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Pen Plotters with Autocad

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kindergartenchats
Take a look at this:

http://www.pdp8online.com/563/pics/parts_final.shtml?small

 

That is basically a Bic pen cartridge and the original was basically just that.

Not a whole lot different.

 

 

Hi RickAstoria,

 

Thank you for the link.

 

Yes, you're definitely right that a pen plotter rollerball is very similar to this style of Bic ballpoint pen.

 

I mentioned archival pens, in my previous post, as internally a technical pen is not at all like a rollerball. A Koh-I-Noor (or similar) technical pen creates a very different quality of line when compared to a rollerball or to a fiber tip.

 

Each type of pen has its own specific use for both quality of line and also (based on the type of ink) allows for the option of plotting on paper, vellum or mylar film.

 

What is interesting - as you mention - is the ability to fabricate pen holders that will work for these 'obsolete' plotters. This allows for many more options besides what is currently available as limited production or as new old stock.

 

Please keep us posted on your conversion. It sounds interesting!

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RickAstoria

Technically, I'm converting a dot-matrix printer that supports 16" wide (17" including tractor feed strips (or 17" when considering friction feed conversion or something like that.) - into a plotter. It has a bunch of ESC and Control Codes that is enough to drive the printer (plotter) in the mannerism needed.

 

As someone suggested to me, I can take one of the dot matrix font symbols or anything that drives turns an LED on like Italic Font activation. Since this will now be purely Vector line drawing and not a dot-matrix anymore, the signals can be used and driven in a different fashion and the text modes would no longer work (no dot-matrix print head anymore means those dot matrix fonts would be rendered disabled. So I can use the signals the Bold or italic signal to drive the pen forward when lines are being drawn and all text will be vector fonts not dot-matrix raster fonts.

 

Then I can use the steppers to a precision of 1/180th of an inch which is fine for line drawings.

 

I agree, different types of pens has some differences but the method I am looking at would use anything from a pen to a marker.

 

I have considered how I would re-allocate the nature and functionality of some of the ESC/Control codes to drive the solenoid for driving the pen forward or back.

 

I agree, there are different type of pen tip and that all is available in regular pens.

Each have different properties.

 

Some mods could theoretically lead to larger paper size but then I would need new rollers as well but that gets awfully tricky.

 

Of course using a 17" roll can lead us to using 17x22 or whatever length sheets might be small for larger projects. It is possible theoretically to make your own pen holder and use whatever pen you want with those drum or flatbed plotters that exists in a similar manner to what I am doing with a dot-matrix which is a little trickier task.

 

Mechanically with the exception of the print head - the dot matrix and drum plotters are essentially and fundamentally the same in nature. Of course there are machined parts variability from brand/model of units. But basically, they work the same.

 

I chose not to use an inkjet because I don't have one wide enough and if it was - it probably would be a modern inkjet plotter.

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kindergartenchats

I wanted to post an update on our HP 7475A pen plotter.

 

We have had 'first contact' but we are wrestling with - what we think is happening - the plot file being corrupted.

 

There has been previous posts noting some concern that Windows XP might cause trouble but we thought we would give it a go to see if we could get the pen plotter to work.

 

We are currently running AutoCAD 2006 on XP. We have a Null Modem Cable along with a Socket PCMCIA Serial Adapter and are using the recommended Roland driver.

 

As a test we drew a circle with an inset square in AutoCAD.

 

In sending this to plot (plotting from model space) the HP starts up - shakes the pens, selects a pen, proceeds to draw a nice smooth circle but then stalls half way through drawing the square. We've tried this multiple times and it hangs at this point everytime.

 

I'm guessing here - but I think the problem is (as previously noted) with Windows XP as AutoCAD doesn't report any errors.

 

I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on what we might try next? Is there a way to run Win 98 along with XP on the same computer?

 

Many thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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RickAstoria
I wanted to post an update on our HP 7475A pen plotter.

 

We have had 'first contact' but we are wrestling with - what we think is happening - the plot file being corrupted.

 

There has been previous posts noting some concern that Windows XP might cause trouble but we thought we would give it a go to see if we could get the pen plotter to work.

 

We are currently running AutoCAD 2006 on XP. We have a Null Modem Cable along with a Socket PCMCIA Serial Adapter and are using the recommended Roland driver.

 

As a test we drew a circle with an inset square in AutoCAD.

 

In sending this to plot (plotting from model space) the HP starts up - shakes the pens, selects a pen, proceeds to draw a nice smooth circle but then stalls half way through drawing the square. We've tried this multiple times and it hangs at this point everytime.

 

I'm guessing here - but I think the problem is (as previously noted) with Windows XP as AutoCAD doesn't report any errors.

 

I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on what we might try next? Is there a way to run Win 98 along with XP on the same computer?

 

Many thanks in advance for any suggestions!

 

You manage to get a print, though. That is a good sign. What maybe an issue is the driver is not correctly written or something or there is a soft-bug/error in the pen plotting routines of the program. So they correct one issue (running it on XP) but fouled something up.

 

Question at hand is (HP-GL vs. HP-GL/2) comes to my mind. If you are using HP-GL/2 on a plotter that only supports HP-GL (in other words v1.) then you might have some issues. If the routines are sending HP-GL/2 commands, it might likely hang.

 

I'm guessing. They dealt around the XP kernal already with 2006 version of AutoCAD.

 

That might be a thought to check for.

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kindergartenchats
You manage to get a print, though. That is a good sign. What maybe an issue is the driver is not correctly written or something or there is a soft-bug/error in the pen plotting routines of the program. So they correct one issue (running it on XP) but fouled something up.

 

Question at hand is (HP-GL vs. HP-GL/2) comes to my mind. If you are using HP-GL/2 on a plotter that only supports HP-GL (in other words v1.) then you might have some issues. If the routines are sending HP-GL/2 commands, it might likely hang.

 

I'm guessing. They dealt around the XP kernal already with 2006 version of AutoCAD.

 

That might be a thought to check for.

 

 

Hi RickAstoria,

 

I've tired two different Roland drivers so far, the DXY-980 and DXY-990.

 

Both drivers give similar results - drawing some of the lines of the AutoCAD file and then stalling before the plot is complete.

 

I think the HP 7475A uses HP-GL/1 language but I thought that the Roland drivers were able to bridge the gap - so to speak - between the current HP-GL/2 language used by Windows XP and the previous - pen plotter friendly - Windows 98 HP-GL/1 language.

 

The other thing here could be the Socket PCMCIA serial adaptor, that I'm using - though the fact that the plotter responds - drawing a few lines before stopping combined with no error messages - leads me to think it may have something to do with the driver.

 

Any thoughts on other HP-GL/1 drivers for Win XP? - or perhaps running Win 98 parallel to XP? I read something about this in another post but not really sure how this works.

 

Thx!

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RickAstoria
Hi RickAstoria,

 

I've tired two different Roland drivers so far, the DXY-980 and DXY-990.

 

Both drivers give similar results - drawing some of the lines of the AutoCAD file and then stalling before the plot is complete.

 

I think the HP 7475A uses HP-GL/1 language but I thought that the Roland drivers were able to bridge the gap - so to speak - between the current HP-GL/2 language used by Windows XP and the previous - pen plotter friendly - Windows 98 HP-GL/1 language.

 

The other thing here could be the Socket PCMCIA serial adaptor, that I'm using - though the fact that the plotter responds - drawing a few lines before stopping combined with no error messages - leads me to think it may have something to do with the driver.

 

Any thoughts on other HP-GL/1 drivers for Win XP? - or perhaps running Win 98 parallel to XP? I read something about this in another post but not really sure how this works.

 

Thx!

 

There might be hw conflicts via that PCMCIA adaptor. Does the printers support parallel ports or standard RS-232 serial? Second, does the computer have either of those ports. Serial 9-pin DB-9 connector (trapezoid shape connector with two rows of pins. 5 and 4 pins). The Parallel port is the 25 pin DB-25 (trapezoid shape connector with two rows of pins 13 and 12.).

 

Now, try connecting the plotter to the serial or parallel. (If the printer docs says RS232 and it has a 25 pin connector, then get a 25-to-9 pin RS-232 cable and connect to 9-pin serial (COM1 or COM2) ports on conputer if it has it. Make sure you have those connectors. If the Printer docs says Parallel or Centronics then it is parallel.

 

If you don't get any activity or such when trying to print - go to BIOS and make sure LPT: (parallel printer port) and COM1 & COM2 (RS-232 Serial Ports) are enabled.

 

In the case of Parallel, you might have to set the settings to ECP, EPP or SPP settings.

 

The PCMCIA card might act awkward. Some laptops have these ports in the back. Many desktops have these serial and parallel ports still.

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Coosbaylumber

Well, the H-P 7475 was originally designed to run at DOS or Win. 3.1 level. For such, they handled the memory differently. I tried what you mentioned here years ago, and found that only the first 20 or so lines of a drawing would some up, and then quit. Via somehow, I got this to near 100. But often the second set of lines would loose origin, and scale factor.

 

Mentioned this at Computing.net. One fellow there sent me a copy of MEMMAKER he got off some Win95 machine. I installed it and then the whole operation changed and it permitted the lines to come up then (without loosing origin).

 

Problem as he mentioned it, was that you need to install MEMMAKER where your plotter driver file is now located. It will then, rearrange things automatically. When question of do you need EXTENDED memory comes up, say Yes. Normal is not.

 

I can't remember much else, except that numerous folks argued with the fellow on Computing.net afterwards, most saying M-S did this automatically upon boot-up. But was only thing to make my pen plotter(s) take off and go again.

 

Other thing he suggested was to write the plot to a file (see your option list) and then ask the plotter to PRINT that same file as you just created. I used to do this for a laser cutting machine connected in to the computer. Otherwise it cut the expensive wood in a rather random routine. First couple of sheets OK (got it whipped then), but then....

 

Wm.

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kindergartenchats
Well, the H-P 7475 was originally designed to run at DOS or Win. 3.1 level. For such, they handled the memory differently. I tried what you mentioned here years ago, and found that only the first 20 or so lines of a drawing would some up, and then quit. Via somehow, I got this to near 100. But often the second set of lines would loose origin, and scale factor.

 

Mentioned this at Computing.net. One fellow there sent me a copy of MEMMAKER he got off some Win95 machine. I installed it and then the whole operation changed and it permitted the lines to come up then (without loosing origin).

 

Problem as he mentioned it, was that you need to install MEMMAKER where your plotter driver file is now located. It will then, rearrange things automatically. When question of do you need EXTENDED memory comes up, say Yes. Normal is not.

 

I can't remember much else, except that numerous folks argued with the fellow on Computing.net afterwards, most saying M-S did this automatically upon boot-up. But was only thing to make my pen plotter(s) take off and go again.

 

Other thing he suggested was to write the plot to a file (see your option list) and then ask the plotter to PRINT that same file as you just created. I used to do this for a laser cutting machine connected in to the computer. Otherwise it cut the expensive wood in a rather random routine. First couple of sheets OK (got it whipped then), but then....

 

Wm.

 

Hi Wm,

 

Thank you for the intel. Yes, this seems to be what is happening - our plotter plots the first few lines - very nicely using the Roland Driver - and then stalls with the pen in the down position but with no error messages displayed.

 

Being new to all of this - could I ask - what is 'Memmaker'? Do you think I would be able to find a copy of this software that is compatible with Windows XP?

 

Re. creating a plot file - this sounds like a very good tip. On Monday I'll try giving this a go - perhaps this will do the trick without needing additional software :-)

 

Happy 4th of July and thanks again for your help!

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gjfeng
Hi Wm,

 

Thank you for the intel. Yes, this seems to be what is happening - our plotter plots the first few lines - very nicely using the Roland Driver - and then stalls with the pen in the down position but with no error messages displayed.

 

Being new to all of this - could I ask - what is 'Memmaker'? Do you think I would be able to find a copy of this software that is compatible with Windows XP?

 

Re. creating a plot file - this sounds like a very good tip. On Monday I'll try giving this a go - perhaps this will do the trick without needing additional software :-)

 

Happy 4th of July and thanks again for your help!

 

 

 

kindergartenchats,

 

I'm a newbie to this site, and just noticed this thread today. I'm not a newbie to Autocad, having used it since Release 9 with pen plotters up until Autocad 2000. I have Autocad 2009 but prefer 2002 with my Designjet 500.

 

I think you are wasting your time trying get a penplotter to work with Autocad 2006. How do I know? I've had an Hp 7475, a 36" roland, and an HP7596A roll feed in my engineering office over the years and have used them very successfully with Autocad releases below 2000.

 

Release 12 dos and windows worked the best with them, trouble began with release 13 and 14 with windows. When release 2000 came out, it changed the method of plotting through Autocad and basically put an end to pen plotters. Autocad no longer used it's own plotter drivers within Autocad, with 2000 you used the windows printer drivers designed for raster graphics.

 

What is happening is that you are trying run a plotter designed for 8 bit or 16 bit input with a 32 bit operating system. Believe me, I tried to get my 7596A (once a $10 grand machine) to run with Autocad 2000, bought all kinds of drivers and communcations devices, but gave up in frustration. The 7596A, which I just loved, sat in the office for 5 years just taking up space. Last year I had it hauled to the dump, with it's spare pen cassette, and all of it pens, and in perfect operating order. I almost cried. And I had to pay to get rid of it.

 

So if you want to use your pen plotter, save your drawings down to R12 drawing files, plot them from R12 on an older 16 bit machine.

 

If you really what to archive drawings, save them to a pdf file, and plot them on an inkjet plotter. I'm very happy with my 42" Designjet 500, I call it my Corvette of plotters.

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news:x

 

Jerry Fuccillo

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RickAstoria
kindergartenchats,

 

I'm a newbie to this site, and just noticed this thread today. I'm not a newbie to Autocad, having used it since Release 9 with pen plotters up until Autocad 2000. I have Autocad 2009 but prefer 2002 with my Designjet 500.

 

I think you are wasting your time trying get a penplotter to work with Autocad 2006. How do I know? I've had an Hp 7475, a 36" roland, and an HP7596A roll feed in my engineering office over the years and have used them very successfully with Autocad releases below 2000.

 

Release 12 dos and windows worked the best with them, trouble began with release 13 and 14 with windows. When release 2000 came out, it changed the method of plotting through Autocad and basically put an end to pen plotters. Autocad no longer used it's own plotter drivers within Autocad, with 2000 you used the windows printer drivers designed for raster graphics.

 

What is happening is that you are trying run a plotter designed for 8 bit or 16 bit input with a 32 bit operating system. Believe me, I tried to get my 7596A (once a $10 grand machine) to run with Autocad 2000, bought all kinds of drivers and communcations devices, but gave up in frustration. The 7596A, which I just loved, sat in the office for 5 years just taking up space. Last year I had it hauled to the dump, with it's spare pen cassette, and all of it pens, and in perfect operating order. I almost cried. And I had to pay to get rid of it.

 

So if you want to use your pen plotter, save your drawings down to R12 drawing files, plot them from R12 on an older 16 bit machine.

 

If you really what to archive drawings, save them to a pdf file, and plot them on an inkjet plotter. I'm very happy with my 42" Designjet 500, I call it my Corvette of plotters.

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news:x

 

Jerry Fuccillo

 

Jerry,

 

I'll start off very simply... the 8/16 Bit has NOTHING to do with it. Windows 95 was a 32-Bit OS. It works with Windows 95/98.

 

I can tell you as someone with programming experience since the days of the TI-99/4A that it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 8/16/32 bit. The CPU works in 8, 16 and 32 Bit mode and 8 bit code works on even an Pentium 4. Why? Lets start with basic programming. Say Visual BASIC or C/C++, you got data types that supports 8-Bit data types called a character string (which can also be variable length), integers, and raw 8 bit data types. Then you can have 16 Bit integers. Then 32 Bit LONG data types.

 

Another factor, a 8 bit program uses old 8086 code. x86 cpus supports those code. Even today's pentium 4 supports 8086 for backward compatibility. AutoCAD R12 runs on Windows 3.0 or Windows 95. Bottom Line, back in these days, there was MS-DOS. This is why MS-DOS can run even on today's CPUs and boards. You won't get all the benefits and capabilities of the new computer but remember Parallel Port is a legacy port since the early IBM PC, IBM PCjr., IBM XT and IBM AT era.

 

The problem lies not in 32 Bit but the fact that Windows XP and later OSs are built on Windows NT. In fact, Windows XP is NT 5.5 (IIRC). Windows 2000 was Windows NT 5.0. NT is the reason. You will find that you will have problems running R12 even on Windows NT 3.1 (first Windows NT) and NT 4.0. The reason comes in that NT was not built for MS-DOS backward compatibility. Windows NT 3.1 was introduced back in Windows 3.1. It was in this time-frame that Microsoft created two OS lines. Windows 3.1 (and 3.11 & 3.11 for Workgroups) like Windows 2.0 and Windows 1.0 required MS-DOS. Windows 1.0 was an Operating Environment but didn't really have much of a multi-task kernal. But Windows 2.0 improved the kernal to be more multi-tasking (versus multi-threading) and a gave it a little bit of independence from MS-DOS. Then, Microsoft introduced 3.0, 3.1 and the 3.11 / 3.11 for Workgroups, improving upon the previous to support the newer CPUs (8086,80286,80386 and 80486). At this time, Microsoft was wanting to develop a new OS that does not require ANY bit of MS-DOS (because Microsoft decided to move away from MS-DOS and discontinue it in the following years). Windows NT 3.1 was created. It was target to big companies. While Windows 3.1 was target to consumers but consumers pretty much has MS-DOS/Windows setups and most consumers and systems in the stores for consumers were equipped with MS-DOS / Windows 3.1 and most people had a large library of MS-DOS software. Then 1995, Microsoft introduced Windows 95 and near that time NT 4.0 was introduced. Windows 95 was a continuation of the original Windows OS line and was targeted at consumers. MS-DOS compatibility was important but Windows was less dependent on MS-DOS as the previous versions and was the first MS OS that didn't need a full MS-DOS installation prior to installing the Windows OS. But the average consumers still had legacy software and for some time still. Various NT versions were made in subsequent years. Microsoft continued the original line through Windows 98, 98SE and finally the last version of the original Windows line was Windows ME. It was at this time, Microsoft stopped continuing to make new versions on this original line of Windows. But Windows went completely to the NT architecture. This OS architecture does not have the luggage of MS-DOS but there is emulation for MS-DOS and earlier OS environments. XP was the first purely consumer targeted OS based on the NT architecture.

 

So what EXACTLY is different in NT OSs (includes Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7) ? NT Architecture. The OS architecture was rebuilt from the grounds up. NT was designed from the get go to not have the old baggage of MS-DOS nor require any portion of the OS kernal to require any MS-DOS component to operate. The baggage of MS-DOS left many BAD habits (ill behaved programs) not suited for a multi-task environment that often cause full-blown lock-ups in Windows. Windows NT can be said to be programmed the way a multi-task OS should be programmed. Some can argue and debate it compared to Linux/Unix and MacOS and others. It was however a significantly more powerful OS. However, NT was a true FULL Win32 architecture. Windows 3.1 had a Win32s extention which was a subset for 16-Bit OSs. Windows 95/98 and ME used a larger subset of Win32 but not all the features and functions.

 

Among the features in NT but not in Windows 95/98 & ME is a feature regarding how the communication to the I/O ports are done. You can not directly communicate to the ports through the mapped memory locations of the I/O ports. This has nothing to do with 8/16 or 32 bit communition. The LPT port (Parallel port aka Centronics Parallel among other names) is an 8 bit port anyway. USB is a 1 bit serial port. In NT OSs, you must communicate to the I/O through special system calls (Indirect method) which will route the data to wherever the OS maps the hardware in memory. Any direct communication, the NT kernal / API will close the process immediately if it doesn't communicate through the proper method of communicating (ie. through the system calls).

 

This is WHY it fails to run. OLD driver method does not follow the communication convention method allowed by the NT operating system.

 

In NT, you are not suppose to communicate or directly mess with ANY memory mapped registers of the hardware. I am NOT talking about the Registry. They are two different things. I am talking about specific hardware registers of the video card, sound card, Network card or any mciroprocessor/microcontroller or add-on card. All hardware has to be mapped into RAM with the neccessary registers to allow communication and passing of the data from system memory to the various hardware. It is a part of fundamental part of hardware electronic communications but in a multi-task OS like Windows NT, can map the hardware and re-map them to different locations on a whim at any moment and the OS keeps track of that. This is also part of the benefit of PLUG 'n PLAY hardware. They can be mapped in and out of memory.

 

NT protects itself and the very protection scheme is why these old drivers don't work. They can be modified to work. You just need to modify the portion of the driver program that communicates to the I/O port and all the routines that is passing the special printer command codes.

 

If the printer/plotter is a HP/GL plotter then all you need is a generic HP-GL2 Plotter driver and your plotter should work under most cases or find a version of the drivers for your plotter for Windows NT / XP.

 

You will likely be able to pull off a NT 4 driver on XP.

 

Look around.

 

NT 3.1 might work. So any NT driver should work but there may possibly be some incompatibility issue but it is sometimes worth trying it anyway. Windows XP will likely flag a message saying it is an unsigned driver and something of the sort.

 

You are bound to find an NT driver.

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kindergartenchats
kindergartenchats,

 

I'm a newbie to this site, and just noticed this thread today. I'm not a newbie to Autocad, having used it since Release 9 with pen plotters up until Autocad 2000. I have Autocad 2009 but prefer 2002 with my Designjet 500.

 

I think you are wasting your time trying get a penplotter to work with Autocad 2006. How do I know? I've had an Hp 7475, a 36" roland, and an HP7596A roll feed in my engineering office over the years and have used them very successfully with Autocad releases below 2000.

 

Release 12 dos and windows worked the best with them, trouble began with release 13 and 14 with windows. When release 2000 came out, it changed the method of plotting through Autocad and basically put an end to pen plotters. Autocad no longer used it's own plotter drivers within Autocad, with 2000 you used the windows printer drivers designed for raster graphics.

 

What is happening is that you are trying run a plotter designed for 8 bit or 16 bit input with a 32 bit operating system. Believe me, I tried to get my 7596A (once a $10 grand machine) to run with Autocad 2000, bought all kinds of drivers and communcations devices, but gave up in frustration. The 7596A, which I just loved, sat in the office for 5 years just taking up space. Last year I had it hauled to the dump, with it's spare pen cassette, and all of it pens, and in perfect operating order. I almost cried. And I had to pay to get rid of it.

 

So if you want to use your pen plotter, save your drawings down to R12 drawing files, plot them from R12 on an older 16 bit machine.

 

If you really what to archive drawings, save them to a pdf file, and plot them on an inkjet plotter. I'm very happy with my 42" Designjet 500, I call it my Corvette of plotters.

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news:x

 

Jerry Fuccillo

 

Hi Jerry,

 

Many thanks for taking the time to write.

 

I've tried just about everything to get Autocad 2006 to work and you're right it just doesn't go.

 

We have a Designjet 100 that we use for daily office use but we were hoping to use our 7475A for pen on mylar plots. Really this would be more for the novelty of having the option to make presentation plots using this method.

 

If we do want to get the 7475A up and running - am I correct in understanding we would need to find a vintage computer and load up R12?

 

Our earliest version of Autocad here is 2002 so I guess we'd need to head over to eBay to see about finding a copy of R12. Do you know what version of Windows we should also be looking for to run this?

 

It could be that our pen plotter quest is an albatross but if there is a reasonable option to purchase and outdated computer and load up R12 we are willing to give it a go.

 

Thanks again for your help!

 

Best,

 

Jon

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RickAstoria
Hi Jerry,

 

Many thanks for taking the time to write.

 

I've tried just about everything to get Autocad 2006 to work and you're right it just doesn't go.

 

We have a Designjet 100 that we use for daily office use but we were hoping to use our 7475A for pen on mylar plots. Really this would be more for the novelty of having the option to make presentation plots using this method.

 

If we do want to get the 7475A up and running - am I correct in understanding we would need to find a vintage computer and load up R12?

 

Our earliest version of Autocad here is 2002 so I guess we'd need to head over to eBay to see about finding a copy of R12. Do you know what version of Windows we should also be looking for to run this?

 

It could be that our pen plotter quest is an albatross but if there is a reasonable option to purchase and outdated computer and load up R12 we are willing to give it a go.

 

Thanks again for your help!

 

Best,

 

Jon

 

Try the drivers I posted a link to. You just need NT compatible drivers for Windows XP and later OSs.

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ReMark

A well written explanation there Rick. Former "DOS" user here.

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RickAstoria
A well written explanation there Rick. Former "DOS" user here.

 

Good, I was hoping that it was understood.

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kindergartenchats
Try the drivers I posted a link to. You just need NT compatible drivers for Windows XP and later OSs.

 

 

Hi RickAstoria,

 

Thank you for responding and for posting a link to the 7475A NT compatible drivers. I'll give these a try.

 

If I could ask, do you think I am okay with the Null Modem Cable and Socket PCMCIA card setup that I have been using or should I be looking for another way to connect my computer to the pen plotter - is this setup another issue besides not having an NT compatible driver?

 

As noted, the Roland driver and HP 2006 driver didn't work for me (though I don't know if these are NT compatible). When I used these drivers (with the setup noted above) I was only able to get a partial plot before the plotter stalled.

 

Thanks again!

 

Jon

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RickAstoria

Ok, I just did a read up, it is serial port. It should be ok since the driver is made for the plotter and the plotter uses RS-232. The Windows printer driver system does support use of printers on COM ports (RS-232 serial).

 

The printers should address communication to RS-232. The RS-232 (COM ports) are protected in the same manner as the Printer parallel port. You should be able to use the PCMCIA slot but I recommend using a 9-pin port on the back side of a desktop computer or your laptop (if it has the 9-pin serial connector). The PCMCIA card needs to be a card that provides RS-232 serial communication. It would be assigned a COM port number. Sometimes its COM1 or COM2 but sometimes its COM3 and COM4. Remember to assign the correct COM port number to the driver as is assigned to the PCMCIA device and connector. The null modem cable should work and it will not likely be the cable unless you are using a parallel printer cable. Sometimes, RS-232 uses a 25 pin RS-232 connector. If your cable has a 9-pin on one-side and 25 pin on the other side then it is RS-232 serial.

 

If the PCMCIA card has a 9-pin RS-232 connection then ok. If you got that, ok.

 

The next thing is IMPORTANT - you NEED to do the following:

 

CHECK YOUR BIOS SETTING (have a computer tech with you if needed) TO SEE if the COM ports (RS-232) is enabled or disabled. If disabled, I would recommend enabled AS LONG as any built-in RS-232 connectors and the PCMCIA device is not using the same COM port numbers.

 

If your BIOS doesn't have a COM port setting then your motherboard (including the motherboards in laptops) do not have onboard COM ports (RS-232) and your PCMCIA should be assigned those numbers and drivers would enable those ports in the OS.

 

I prefer using COM ports built into a laptop/desktop computer and just make sure I enable them in BIOS.

 

You can use a cheap desktop computer with 9-pin RS-232 port. Just look at the computer or have one built by selecting a motherboard with at least 1 RS-232 serial port which is a going to be a 9-pin trapezoid connector. You can select a hard-drive, CD/DVD drive, case, ect. Doesn't need to be more then say, $1,500 to build a setup.

 

These drivers indicated were noted to be Windows XP compatible which means NT compatible because Windows XP IS an NT operating system.

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RickAstoria

Side note: Some BIOSs may have COM ports / RS-232 disabled by default.

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