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kindergartenchats

Pen Plotters with Autocad

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kindergartenchats

Hi, New to the group. Our office is currently using Autocad 2006 with Windows XP. We would like to purchase a pen plotter (thinking about an HP7475A) to plot presentation drawings on mylar or vellum. In reading through previous posts it looks like there are drivers available (Roland DXY980 plotter Driver for one) that will work with Autocad (using a special Null Modem Cable) . I was wondering if anyone has used a pen plotter with Autocad 2006 and if they could share any tips & tricks to help get us started. Many thanks!

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ReMark

Just curious. Why a pen plotter? Why not an inkjet? I'm sure you could find one "slightly used" for a good price given the economy. Is this a used pen plotter? If so, how old is it and are pens still available?

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Coosbaylumber

I think Acad 2006 is too new for pen plotter drivers. The plotters tend to only work on Operating Systems up to Win 98. That being the last year that pen text worked OK.

 

If you can get a ADI 4.2 driver to work, tell us how then.

 

Wm.

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kindergartenchats
Just curious. Why a pen plotter? Why not an inkjet? I'm sure you could find one "slightly used" for a good price given the economy. Is this a used pen plotter? If so, how old is it and are pens still available?

 

Hi ReMark, we have an HP Designjet for our large format/daily printing. Using a pen plotter is more of a left-field idea as we were thinking to plot presentation/archival quality drawings using one of these. The quality of line using a pen plotter can't be beat. From what I've read you can still purchase new old stock pens and/or can adapt old pens to be refillable.

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kindergartenchats
I think Acad 2006 is too new for pen plotter drivers. The plotters tend to only work on Operating Systems up to Win 98. That being the last year that pen text worked OK.

 

If you can get a ADI 4.2 driver to work, tell us how then.

 

Wm.

 

 

Hi Wm. Thank you for the intel - would you happen to know which version of Autocad worked with Win 98?

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Jack_O'neill

There is a bit of software called Winline that claims to be able to run about any of the old serial plotters and printers and through the software you can even set these up as Windows system printers and use them with any program (word, excel, even paint). I've never used it myself, but it looks interesting. You can download a trial version from their website.

 

A bit of cautionary advice...most of the older plotters were serial devices. Some of them used the parallel printer port. If your computer is new enough to not have these, you may have add one, or try a USB adapter. As I told someone in another thread, some of the brands of plotters like Ioline had proprietary cabling schemes as well. If you happen to pick one of those, you'll have to make your own cable as a standard serial cable won't work on those. The information on how to do that is available in most cases on the internet. I'm not familiar with the HP plotter you mentioned, but I don't think they were silly enough to do that. Some of the others would know better than I on those.

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Coosbaylumber
Hi Wm. Thank you for the intel - would you happen to know which version of Autocad worked with Win 98?

 

 

Back in 1997, we had R-14 loaded up, and had ADI 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 loaded on. The boss when and bought an H-P 650c, and we then used it mostly. Calcomp pen plotters work best under the 4 series of ADI drivers, but we had to load up some secondary software in order to get the H-P working. Then rearrange the Autoexec.bat file, make a special selection and it took off.

 

We upgraded from Win95 to Win 98 and ME and never had any problems, but had to remember as to which computer was hooked up to what plotter. All data went to one server, and everyone worked their various way changing line types and colors as they wished the plot to come out, which caused much confusion. We went to a later version of ACAD, like 2000 or 2002 and the boss kept the H-P and I got the Calcomp then.

 

Wm.

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Coosbaylumber
There is a bit of software called Winline that claims to be able to run about any of the old serial plotters and printers and through the software you can even set these up as Windows system printers and use them with any program (word' date=' excel, even paint). I've never used it myself, but it looks interesting. You can download a trial version from their website.[/quote']

 

I have used the WinLine plotter driver. It will work on only "Certain" plotters, and those plotters have to be configured a certain way too. It will not work on just any plotter they have in their extensive list. 'course you do not find this out until you buy the driver and go through their trouble shooting guide. You can get into the software a certain distance in configuring, but once you "press the button" nothing then happens.

 

 

Wm.

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kindergartenchats
There is a bit of software called Winline that claims to be able to run about any of the old serial plotters and printers and through the software you can even set these up as Windows system printers and use them with any program (word' date=' excel, even paint). I've never used it myself, but it looks interesting. You can download a trial version from their website.

 

A bit of cautionary advice...most of the older plotters were serial devices. Some of them used the parallel printer port. If your computer is new enough to not have these, you may have add one, or try a USB adapter. As I told someone in another thread, some of the brands of plotters like Ioline had proprietary cabling schemes as well. If you happen to pick one of those, you'll have to make your own cable as a standard serial cable won't work on those. The information on how to do that is available in most cases on the internet. I'm not familiar with the HP plotter you mentioned, but I don't think they were silly enough to do that. Some of the others would know better than I on those.[/quote']

 

Hi Jack, Thank you for the info on this. I believe (though I haven't purchased one yet) that the HP7475A 6-pen plotter uses an HP_IB interface. Any thoughts on how to connect this fella to a newer computer (we don't have serial ports - only USB ports). Many thanks!

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Coosbaylumber
Hi Jack, Thank you for the info on this. I believe (though I haven't purchased one yet) that the HP7475A 6-pen plotter uses an HP_IB interface. Any thoughts on how to connect this fella to a newer computer (we don't have serial ports - only USB ports). Many thanks!

 

I went to a local electronic swap meet and got one of the common $1 special Serial port adapter boards made by SIIG. Plug it into a slot on mother board, the BIOS says wat is new? and then it recognised as a new add-on.

 

Have a couple here, all with gold colored painting for serial, parallele, and USB ports. $1 each and SIIG still has information on how to configure and install them at their web-site. You need to know waht was "last Used" number of serial port. The board will assume the next number in routine, and Autocad will then ask as to which cord out the backside of your computer goes to what.

 

Wm.

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Jack_O'neill
I have used the WinLine plotter driver. It will work on only "Certain" plotters, and those plotters have to be configured a certain way too. It will not work on just any plotter they have in their extensive list. 'course you do not find this out until you buy the driver and go through their trouble shooting guide. You can get into the software a certain distance in configuring, but once you "press the button" nothing then happens.

 

 

Wm.

 

As I said, I'd never used it but have had several recommend it. It did sound a little on the "too good to be true" side, though I do know that it works for Ioline plotters. Have a friend with one and Winline and loves it. I have an old Ioline LP 4000 but it's been in the storeroom for years. I keep threatening to download the trial version and give it a try. Thanks for the info.

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Jack_O'neill
Hi Jack, Thank you for the info on this. I believe (though I haven't purchased one yet) that the HP7475A 6-pen plotter uses an HP_IB interface. Any thoughts on how to connect this fella to a newer computer (we don't have serial ports - only USB ports). Many thanks!

 

Welcome to CADTutor! Glad to have you aboard!

 

Coosbaylumber had some suggestions on hooking that up. There are a number of ways. I think you can still get serial interface cards at places like Best Buy and Radio Shack. Tigerdirect may have them as well, or you can get USB to serial adapters at any of those places too. I have one here on the desk that I bought with the intention of resurrecting my old pen plotter, but just haven't gotten round to it yet so I don't know how well it will work. It plugs into the USB port and then has a serial connector to hook up old appliances. Package said it would "emulate" a serial port for older printers and other serial devices.

 

Good luck with it and let us know how it turns out.

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kindergartenchats
Welcome to CADTutor! Glad to have you aboard!

 

Coosbaylumber had some suggestions on hooking that up. There are a number of ways. I think you can still get serial interface cards at places like Best Buy and Radio Shack. Tigerdirect may have them as well' date=' or you can get USB to serial adapters at any of those places too. I have one here on the desk that I bought with the intention of resurrecting my old pen plotter, but just haven't gotten round to it yet so I don't know how well it will work. It plugs into the USB port and then has a serial connector to hook up old appliances. Package said it would "emulate" a serial port for older printers and other serial devices.

 

Good luck with it and let us know how it turns out.[/quote']

 

Hi Jack, Thank you for the info on the USB serial adapter. I was wondering, would you happen to know if HP's HB-IB interface will accept a standard RS-232 serial port connector? I've attached an image of an HB-IB port on an HP7470A 2-pen plotter. Do you think I would need a special HP cable for this type of plotter? Thanks again!

hp-ib.JPG

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kindergartenchats
I went to a local electronic swap meet and got one of the common $1 special Serial port adapter boards made by SIIG. Plug it into a slot on mother board, the BIOS says wat is new? and then it recognised as a new add-on.

 

Have a couple here, all with gold colored painting for serial, parallele, and USB ports. $1 each and SIIG still has information on how to configure and install them at their web-site. You need to know waht was "last Used" number of serial port. The board will assume the next number in routine, and Autocad will then ask as to which cord out the backside of your computer goes to what.

 

Wm.

 

Thank you Wm. Can a SIIG port adapter board (or something similar) be installed on a laptop or only on a computer with a tower? We're pretty much on laptops here. Best regards.

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Jack_O'neill
Hi Jack, Thank you for the info on the USB serial adapter. I was wondering, would you happen to know if HP's HB-IB interface will accept a standard RS-232 serial port connector? I've attached an image of an HB-IB port on an HP7470A 2-pen plotter. Do you think I would need a special HP cable for this type of plotter? Thanks again!

 

According to the document I found below, that interface requires an HP cable. Standard RS232 is listed as "option 1" and the HP-IB interface is "option 2".

 

The part number for the cable is listed in the document. Look on page two, down near the bottom.

 

http://www.buy17.com/HP/pdf/hp7475a.pdf

 

Here's another you might look at too:

http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=73

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kindergartenchats
According to the document I found below' date=' that interface requires an HP cable. Standard RS232 is listed as "option 1" and the HP-IB interface is "option 2".

 

The part number for the cable is listed in the document. Look on page two, down near the bottom.[/quote']

 

Hi Jack, This is super helpful thank you. Do I have this right then - the HP7470A 2-pen plotter pictured above was ordered as an Option 2 plotter using a proprietary HP-IB cable vs Option 1 (an RS-232 cable)? I'm guessing that it would be better to find a plotter that uses a universal serial cable. Does this make sense? Would you have any recommendations for 11x17 pen plotters that might be an easier go to install (if I can't find an HP 'Option 1' plotter)? Many thanks!

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Jack_O'neill
Hi Jack, This is super helpful thank you. Do I have this right then - the HP7470A 2-pen plotter pictured above was ordered as an Option 2 plotter using a proprietary HP-IB cable vs Option 1 (an RS-232 cable)? I'm guessing that it would be better to find a plotter that uses a universal serial cable. Does this make sense? Would you have any recommendations for 11x17 pen plotters that might be an easier go to install (if I can't find an HP 'Option 1' plotter)? Many thanks!

 

Yes, you're right. I don't know much about the small plotters, the only ones I've ever worked with would do E-size sheets. Ioline, Mutoh, Calcomp, etc...

 

There is an HP 7475A six pen plotter on Ebay right now though. Says it has the RS232 interface.

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Coosbaylumber

Jack;

 

 

I got one of the versions of Autocad that runs on HP language. Seems to me it did not load up first time. I had to put it ont some old 486 type os computer, then transferr the data to the other computer. Got the standard Set-up questions right after starting first time, but after that it worked OK on a M-S operating system. But, flat would not go all the way to completion in a HP language format. Stopped about 3/4 the way in, an went into some loop. But it was slow, but once installed onto the 486 it took off and ran good. Then transferred the program to anouther computer and it took of there too.

 

I don't think that SIIG or anyone else makes and adapter for a installation board that works in a laptop computer. Each is too different. Now beware in using some adapter of USB to Serial. You need to tell computer to treat that USB port same as a serial then. Otherwise Acad will be sending plot info to a port that does not exist.

 

 

Wm.

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kindergartenchats
Yes' date=' you're right. I don't know much about the small plotters, the only ones I've ever worked with would do E-size sheets. Ioline, Mutoh, Calcomp, etc...

 

There is an HP 7475A six pen plotter on Ebay right now though. Says it has the RS232 interface.[/quote']

 

Hi Jack, I purchased the HP 7475A (with an RS232 interface) that was listed on eBay. I figure it's worth a shot. I also sent an email to Vermes Technik to inquire about ink pens for this plotter (I found their contact info on the HP Museum web site, which notes that they still manufacture pens for all HP pen plotters - thank you for the link). I guess the next step is to purchase a USB to serial adaptor (I'm thinking about one from USB Gear) and to see if I can get this fella up and running using Autocad '06 and Windows XP. Many thanks again for your help!

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Coosbaylumber

As mentioned earlier, you do know that even if you get it running, it will not be working any text other than some default type.

 

 

Wm.

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