Monday, September 13, 2010

Anviz OC500 Time Clock

Please see my updates at the end of this review to see why I no longer recommend purchasing this unit.

We had a Pyramid time clock at work, the type you put in a card in and it prints your time on it. After many years of faithful service it died. Something broke where the ribbon attaches to the machine, and it kept breaking the ribbons.

I looked up prices on new machines and found that I could get other brands cheaper, even ones that are ribbonless and use swipe cards! I've never heard of this company, but decided to give them a try.

I did some research on the company before making a purchase. The model I bought was one of the cheaper ones. You can't get a manual to read over everything before hand, so any pre-sale questions that aren't answered through their website you'll have to call and ask. We purchased the OC500.

As you can see it has a lot of nice features. The unit was very easy to setup and operate. The software could use a little tweak here and there to make things easier and more efficient, but it works fine and gets the job done. You can view reports, print stuff out, manage employees, etc. You can choose to use the card or I think you can just have people remember a code to punch in and out.. like a password.

One thing that is not clear on the website is in regards to data security. What happens if power goes out? Do I need to purchase the backup power thing? I called them and got an answer. The unit contains a 3V battery inside that will store information in the event of a power loss. The backup adapter is if you need to USE the machine during a power loss.

There's a few ways to get data from the machine. You can connect it to a computer via USB, Ethernet, or use the included USB flash drive. We have our time clock in a warehouse and didn't want to run a cable, so we chose to use the flash drive method. It couldn't be easier! Plug in the flash drive, swipe your administrator card, download your data. Plug the flash drive in your computer, download data with the software. I do have two gripes to mention here:

1 - The USB port is on the bottom of the unit, so it's hard to see when you have the unit hanging on the wall. You have to bend over and look under.

2 - I had to call them and have them send me the software to download data. It did not come with it. It does come with software to manage the data, but the software to download data is a separate program. I'm guessing they didn't expect many people to use the flash drive method or they just forgot. You cannot open both software at the same time or you could damage the database that stores your data!

I would say I have two other small gripes.. one is that I don't think you can see your punches from the clock. People are used to the old method where you can physically see if someone punched you already to avoid a double punch. The second is that the punch cards don't have holes in them if you want to put them on a key chain. We bought a holder for the wall.

The LCD screen lights up blue, so it's easy to see and swipe cards only need to be passed over the clock to punch. It's very fast. A ladies voice confirms your punch.

So, in conclusion, we've had this clock in use for a few months now with no problems so far. I think the nice thing is that there's no punch cards or ribbons to buy and less parts to break. The cards we used to buy were $10.99 for 100 and the ribbons were $17.99 each! Now we're using the same plastic card every time and it's better on the environment.

UPDATE: Within the past month we started having problems with the unit. It's not near any computer, so I can't use ethernet to connect it. I need that USB flash drive. When inserting the drive, the unit will restart itself. Maybe it's shorting out when metal of the USB drive touches metal on the unit. I shot a video of me trying to get into management mode:

I sent the unit back to the company for repair. They found no problem with it and sent it back to me. I shot a video and emailed it to them. They supposedly replaced the unit. I finally it back and what's the first thing it does? Restarts itself. Took 12 - 15 tries to get into management mode. You need this to download the data.

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