A data collection system for collecting data, electronically encoding it and processing it to allow it to be transmitted to a distant point. The system is defined in terms of a plurality of modules for collecting and processing data and which modules may be controlled and powered from a central modular control element. One of the modules for the system includes manually operated keyboard means for collecting data and electronically entering it into the system. The keyboard module includes a data register for receiving and storing the data entered into the system by means of the keyboard and a local timing signal source that is activated in response to the operation of a key. This module timing signal is coupled by means of a system bus to the control module for activating a control clock pulse source that couples clock pulses onto the system bus that are applied to the keyboard data register along with the data register for the other modules of the system for transferring the data from the keyboard module to the other modules of the system. The other modules may include a magnetic recording module having an individual data register and means for processing any data entered into the register for transmission to a remote point. The system may also include a display means for rendering visible the data entered into the system. The display means may comprise a printer also having a data register responsive to the central clock pulses for receiving data from the keyboard module. The system may be powered from a central power source such as a battery. For this purpose, the modules may include a power switch that is coupled to be responsive to the keyboard timing signal for applying the power to these modules for the duration of the timing signal.