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LPQ500 - Windows Driver

Craig Derksen
Occasional Advisor

LPQ500 - Windows Driver

Our company has begun utilization of several legacy LPQ500 printers. As we print only fixed-width font columnar reports, we were told that the Windows Generic text driver would be adequate. This has not proven to be the case. The printouts "wrap" characters to other lines, overlay characters, and drop characters completely.

Is there a Windows driver out there that will help us to resolve these issues?

If we send data via a STDIO stream, the text looks fine, as does data sent from legacy COBOL applications.

The problem seems to arise when we use the Windows Generic Text driver from a WYSIWYG reporting application such as Crystal Reports or Access.

Due to circumstances outside my control, we can no longer use the legacy applications. I need to be able to generate the same type of reports (on the LPQ500 printers) using the newer technologies - without the need for users to check the output for missing or misprinted characters.

As we can successfully print to these printers from other platforms, it seems that this is a "driver issue".

Here is our general configuration:

Platform(s)
Windows 9x, 2K, XP

Reporting Software
Crystal Reports
Microsoft Access

LPQ500 via JetDirect

Please let me know what I can do.

-- Craig
10 REPLIES
Ron Kinner
Honored Contributor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

What fonts are you trying to use? I expect you need to use a fixed font such as Courier in size 10 (12?).

You migth also do better by bypassing the spooler.

Perhaps if you contacted some of the people in the following thread you might find one whose address still works and who has the driver.

http://forums1.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/bizsupport/questionanswer.do?threadId=9551

Also the Printronix P5000LJ is supposedly a direct replacement for the HP so you might try their driver(s) and see if it works:

http://www.printronix.com/public/servicessupport/?id=565

Ron

Craig Derksen
Occasional Advisor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

Thanks for your prompt reply!

Let me try to respond to your queries:

<>
We use the Windows device font (10 cpi) -> this agrees with the loaded print configuration.

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We have tried printing directly to the printer, with no success.

<>
Our LPQ's do not have the necessary Flash Memory or RAM to support that Firmware revision.

<>
Printronix drivers also require a more advanced firmware than we can provide. Their drivers cause serious errors when they allow us to send print jobs at all.

I had posted a similar query back in 2001 concerning LPQ 1200 printers. I had really hoped that someone was able to come up with a solution (or at least a good workaround).

As these printers are stable and reliable workhorses, the company is not ready to scrap them. Should we pursue writing our own "text-only" print driver for these printers using UNIDRV / minidrivers? Are there any resources on HP's site that could facilitate this?

Thanks!

-- Craig
Ron Kinner
Honored Contributor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

Any chance of upgrading the flash and memory? Maybe through Ebay?

HP's site has the following firmware:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?locale=en_US〈=English+%28US%29&pnameOID=45835&prodSeriesId=27706&prodTypeId=18972&basePartNum=COL5221&locBasepartNum=lp-17939-1&os=Cross+OS&tech=Firmware

but it is just for the printer.

The only other thing they have is a manual which never mentions lpq500.

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/DocumentIndex.jsp?locale=en_US&contentType=SupportManual&docIndexId=179111&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=27706〈=en&cc=us

Also found this:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/bpd08004/bpd08004.pdf which tells how to set it up but it uses the generic printer driver.

Ron

Craig Derksen
Occasional Advisor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

Ron --

Thanks again! You have been a wealth of knowledge on this.

Unfortunately, there is not any way I can convince the purchasing staff to upgrade ANYTHING on these printers if we have to buy it. Trust me; upgrading these line printers has been a losing battle for the past 5 years.

We have the most current firmware the hardware will support installed right now.

As I stated in previous postings, communications with the printer has never been an issue, although I did set up LPR printer settings instead of using our existing Novell queue to see if there was any improvement. I still received the same mixed results.

I still believe that the generic driver is to blame for this lack of consistency from our reporting applications. My understanding of the way that the generic driver works is that it attempts to "place" a character on the page using a conversion technique that is dependent upon screen resolution, printer resolution, and character size. Even though I specify settings on the report that are consistent with the device fonts and number of characters per inch, the print driver does not place these characters in the proper location on the page. This can be verified by doing a simple "print to file" right from the print dialog. The file that the Generic Text print driver produces can be read in Notepad.

What I should see in this file is a columnar report. That is NOT what I get. I have enclosed examples of the type of results that I am seeing. Perhaps this will help a little.

Thanks!

-- Craig
Ron Kinner
Honored Contributor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

I opened the .prn file in a ASCII editor and it shows newlines at about 8.5 inches. I think your paper size is set incorrectly in the generic printer. What size paper are you trying to print on? Did you set it in Printers by right clicking on the Generic/Text Only and selecting Properties then Device Settings then changing each of the three styles to USA Standard Fanfold? Then OK. Also if you right click on Generic Text Only again and select Printing Preference then Paper/Quality where it says Automatic you should change it to Continuous Feed. Does that make a difference?

Ron
Craig Derksen
Occasional Advisor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

You will find in the enclosed .zip file screen shots of the current settings for our line printers. You will see that all the defaults are for US Standard Fanfold.

I have also included screen shots for the Page Setup dialog for a typical MS Access report. You will see that the default page size is also US Standard Fanfold, as well as the fact that the Line Printer is the default printer on that workstation, making it unlikely that other form sizes would be loaded at runtime.

Please look at the screen shot of the print preview page again. It distinctly shows a US Standard Fanfold size page with columnar data.

As to what you saw in the .prn file; in the hex editor that I use, I see Line Feeds (ASCII 10) at positions 23, 127, and 250 on most lines in the detail portion of the report This is in no way consistent (see detail line #9 where LF appears in positions 23, 107, and 211). I do not know at what font family or size would indicate an 8 1/2 inch paper size, but in 10cpi, these line breaks are in positions 2.3, 12.7 and 25.0 inches, respectively.

Thanks for your help so far!

-- Craig

Ron Kinner
Honored Contributor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

Did you try changing it to Landscape? Also what happens if you click on Print Data Only?
Craig Derksen
Occasional Advisor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

Ron --

<>
When you change to landscape, the paper width becomes 11 inches, more detail lines appear on a page, and any extraneous columns are moved to a second page. As you can see by the attached .prn file, the line feeds appear in the middle of detail lines, just like in the previous sample. Please note. I have provided a much larger sample this time.

<>
It would exclude everything that was not a data bound field (i.e. Labels, fields containing functions - Page x of y, Date stamp - graphics, etc.) from the printout. This has no appreciable impact on the output sent to the detail area.

Also, I would like to note that these settings you are referencing are ONLY applicable to our Access reporting. The Crystal reports that we use print directly to the printer, so there is no Print Preview option, nor can we select to change paper orientation from the printer default, nor can we "print data only" for these applications. Even though these options are not available, we see the same type of inconsistency.

I'm sure you can see why this all leaves me at a loss to see how we can fix the problem.

-- Craig
Declan McCann_3
Occasional Visitor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

I have experienced a similar problem to this.

Our company has a server on which we host client'ssystems for them. It is a Windows 2000 server on Service Pack 2. Clients will connect to it via Citrix.

On it we run a system we developed ourselves which supports dot-matrix printers using the Generic/Text-only driver. To print to one of these we generate a plain text file and queue it off to the printer.(We are using Synergy 8.1.7 as our programming language and it provides us with a command 'lpque' which sends the text file to the printer).

The customers which are hosted on our server are experiencing lines being appended to the last line (as if the new line / carriage return has been lost), some lines are overlaying the previous line and some lines are missing completely.

We also find that when using other drivers this problem does not occur, our problem is that we cannot use drivers other than generic/text only for dot-matrix printers as they print too slow for our purposes with these.

I know of a problem with the Generic/Text only driver on Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 where the first character of every line is lost. I am wondering if Service Pack 2 has any problems like this? Our technical department are very hesitant to install service packs without evidence that they are needed.

Do you know of any problems in service pack 2 or were you able to solve your problem?
Craig Derksen
Occasional Advisor

Re: LPQ500 - Windows Driver

I do not know if Service Pack 2 would help or not as we currently do not use Windows 2000 for either workstation or print services.

We were not able to solve our problem using any of the advice listed above. What we are currently using is a newer Printronix line printer that was returned to my organization following a hardware upgrade for a client. Although the printer is "obsolete" for maintenance purposes, we were able to obtain device drivers directly from Printronix.

This is obviously not an ideal solution, but at least we can print to one of our line printers without unreasonable print quality. This situation has also allowed me to build a business case for requesting future upgrades to Printronix from these old LPQ printers.

-- Craig