HP vs. Printronix Barcodes 
Author Message
 HP vs. Printronix Barcodes

   I have been following this thread for a while, and
   feel obligated to give my best unsolicited reply,
   as we faced the same issues in my DP shop.

   For printing on the HPLJ you will have to get, at a
   minimum, either the Code 3/9 cartridge or the
   Code 3/9 Softfont set. Where I work, we chose
   the cartridge since we didn't want to have the
   overhead of downloading the softfont each time the
   printer was powered off/on. The issue of price is
   somewhat reduced since both solutions cost under

   What is more important, at least on the LaserJet 3si,
   is that the 3/9 font is not rotatable -- only portrait
   printing is available. This may have gone away in the
   newer HP LaserJets, but is something to find out about
   if you were considering printing 132-column wide reports
   sideways in landscape mode. It might not work.

   The change is fairly straightforward, but it will require
   programming changes to the report program. Essentially,
   you will be replacing the Printronix IGP graphics commands
   with Hewlett-Packard escape sequences.

   We ran into some other problems that you might want to take
   into consideration:

1. The Printronix is a line printer based on the dot-matrix
   technology. It is not a dot-matrix printer in the strictest
   sense, but does allow you to address each dot in the printed
   character, and ejects a page when the number of dots
   printed exceeds a threshold setup by the Lines per Inch and
   Inches per Page settings. (These are software adjustable).

   The HP LaserJet, on the other hand, is a page printer
   which ejects a page when its page buffer is filled. All
   this means is that you might have to send additional ESC
   sequences to the HP in order for it to do a page break like
   the Printronix. If you explicitly print the FormFeed byte
   then you may not run into this problem (FormFeed = Char(12)),
   but if you rely on the default values that are set up in the
   HP LaserJet to cause page breaks, there may be blank pages,
   or pages with one line when you add barcodes.

2. Another problem is that printers take on the characteristics
   of the terminals from which they are started. For normal
   character printers this is not a crucial point, but for the
   graphics printers, the FF and LF delays need to be changed.
   The TERM verb sets up these values; for the HP they must be
   disabled in order to print barcodes reliably.

   To change the terminal settings, prior to starting
   up your HP LJ5iii, issue the following command before
   STARTLPTR:    at TCL, key: TERM ,,,0,0     The 0,0 at the end
   of the TERM command will disable the Linefeed & FormFeed delays.
   Terminals need them, but graphics printers can't have them.

3. The last thing we ran into was in printing the actual codes.
   On a Printronix, the IGP code to print the 3/9 barcode for
   the string "S123" in 1/2" height is something like
   PRINT "^M0504000^BNAS123^G^-" .... For the HP Laserjet,
   though, the same functionality would require the

         PRINT "(escape sequence)*S123*"
         PRINT "(escape sequence)*S123*"
         PRINT "(escape sequence)*S123*"

   at 6 lines/inch. The three lines gives you the 1/2". At 8LPI,
   you would need 4 print statements. Also note that with the
   HP 3/9 barcodes, you must specify the start and stop "*"'s,
   thus you will be printing *S123*, not S123.

-- Dave Smith.

Wed, 26 Aug 1998 03:00:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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1. HP to Printronix

2. Printing barcodes on a HP laserjet 4v

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