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Topic # 192024 24-Feb-2016 14:13
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Hi Guys.

 

For those who might remember this stuff...

Retailer still using an old DOS (thats Dos6, no Windows) Point of Sale system
The dot matrix printer died, so I put in a HP LaserJet Printer . I went into the POS printer config menu & set the
printer to HP PCL5.

 

Everything prints, but on reports ,the font size is tiny, almost to the point of being unreadable.
Some prints are perfect, invoices etc , but with the reports the font is too small to easily read (needs a magnifying glass).
Does anyone have any suggestions as to make the PCL font a bit bigger, or is that something that needs to
be reprogrammed  in the software itself ?
The POS software is running using Foxpro 2.6 as the database engine

 

I tried changing the HP's default PCL font, I tried a few of the many internal fonts, it either made no difference or
was miles too big . Changing the HP printers internal  PCL font size didnt seem to make any difference either.

 

I have emailed support in Aus, but given the age of the software, I'm not expecting alot of help.

 

Any suggestions,  (remember , its 100% Dos, not Windows)
I have a copy of the software on a spare PC I can test things out on

 


Cheers

 

 


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  Reply # 1498551 24-Feb-2016 14:56
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The main question is whether the program is sending printer codes to format the output. If it is only sending ASCII text and basic control codes (like CR for next line) then you can send other printer codes (commonly called escape sequences for PCL) to the printer using batch files for example.

 

It seems likely that you will be able to send your own codes because the fonts that printed "miles to big" may have been the large fonts introduced in PCL 3 or 4.

 

Here's some questions to consider:

 

     

  1. What is the dot matrix printer make and model? I mainly want to know this for the width of the carriage/paper but also because some dot matrix printers can be emulated in more advanced printers.
  2. What is the HP LaserJet model? There are configuration issues which could be relevant to your issues. For example, does it have additional ROM cartridges that add additional fonts.
  3. Have you tried altering the default font and font size for the invoices which printed fine?
  4. Do you have copies of the old reports to compare with? Is the report being shrunk to fit the new page size which would explain the small font size being selected? Could that be why the invoice prints fine but other reports don't?
  5. Which font is being printed? Is it the default font? From the printer control panel, you can print a sample of all the fonts on the printer to compare with the report output.

 

If necessary, you can redirect printer output to a file and check the file content to see what is actually being sent to the printer.




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  Reply # 1498632 24-Feb-2016 16:34
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The printer is PCL5, and the software gives PCL5 option .

 

1) NEC Prinwriter P3900 : The POS program was configured to a generic/default printer for the NEC (ie not using the usual Epson etc)

 

2) LJ2300 . No font carts.

 

3) No option to change print font size in the POS dos software .

 

4) the old paper is 3cm wider tha A4 in landscape mode . On one report, it sends/prints to the HP in landscape mode. Other prints are in
normal portrait mode.
There is the option to set different printer type for some different printout in the software (eg printer for reports, invoices etc can be set to different printer types). So there is some flexibility there .

 

5) the font is so small I cant easily compare to the printout of the HP's font list .Im guessing Courier, as thats the printer PCL font 0.

 

A workaround Im going to try, is setup the LJ to print in landscape , use the default/generic printer in the software, and see if the important reports fit on the page.
At least all the needed report info.
Printing to the LaserJet using the softwares gerneric printer , gives normalish old school Dos txt printout size .

 

It might just be, that perhaps some of the reports never actually fitted on the lineflow page of with the dot matrix anyway, as the lineflow isnt much wider than A4 in landscape .
Otherwise I'll print to file tomorrow & have a look at that.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

One consolation in all this, is invoices printed on the laser now look professional, to a standard that could be given to a customer .
The one invoice I saw did look good, with correct font sizes .

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1498649 24-Feb-2016 16:45
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There are Epson and Oki dot matrix printers in stock at Ingram if you have no luck.  Bought one a year ago for a client so they could keep using boxes of preprinted forms.





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  Reply # 1498654 24-Feb-2016 16:52
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Dynamic:

 

There are Epson and Oki dot matrix printers in stock at Ingram if you have no luck.  Bought one a year ago for a client so they could keep using boxes of preprinted forms.

 

 

Yeah, I looked into that. Not cheap for a wide carriage . Plus its a $800 gamble if I couldnt get that right for whatever reason.
There are some on trademe as well, but you never now the state of the printhead on a old used dot matrix . Thats a last resort

 


He said he doesnt want to use lineflow anymore now. Plus hes looking at replacing the system, so in a year a new dot matrix printer might be worthless to him.


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  Reply # 1498680 24-Feb-2016 17:30
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Stuff that old is really hard to support now. I'd be tempted to suggest they trial Vend https://www.vendhq.com/ or Shopify https://www.shopify.co.nz/pos

 

 


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  Reply # 1499066 25-Feb-2016 11:48
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You can try sending escape sequences to the printer yourself. Create a text file with the codes in and send it to the printer device. I'd probably start with sending the escape code to choose a specific font.

 

The examples below I've typed from memory so I might have missed something but I've added links to help you.

 

PCL escape sequences

 

There are many resources and lists of printer codes or escape sequences for HP PCL including the following"

 

HP PCL5 Printer Language Technical Reference Part 1 is probably too detailed but you might need it later on. Page 1-5 introduces escape sequences. 

 

Printer Control Codes and Escape Sequences is easy to follow with the escape code, decimal values in the three digit format for Alt entry, and the hex values.

 

The escape code is 027 decimal or 1B hexadecimal. You can hold down the Alt key and type the decimal code 027 on the numeric keyboard. Wikipedia tells you how to do it for Windows typing four digits. With DOS you only type in a three digit code.

 

Create text file

 

Use the DOS text editor to create a text file.

 

You can also create a text file by typing directly from the keyboard (represented by con which means the console, i.e. what ever appears on the console screen):

 

copy con textfilename.txt

 

End text entry by pressing Ctrl+Z then Enter.

 

Send the text file to the printer device

 

You can copy the file to the printer (default printer device is PRN or LPT1)

 

copy textfilename.txt PRN:

 

You can also redirect the output of the type command which displays the file contents on the console:

 

type textfilename.txt > PRN:


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  Reply # 1499081 25-Feb-2016 12:29
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It's actually quite scary how much DOS expertise there is about on Geekzone! wink

 

I used to be quite the dab hand at PCL5 escape codes, and EMM386 memory manipulation - ah the delights of CONFIG.SYS & AUTOEXEC.BAT - but that was probably twenty years ago and it's expertise I'm entirely happy to have lost!




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  Reply # 1499150 25-Feb-2016 13:45
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Hammerer:

 

You can try sending escape sequences to the printer yourself. Create a text file with the codes in and send it to the printer device. I'd probably start with sending the escape code to choose a specific font.

 

 

Thanks for the reply

 

Reality is setting in with this .
Even if I found out what was being sent to the printer, I'm not going to hack/reprogram his software to try & make this all work.
Learn the software , learn what he prints & whats needed on printouts (reports would need to be redesigned to fit on A4) , tweak & test what the software actually sends in PCL5 etc etc .
ie pay a Fropro Guru to reverse engineer & then fix printing issues & report printing.

 

I ended up just choosing the generic printer in the setup , that make the text readable size. 
On a few reports, some info is lost off the side of the page but thats something he said he can live with.
He very much prefers the laser to the old dot matrix .

 

I got a reply from product support in Aus, they dont want to know . Not interested, given how old the software is .Thats fair enough of
course.
New POS software is being considered , but may never actually happen .

 

Thanks .


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  Reply # 1499154 25-Feb-2016 13:48
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I wouldn't be too inclined to significantly discount the billing if asked.  Client took the risk in using outdated software, and it is not their IT Guru's job to insulate them from the results of that decision.

 

Source: My own experience on several occasions





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  Reply # 1499157 25-Feb-2016 13:54
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Just got flashbacks thinking about this.

 

Sending initialisation strings to a printer used to be such a joyfrown

 

I recall having dumb terminals running on Unix with a slave printer hanging off the back. You could send (START) escape sequences through to the terminal which would make anything you output to the terminal, go to the printer port. Then you send a (STOP) sequence to the terminal at the end of printing to get back to talking to the terminal again. Oh the happy hours of reading manuals and deciphering the correct codes. Of course each printer seemed to have totally different codes for font selection etc.

 

At least being unix you just had to use the echo command to fling some code at the printer.





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  Reply # 1499167 25-Feb-2016 14:15
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1101:

 

Hammerer:

 

You can try sending escape sequences to the printer yourself. Create a text file with the codes in and send it to the printer device. I'd probably start with sending the escape code to choose a specific font.

 

 

Thanks for the reply

 

Reality is setting in with this .
...

 

I ended up just choosing the generic printer in the setup , that make the text readable size. 
On a few reports, some info is lost off the side of the page but thats something he said he can live with.
He very much prefers the laser to the old dot matrix .

 

 

 

 

I think you've made the right decision. laughing It mostly works and any other option has no assured outcome.

 

Out of interest, did the POS software actually have a PCL printer option?

 

 

 

PolicyGuy:

 

It's actually quite scary how much DOS expertise there is about on Geekzone! wink

 

I used to be quite the dab hand at PCL5 escape codes, and EMM386 memory manipulation - ah the delights of CONFIG.SYS & AUTOEXEC.BAT - but that was probably twenty years ago and it's expertise I'm entirely happy to have lost!

 

 

A lot of DOS is still useful. I use that knowledge often for the command line in Windows. Many of the commands and shortcut keys are largely unchanged in thirty years.

 

In general, the level of Windows backwards-compatibility constantly amazes me: layer on layer of it.




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  Reply # 1499236 25-Feb-2016 16:32
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Hammerer:

 

 

 

Out of interest, did the POS software actually have a PCL printer option?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, PCL5, right in the softwares printer config menu.
That PCL5 option was causing alot of grief, with the tiny size fonts .




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  Reply # 1499646 26-Feb-2016 10:43
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todays update: smile

 

Strange things happening with the printouts.
All was going OK, untill today one (wide) dayly report started printing in potrait (instead of landscape) , leaving off alot of data.
Also it printed that report in a different font than the previous day.

 

So I went into the programs settings, changed the defined printer from generic to PCL5,test printed, then changed it back to generic.
Now , with the same settings , its back to printing that wide report in landscape.

 

Looks like very much a work in progress .

 

 


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