Device lets you receive up to 80 fax pages overnight

Most modems have fax capabilities. PC faxing hasn't caught on in the office because so
many faxes are sent overnight when phone rates are lowest. To use a PC as your office fax
machine, it must run 24 hours a day.


This method wastes power, and it's chancy. Computers lock up at times from software
conflicts or power fluctuations. If that happens, fax reception is lost until the PC is
reset.


But one big advantage of PC faxing is the way you can preview, edit and forward
messages right at your screen without ever handling a piece of paper.


Installation of the PC/Fax Store 80 is simplicity itself. Just plug in the included
power supply, plug an incoming phone line into the standard RJ-11 connection and press the
Receive button.


The indicator light comes on, and the PC/Fax Store 80 intercepts incoming fax messages
and stores them. To read, print or manipulate the stored faxes, plug another telephone
cord into the Store 80's RJ-11 PC port and the other end into your PC fax-modem.


Leave the Store 80 on or turn it off as desired. No software comes with it, nor is
there any need for control software or drivers, because the Store 80 appears to your fax
modem as an ordinary phone line.


Reception depends on your fax software, which must have a manual reception option. The
Store 80 generates no ring the way a standard fax machine does.


Most fax-modem software works with the Store 80. Documentation has easy instructions
for using the Microsoft Windows 3.x version of Delrina WinFax Lite and the Windows 95
version of Microsoft Exchange.


When your fax software is ready, press the only other button on the Store 80, which is
labeled "Send to PC." The stored faxes go right into your fax software.


Besides the power light, the Store 80 has an LED that shows when it's set to receive
faxes. Three memory status lights show whether the Store 80 is empty, partly full or full.


Use the Store 80 even if you don't have a dedicated fax line. A fax-sensor switch lets
you plug a voice answering machine into the third available RJ-11 port. With the phone
line, PC fax-modem and answering machine all connected to the Store 80, you have a
complete fax system.


If auto-receive is turned off and you answer a call that is a fax transmission, touch
the auto-receive button and the Store 80 will capture the fax.


The unit comes with 1M of storage capacity that's not upgradeable. That can hold 70 to
80 pages depending on the page length of faxes. A similar KX-FB40 model has 512K of
memory, stores about 40 pages and sells for about $150.


Power consumption is 4 watts on standby and only 6 watts during reception. The Store 80
makes a handy office device with no complex configuration and no risk of users
misunderstanding whether the unit is set to receive or is operating. Twelve volts of power
are necessary to receive faxes or forward them to your PC, so no faxes can be received
during a power outage. But when power is restored, you can retrieve everything captured in
flash memory before the outage.


Besides giving 24-hour fax reception, the Store 80 has another handy function. I leave
it on at all times to avoid being interrupted by fax transmissions as I work. This lets my
PC accept faxes on my schedule.


Fax management is not built into the Store 80. You either download faxes or you don't.
Likewise, there is no caller identification or preview of what's stored in the unit.
Standard PC fax packages already have good fax management features, so you don't have to
pay for them twice or deal with the extra complications.


About the only thing the unit lacks is a display to show how many faxes are stored. The
indicator lights merely show whether any are in storage or whether the memory is too full
to accept more.


Because faxes are stored as a data stream, fax security features are in force.
Scrambled faxes are not viewable until retrieved by the proper software in your PC.


John McCormick, a free-lance writer and computer consultant, has been working with
computers since the early 1960s.


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