NewDeal Technical Support Document 214
Is the printer set up for the correct port? Almost all PC's print over LPT1:, the first parallel port.
To change what's listed under "Printers Installed,"
point and click on the printer you want to change, test, or delete.
When its name turns black, click on the appropriate button.
Printer off line/needs attention: Make sure your printer is online. See the sections "Switch to BIOS" and "Confirm Port" later in this document.
Printer test garbled, but recognizable: may indicate poor connection between printer and PC or incorrect driver selected. See sections "Bad Cable" and "Try Another Driver."
Printout wrong size: See "Try Another Driver."
Prints garbage of blank sheets: See "Try Another Driver."
Horizontal white lines on printout: See "Automatic Linefeed" and "Star NX-2420" later in this document.
Exit NewDeal. Make sure your printer is online and has paper in it. At the DOS prompt, type DIR>LPT1: and press Enter. (If your printer is not on LPT1 , substitute the correct port name.)
Your printer should print out a list of the files in your current directory. To see what it should print out, type the command DIR by itself and the directory will print out on the screen. If misprints occur in the printout, you probably have a bad printer cable or loose connection.
If nothing prints, then it means the printer is not set up correctly. It's either not connected correctly, is defective, or there is some software function that is re-directing printer output. You should check your printer and computer manual to solve this problem.
NewDeal software prints in "graphics mode," which means that it paints the page with dots to form a printed image. A standard text-based word processor simply sends a single number to the printer corresponding to a particular character (an ASCII code), which the printer then prints using its own built-in character set. The printer does the work of painting this character on the page.
So, where a text-based word-processor sends a simple instruction to the printer to tell it to print a particular character, NewDeal software actually sends a picture of the whole character, in the form of black and white (or colored) dots. This is why NewDeal can print in so many different fonts and sizes regardless of what fonts are built into your printer.
This is also why a data transmission error is so critical in graphics mode printing. If there's an error, it can throw off the printing on the rest of the printout.
The simplest way to test for a bad cable is to borrow a cable that you know works well from someone else. Shorter cables (six feet or less) are usually more reliable than long ones and thicker cables are often more well shielded than thinner ones. Avoid sharp bends in printer cables. Avoid running the cable near high-current electrical equipment, such as motors or transformers or your computer monitor. Do not bunch together your printer cable with the power cords for your other equipment. Do not tightly coil your printer cable.
For NewDeal software, this setting should be turned off. Since our
software typically makes several passes over each line
while printing, the auto-linefeed setting will make printouts
appear with evenly-spaced blank lines, as shown here for
the word NEW.
You can normally disable the auto-linefeed setting with a DIP switch or control on the printer itself. Check your printer's manual under DIP switches, auto-linefeed, or carriage returns.
If you're not sure whether auto-linefeeds are the problem, try this, at the DOS prompt, type this command:
DIR > LPT1:and press enter. (If your printer's not attached to LPT1, substitute the correct printer port.) If the resulting printout appears double-spaced, then auto-linefeed is turned on and needs to be disabled.
If the printout does not appear double-spaced, see the "Star NX-2420" section.
To switch to BIOS: Launch Preferences. Click on Computer. Look at the section labeled Parallel Ports. For each port, you have several options: 5, 7, BIOS, and DOS.
Check the BIOS option for the port you're using, then click OK. This may fix your problem.
If switching to BIOS does not work, try switching to DOS. This is not normally necessary except when printing over a network or when using certain printer-redirection utilities. The DOS setting has the disadvantage that if the printer is off-line, NewDeal software may report some error message like "no or unformatted disk in drive." This is due to the way DOS reports this error, and there is currently no work around other than to make sure your printer is always online.
WHAT DO THESE SETTINGS MEAN? The 5 and 7 settings are hardware interrupts. BIOS is a program built into your computer that handles basic input-output functions. DOS, of course, uses your operating system, which has its own printing routines built in. So if your LPT port is set to 5 or 7, then NewDeal is printing directly to your hardware, all by itself. If it is set to BIOS, then NewDeal is calling BIOS functions to print. If it's set to DOS, NewDeal is sending printing instructions to DOS. Interrupt-driven (direct to hardware) is usually the fastest, if it works; DOS is the slowest, but most reliable.
PRINTING TO A FILE: You can print a file to your hard disk. The resulting file will include all commands and formatting codes for the specified printer. You can take or send the file to most duplication quick-print service bureaus to have it printed out on a high-quality laser printer. Please note that the print file created is large, so you may need several megabytes of free hard disk space.
To print to a file, use Preferences to install the printer you will print the file on. Open the document and choose Print from the File menu. Click on the listed printer and select the printer you want to use for Print to File. Click on Options. In the Print to: section, select File. A Print to File button will appear in the Print box, next to Cancel. If you plan to print to file often, you can set up a printer to always print to file. To do this, launch Preferences and click on the Printer button. Click on the New button. Choose the printer you want the resulting print file formatted for. Under the Port section, scroll down until you see the "To File" selection. Click on To File. This sets your NewDeal software to always print to a file when you select this printer.
To print out the file, just copy it to the printer port. For example, if you take the file OUTPUT.PS to be printed on a computer that has a printer attached to LPT2:, you would type this command at the DOS prompt: COPY OUTPUT.PS LPT2: /B
Printing Multiple Documents A customer was having trouble printing multiple documents. We discovered that some computers require the following setting in the CONFIG.SYS file:
STAR NX-2420: One model of this printer had a defective ROM chip that caused it to leave blank horizontal lines about 1/4" high at a couple of places down the page. Call Star technical support or a local Star dealer for the firmware EPROM upgrade.