TriCoders

TriCoders purchased from RTA come preloaded with three programs that interface with the RTA system. Before going into the program details, let's get familiar with the TriCoder. The TriCoder is a portable bar code device that is used to collect and store data. Once the data has been collected, it can be uploaded into the RTA system by connecting the TriCoder to a host computer. TriCoders are real timesavers and the TriCoder programs are extremely easy to use.

Tips for Using TriCoders

  • When you first start using the TriCoder, collect data in small batches until you are familiar and comfortable with the process of collecting the data and uploading it into the RTA system.
  • Use the F1 key on the TriCoder to exit or back out of an option.
  • The jumper block is a small piece so be sure to keep it in a safe place so it doesn't get misplaced. However, should this happen, a replacement jumper block can be purchased from RTA.
  • Although you aren't prompted for the date and time, the TriCoder records the current date and time for each transaction as data is collected. If you accidentally input an erroneous entry into the TriCoder, go back and edit the record. DO NOT attempt to delete the entry. If you do, you risk corruption to the data file from that point on.

TriCoder Operation Modes

There are six operation modes available on the TriCoder. Three of the modes are used for programming the TriCoder. This portion will not be covered as the TriCoder has already been programmed by RTA. The three modes that will be used with the RTA system are the data collection, data upload, and non-portable modes.

Data Collection Mode

In this mode, the TriCoder takes scanned or keyed in data and stores it in the TriCoder's memory for uploading to a host computer at a later time. If a data file already exists when you attempt to go into data collection mode, the TriCoder automatically returns to the same data collection program that was used to collect the previously stored data. Any new data collected will be appended to the current data file. Data stored in the TriCoder can be retained for several months in memory, even if the TriCoder is turned off or the batteries run low.

Data Upload Mode

Use this mode to upload collected data into the RTA system. Make sure the host computer is ready to accept the TriCoder data prior to pressing the YES key at the DATA UPLOAD? prompt (displayed on the TriCoder LCD panel) because the upload process begins immediately thereafter. After the data is uploaded, the TriCoder will prompt to delete the data collection file from memory. Do not delete the file until you have verified the data was properly loaded into the RTA system!

Non-Portable Mode

Use this mode when you want to use the TriCoder strictly as a bar code reader. In this mode, the data scanned is immediately transmitted from the TriCoder to the host computer, similar to a point-of-sale system. The data scanned is not saved in the TriCoder's memory in this mode.
h1. TriCoder Programs
The TriCoder comes preloaded with three programs of your choice. TriCoder programs are used to capture and store data while the TriCoder is in the data collection mode. The data can later be uploaded into the RTA system using the TriCoder's data upload mode.
NOTE: Prior to 2006, only three TriCoder programs were available—Fueling, Parts Inventory, and Inventory Bin; therefore, TriCoders purchased prior to 2006 automatically included the mentioned three programs. If you are interested in swapping out any of the existing TriCoder programs, please call RTA for assistance (upgrade and/or reprogramming fees apply).
The available TriCoder programs are as follows.
Odometer Update: Updates meter readings; prompts for:

  • Vehicle number
  • Odometer reading

Basic Fueling: Records fuel transactions; prompts for:

  • Vehicle number
  • Odometer reading
  • Pump number
  • Fuel quantity

Fuel and Fluids 1: Same as Fueling program but additionally prompts for:

  • Oil quantity
  • ATF quantity

This fueling program is recommended if you are using the RTA Parts Inventory module and want to track oil and ATF added during fuelups. This program has the ability to update oil and ATF usage and quantities as well as generate requisitions when quantities get low.
Fuel and Fluids 2: Same as Fueling program but additionally prompts for:

  • Oil quantity
  • ATF quantity
  • Antifreeze quantity

If you are not using the RTA Parts Inventory module but want to track fluid costs and usage for vehicle history purposes, this fueling program allows the ability to do so. Quantities posted through this fueling program do not affect the Parts Inventory module in any way.
Parts Inventory: Used for physical inventory and cycle counts; prompts for:

  • Part number
  • Quantity on hand

Inventory Bin: Renumbers part bin locations; prompts for:

  • Part number
  • New bin location

Receive PO Parts: Receives parts into inventory; prompts for:

  • PO number
  • PO extension
  • Invoice number
  • Part number
  • Quantity received
  • Price

Work Orders: Creates and updates work orders; prompts for WO data will vary for new and existing work orders.
Vehicle Wash: Records vehicle wash costs and history (requires Vehicle Wash module for use); prompts for:

  • Vehicle number
  • Odometer reading
  • Wash number

Odometer Update Program

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The Odometer Update program is perfect for walking the vehicle yard to record the latest vehicle meter readings. When the data is uploaded to the RTA system, the primary vehicle meter will be updated. The option of updating the fuel meter is also available during the upload process. For more information about meter types, refer to "Understanding the Various Meter Types" in Chapter 3—Vehicle Inventory. 
The Setup:

  • Setup and configure the TriCoder if you have not already done so. Refer to the documentation that came with your TriCoder for instructions.
  • Setup a custom menu option for the Odometer Update program.

The Procedure:

  • Check and record current meter readings and input the data into the TriCoder.
  • Upload meter readings from the TriCoder into the RTA system.

Setting up a Custom Menu Option for the Odometer Update Program

A menu option needs to be added so data from the TriCoder can be uploaded into the RTA system. To set up a menu option to upload data collected from the Odometer Update program, do the following:

  1. Select System > User Programs > Setup User Programs Menu from the RTA main menu (SRS).
  2. Enter password level 3.
  3. Up to nine custom menu options can be added through this option. Choose the first available line and type the information in each column as indicated:
  • Menu Title: &TriCoder Odometer UpdateThe text entered here will appear on the User Programs menu as TriCoder Odometer Update. The ampersand (&) in front of the letter T is optional and allows the T to be used for keyboard access to this menu option (i.e., SRT from the RTA main menu). If the letter T is already in use by another menu option, simply place the ampersand in front of any letter to designate for the shortcut. (e.g., An entry of TriCoder &Odometer Update would appear on the menu as TriCoder Odometer Update.)
  • Program Name: SSLVEHIN.COB This is the Odometer Update program filename.
  • Security: Leave this field blank (zero value).
  • Flag: Leave this field blank.
  1. Choose OK to save and exit.

Collecting Odometer Readings

  1. Power on the TriCoder and press the YES key on the TriCoder twice to go into data collection mode.
  2. When prompted for the program number, enter 1, 2, or 3 to select the Odometer Update program and then press the YES key when prompted to validate your choice. NOTE: The program number prompt is bypassed if a data file already exists on the TriCoder. Instead, you will be brought directly into the previously used data collection program.
  3. Key in the unit number and meter reading as prompted by the TriCoder.

Uploading Meter Readings

Uploading the collected data involves preparing the RTA system, preparing the TriCoder, reviewing the report(s), and deleting the TriCoder data file after a successful upload. Uploaded meter readings are treated exactly as if they had been entered manually into the RTA system.  When a meter reading is entered in RTA:

  • The current meter reading is updated only when a higher reading is entered—as long as the mileage difference does not surpass the limitations defined in the class codes, EFI process settings, or system parameters (MVC, FFEM, or SSF, switch 27).
  • The current Life miles are updated only when a higher reading is entered, again, as long as the mileage difference does not surpass the defined limitations.
  • Entering a lower meter reading does not update the current odometer.

Preparing the RTA system (Odometer Update)

  1. Select System > User Programs > TriCoder Odometer Update from the RTA main menu.
  2. Enter the facility number or press F1 to select a facility from the lookup list.
  3. Enter a TriCoder number or press ENTER to bypass this field. The number entered here is printed on the Vehicle Odometer Report for your reference (if generated); the number keyed in is not validated nor is it used by the RTA system. If you have more than one TriCoder, the TriCoder serial number could be entered here or you could enter the area of the vehicle yard or the ID number of the person who processed the upload.
  4. The Odometer Update program updates the vehicles' primary or work meters. To also update the fuel meter, select the Update fuel odometer checkbox. For more information about meter types, refer to "Understanding the Various Meter Types" in Chapter 3—Vehicle Inventory.
  5. To force incoming text from the TriCoder to upper case, select the Translate to upper case checkbox.
  6. Choose OK to continue. The Tricoder Odometer entry window appears, indicating the RTA system is ready to accept the TriCoder data.
  7. Connect the TriCoder to the host computer.
  8. Power on the TriCoder and get to the DATA UPLOAD? prompt.
  9. Press the YES key on the TriCoder to immediately start the data upload. When the upload is complete, the TriCoder will prompt you to delete the data file. DO NOT answer this prompt yet!

Verifying the Data Uploaded (Odometer Update)

  1. Press ENTER on the computer keyboard to exit the Process TriCoder Data window.
  2. One or two reports will be generated depending on the data processed; review the report(s).
  • Vehicle Odometer Report: This report is generated only if a meter reading did not get updated. If all the meter readings were updated without a problem, this exception report is not generated. If a report is generated, be sure to review the list for the reasons why the meter readings weren't updated and address any potential issues.
  • Yard Vehicle Inventory: This report is printed after every upload to provide a list of the vehicles processed, along with the current meter reading in RTA after the upload.

Deleting the TriCoder Data File (Odometer Update)

  1. Once you have determined the data upload to be successful, press the YES key on the TriCoder to delete the data file.
  2. Press the YES key again to confirm the deletion.


Fueling Programs

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The Fueling programs are used to collect fuel data from your fuel island or tanker trucks. Rather than logging the fuel information on a paper form and then manually entering it into the RTA system, the data is collected in the TriCoder and then uploaded into RTA. This procedure is much quicker and more accurate than trying to decipher handwriting and manually inputting every fuel transaction.
Keep in mind there are three fueling programs available for the TriCoder (review the list at the beginning of the "TriCoder Programs" section). The main difference between Fuel & Fluids 1 and 2 is that Fuel & Fluids 1 updates parts tracked in the Parts Inventory module, while Fuel & Fluids 2 does not. Due to the similarities among the three fueling programs, this section of the documentation will pertain to all three programs. Refer to the table below to help determine which fueling program is right for you.

 

Fueling Programs

 

 

Features

Basic

Fuel & Fluids 1

Fuel & Fluids 2

Prompts for vehicle number, meter reading, pump number, fuel quantity

Updates pump and tank inventory

Generates requisitions for fuel as needed{}*

Prompts for oil quantity

 

Updates oil usage and inventory counts

 

 

Generates requisitions for oil as needed{}*

 

 

Prompts for ATF quantity

 

Updates ATF usage and inventory counts

 

 

Generates requisitions for ATF as needed{}*

 

 

Prompts for antifreeze quantity

 

 

Updates antifreeze usage and inv. counts

 

 

 

Generates requisitions for antifreeze

 

 

 

Updates vehicle costs, usage, and history


NOTE: For items marked with an asterisk (star), requisitions are created only if the part records are flagged as a stocked part. Refer to "Setting up Part Records for Reorders" in Chapter 5—Part Inventory for information if needed. For information on linking the fuel tank inventory to the part inventory, refer to "Recording Fuel Purchases: Purchase Orders" in Chapter 4—Fuel Inventory. 
The Setup (applies to all three Fueling programs unless otherwise indicated):

  • Setup and configure the TriCoder if you have not already done so. Refer to the documentation that came with your TriCoder for instructions.
  • Set the "Create X-Fac References" switch as needed (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab , switch 4).
  • Review switches 23 - 26, dealing with reasonable and maximum mileages and fuel quantities, and make adjustments as needed (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab ).
  • Review the facility records to verify the Home state field is not blank (MFM). The value in this field is used as the default fueling state.
  • Define the average MPG in vehicle records (MVM, Fluids tab).
  • Define the filename of the TriCoder fueling program to be used (SSS, Miscellaneous II tab, switch 11).
  • Fueling and Fluids 1 only: Define the default oil and ATF part numbers in vehicle records (MVM, Fluids tab).
  • Fueling and Fluids 2 only: Define the default prices for oil, ATF, and antifreeze (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab ).

The Procedure:

  • Place TriCoder at the fuel island or in the tanker truck.
  • Enter or scan data into the TriCoder as vehicles are fueled.
  • Upload fueling data from the TriCoder into the RTA system.
  • Process remaining fuel steps as you normally would once fuel entries have been input. Refer to "Eight Steps to Tracking Fuel Inventory" for more information if necessary.

Defining the Vehicle Average MPG

The vehicle average MPG is used to calculate the number of reasonable mileage and maximum mileage, or fuel gallons allowed for a vehicle. The calculation takes place as TriCoder fuel transactions are uploaded into the RTA system (FFT). Vehicle meter readings may or may not be updated based on the calculated results. The reasonable and maximum ranges allowed are determined by the percentages specified in the Fueling Parameters (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab , switches 23 – 26). Reasonable and maximum mileages are calculated as follows:
fuel gallons x average MPG x allowable percentage
Reasonable and maximum fuel gallons are calculated as follows:
distance traveled  average MPG x allowable percentage
Messages are printed for fuel transactions containing mileage and/or fuel gallons exceeding the calculated maximum allowable quantity. Vehicle meter readings are not updated if the mileage exceeds the calculated maximum allowable mileage.
To ensure proper calculations take place, enter the average MPG for all vehicles that will be processed using the TriCoder Fueling program. If the average MPG is left blank (i.e., the field shows a value of 0.000), the TriCoder Fueling program uses 12 as the default MPG value when performing calculations.

Defining the TriCoder Fueling Program

In order to properly upload the collected fuel data (FFT), the RTA system needs to know which TriCoder fueling program was used for data collection. To define the TriCoder fueling program, do the following:

  1. Select System > Setup System Switches > Misc Parameters II from the RTA main menu (SSS, Miscellaneous II tab).
  2. Choose switch 11-Custom Tricoder Fuel and enter the program filename for your TriCoder program.
  • Basic Fueling: stndtcf.cob
  • Fuel and Fluids 1: tcfcarta.cob
  • Fuel and Fluids 2: fluidtcf.cob

Additional Setup for Fueling and Fluids 1: Defining Default Part Numbers

In addition to prompting for fueling data, the Fueling and Fluids 1 program also prompts for oil and transmission fluid quantities. If you are using the RTA Parts Inventory module (MPM) and want to update inventory quanties with oil and transmission fluid usage, the oil and ATF fields listed below will also need to be set up. These fields are located in the Fluids tab of the vehicle record (MVM); they can be populated manually one vehicle at a time, or you can use the Global Vehicle Change program in the Utilities 2 add-on package (SIVG) to automatically populate the fields for large groups of vehicles.

  • Oil type and capacity: Specify the oil part number to post/update and the oil capacity for the vehicle.
  • ATF fluid and capacity: Specify the ATF part number to post/update and the ATF capacity for the vehicle.

Once the above information has been provided, the parts inventory will automatically be reduced by the quantities entered in the TriCoder. The posted oil and ATF prices come directly from the part file. Part usage will also be updated and requisitions generated as needed.

Additional Setup for Fueling and Fluids 2: Defining Default Prices

In addition to prompting for fueling data, the Fueling and Fluids 2 program also prompts for oil, ATF, and antifreeze quantities. This TriCoder program allows those who are not using the RTA Parts Inventory module (or those who don't want to update part records) to track fluid usage and quantities for vehicle history purposes. Since there are no part records in the RTA system for the program to refererence, the default prices will need to be defined in the fueling parameters (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab ).

  • Default ATF price (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab , switch 33)
  • Default Antifreeze price (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab , switch 34)
  • Default Oil price (SSM, Fuel Parameters tab , switch 36)

Collecting Fuel Data

To collect fuel (and fluid) data, place the TriCoder at the fuel island or in the tanker truck. If a power source is available, use the transformer provided so the TriCoder can remain on the entire time. Otherwise, you can use battery power. The TriCoder will automatically power off after two minutes of inactivity in order to preserve battery life. To put the TriCoder in data collection mode, do the following:

  1. Power on the TriCoder and press the YES key on the TriCoder twice to go into data collection mode.
  2. When prompted for the program number, enter 1, 2, or 3 to go into the Fueling data collection program and then press the YES key when prompted to validate your choice. NOTE: The program number prompt is bypassed if a data file already exists on the TriCoder. Instead, you will be brought directly into the previously used data collection program.
  3. Key in or scan in the data as prompted for the vehicles fueled. The TriCoder Fueling program cycles through the following data prompts: vehicle number, odometer reading, pump number, fuel quantity, and oil, ATF, and antifreeze if one of the Fuel and Fluids program is used.

Uploading Fuel Data

Uploading the collected fuel data involves preparing the RTA system, preparing the TriCoder, reviewing the exception report, and deleting the TriCoder data file after a successful upload. Uploaded fuel transactions are treated exactly as if they had been entered manually into the RTA system (FFM, FFQ). When applicable, customer fuel markups are applied, fuel billing records are written, and meter readings are updated. Vehicle records, fuel tax records, fuel costs, and fuel inventory are also updated.
Preparing the RTA system (Fueling)

  1. Select Fuel > Fuel Entry > TriCoder Entry from the RTA main menu (FFT).
  2. Enter the facility number or press F1 to select a facility from the lookup list.
  3. Enter a TriCoder number or press ENTER to bypass this field. The number entered here is printed on the TriCoder Transaction Exception report (if generated) for your reference; the number entered is not validated nor is it used by the RTA system. If you have more than one TriCoder, the TriCoder serial number could be entered here or you could enter the shift number for when the fuel was uploaded or the ID number for the person who processed the upload.
  4. Basic Fueling and Fuel & Fluids 2 only: Select a radio button to specify whether or not to create fuel transactions for non-file vehicles. Select the All radio button to create fuel transactions for all incoming fuel transactions, even if a transaction contains an invalid vehicle number. This option allows the ability to track usage for fuel dispensed to vehicles or equipment not tracked in the RTA system. Select the On file only radio button to create fuel transactions only if the vehicle record exists in RTA.
  5. To force incoming text from the TriCoder to upper case, select the Translate to upper case checkbox.
  6. Choose OK to continue. A Processing Tricoder window appears, indicating the RTA system is ready to accept the TriCoder data.

Preparing the TriCoder (Fueling)

  1. Connect the TriCoder to the host computer.
  2. Power on the TriCoder and get to the DATA UPLOAD? prompt.
  3. Press the YES key on the TriCoder to immediately start the data upload. When the upload is complete, the TriCoder will prompt you to delete the data file. DO NOT answer this prompt yet!

Verifying the Data Uploaded (Fueling)

  1. Press ENTER on the computer keyboard to exit the Processing TriCoder Fuel Entry window.
  2. A TriCoder Transaction Exception report is generated for transactions containing high/excessive mileage, high/excessive fuel usage, high/low meter readings, and invalid vehicle, part, or pump numbers. If a report is generated, review the messages and address any potential issues. The TriCoder Transaction Exception report does not print every transaction processed—only those with potential issues. To review all uploaded fuel transactions, select Fuel > Fuel Entry > Transaction Lists > Open from the RTA main menu to generate the Open Fuel Transactions report (FFLO). NOTE: Meter readings are not updated if fuel transactions contain excessive mileage. Refer to "Defining Vehicle Average M.P.G." earlier in this chapter for additional information.If it appears there was a problem with the data file (usually indicated by all or most of the fuel entries being erroneous), do not attempt to upload the data file again. Please call RTA technical support for assistance.

Deleting the TriCoder Data File (Fueling)

  1. Once you have determined the data upload to be successful, press the YES key on the TriCoder to delete the data file.
  2. Press the YES key again to confirm the deletion.


Parts Inventory Program

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The Inventory program is used to speed up and simplify the process of doing physical inventory counts and cycle counts. The part numbers and on-hand quantities are recorded and stored in the TriCoder until you are ready to update the RTA system with the physical counts. 
The Setup:

  • Setup and configure the TriCoder if you have not already done so. Refer to the documentation that came with your TriCoder for instructions.
  • Review "Physical Inventory Counts" in Chapter 5Parts Inventory for additional information about taking inventory (optional).

The Procedure:

  • Physically count parts and input data into the TriCoder. If you're tracking multiple stock areas (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 9), be sure to inventory only one stock area at a time.
  • Upload inventory data from the TriCoder into the RTA system.

TIP: RTA highly recommends processing the data in batches rather than doing the entire inventory in one batch. If you are new to using the TriCoder, collect and upload small batches of data when first starting out. As you become familiar and comfortable with the process, you can do larger batches.

Collecting Parts Inventory Data

  1. Power on the TriCoder and press the YES key on the TriCoder twice to go into data collection mode.
  2. When prompted for the program number, enter 1, 2, or 3 to go into the Inventory data collection program and then press the YES key when prompted to validate your choice. NOTE: The program number prompt is bypassed if a data file already exists on the TriCoder. Instead, you will be brought directly into the previously used data collection program.
  3. The TriCoder Inventory program prompts for the part number and quantity. Scan in the part bar code and key in the part quantity when prompted.

Uploading Parts Inventory Data

Uploading the collected inventory data involves preparing the RTA system, preparing the TriCoder, reviewing the Parts Variance List, and deleting the TriCoder data file after a successful upload. Uploaded inventory transactions are treated exactly as if manual inventory adjustments had been entered into the RTA system (PAI)only a lot easier and faster. 
Preparing the RTA system (Parts Inventory)
Select Parts > TriCoder Entry from the RTA main menu (PC).

  1. Enter the facility number or press F1 to select a facility from the lookup list.
  2. Enter a TriCoder number or press ENTER to bypass this field. The number entered here is printed on the Parts Variance List for your reference (if generated); the number entered is not validated nor is it used by the RTA system. If you have more than one TriCoder, the TriCoder serial number could be entered here or you could enter the parts room area or the ID number of the person who processed the upload.
  3. Specify which stocking area inventory to update (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 9).
  4. To have the system check reorder points and create requisitions as needed, select the Create requisitions checkbox.
  5. To force incoming text from the TriCoder to upper case, select the Translate to upper case checkbox.
  6. Choose OK to continue. The Process Tricoder data window appears, indicating the RTA system is ready to accept the TriCoder data.

Preparing the TriCoder (Parts Inventory)

  1. Connect the TriCoder to the host computer.
  2. Power on the TriCoder and get to the DATA UPLOAD? prompt.
  3. Press the YES key on the TriCoder to immediately start the data upload. When the upload is complete, the TriCoder will prompt you to delete the data file. DO NOT answer this prompt yet!

Verifying the Data Uploaded (Parts Inventory)

  1. Press ENTER on the computer keyboard to exit the Process TriCoder Data window.
  2. A Parts Variance List is generated if there is a difference between the physical on-hand count and the on-hand count in the RTA system. If a report is generated, review the list of parts.
  3. After reviewing the report, you'll be prompted to update the parts with variances.
  • Choose Yes to update the inventory counts in the RTA system to match the physical counts. If you choose to do so, another prompt asks if you want to Create Adjustment records? If so, enter the reason and authorization code. The information provided here is printed on the Parts Adjustment report for audit trail purposes (RPP).
  • Choose No to leave the inventory counts as they are (computer inventory counts will not match the physical count when this happens). If you choose No, a warning message displays, explaining that you will need to upload the TriCoder data again if you later decide to update the computer inventory counts to match the physical counts. If you choose No again, you'll be returned to the RTA main menu.

Auditing Parts That Were Not Counted (Parts Inventory)

  1. The Parts Not Counted report (PN) can now be printed. This report will detail any parts that were not just updated by the tricoder uploaded data. You can verify whether these parts are no longer stocked or whether they were missed during the inventory count process.

Deleting the TriCoder Data File (Parts Inventory)

  1. Once you have determined the data upload to be successful, press the YES key on the TriCoder to delete the data file.
  2. Press the YES key again to confirm the deletion.

Inventory-Bin Program

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The Inventory-Bin program is used to update part bin locations in RTA when the parts room has been reorganized. The part number and new bin location are recorded and stored in the TriCoder until you are ready to update the RTA system with the new location. 
The Setup:

  • Setup and configure the TriCoder if you have not already done so. Refer to the documentation that came with your TriCoder for instructions.
  • Print bin labels for scanning purposes (optional). Generic bin labels can be easily printed using the BarCodeIT add-on option (PTP). Refer to the documentation provided with your BarCodeIT option for instructions if necessary.

The Procedure:

  • Physically reorganize the parts room and then input data into the TriCoder. If you're tracking multiple stock areas (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 9), be sure to process the bin locations for only one stock area at a time.
  • Upload new bin locations from the TriCoder into the RTA system.

Collecting Inventory-Bin Data

  1. Power on the TriCoder and press the YES key on the TriCoder twice to go into data collection mode.
  2. When prompted for the program number, enter 1, 2, or 3 to go into the Inventory-Bin data collection program and then press the YES key when prompted to validate your choice. NOTE: The program number prompt is bypassed if a data file already exists on the TriCoder. Instead, you will be brought directly into the previously used data collection program.
  3. The TriCoder Inventory-Bin program prompts for the part number and bin location. Scan in the part bar code and either key in or scan in the new bin location when prompted.

Uploading Inventory-Bin Data

Uploading the collected bin locations involves preparing the RTA system, preparing the TriCoder, reviewing the Update Bin Locations report, and deleting the TriCoder data file after a successful upload. 
Preparing the RTA system (Inventory-Bin)

  1. Select System > Utilities > Parts > TriCoder Bin Update from the RTA main menu (STPT).
  2. Enter the facility number or press F1 to select a facility from the lookup list.
  3. Enter a TriCoder number or press ENTER to bypass this field. The number entered here is printed on the Update Bin Locations report for your reference; the number entered is not validated nor is it used by the RTA system. If you have more than one TriCoder, the TriCoder serial number could be entered here or you could enter the stocking area or the ID number of the person who processed the upload.
  4. Specify which stocking area bin location to update (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 9).
  5. Choose OK to continue. The Process Tricoder Data window appears, indicating the RTA system is ready to accept the TriCoder data.

Preparing the TriCoder (Inventory-Bin)

  1. Connect the TriCoder to the host computer.
  2. Power on the TriCoder and get to the DATA UPLOAD? prompt.
  3. Press the YES key on the TriCoder to immediately start the data upload. When the upload is complete, the TriCoder will prompt you to delete the data file. DO NOT answer this prompt yet!

Verifying the Data Uploaded (Inventory-Bin)

  1. Press ENTER on the computer keyboard to exit the Process TriCoder Data window.
  2. An Update Bin Locations report is generated to show the status of the data processed. Review the report.

Deleting the TriCoder Data File (Inventory-Bin)

  1. Once you have determined the data upload to be successful, press the YES key on the TriCoder to delete the data file.
  2. Press the YES key again to confirm the deletion.


Receive PO Parts Program

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This program is used to receive purchase orders and update parts inventory. PO and parts information can be scanned in and stored in the TriCoder as parts are delivered to the shop. When the collected data is uploaded into the RTA system, existing purchase orders will be received and updated, and inventory on-hand levels will automatically be adjusted. 
NOTE:This program does not create POs; be sure the necessary POs and PO lines have already been added to the RTA system prior to uploading the TriCoder data.
The Setup:

  • Setup and configure the TriCoder if you have not already done so. Refer to the documentation that came with your TriCoder for instructions.
  • Review "Requisitions and Purchase Orders" in Chapter 5Parts Inventory for information if needed.

The Procedure:

  • Place the TriCoder at the parts receiving dock.
  • Enter or scan data into the TriCoder as parts come in.
  • Upload parts data from the TriCoder into the RTA system.

Collecting PO Parts Received Data

To collect data, place the TriCoder where incoming parts are delivered. If a power source is available, use the transformer provided so the TriCoder can remain on the entire time. Otherwise, you can use battery power. The TriCoder will automatically power off after two minutes of inactivity in order to preserve battery life. To put the TriCoder in data collection mode, do the following:

  1. Power on the TriCoder and press the YES key on the TriCoder twice to go into data collection mode.
  2. When prompted for the program number, enter 1, 2, or 3 to go into the Receive PO data collection program and then press the YES key when prompted to validate your choice. NOTE: The program number prompt is bypassed if a data file already exists on the TriCoder. Instead, you will be brought directly into the previously used data collection program.
  3. Key or scan in the data for incoming parts received. The TriCoder Receive PO program cycles through the following data prompts: PO number, PO extension, invoice number, part number, quantity, and price. Once the first entry is made, the previously entered PO number, extension, and invoice number will automatically be used for subsequent transactions (and the prompts eliminated). This allows multiple parts received on the same PO to be recorded without having to reenter the PO information each time.

To enter parts received on a different PO, press the END key to return to the PO number prompt. Don't forget to do this each time the PO number changes!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when collecting PO parts data:

  • If a higher quantity is input into the TriCoder than is on-order on the actual PO, the higher quantity will be used when data is processed during the upload.
  • If a lower quantity is input into the TriCoder than is on-order on the actual PO, the remaining quantity will remain on-order/backorder on the PO.
  • If lot quantities are used for orders on the PO line, input the lot quantity into the TriCoder when that item is received. For example, if 1 box is on-order on the PO line (and the box contains 100 items), input a quantity of 1 into the TriCoder when that part comes in—not 100!
  • If the part price is not input into the TriCoder, the price on the PO line will be used when data is processed during the upload.
  • If the part price input into the TriCoder differs from the price on the PO line, the price from the TriCoder will override the PO line price.

Uploading PO Parts Received Data

Uploading the collected PO parts data involves preparing the RTA system, preparing the TriCoder, reviewing the exception report (if generated), and deleting the TriCoder data file after a successful upload. Uploaded transactions update part and PO records just as if they had been received manually (PPC). This program does not create POs; therefore, be sure the necessary POs have already been added to the system. The TriCoder upload process is automated so some of the prompts that normally display when POs are manually received will not appear. 
Carefully review the following list of eliminated prompts to understand how PO parts data will be processed as a result.

  • Stocking Area Prompt (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 9): All parts processed are automatically received into stocking area A.
  • Create Tags Prompt: Parts tags are created according to the setting of the Create tags checkbox in each part record (MPM) and the setting of the "Tags for non-file parts" switch (SSI, Miscellaneous I tab, switch 23).
  • Receive Date Prompt (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 30-part 1): The TriCoder system date at the time of data collection is used as the receive date.
  • Auto-post Part to WO Prompt (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 34): If the "Prompt Post Part WO" switch is set to AUTO and work order information is contained in the PO line, the quantity received will be posted to the specified work order line. If the "Prompt Post Part WO" switch is set to YES, the parts will need to be posted manually to the work order.
  • Backorder Prompt (SSI, Miscellaneous I tab, switch 7): If a partial order is received (i.e., 10 ordered on the PO line but only 8 were delivered and recorded through the TriCoder), the unreceived quantity will remain on order on the PO line. Also, the backorder quantity and backorder PO number fields in the part record (MPM) will be updated if the "Track Back ordered part" switch is set to YES.
  • Update Tire File Prompt: Tire records will need to be added to the tire inventory file manually (MTM).

TIP: If a large quantity of tires is delivered, RTA recommends receiving that PO line manually in the RTA system (PPC) rather than processing it through the TriCoder. Doing so allows you to take advantage of the auto-add tires feature. For more information about the auto-add tires feature, refer to "Receiving a Tire Part" in Chapter 5—Parts Inventory.
Preparing the RTA system (Receive PO)

  1. Select Parts > Purchase Orders > TriCoder Receive POs from the RTA main menu (PPT).
  2. Enter the facility number or press F1 to select a facility from the lookup list.
  3. To force incoming text from the TriCoder to upper case, select the Translate to upper case checkbox.
  4. Choose OK to continue. The Tricoder Receive PO Data window appears, indicating the RTA system is ready to accept the TriCoder data.

Preparing the TriCoder (Receive PO)

  1. Connect the TriCoder to the host computer.
  2. Power on the TriCoder and get to the DATA UPLOAD? prompt.
  3. Press the YES key on the TriCoder to immediately start the data upload. When the upload is complete, the TriCoder will prompt you to delete the data file. DO NOT answer this prompt yet!

Verifying the Data Uploaded (Receive PO)

  1. Press ENTER on the computer keyboard to exit the Process TriCoder Data window.
  2. A TriCoder PO Receive Transaction Exception report is generated when matching parts and/or POs are not found in the RTA system. If a report is generated, review the messages and address any potential issues.

Deleting the TriCoder Data File (Receive PO)

  1. Once you have determined the data upload to be successful, press the YES key on the TriCoder to delete the data file.
  2. Press the YES key again to confirm the deletion.


Post Work Orders Program

 Click here to expand...

This program is paperless way for mechanics to record information for the work orders they are working on. It's especially perfect for those who perform off-site service repairs. Rather than carrying around clip boards and writing down part numbers, tire numbers, and labor hours—which have to be keyed in later—mechanics and service technicians can input or scan the data directly into the TriCoders instead. The data can then be uploaded into the RTA system. New work orders will be created and/or existing work orders will be updated according to the data stored in the TriCoder. The following items cannot be processed using this program and will need to be posted manually in the RTA system when applicable.

  • Cross-facility work orders (Cross-facility work orders are work orders that are opened in one facility for vehicles that reside in a different facility.)
  • Outside work orders / sublet repairs
  • Downtime tracking (SSM, switch 11)
  • Non-file parts and tires
  • Core part charges
  • Auto-post parts from estimate work orders (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 34)

The Setup:

  • Setup and configure the TriCoder if you have not already done so. Refer to the documentation that came with your TriCoder for instructions.
  • Review "Posting Work Order Transactions" in Chapter 7Work Orders for more information (optional).

The Procedure:

  • Enter or scan parts, labor, and tire data into the TriCoder while working on vehicles.
  • Upload the data from the TriCoder into the RTA system.

Collecting Work Order Postings

  1. Power on the TriCoder and press the YES key on the TriCoder twice to go into data collection mode.
  2. When prompted for the program number, enter 1, 2, or 3 to go into the Post Work Orders collection program and then press the YES key when prompted to validate your choice. NOTE: The program number prompt is bypassed if a data file already exists on the TriCoder. Instead, you will be brought directly into the previously used data collection program.
  3. Key in or scan in the data as prompted. The prompts vary slightly depending on whether the information is for a new or existing work order. Refer to the following chart to see the prompt cycle.


The highlighted prompts indicate the various levels in the Post Work Order program. When given the option to enter data or END/EXIT, selecting END/EXIT returns you to the previous prompt level. For example, when entering a new work order, the prompts step you through adding a job and then posting work order transactions.

  • When at the Part # or END, the Mech # or END, or the Tire # or END prompt, pressing END returns you to the Post Parts, Labor, Tires, or EXIT prompt, allowing other types of transactions to be posted to the same job.
  • Pressing EXIT at this prompt returns you to the Major VMRS (2) or END prompt, allowing additional jobs and transactions to be posted to the same new work order.
  • Pressing END at this prompt returns you to the New Work Order? prompt to restart the process of creating a new work order or posting transactions to an existing work order.

Uploading Work Order Postings

Uploading the collected data involves preparing the RTA system, preparing the TriCoder, reviewing the exception report, and deleting the TriCoder data file after a successful upload. Uploaded transactions update vehicle history, costs, work orders, and inventory levels just as if they had been posted manually (WW, WB, WPL, WQ, PQ). The TriCoder upload process is automated; therefore, many prompts are eliminated and the data will be processed as follows:

  • The current vehicle meter reading is updated only when a higher reading comes from the TriCoder—as long as the mileage difference does not surpass the limitations defined in the class codes, EFI process settings, or system parameters (MVC, FFEM, or SSF, switch 27).
  • The part quantity from the TriCoder is always posted to the work order regardless of how the "Allow Qty Overrides" switch is set (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 13).
  • New work orders and work order lines will be created only for new work order postings. When posting to existing work orders through the TriCoder, the referenced work orders and work order lines must exist in the RTA system prior to uploading the data in order to be properly updated.
  • On new work orders, the customer number will default to the assigned customer from the vehicle record (MVM) and the default shop ID = All.
  • Work order lines are always closed after all transactions have been uploaded and posted (work order line status = Done).
  • Messages do not pop up when warranted work order lines or parts are processed. Instead, messages will be printed on the Tricoder Work Order Exception report. Be sure to review that report to view warranty and other important messages.

Preparing the RTA system (Post Work Orders)

  1. Select WOs > TriCoder Entry from the RTA main menu (WC).
  2. Enter the facility number or press F1 to select a facility from the lookup list.
  3. If your system is set to use work order reason codes (SSM, switch 39), select a reason code from the drop down list. The reason code selected here will be used when new workers are created during the upload process.
  4. Select the Yes or No radio button to indicate whether the work orders processed should be closed.
  5. Specify the stock area to update when part entries are posted (valid entries are 1-5).
  6. To force incoming text from the TriCoder to upper case, select the Translate to upper case checkbox.
  7. Choose OK to continue. The Uploading Tricoder window appears, indicating the RTA system is ready to accept the TriCoder data.
  8. Connect the TriCoder to the host computer.
  9. Power on the TriCoder and get to the DATA UPLOAD? prompt.
  10. Press the YES key on the TriCoder to immediately start the data upload. When the upload is complete, the TriCoder will prompt you to delete the data file. DO NOT answer this prompt yet!

Verifying the Data Uploaded (Post Work Orders)

  1. Press ENTER on the computer keyboard to exit the Process TriCoder Data window.
  2. Review the Tricoder Work Order Exeception report to address potential issues. Messages are printed for invalid meter readings, records not found, and warranty status information.

Deleting the TriCoder Data File (Odometer Update)

  1. Once you have determined the data upload to be successful, press the YES key on the TriCoder to delete the data file.
  2. Press the YES key again to confirm the deletion.


Vehicle Wash Program

This TriCoder program is handy for collecting vehicle wash data as vehicles go through the wash bay. The collected data can later be uploaded into the Vehicle Wash module in RTA to update vehicle costs and history. The Vehicle Wash module (VWT) is an add-on option that is required for use with the Vehicle Wash program. Refer to the Vehicle Wash User's Manual for setup requirements and instructions for use.