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DEC VAX and Printing

Occasional Visitor

DEC VAX and Printing

Currently I have a VAX system and the printer a DEClaser 2100 is the only printer that we have and it is now showing signs of age because it won't print and the backup DEClaser 2100 won't take paper and claims to be jammed. So my question is, could I buy a new printer and connect it to my system and be able to print, assuming it had the correct connection. If So what commands would I use.
Second, The VAX system that I have is much newer that a few other ones in use where I am but It has an RGB cord for the monitor but only produces a monochrome picture. Is there a way to disable the color display to grayscale and if so how would I be able to change the grayscale to color.

Karl Rohwedder
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC VAX and Printing


of course it is possible to buy a new printer for your VAX, but we need more details of your current configuration. If e.g. you use the DCPS software with network connected printers, there are a lot of printers supported fro HP and other manufactures.

What kind of VAX do you have?

regards kalle
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC VAX and Printing

There's more than one version of VMS, and
there's more than one model of VAX. What
have you?

write sys$output f$getsyi( "version")

Read the model(s) off the front of the

It might also help to know if you're using
the DCPS software.

> Is there a way to disable the color display
> to grayscale [...]

Probably, but I haven't looked at VAX
graphics environments for a while. It is a
color display, right?
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC VAX and Printing

Q1: What are the very specific file formats you are printing to this printer? These may or may not be standard applications.

Q2: As others have indicated, you'll need to identify the specific controller, which VAX (which also tells us which I/O bus), and which OpenVMS VAX version.

The two most common formats for this LN05 DEClaser 2100 series printer are ANSI and Postscript, though this printer supported optional cartridges. If you are using ASCII text or Postscript, there are various printers which will work. If you're using and printing something more unusual (or more specific to some particular VAX/VMS (as it was then known) application, that could be a problem.

The service guide EKâ LN05Xâ SV for this particular printer is available via Google, and I've located an operator's guide EKâ DECLAâ OG as well.

As for the graphics displays, that's typically the particular controller involved, and most VAX systems with workstation displays offered several different graphics options; color and greyscale were common with the oldest of VAX systems and the QVSS/QDSS widgets. Later products were usually (all?) color.

I'd be looking at emulation here, or at moving forward to Alpha or maybe Integrity Itanium. The target depends on your budget and your goals and whether you have source code and what the source code is doing. VAX boxes are and were good, but they don't last forever in production.

Stephen Hoffman
HoffmanLabs LLC
Robert Gezelter
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC VAX and Printing


Welcome to the ITRC OpenVMS Forum!

As has been said, more specifics are needed.

Depending on what type of connection is being used, and what are the contents of the print stream govern what printers are suitable.

At a minimum, a correct answer requires:
- Precise model VAX
- Precise OpenVMS release involved.
- A FULL understanding of the contents of the print streams.

The last is EXTREMELY important. I have seen some applications that made use of DEC specific printer capabilities. If these capabilities are not available on the new printer, or not provided by some other software component, then the print stream will not function correctly.

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC VAX and Printing

It is interesting that character-encoding issues have crept into a discussion of printers and print formats.

Those manual part numbers are:


Go figure.
Occasional Visitor

Re: DEC VAX and Printing

The vax machine which I am trying to print off of is a Vaxstation 3200. The VMS version is 5.5-2.
The other machine which I asked the graphics question about is a vaxstation 4000/90 running openVMS 7.1.
The print queues say they are being printed via DCPS@default. The printer is connected directly to this machine by a parallel connection.
Thanks for the help so far