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Do Banner reports have any special printing requirements?

Most Banner reports have no special print requirements. They consist of printable ASCII text (letters, numbers, national symbols, etc) and control codes (carriage-return, line-feed, form-feed, tab, etc). Almost any printer can print these reports, including simple dot-matrix printers. However, depending on the size of the report, it's not advisable to use a slow speed, low duty cycle printer. For large volume reports, a 12 page-per-minute (or faster) printer is recommended.

Some Banner reports require the printer to support PostScript®. The advantage to using PostScript® is that the page layout (columns, rows, text size, etc.) can be set at the time the output is generated before sending it to the printer. This avoids problems where the printer default settings (e.g., Portrait) does not match the report's expected orientation (e.g., Landscape).

A few special Banner reports are generated using embedded HP-PCL (Hewlett Packard Printer Command Language) control sequences. Not all non-HP printers support HP-PCL, but some do.

What type of printer do I need to print Banner reports?

Although this is the usually the first question asked, answering it requires asking a few questions to determine your needs.

  • Are you printing a little or a lot? What volume of output do you expect to print?
  • Will you be printing any reports that require PostScript® or HP-PCL?
  • Do you need or desire duplex printing (printing on both sides of the paper)?
  • How much money do you have to spend? (This usually narrows down the choices rather quickly.)

What kind of printer is recommended?

It is recommended that you by a network ready printer that communicates using port 9100, supports PCL and postscript.

I already have a printer. Can I use it to print Banner reports?

The Banner UNIX host transmits the report output via the ethernet network to a Line Printer Daemon (LPD) program which receives the report and sends it to the printer. The LPD software may be included as part of an internal network card (i.e., HP JetDirect card), or it may be enclosed in an external Printer Server unit (i.e., NETQue or RapidPrint), or the software may be running on another computer (i.e., Windows PC, Macintosh, Unix host, etc.). In this last case, you must ensure there is sufficient free disk space locally on the computer to hold all of your report's output as these workstation LPD programs usually don't send the report to the printer until after it has received and stored all of the report from the UNIX host. Also, your printer would be directly connected to the workstation and reports would be received and print only when the workstation is turned on and connected to the ethernet network.

If your printer is not already connected to the Ethernet and if it has an option to install a network interface card, this is preferred. For example, if you have an HP printer with an MIO/EIO/(network card) slot that can receive a JetDirect card, then this is the way to go. The JetDirect card connects to the ethernet network and contains software that functions as an LPD server. Most vendors printers that are in the "Work Group" category allow for this type of connectivity.

If you have a printer that only has a parallel interface, then get an HP JetDirect EX Plus Print Server. This device has an ethernet connection and a parallel port (the HP JetDirect EX Plus3 Print Server has three parallel ports) and functions the same as the internal card mentioned above. There are a variety of similar devices on the market, however, the HP model has been tested and is known to work. If you think you might like to try "Brand X" of this device type, please throughly check to see that it really does work in our environment, or make sure you have a "100% money back guarantee if not satisfied" clause.

If you wish to use your workstation as the LPD spooler, there are several commercial products available that should work. There may also be Public Domain or Shareware versions, as well. Some computer systems are sold with the LPR and LPD capability supplied with the operating system. Check your owner's manual or online documentation.

How do I clean the toner from my hands and clothes?

(Source: HP LaserJet 4Si Printer Operators Guide, C2010-90940, page 4-2)

If toner gets on your clothes, wipe the toner off with a dry cloth and wash the clothes in cold water. Hot water sets toner into fabric.

Although toner is non toxic, care should be taken to avoid breathing toner particles.