounting system.  Usually, stocktaking with these systems will involve downloading the collected stocktaking data to a text file on the computer, then using the accounting program’s import functions to bring the data in.  Or, sometimes the supplier of the barcode system will provide a custom program that directly downloads the stocktake data from the barcode scanner into the accounting system.  Full blown ERP or WMS systems are usually similar to small business accounting systems as far as bringing the stocktake data from the barcode scanner into the system.  Once the stocktaking data is in your accounting system, you will be able to generate reports and analyse the data.  You’ll be able to see how many of each item you’ve sold, whether there’s anything missing (ie the difference between the stock count and how many items the computer thought you had), and lots of other useful information.


Where do I start?

The First place to start is ASP Microcomputers! Talk to us about your requirements and we will be happy to discuss the options available that will meet your needs and your budget.


What needs to be in place before I start my stocktake?

Before you start your stocktake, it is important to have a plan of action. Will you be counting all your stock at once? Will you be taking stock from your shelves to fulfil your customers’ requirements while the stocktake is in progress? It is also important to know at the onset what you will do with your data! If you are using an accounting or ERP system, you want to ensure that the data is available in the correct format and structure. Have a chat to our friendly staff at ASP Microcomputers and we’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction, so that your stocktake will be a cinch (and maybe even a little enjoyable!).


Do I need to barcode all my inventory?

It’s not necessary that each item in your stock has a barcode! You may wish to only label shelf or bin locations with barcodes to identify the stock that is being stored there. Once the barcode is scanned, just count the number of individual items and register that count in the scanner.


How do I print barcode labels?

Barcode labels can be printed in a number of different ways. Ranging from a simple barcode font that can be used in Windows programs like Word or Excel and printed on your desktop laser printer, to dedicated barcode printing software which allows for the use of different label formats and templates.  Other considerations are the size and material of the label.  If you are printing location labels then it may be worthwhile to engage a specialist as these labels need to be long lasting.

Check out our ‘Barcode Labels and Tags’ webpage for more information.

Barcode Labels and Tags


Do I need to physically count all my inventory?

Ultimately, the purpose of a stock take is to ensure the quantities of items you have at hand match with your records and expectations. While there are some items which may not need to be included in a stocktake, it is always the option of staggering the count so you do not have to count all of your inventory in one go.


How often do I need to do a stocktake?

One stocktake as close as possible to the end of the financial year is a legal requirement for most organisations to determine the value of their stock for tax purposes.  However there are other business reasons why you would conduct a stocktake more often such as identifying if stock is being stolen or damaged.  Stocktakes can be done as frequently as daily where you would do a spot check on one item.  Weekly stocktakes may involve an isle or set number of items.  Organisations in the past needed to close down or do the stocktake after hours or on a weekend if they were only being done annually but nowadays more frequent stocktakes are the norm.


Can the process be totally paperless?

Other than printing the barcode labels, which will be on paper, if you intend to do it totally paperless then yes you can.  It depends on your process.  For example you may want to use barcode sheets containing the item barcode and location barcode rather than scanning the actual item or location barcode which could be damaged and difficult to scan.  Do you want to generate a variance report and check the items yourself knowing there won’t be too many and you don’t have access to the barcode terminal?  You may be more comfortable using paper in some cases as it’s the first time you are using software to do it.  It really depends on you but yes it can be totally paperless.


Do I need to close my doors to conduct a stocktake?

There are various modes and frequencies of conducting a stocktake such as daily, weekly, monthly or annually.  If you are doing more frequent stocktakes then typically you don’t need to close your doors but you do need to close off the stock you are counting to ensure you get an accurate count.  For those who undertake a stocktake annually, which is typically as close to the end of the financial year as practicable, then it is usual to lock down the stock and cease the movement of stock coming in or going out.  Using an automated system such as a portable barcode terminal and stocktake software will dramatically reduce the time to conduct the stocktake and therefore saving you money in areas such as labour costs.  The return on investment [ROI] on the stocktake solution will be quick.


Can more than one person stocktake?

Yes.  Any number of people can stocktake and depends on how much stock you are counting and how quickly you want or need to complete the stocktake.  Each person can be assigned a section or isle or category or even time, it depends on how you want to manage them.  It’s important for your software to be able to allocate the stock to be counted by the respective person and for the count to be uploaded to the PC from each of the barcode terminals.


How do I know that I haven’t already counted or someone else has already counted an item?

Once you have counted an item which could be in its own location or in a bin containing multiple items then it’s standard practice to mark the item or bin with a bright visible sticker to indicate it has been counted.  Also if you are using an automated system and barcode reader ensure that the software has a function to indicate that the item has already been counted.


How does dedicated stocktake software differ from say a smartphone app?

Stocktaking may seem like a simple process but there are a lot of catches which can end up taking you more time to fix if your software hasn’t been thought through.  Considerations when choosing dedicated stocktake vs smartphone apps is;

i. Is the application well documented so you can determine it will do everything you need it to

ii. Is there someone you can talk to if you have any questions

iii. Can you see a demonstration of the software or even be able to trial it yourself

iv. Where is the company supplying the software located

Then there’s the hardware.  Is it a phone or is it barcode reader!  Barcode terminals are specifically designed to read barcodes.  They are lightweight, ergonomic and above all rugged to be able to handle the situations usually encountered on the shop floor where they may be dropped from a height or treated just how they should be – like a tool.  The most important consideration is the scanning performance.  A smartphone can scan via the camera and requires precise alignment and focus and often takes seconds to scan where a barcode terminal can scan hundreds of barcodes ever few seconds, and although your fingers aren’t that quick it is extremely fast compared to a smartphone.


13 important considerations of stocktaking

  • Plan, Plan, Plan
  • Be organised – stocktaking is a hectic and process driven activity
  • Safety first – bringing in contractors, heavy items, using lifting gear etc
  • Adequate supervision – always be on hand to resolve any issues or clarify any areas of concern
  • Clean and tidy
  • Prepare resources and equipment
  • Training to staff who will be counting
  • Pre Meeting with staff to ensure roles and responsibilities
  • Post Meeting to review and identify areas of improvement
  • Notify your customers
  • Document the process
  • Check equipment such as barcode terminals are working
  • If renting barcode equipment order well in advance


5 misconceptions about stocktaking

  • It takes too long
  • It’s too difficult
  • I can do it another time
  • I don’t need to do it
  • I’ll guess the value of my stock


What are the risks or implications for not doing a stocktake?

  • Stock being stolen or damaged could go undetected
  • Stock shrinkage – Inadvertently sending out more stock than you should ie one box of ten instead of one item
  • Stock value and cost of sale could be misstated in tax and financial reports
  • Customer satisfaction is effected
  • Running out of stock effecting sales turnover
  • Carrying too much stock or the wrong stock effecting profit
  • Not identifying slow moving or obsolete stock
  • Not identifying trends that may become a problem
  • Incorrect reordering of items and quantities


After Installation Error: Client found response content type of ‘text/htim; charset=utf-8’, but expected ‘tex

After installing ASPluris, the scanner may show an error message saying:

Client found response content type of ‘text/htim; charset=utf-8’, but expected ‘text/xml’.

When running the following URL https://localhost:5172/ in the browser on the PC where ASPluris is installed, the following error may be displayed:

HTTP Error 500.21 - Internal Server Error
Handler "StaticFile" has a bad module "StaticFileModule" in its module list

Go to the “Turn Windows features on off” in the programs and features section of the Windows Control Panel.

Untick the default document option and press OK.

Go back to the “Turn Windows features on off” in Programs and Features and tick the following items:

on Windows 10, or

on Windows 7.
Click the OK button, and once completed, open IIS and navigate to ASPluris V2.3, then click on the restart button.


How many days back does ASPluris look for uncompleted orders?

ASPluris does not restrict orders by time. Instead, the system downloads all orders that have not been completed. Uncompleted orders are those that have one or more lines that have not been picked.


How can I fully reset my barcode terminal?

You will not normally need to perform a full reset on your barcode terminal. You should contact ASP before doing so.

Resetting the terminal will definitely cause any un-submitted data to be lost, and it cannot be recovered. However, data already submitted to ASPluris will not be lost, and programs and settings that are stored in the Flash ROM should be unaffected.

Use the stylus to press the reset button on the back of the terminal. This starts the reset operation. Do not use a toothpick or pencil or other sharp object whose tip may break off the reset button.


When I edit the ASPluris configuration file with NotePad (or another text editor), my changes do not take effect, or I get an error message when I save my changes.

Because the ASPluris Service is a system program, the ASPluris configuration file cannot be changed unless your text editor is running in Administrator mode.

The easiest way to do this is to right-click on your editor’s icon and select Run As Administrator from the menu that pops up, then open the ASPluris configuration file and make your changes.

Unfortunately, some text editors do not detect this problem, and simply don’t save your changes instead of displaying an error message.


Why is ASPluris asking for key to be entered if I have already registered it?

If any hardware or network changes have been made on your PC/server, the program may detect this and create a different Hardware Finger Print, which will require a new (re-activation) key to be entered.


Is ASPluris Windows 10 compatible?

Yes. ASPluris is compatible with Windows Vista and later desktop operating systems, and Windows Server 2008 and later server operating systems.

ASPluris is not compatible with Windows XP or earlier, or Server 2003 or earlier.


What is a CAL? How many CALs do I require?

A CAL is a Client Access Licence. You need one CAL for every barcode terminal that you will use at the same time.

The ASPluris server has a “pool” of licences (ie CALs). Each time a terminal logs in, the server checks first to see if that terminal has already been granted a licence. If it has, the terminal is allowed to log in. If not, the server then checks to see if there are any “free” licences available. If so, that terminal is granted a licence, and the terminal is allowed to log in Otherwise, the terminal is refused.

So, if the server has five licences (CALs), and five terminals have logged in, a sixth terminal will be refused. However, it is possible to “release” an existing licence, and the sixth terminal could then log on. The “released” terminal would then be refused.


Does ASPluris need to be installed on the same server that Ostendo is running on?

The main reason for recommending that ASPluris be installed on the same server as the Ostendo database is performance – ASPluris will run faster and more efficiently on the same server.

If you install ASPluris on a different server, that server must have a TCP/IP connection to the server running the Ostendo database.


Can ASPluris work over a 3G/4G connection?

Yes. You can either use a barcode terminal with 3G/4G capability, or use a “Pocket Wi-Fi Modem” from one of the mobile phone companies.


Can ASPluris work offline?

The barcode terminal only needs to connect to the ASPluris server when selecting what you want to work on, and when updating.

For example, if you want to perform a Stocktake, you need to be within Wi-Fi range when you select the Stock Count to work on, but you can then move out of Wi-Fi range while you do the count.

You will need to come back within Wi-Fi range to Submit the count.


How do I update the ABM Remote Transaction Processor (RTP)?

The first thing to consider is whether you should update the RTP.  Some updates to the service require the service and/or the scanner program to be updated as well, so you should take a whole-system approach to updates.  Read the release notes for more information.

If you do decide to update the RTP, the latest V2.3x version is always available from this URL:



How do I update the ABM service?

The first thing to consider is whether you should update the service.  Some updates to the service require the RTP and/or the scanner program to be updated as well, so you should take a whole-system approach to updates.  Read the release notes for more information.

If you do decide to update the service, the latest V2.3x version is always available from this URL:

https://www.asp.com.au/downloads/aspluris/server/v2.3.0/abm/ASPluris V2.3.exe


How do I update the ASPluris scanner program?

The first thing to consider is whether you should update the scanner program.  Some scanner program updates require the PC service and/or the RTP to be updated as well, so you should take a whole-system approach to updates.  Read the release notes for more information.

If you do decide to update the ABM scanner program, follow these steps:

  1. Exit the ASPluris program on the scanner
  2. Start the program on the scanner. Make sure you don’t login in
  3. Click on the spanner/settings icon
  4. Click on the question mark icon
  5. Click on the update icon and follow the prompts


What happens when two (or more) scanners count the exact same physical items in the same physical location during a stocktake?

When a scanner counts an item, that count replaces the existing count.  If another scanner counts the same item in the same location, the count from that scanner will also replace the count from the first scanner.

For example, if you have a bin containing 56 of an item, and the first scanner counts 55, that’s what the ABM count will be set to.  If another scanner then counts the exact same item in the exact same bin, but counts 57, the count in ABM will be set to 57, replacing the previous scanner’s count.  What this effectively means is that the last scanner wins – its count replaces any other count.


How does the Multiple Databases configuration option work?

This option is used where, for accounting or other purposes, a company has two separate trading entities that share the same warehouse.

The following needs to be setup correctly:

  1. A separate database for each trading entity is required.
  2. The Warehouse and Locations must be the same in both databases (as they share the same physical locations). ASPluris will draw the locations only from the first database.
  3. The ABM users should be the same in both databases.
  4. Product codes have to be different in both databases.  The same product cannot exist in both databases.
  5. Orders (sales/receive etc) should have different prefixes for each database.

From the scanner operator point of view, everything will work as if there is only one large database.  Orders can be dispatched / combined and submitted etc.  The operator can pick orders based on a customer which could be multiple orders from different databases.  After picking, ASPLuris creates separate transactions for each database.

For order grouping, the customer/supplier names have to match.  Codes are looked up during the processing of the order so they can be different.  ASPluris works out which database needs to be processed based on the order number or product code (transfer etc), then the transaction is processed as per normal.


What does scanner error message “Unable to connect to company” mean?

Since this message beings with a colon, the error is coming from ABM, not from ASPluris.

This error can happen in two ways.  The first is that the user may not have the correct access privileges to allow them to perform the transaction.  This can be fixed by setting the correct access privileges in ABM and then refreshing the user list in ASPluris.

The second way that the error can occur is a bit more difficult to explain.  ABM has a hidden “control” database as well as the main SQL database.  The control database is not accessible to ASPluris.  When you add or remove users in ABM, ABM tries to keep these two databases in sync.  Unfortunately, this sometimes fails, and if the user is in the SQL database but not in the control database, the user will be denied permission to write transactions to ABM, and that is what this ASPluris error message is showing.

This synchronisation problem can usually be fixed by deleting the user with the problem from ABM then adding the user back in again.  This should result in the ABM databases resynchronising.  You can then refresh the user list in ASPluris.


How do I interpret error messages on the scanner?

If the first line of the error message begins with a colon, the error message has come from the ERP/WMS system rather than from ASPluris – the scanner is just passing the message on.


I have forgotten the ASPluris administration username and/or password. What can I do?

There is no way to recover a forgotten username or password.  However, if you delete (or rename) the file that contains the ASPluris usernames and passwords, you will be able to log on using the default username and password.

Unfortunately, if you have set up any other ASPluris administrator accounts, those accounts will be removed when you delete or rename this file.

Navigate to the C:\ProgramData\ASP Microcomputers\ASPluris V2.3\ folder and locate the accounts.ds file.  Rename this file by adding .old to the end of the filename.


What is NFC?

NFC (or Near Field Communication), is a very short-range wireless RFID technology. NFC is meant for applications where a physical touch, or close to it, is required in order to maintain security, such as payment and ticketing applications.

All models of our new Casio IT-800 PDA have an integrated NFC smart card reader/writer compliant with ISO14443 Type A/Type B cards and compatible with FeliCa technology.


What is RFID?

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves.

RFID can be used in a variety of applications, such as:

  • Access control
  • Tracking of goods
  • Public transport ticketing
  • Toll collection and contactless payment
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Libraries
  • Passports and travel documents
  • Identification of patients and hospital staff
  • Airport baggage tracking
  • Loyalty systems
  • Race timing
  • Ski resorts and ski-lift ticketing

There are many types of RFID tags, from contactless NFC smart cards used for ticketing applications, with a range of less than a couple of centimetres, all the way to windscreen mounted eTags used on toll roads, able to read a car travelling at 100kph with a range of up to 10 metres.


Can I order directly from the web site?

Unfortunately, not at this time.

In the meantime, please ring our friendly sales team on 03 9578 7600.


How do I register ASPluris?

To register the ASPluris service, go to the computer where the service is installed. Open a web browser (for example, Internet Explorer), then type the following URL into the address bar:


Click on the Registration link at the bottom to display the ASPluris Registration Form.

To register the service, or to enter a new registration code to enable more users or different modules, you need to provide the Hardware Fingerprint and the name of the company that the service will be registered to.

This information, together with the number of users you want to have and which modules you want to use, will be used to create a Registration Code for this installation.

When you enter the Registration Name and the Registration Code into the fields at the bottom of this screen, the ASPluris Web Service will be registered and the licenced number of users and the licenced modules will be enabled.

Note that Registration Codes are specific to a particular program, the computer the program is running on, and the name the program is registered under. You cannot use a registration code on any other computer, or for any other program.

Please see the section starting on page 2 of your ASPluris Installation Manual.


What is a Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)?

Australia’s electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) regulations impose compliance labelling and record-keeping requirements for the supply of almost all electrical and electronic products.

The objective of the regulations is to minimise the risk of unintentional electromagnetic interference from products which may affect the performance of other electrical products or disrupt communications services.

The EMC regulations require that, prior to supplying a product to the Australian market, suppliers must ensure that the product complies with the applicable standards. Suppliers can then apply a compliance label, which is called a Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)rcm_image gif, an example of which is shown on the right.

You can be assured that where compliance is required, ASP has taken care of it. If you are an overseas client, you can discuss your local regulatory requirements with us.


What do I need to do about ISBN-13?

For schools using ASP’s barcode scanners with SCIS, the simple answer is probably nothing at all.

What we used to call just ISBN is now called ISBN-10, and this is the 10 digit code that is printed at the top of an ISBN barcode. An example is shown on the left below.


The ISBN barcode on the right above is what people are calling an ISBN-13 barcode. You’ll notice that the ISBN-13 code is exactly the same as the number underneath the barcode. And if you look even more closely, you’ll see that the only difference between the two example barcodes is what’s printed at the top.

So, as you can see, ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 are really just different ways of looking at the same thing. Every ISBN barcode with a number underneath that starts with “978” has both a 13 digit ISBN-13 code, and a 10 digit ISBN-10 code that is derived from the full 13 digit barcode number.

Barcode scanners, by default, output the 13 digit number at the bottom of an ISBN barcode. If ISBN (or SCIS) mode is turned on, the barcode scanner will translate the 13 digit number at the bottom of the barcode into the 10 digit ISBN-10 code at the top. This is how your barcode scanner is configured now.

Most likely, you only need to scan the ISBN code for use with SCIS. SCIS say that they allow either ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 codes to be used, so it really doesn’t matter if your scanner outputs the 10 digit code or the 13 digit code when the ISBN barcode is scanned.

So, you really don’t need to do anything at all about ISBN-13 – everything will work now just as it has in the past.


ISBN-13 example If you’re still reading, you’re probably thinking “why did they bother changing if ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 are really the same thing?”. The answer is that, sometime in the future, ISBN-13 barcodes that start with “979” (as shown on the right) will be released, and these codes do not have a 10 digit equivalent – they are 13 digit only.
The good news is that because these barcodes start with “979” instead of “978”, your barcode scanner will already read them properly by just outputting the whole 13 digit code, which is exactly what you want.


As long as SCIS accepts both ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 codes, it really doesn’t matter whether your barcode scanner outputs 10 digits or 13 digits, which is why you probably don’t need to change anything.

Other Applications

However, at some time in the future, SCIS may change this policy. If they do, or if you use your scanner with ISBN codes and an application other than SCIS that only accepts 13 digit ISBN codes, you can easily turn off ISBN/SCIS mode.

Here’s what you need to do to configure two of our most popular scanners:

If you have an ASP Portable Barcode Reader or Z4 DataTraq, with either a wand or a Barcode Zapper, you need to press the FUNC key on the unit’s keypad. The display will then change to “Function:”. Press the 0 key then the 4 key, then press the ENTER five times until you get to the screen that says “Convert “978” EAN-13 to ISBN?”. There will be a Y or N in the upper right corner of the display – Y means ISBN mode is turned on, N means it is turned off. Press the NO key on the keypad to turn it off, then press ENTER twice more to return to the normal display.

If you have an ASP Barcode Zapper plugged directly into your computer via USB or a keyboard connection, you need to find your original manual, turn to the page entitled “ISBN (SCIS) Conversion”, and follow the instructions to disable ISBN/SCIS conversion.

If you need help reconfiguring your barcode scanner, please ring our support department (with your barcode scanner nearby!), and we’ll be pleased to help you.


What is the C-Tick Framework?

Australia’s C-Tick framework has now been replaced with the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) system.


Will someone from ASP come and see me?

It depends on the nature of your project, and we suggest you start by giving us a call. In most cases, time-consuming or intrusive sales visits are not required because our experienced Sales Staff will promptly and skilfully assist you by phone or email. They may also suggest a visit to ASP to get you away from day to day pressures, allow us to expose you to a variety of solutions, and allow us to call in our specialist staff as we help work out your real needs. In other cases a site visit, or multi person phone conference, will let us understand your specific situation and fast track to the best course of action.


Why ASP?

Back in 1977 when ASP was founded, we had business name after business name rejected. The problem was name similarities – everyone was using ‘Systems’ and ‘Group’ and ‘Computer’, and by then ‘Apple’ was already taken!

So a list of short sharp aggressive names was prepared and taken to the Business Names Office – ‘We’re not leaving until you give us a name!’

Top of the list was ‘ASP’, so ASP it became (the line of least resistance for the clerk at the counter).


How do I send equipment in for repairs?

Pack up your equipment carefully, and send it to us at:

ASP Microcomputers
14 Business Park Drive,
Notting Hill, VIC, 3168
Ph: 03 9578 7600

Please include a cover letter explaining any errors or faults you have experienced with the unit, or that you would like a general service. Don’t forget to include your contact details!

We will evaluate the equipment, then contact you with a quote (either by fax, email or phone). Before we can proceed with the repair, you will need to let us know that you want to go ahead.

If you choose not to go ahead with the repair, there will be a fee of $66 to cover our evaluation and administration costs. Extra charges will apply for additional units.


What’s a barcode symbology?

Over the years a number of different types of barcodes, or “symbologies” have been developed for various applications. Each of these types has its strengths and weaknesses, and specific rules about its construction. A Barcode Decoder is programmed to “decode” these rules when it reads a barcode so that the output is the ASCII characters that the barcode symbol was intended to represent. An example is the supermarket codes called UPC in the USA, APN in Australia, JAN in Japan, and EAN in Europe. These are all numeric only codes related to each other. They allow identification of the country and manufacturer. Code 128 can represent numbers, letters, and even control characters. Code 39 can represent numbers and letters, and is common in libraries.

ASP will be happy to assist you with make the most appropriate choice of symbology.


What’s in a barcode?

Information which is encoded in its white spaces and black bars. These are decoded by a scanner’s engine or decoder according to preset rules, sent to the PC and appear as text on your screen.


How do I print my own barcodes?

You have several choices. If you need to produce runs of sticky barcode labels we recommend ASP’s Label+, a program for you for your PC that allows you print barcodes with your laser (best) or inkjet (adequate) printer. Use the program in conjunction with ASP’s range of special die-cut peel and stick label sheets.

If you need to print barcodes within documents, use one of ASP’s range TrueType Barcode Fonts.

Finally, if your needs are more “industrial”, ASP has a great range of reliable dedicated Barcode Label Printers using Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal technology.

As ever, give us a call to discuss your application, and we’ll be happy to advise.

Check out our ‘Barcode Labels and Tags’ webpage for more information.

Barcode Labels and Tags


What’s an ISBN-13 barcode?

ISBN-13 barcodes are based on a book’s ISBN number. Found on the back of book covers or the inside cover of mass-market paperbacks, ISBN-13 barcodes are scanned at the cash register as well as at other points during distribution.

ISBN-13 barcodes will replace the older Bookland barcodes beginning January 1, 2007. Like Bookland barcodes, ISBN-13 barcodes are EAN-13 barcodes with a 5-digit supplemental code. The EAN-13 portion on the left encodes the ISBN number itself and the supplemental code on the right is used to encode the retail price.

What’s an ISBN?

Defined by ISO 2108, International Standard Book Numbers are a unique identifier assigned to each edition of every published book and book-like product. After January 1, 2007, ISBN’s will be a 13-digit number, as opposed to the older 10-digit format.

How is an ISBN-13 barcode different from a Bookland barcode?

ISBN-13 and Bookland barcodes are both used on books and look the same. The difference is the structure of the ISBN number used to make them. The older Bookland symbol was based on 10-digit ISBN numbers and always began with “978”. The newer ISBN-13 symbols are based on 13-digit ISBN’s. While they begin with “978” now, as the “978” number space is exhausted, ISBN’s beginning with “979” will be used. Important: Do not use a 979 prefix until directed to do so by an ISBN standards body.

How can ISBN-10 be converted to ISBN-13?

To convert an ISBN-10 to an ISBN-13, drop the last digit (the check digit) of the ISBN-10. The prefix “978” is added to the beginning of the now 9-digit number. The check digit is then recalculated using a mod 10 check digit routine.

Can I just add the “978” prefix to my ISBN-10 to turn it into an ISBN-13?

No. Although it is true that the ISBN-13 will be preceded by 978, the check digit (the last digit) will be dropped and another check digit will be calculated according to a new formula. This new check digit will then replace the old one.

What do publishers do with the ISBN-10s they haven’t used up by January 1, 2007?

Publishers should convert their remaining ISBN-10s to the equivalent ISBN-13 using the conversion formula.

So why the change?

This change to ISBN-13 expands the numbering capacity of the ISBN system and alleviates numbering shortages in certain areas of the world. It also aligns the book numbering system for books with the global EAN.UCC identification system used to identify most other consumer goods worldwide. The geeky answer is that ISBN-13 barcodes are now GTIN-compliant, like other items in the retail and distribution channel.

Will the barcode on the book be any different?

The barcode itself will not be different. What will change is the printing of the ISBN number right above the barcode. Both the old and new barcodes are EAN-13 symbols with a 5-digit supplemental code.

Who is affected? What has to be done?

Everyone who deals with books will be affected, including publishers, distributors, retailers, and libraries. Publishers will have to make sure that books are printed with the new ISBN-13 in the proper places on the cover, and that the barcode also has the correct ISBN printed over it.

In addition, the systems that a publisher uses will be affected; accounting, product information, production, supply systems, accounting, and contracts, for example. Similarly, retailers and trade partners will have to update all of the ISBNs stored in their databases, and may need to review their ordering systems, stock control, and accounting. Libraries will have to take into account all of the above, but will also have to keep old ISBNs on record in the event that a patron is searching for a book by ISBN-10. This means that library systems must be able to support both ISBN-10 and ISBN-13.

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone has to replace all of the old ISBNs that have already been printed with the new ISBN-13. The recommended method is to use dual numbering to facilitate the transition. This means including both the ISBN-10 and the ISBN-13 on books until January 1, 2007. Then the ISBN-10 will be dropped from the book covers, and only the ISBN-13 will remain.

What happens if a book is printed with the wrong ISBN on the cover?

There are two options: the book can be reprinted or the incorrect barcode can have a correctly barcoded sticker placed over it. If books have already left the publisher with an incorrect barcode, distributors and resellers should be notified of the error as quickly as possible.

Will books that have already been published need new ISBNs?

No, an existing book’s ISBN-10 can be converted to its ISBN-13 counterpart using the conversion formula. The ISBN and barcode do not need to be changed until the book is reprinted.


What is encoded on other magnetic stripe cards?

Almost universally, track two will hold the card number, and where used, the card expiry date.

What’s on the other tracks, if there’s anything at all, is totally up to the manufacturer.


What information is stored on a financial card?

Typically, a credit or debit card will use all three tracks, although only track two is needed for most non-bank applications.

Track two contains the card number, the expiry date, and some other bank-specific information.

Track one usually contains the card holder’s name, and the card number, along with other bank-specific information.

Track three is bank-specific.

The card’s PIN (Personal Identification Number) is not stored on the card.


What information can be stored on a magnetic stripe card?

The magnetic stripe card standard for financial cards (ie credit and debit cards) allow for three tracks, called, not surprisingly, tracks one, two and three.

Track one can contain up to 79 alpha numeric characters, while tracks two and three can contain up to 40 and 107 numeric characters respectively.

Note that track one is the only track in the financial card standard that can contain letters – the other tracks can contain numbers only.


What are high coercivity cards?

The magnetic strip on high coercivity cards (also called high energy cards) are made up of magnetic particles that are not easily altered by magnetic fields.

For example, when a high coercivity card comes into contact with items such as a magnetic screwdriver or magnetic clasp, the information on the card is far less likely to be affected, unlike standard low coercivity cards (also called low energy cards).

Although both types of cards can be read with standard magnetic stripe readers, different equipment is required to encode each type of card.


How can I read a Medicare card?

The card number and card expiry date information is encoded on track two, so you’ll need a track two magnetic stripe reader.

The data on a Medicare card is arranged in four fields, each separated by an = character. The first field can be ignored, the second field is the first nine characters of the card number, the third field is the tenth digit of the card number, and the final field is the card expiry date, in ddmmyy format.


Can a magnetic stripe reader read all the tracks on a card at once?

Yes. Most magnetic stripe readers today are manufactured to read all tracks, and can be configured to output any combination of tracks, such as track two only, tracks one and three, all tracks, and so on.


What’s a keyboard wedge interface?

This interface “wedges” itself in between your keyboard and a PC, and makes the PC think that the barcode scans are coming from the keyboard.

The Keyboard Wedge interface is less common nowdays because of the popularity of USB.


What software do I need for a scanner on my PC?

None if common interfaces such as USB or Keyboard Wedge are used, as the PC is “tricked” into seeing and barcode scan as keystrokes.

If you need to use a less common interface such as RS232, ASP’s ASPKey+ Utility Program can likewise trick your PC into thinking barcode scans have been typed in.

If unsure, please contact us for further advice.


How do I connect the scanner to my PC?

The most common connection is USB. Scanners with a USB connection simply plug into a USB port on your computer, and away you go!

If your PC doesn’t have a USB port, a Keyboard Wedge interface is the next choice – it connects between your keyboard and your PC.


Where can I download user manuals?

The manuals for most ASP equipment are available from our web site here. If you need a manual that isn’t listed, please leave us a message on our Contact Us page.

Please note that our manuals are in Adobe .PDF format – if you don’t already have the free Adobe reader, you can download it from Adobe’s web site.


How to stocktake with an ASP Portable Barcode Reader (PBCR) or Z4 DataTraq

Because of the vast differences between various hardware / software manufacturers, we cannot possibly describe how to use our PBCRs for stocktaking. We can however offer this breakdown of the usual stocktake procedure.

  1. Check the PBCR is fully charged. ASP ships PBCRs with charged batteries but it is still a good idea to leave them charging, whenever not in use, to ensure as little as possible downtime. The units are charged by connecting to a powered Homebase (the green ‘charge’ light should come on) but leaving the PBCR itself switched to the off position.
  2. Clear the PBCR’s memory (Function 19). This should be done after every successful download also.
  3. Scan the items in small sections. Eg. Shelves
  4. Bring the PBCR to the Homebase and connect, via the Homebase cable. Check the green light comes on.
  5. Prepare the program to accept a stocktake (see your software suppliers manual).
  6. Begin the download (function 11).
  7. Check the data, if the data has errors, check the ASP web site Support page for further assistance.
  8. If all is correct, return to step 2 as required.


How to set the output delays

  1. Press the “function” key then the number “05”. This will bring up the delay settings.
  2. “Char delay” should appear. Please set this to “7” if it isn’t already and then press enter to move on to the next delay.
  3. “CR Delay” should appear. please set this to “2”. Then press enter 5 times and “keybd delay” will appear.
  4. Keyboard delay should be set to “8”. Then press enter. Now you should be back to the start.
  5. Now try to download.
  6. If the delays are still to fast go back into the delay settings and change your keyboard delay to “15”.


My computer has been upgraded, and there’s nowhere to plug the homebase in

Your computer most likely now only has USB ports. We can supply a USB Homebase, but you’ll need to check first that your Z4 DataTraq (or Portable Barcode Reader) will work with it.

You can use ‘Function 00‘ to display the firmware version number – the number in the top right corner has to be at least 407.

If it is, then you can just purchase the USB Homebase, plug it in and you’re set. If it’s a lower number, please contact our service department – your unit may just need a simple firmware upgrade.


How many scans have I made?

To check on the number of scans stored in memory, just press and release the FUNC key, then press and release the 2 key, then press and release the 3 key. This is called ‘Function 23‘.


How do I know when memory is getting full?

To check on the amount of free and used memory, just press and release the FUNC key, then press and release the 1 key, then press and release the 0 key. This is called ‘Function 10‘.

The display will show something like this:

29 used,
31083 free

This means that 29 characters of memory are currently in use for storing barcodes, and 31,083characters of memory are still available. Each barcode stored takes up the number of characters in the barcode plus one character of overhead to mark the end of each barcode.


Why is my memory full?

The Z4 DataTraq (and earlier models like the Portable Barcode Reader) store every scan into memory, even when the unit is plugged into the PC.

To clear memory, just press and release the FUNC key, then press and release the 1 key, then press and release the 9 key. This is called ‘Function 19‘.

The display will prompt you to confirm that you really do want to clear memory – press the YESkey to clear memory.


Can I download the user manual?

Yes, of course! That manual, along with the manuals for most other ASP equipment, is available from our web site here.

Please note that our manuals are in Adobe .PDF format – if you don’t already have the free Adobe reader, you can download it from Adobe’s web site.


Can we upload an Excel file into it directly or do we have only manual entry as an option?

You need to save the Excel spreadsheet as a .csv file, and you can then import it using the Import Wizard.


Does AssetTraq run .csv files?

You can export and import data via .csv files, including your assets lists, locations and borrowers.


Do we have the option of being fully portable? i.e wireless all the way.

AssetTraq on portable barcode readers operates as a batch application. Connectivity to the database is required only when transferring the AssetTraq database to and from the scanner.

Starting with V2.5, AssetTraq supports wireless data transfer to and from the scanner.

All versions of AssetTraq support wireless connection to the database from a PC or a laptop/notebook computer.


Do we have to save to a hard drive for storage or can we upload to a network/terminal server?

The AssetTraq database can be stored on a local hard drive or on a server, as long as the PC running the AssetTraq PC program has connectivity to the database.

We do not support the AssetTraq PC Program in a Terminal Server environment. Instead, we recommend installing AssetTraq on each PC that requires access to the database, and storing the database on a server.

AssetTraq is licenced on a per PC basis, so you will need to establish how many PC’s will need to access the AssetTraq database. If there is just one user, then one licence is all that is needed. However, if the one user needs to access AssetTraq at multiple PC locations, then extra seat licences will be needed.


Can you please advise how we transfer the data?

To transfer an existing asset list into the AssetTraq PC program, save your assets list as a .csv format file, and then import to AssetTraq by using the Import Wizard.

To transfer data between the AssetTraq PC program and the portable barcode reader, go to the Data Transfer section of AssetTraq and follow the instructions on the screen.


What if two users try to edit the same asset at the same time?

The AssetTraq PC program protects you from the unlikely circumstance that two users try to edit the same asset at the same time, by checking the database again before saving any changes. If the database is not the same as it was when details of the asset were displayed on the screen, AssetTraq displays a message explaining that another user has changed the database, and your changes will not be saved.

As an example of why this might happen, consider if two users decided to change information for the same asset. Both users edit the asset, where the cost field and the serial number fields are currently blank, and on both screens, the same information is displayed. User 1 then changes the Cost field to $200, and saves the updated data. The asset information on User 2’s screen is now inaccurate, but User 2 doesn’t know – the cost field is blank. If User 2 were to save her data, the cost field would become blank again, so we can’t let that happen. Let’s look at the same situation the other way around – User 2 makes a change to the serial number field, and saves the updated data. The information on User 1’s screen is now inaccurate, but User 1 doesn’t know. If User 1 changes the Cost field to $200 and saves her data, she would update the cost field, but blank out the newly changed serial number field – again, something we can’t let happen.

So, when the Save button is pressed, AssetTraq checks the asset data in the database, and only allows the save if the asset data is the same as it was when it was displayed on the screen. In circumstances such as this, one or the other of the users changes cannot be made, and AssetTraq is designed so that the changes made by the first user to press the Save button are saved, and the second user receives a message explaining why their data cannot be saved.

The second user will then have to edit the record again, and make their changes again. Hopefully, the first user won’t quickly pull the carpet out from under the second user again!


How do I return a borrowable asset from loan?

Open the Borrow Assets window by clicking on the icon on the left side of the screen. Then, scan the barcode for the asset (or type in the asset barcode number, or select it from the list). A message will be displayed that the asset is on loan, and you can then click on the Return button to return the loan. See Loaning out Assets for further information.


How can I quickly see what assets a borrower has on loan?

Alternatively, you could display a Borrowers with Loans report, but this will list all borrowers, not just one. You should note also that when you’re loaning out assets on the Borrow Assets screen, all outstanding loans for a borrower are always displayed.


What happens if I scan a borrowable asset during an Asset Check?

When asset data is loaded into the terminal, borrowable items are specially marked. If, during an Asset Check with the scanner, a borrowable asset is scanned, there are three possibilities:

  1. The Asset is scanned in its proper “home location” – that is, the location that AssetTraq says it belongs in.
  2. The Asset is not on loan, and it is scanned somewhere other than its home location.
  3. The Asset is on loan, and it is scanned somewhere other than its home location.

In case 1, the scan is recorded, and the Last Checked date will be updated when the data is loaded back into AssetTraq. It doesn’t matter if the asset is borrowed or not – if it’s in its home location, the Last Checked date will be updated.

In case 2, the BHT-6000/8000 barcode scanner will display a message asking the user to return the asset to its home location. The scan will be ignored and the Last Checked date will not be updated when the data is loaded back into AssetTraq.

In case 3, the barcode scanner will display a message that the asset is on loan, and the scan will be ignored. The Last Checked date will not be updated when the data is loaded back into AssetTraq.

When performing the Missed Assets function, the BHT-6000/8000 will not list borrowed assets as being missed, since they are on loan. However, borrowable assets that are not on loan will be treated exactly the same as non-borrowable assets, and will be expected to be in their home location.


How do I delete items?

To delete an Asset, select that asset on the grid, then right-click and select Delete from the menu that pops up. Note that if the asset is on loan, you will not be able to delete it – you must return it, then delete it.

To delete a Borrower, select Borrowers from the Configuration menu, then select the borrower from the list in the Borrower’s Name box, then click on the Delete button. Note that if the borrower has any loans outstanding, you will not be able to delete them – you must return all the loans, then delete the borrower.

To delete a Category, select Asset Category from the Configuration menu, then select the category, then click on the Delete button. Note that if any assets are set to this category, you will not be able to delete the category. To delete a Location, select Asset Location from the Configuration menu, then select the location, then click on the Delete button. Note that if any assets are set to this location, you will not be able to delete the location.

To delete a Status, select Asset Status from the Configuration menu, then select the status, then click on the Delete button. Note that if any assets are set to this status, you will not be able to delete the status.

You must make sure that there are no assets set to the Categories, Locations or Statuses you want to delete. If you need to delete a Category, Location or Status that is “in use” by one or more assets, you will need to find all assets that are using them, and edit those fields in the assets. Once the Categories, Locations and/or Statuses are no longer in use, you will then be able to delete them.

Note that if you edit the name of a Category, Location and/or Status (for example, if you change the name of the Kitchen location to Lunch Room), all assets set to that Category, Location and/or Status will reflect the changes.


How can I print Asset and Location barcodes when I haven’t entered my assets and locations yet?

Click on the Print Barcodes icon on the left of the screen, and make sure the Using Database checkbox there is not ticked. Then, click on the Setup button, and then go to the Label Contents screen. Select Sequential Barcodes, and type the first barcode number into the Starting Number field, and the number of barcodes you want to produce into the Sequence Length field.

Note that Asset barcode labels usually start with the letter A, and Location barcode labels always start with the letter L. When AssetTraq is generating barcode numbers, it uses five digits, starting with 00001. So, the first Asset barcode number that AssetTraq will generate will usually be A00001, and the first Location barcode number will generally be L00001.
Note that Borrower barcode labels always start with the letter B, but we do not recommend you print them in this manner – instead, enter your borrowers, then print the barcodes from the main Barcode Printing screen, with the Using Database checkbox ticked.

Once you’ve entered the starting barcode number and sequence length, click OK to return to the Barcode Printing screen, then click the Print button to print your barcode sheets.

We suggest you only print a single sheet first, on plain paper, to ensure that you’ve set everything up correctly. See Printing Barcode Labels for more details.


Can I download the AssetTraq user manual?

Yes, of course! That manual, along with the manuals for most other ASP equipment, is available from our web site here.

Please note that our manuals are in Adobe .PDF format – if you don’t already have the free Adobe reader, you can download it from Adobe’s web site.