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HP Designjet Printers - Out of Memory Problems

Memory usage and memory requirements for HP DesignJet printers.
The amount of plotter memory required to plot a particular file depends on many factors. A comparison that is often made is between a file in Windows and actual plotter memory. There is no correlation between the size of a file and the amount of memory used by the plotter. The complexity of the file is important in determining memory requirements, however, it is very difficult to determine how complex a file is without actually sending it to the plotter.
Within the HP DesignJet printer, memory is used for system overheads and processing workspace as well as storage of internal representation of the plot. When the plotter receives data it decodes the language instruction and builds an internal "display list." The display list contains information about the address of an object and its characteristics. The number of entries in the display list would be the complexity of the file.
Fixing out of memory messages
  1. Add memory.
  2. Reduce drawing complexity. Decrease line weights, reduce number of object fills, or simplify complex objects.
  3. Select "Factory" as the current Palette from Pen Settings sub-menu on the printer's front panel. The factory palette has all pens set to .35 mm. This will eliminate all thick line widths and reduce some complexity (polylines, for instance, will be mapped as a less complex line). If the drawing plots with the factory palette selected, try plotting the drawing with Palette A or B, or customize the line weight and/or line shade. See the User's Guide for information on customizing a palette.
  4. If using the HP written HP-GL/2 driver for Windows select "process in computer" under the ADVANCED tab. This will use your computer memory to process the file rather than the HP DesignJet printer's memory.
  5. For Windows, try using Adobe (TM) Type Manager (ATM) fonts. For more information, refer to the Windows driver note file available on the HP-GL/2 and RTL Driver diskette. Use the Windows Write program to open the HPDRIVER.WRI file.
Common issues and solutions
ISSUE: An "out of memory" error occurs and you haven't changed anything in the software since the last time you plotted.
If the drawing plots with the factory palette selected, something has changed in the software (probably pen width). If it does not plot, verify communication for possible data transmission problems.
ISSUE: Rules on how much memory to add to the printer.
For complex drawings or for the Windows environment, a minimum of 16 MB of additional memory is recommended.
It is very difficult to determine how complex the plot file is without actually sending it through the printer's language parser. Moreover, there is no correlation between the size of a file and the amount of memory used by the printer. Since the question "How much memory will this file take to plot?" cannot be answered without plotting the file, this document at least attempts to explains why.
Display list complexity
Although most vectors can be stored very compactly on the Display List, there are some types of vectors that require substantially more memory. Examples of this include:
Wide Lines ( => .5 mm)
Raster Fill Patterns
Polygon Mode and Polygon Fill (polylines and other complex objects)
User-Defined Line Types
File size vs. memory in printer
Although a plot file may only be 400 KB, that does not give any indication of how much memory will be required for handling the Display List.
It is quite possible for a 400 KB file to fit in the basic machine. It is also possible that certain commands in the plot file will make it too big to fit in the available memory.
HP DesignJet 650C printer:
For HPGL or HP-GL/2 data files, you can tell how much memory has been used if you turn QUEUING on. Under the Plot Management menus, you can find the file in the QUEUE and then look at the Statistics look for RAM used. This will show exactly how much memory was used to build the display list and store the plot file in its internal form.






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