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HP Designjet Printers - Test Printer Communication from DOS

Issue:
Testing printer communication with HP Designjet printers.
Solution
Communication tests can be run from either the MS-DOS (R) prompt or the Windows operating environment.
Verifying HP Designjet printer communication from DOS
If using serial communication, these instructions assume that the HP Designjet printer is configured for 9600 baud, no parity, and using COM1. If using a different baud rate, parity, or port, replace each with the setting selected in the commands that follow. If using parallel communication, no front panel configuration will be necessary. If using a port other than LPT1, change the following instructions to the appropriate port:
  1. Turn on the computer and load DOS.
  2. At the DOS prompt, type the following for the type of communication for use: Serial: MODE COM1: 9600,N, 8,1,P Press the ENTER key on the computer keyboard. This will set the computer's RS-232-C serial port for 9600 baud, no parity, 8 data bits, one stop bit and specify hardwire handshake with continuous retry.
    -OR-
    Parallel: MODE LPT1:P
    Press the ENTER key on the computer keyboard. This will set the parallel port for continuous retry.
  3. Type the following:
    Serial:
    ECHO IN; SP1; PA0, 0;PD1000, 1000;SP0; PG;>COM1
    -OR-
    Parallel:
    ECHO IN; SP1; PA0, 0;PD1000, 1000;SP0; PG;>LPT1
  4. Press ENTER. The HP Designjet printer should draw a diagonal line on the page.
      caution:
    Type the ECHO statement exactly as shown. The only space in this statement is after the word ECHO.
  5. If this works, there is a good probability that the HP Designjet printer, cabling, and communication ports are working correctly. If this does not work, please see the section, If the ECHO communication test fails to work.
      note:
    The ECHO test will not test a cable’s shielding or grounding. Larger amounts of information may reveal this type of problem. See common questions on the following page for more symptoms of cabling problems.
From the Windows environment follow the troubleshooting steps below
Follow the steps outlined below to test communications from within Windows.
  1. Directly connect the HP Designjet printer to a PC; remove it from the network if the printer is networked.
  2. Remove any switchboxes that the HP Designjet printer may be going through, gender changers, etc. The HP Designjet printer needs to be directly connected to the PC. Verify the correct port (LPT or COM).
    • Parallel: 10 foot parallel cable or less. The HP part number for a 10-foot cable is C2951A.
    • Serial
  3. Perform the ECHO test from DOS listed below.
Parallel connection commands
C:\Mode LPT1: p
Press ENTER
(A message will appear stating, "Resident portion of mode loaded, infinite retry " etc.)
C:\ECHO IN; sp1; pa0, 0;pd1000, 1000;sp0; pg;>LPT1
Press ENTER
At this point, a diagonal line will be drawn if communications are working correctly.
  note:
The only space is after ECHO.
Serial connection commands
C:\Mode COM1: 9600,n, 8,1,p
Press ENTER
(Mode loaded 9600,n, 8,1,p - message appears)
C:\ECHO IN; sp1; pa0, 0;pd1000, 1000;sp0; pg;>COM1
Press ENTER
At this point, a diagonal line will be drawn if communications are working correctly.
  note:
The only space is after ECHO.
  note:
If the above ECHO test does not work, try another cable. The recommended cable is an HP cable. If that does not work, try another computer. If the problem persists, contact HP technical support for further help.
If the ECHO communication test fails to work
If the ECHO test does not work, verify that:
  1. The HP Designjet printer is turned on, with paper and ink cartridges loaded.
  2. The correct serial or parallel port is being selected on the PC.
  3. For parallel communication, the MODE statement has been correctly executed.
  4. For serial communication, the MODE statement has been correctly executed, and parameters match serial settings on the HP Designjet printer.
  5. There is a proper connection between the PC and the HP Designjet printer, by completely disconnecting and reconnecting the cable.
  6. The serial or parallel cable has not failed.
  7. A network, switchbox, cable gender converter, cable gender adapter, or other device between the HP Designjet printer and PC does not cause interference.
  8. For serial communication, the serial cable is correctly wired and is less than 50 feet long.
Common questions about the ECHO test
ISSUE: The easiest way to verify Steps 5 through 8 above.
Solution
Purchase an HP manufactured cable and connect it directly to the HP Designjet printer. Trying an HP cable will eliminate the following possibilities:
  • Incorrect wiring
  • A defective or poorly shielded/grounded cable
  • Broken or bent pins on the cable causing a poor connection
      note:
    Hewlett Packard no longer manufactures serial cables.
ISSUE: The ECHO test was completed exactly as directed. It was verified that the six possible causes of communication failure were not the problem; and, it was tested with an HP manufactured cable, but it still fails to work.
Solution
The only possible causes remaining are the interface ports. Either the port on the PC or the HP Designjet printer has failed or has been damaged. If confident that the HP Designjet printer is at fault, arrange to have it serviced.
ISSUE: The DOS prompt does not return when doing this test using serial communication.
Solution
DOS waits for a signal from pin 20 on the HP Designjet printer before sending data. The most probable cause is that the signal is not being received from the HP Designjet printer because of an incorrectly wired cable, the wrong COM port is selected, or the shielding/grounding on the cable has failed. It is strongly recommended that the next troubleshooting step be to try an HP manufactured cable to eliminate this possibility.
  note:
CTRL-C or CTRL-BREAK will usually get the DOS prompt back; otherwise, it will be necessary to reboot the PC.
ISSUE: The PC returns something similar to Write Fault Error"
Solution
The HP Designjet printer is not turned on, the cable is disconnected, or the cable is not configured correctly. Try an HP manufactured cable to see if it corrects the problem.
ISSUE: The DOS prompt returns, but the HP Designjet printer does not respond.
Solution
The cable is not configured properly or is defective. It is also possible that the wrong communications port is selected.
ISSUE: Other symptoms that may be experienced that are probably related to cabling problems.
Solution
Symptoms include:
  • Random or misplaced vectors.
  • Shifted plots.
  • Partial plots.
  • Printer or computer locks up.
  • I/O (Input-Output) errors.
  • Other random or inconsistent behavior.

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