Serial printers

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RollerBall
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Post by RollerBall » Wed Apr 18, 2007 2:26 am

:D

he he - that's got him going

Actually what it is, quite often you can pick up bargains on Ebay and sometimes they're parallel and sometimes they're serial. I got a CBM1000 (beautiful little printer) that turned out to be serial and I didn't really even try it out because of the 'problems'. Luckily I turned it over again for a small profit ;)

Now I don't really mind so long as it's a printer model I like anyway. But I accept that you do need to have an idea what you're doing though.

SwedaGuy
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Post by SwedaGuy » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:03 am

Ok, just a couple of thoughts...

First, there is plenty of information on the net about serial communication. Not just RS-232, but RS-422 and RS-485 as well, if you have some really old/obscure/proprietary printer. So...STOP BOTHERING DALE AND GO PESTER GOOGLE...it's amazing what you will find.

And yes, if you want to refer them to us for technical support, I have someone on staff for those purposes. You should tell them, however, that we are not as kind as you therefore we charge by the hour. Google is probably cheaper...

Finally, I have to ask why on earth a person is sabotaging the inherent stability and reliability of a DOS program by running it in Windoze...Your problem isn't your serial printer, it's your lame-@ss OS. If you really need a gui to feel worthwhile, get OS/2 on ebay. (get version 3 or later, as it's getting harder to find compatible hardware for 2.x and earlier) But remember, DOS was so popular for so long because it works. Period. As Dale has said before, the new machines and the new software packages look really cool--but in the end, your money doesn't care...
There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary, and those that do not...

RollerBall
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Post by RollerBall » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:35 pm

SwedaGuy wrote: Finally, I have to ask why on earth a person is sabotaging the inherent stability and reliability of a DOS program by running it in Windoze.....
:roll:

ahem...I don't actually for a 1-user system but you're rather forced into it for a 2/multi register system

SwedaGuy
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Post by SwedaGuy » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:54 pm

Hmm...

Well, if you're not particularly daring--that is to say, you don't want to try out one of the home-grown networking packages developed by DOS fans over the years--ebay is still a great source for networking components.

I'm personally most fond of OS/2 with LanServer and we use it in several of our businesses. The advantage of using OS/2 for DOS applications lies primarily in the fact that your DOS application has an entire memory segment at it's disposal. That means if you have multiple TSRs or other utilities that run concurrently, you're not going to suffer RAM cram. Each DOS application is run in its own virtual machine, so that even poorly written programs that walk all over memory can't interfere with other running applications.

We also use the rIPL (Remote Initial Program Load) feature so we don't have to have hard drives in each machine. Not only does this cut down on mischief by employees, but back-ups are centralized...

I will admit that rIPL is not for novices...the process of setting it up is not straight-forward, and the documentation for doing so has to be located on IBMs website, as the books that come with LanServer (though numerous) don't include this info. That said, you can put the DOS client on a DOS machine and the setup/configuration process is much easier. That way, you only have to have the OS/2 on the server. Note, though recommended, the server does not have to be a dedicated machine.

Of course there are other options. Novell is good, but generally expensive, even on ebay. I've seen 5 or 10 user versions of Lantastic and Banyan Vines available on ebay quite reasonably. Both of those are insanely easy to configure. They don't have some of the bells and whistles that LanServer and Novell have, but they certainly do the job.

Of course, if you like to tinker, I would recommend trying out some of the home-grown utilities mentioned above. Just google "DOS Networking" and see what pops up. Your biggest hastle is going to be hardware compatibility, as some of the newer network cards don't have DOS drivers. I stick primarily to 3COM etherlink cards and I've never had a compatibility issue...

For the record, we run 5 distinct networks that all interface to one main network...none of them are Windows anything...
There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary, and those that do not...

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daleadmin
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Post by daleadmin » Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:01 pm

I am prepared to concede that if you are proficient with computer hardware and operating systems then it may be possible to have a less than horrid experience with serial printers, maybe.

However, after reviewing my email this will apparently apply to less than 2% of potential DHPOS users. I get email asking me where the "ANY" key is, what do I mean by "unzipping the file", will the program work under their version of Windows without being able to tell me what version of Windows they have, what is a "folder", where is their folder, what do they do to start the program, how do they put an icon on their desktop to start the program, etc., etc., etc.

While I am thrilled to have these folks as users I really do not want to try to debug their problems with setting up a serial printer. Trying to walk them through the process of wiping Windows from their computers and installing OS/2 instead would be my definition of the seventh level of hell.

However my offer stands. If you want me to forward your email address to these folks I would be more than happy to. The same applies to your phone number. And you could make a podcast of your first phone call with a potential DHPOS user with a heavy foreign accent asking you which of these port thingies do you plug the keyboard into while you are trying to help him set up OS/2 with LanServer. I am sure we would all enjoy listening to it.

But if he asks me, I am going to tell him to get a parallel receipt printer, plug it in, and turn it on.

Dale

SwedaGuy
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Post by SwedaGuy » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:12 am

I think you have exemplified in this post (more so than any other) why I wouldn't consider giving away a product for free.

As I have mentioned before, I think you are very generous to offer your product (and, apparently, technical support) free of charge. However, I believe, based on your comments, that you get a lot of stupid questions from people who are too lazy to learn basic computer operations. What is a folder? Seriously! Where is the "Any" key? This is the stuff tech support urban legends are made of...

You've produced a product, well fitted to a variety of retail applications. Because it is free, your client list consists of a bevy of people who are too cheap to pay for a product that is a value to them. Of course those people are going to ask dumb questions--the software is free, so your skills must be free, too, right?

If there were some impetus to find answers themselves, say a nominal support charge, they would check the free resources (ie, google) first.

I'm sure there are some very nice people who use your software because they genuinely feel it is the best solution to their needs. However, the vast majority of them use it only because it's free. I'm sorry, but people who want something for nothing irritate me...

I'm not trying to offend you, or stir up any particular trouble, but I really think your time is worth something. You've provided free software, a users manual, and an online forum for users to ask and answer questions. I'm sure people who are computer literate find these resources sufficient for configuring and operating the software. For those who don't really understand their own computer (and therefore shouldn't have one), I believe assistance should be provided on a pay-as-you go or yearly basis. That would certainly cut down on your nuisance calls.

Now, if you want us to act as a proxy supporrt organization, that can be arranged. I'll download the software again and thoroughly familiarize myself with it, so when someone calls I'm not scrambling for answers. I can set up a 900 number for technical support, or sell yearly maintenance contracts. You see, I don't work for free, and I don't think you should either.

I apologize for getting so far off topic, and for my lengthy ramble.
There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary, and those that do not...

groovyd
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DSpool - Serial Printer Driver

Post by groovyd » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:58 pm

I wrote an alternative serial printer driver called DSpool for those looking to simplify their serial printer setup life. It is free software and you can get it at my software website http://www.groovysoft.org if you like.

Setup goes like this...

1. Download and unzip the DSpool software

2. Install the software by double clicking on 'install.bat', which copies the program to your computer's root folder and puts it in the registry autostart so it will automatically run when you start windows (you can always remove it with 'uninstall.bat' if you don't want it anymore).

3. Set DHPOS to print receipts to 'FILE:' and that's it!

What the program does is redirects the resulting receipt files that the DHPOS outputs directly to the serial port using system commands compatible with all versions of windows. It also has some options where it can ask you if you would like to print each receipt or not and it can allow the control codes (for opening the cash drawer and such) to pass through even if you don't want to print the receipt itself.

Give it a try and if it doesn't work for you or you don't understand how to use it or you would like me to make you a special one just for you then email me at dspool@groovysoft.org and I will work with you on getting it to work, for free.

EST
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Serial Printer ERROR

Post by EST » Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:04 am

Can anyone help me with a (hopefully simple) problem?

I use to have Windows XP with the DHPOS software and then I downgraded to Windows 95. I have a serial connected receipt printer, which has a RJ-11 connected cash drawer. I would love to get at least the cash drawer to open by itself. However, I cannot get the receipt printer to work correctly. With Windows XP I could only get it to printer, with a test page through the Windows Drivers, and it would print out garbage. With Windows 95 I can actually get it to print through the DHPOS software and Windows test page, however in both cases it just prints out garbage. Plus, when I try to put in the Cash Drawer Code or Auto Printer Cutter Code, it gives me a printer failure waring through the DHPOS software.

If anyone could help me out with this problem, I will be so happy!!! Plus, I do run my own Computer Business (I know a lot about XP and Vista), and anyone that helps me out, I will be glad than ever to give you FREE service (tune-up, security, disable annoying prompts in Vista, etc.!). Thank you again, ahead atime!

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brucef2112
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Re: Serial Printer ERROR

Post by brucef2112 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:14 pm

EST wrote:Can anyone help me with a (hopefully simple) problem?..... I cannot get the [serial] receipt printer to work correctly.
Standby........ :roll:
I hear SwedaGuy will be posting his number and hourly support rate for solving DHPOS + Serial Printer issues real soon.

rotfl
(And I thought only Scott Adams could create a "Dilbert moment" like this thread of posts) :lol:
Later,
Bruce

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin - Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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daleadmin
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Re: Serial printers

Post by daleadmin » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:42 am

What is this love affair with serial printers? Folks will replace their OS only for the purpose of getting a serial printer to work? What else are users willing to swap on their computers to see if they can get a serial printer to be fully functional with DHPOS, the BIOS, the processor, mother board, hard drives, monitor? Replace the entire computer with an abacus, get DHPOS to somehow work on that, then try to plug in the serial printer and get that to work also?

At what point does it become obvious that instead of spending thousands of dollars and endless hours to change everything else on the system, with no success whatsoever, that it might just be possible that the serial printer itself is the problem and if you replace that the problem will just go away?

Are you trying to impress your friends by doing the impossible? Is there a million dollar "X" Prize for getting a serial printer to function with DHPOS that I am not aware of? Or are people just nuts?

If you have a 4 horse cart and it will not move because one of the horses is dead, replacing one of the wheels on the cart will not be that helpful. Replacing the entire cart will not fix it. The problem is the dead horse, replace that.

The problem is the serial printer, replace that.

Then get on with your life. I wish I could, but instead I must continue to tell future users that they will be wasting their lives messing with serial printers and to just take a sledge hammer to the damn thing.

Dale

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brucef2112
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Re: Serial printers

Post by brucef2112 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:39 pm

OK I think Dale has made it very clear.
If you want to run DHPOS with a serial printer your horse will die.
No one likes a dead pony...
Get a Parallel add-in card and be done with it. :idea:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6815166007
NewEgg has an add-in card for $14 dollars. But wait! If you order this card, you'll get not ONE, but TWO Parallel ports on the same card! That's only $7 a port!
You'll have a lpt1 and a lpt2 port. Just think of the possibilities!
Everyone loves printing bliss, even at $14 dollars. Dale's solutions and wisdom is priceless....
Later,
Bruce

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin - Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

IAN
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Re: Serial printers

Post by IAN » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:45 pm

am i the only one thats severly NUTS on here... i use serial.. i love the stuff, i dont know why so many of ye have problems.. maybe i must know my stuff?
a command to know is how to program your port:
MODE

disable your com port in windows get your data that your printer needs mode in the details and all should work if you get problems when restart you create a bat file that automate the command; mode then pos.exe

done it to a few pc's worked well. mode command is also used in dos

ok a nice little command to play with is:
echo,

try ECHO type some text>port
e.g. echo hello there testing printer>lpt1
e.g. echo hello there testing printer>com1


this should print the text. if not your config may be wrong or even the wrong cable. i had that problem once, the manufacturer had its own particular cable pinout
IAN

(Everything i say is a lie! so am i telling you the truth?)

EST
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Re: Serial printers

Post by EST » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:55 pm

Thanks for everyone's help... not!!! I found the problem out by myself. I had a setting on the laser printer set wrong (font size).

IAN
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Re: Serial printers

Post by IAN » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:48 pm

font size? uhh you said it printing garbage? and draw kick not work... that i cant see it font size stoping the draw kick, anyway
could blame dale he made me forget by his post. (my short memory isnt long enough!) so for that then i could blame the tablets :D
garbage is more like other settings like baud?
IAN

(Everything i say is a lie! so am i telling you the truth?)

EST
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Re: Serial printers

Post by EST » Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:50 pm

IAN wrote:font size? uh you said it printing garbage? and draw kick not work... that i cant see it font size stopping the draw kick, anyway
could blame dale he made me forget by his post. (my short memory isn't long enough!) so for that then i could blame the tablets :D
garbage is more like other settings like baud?
yes, that what I meant sorry BAUD. And I should have said thanks for helping IAN and every body else ...

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