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HP DraftPro Plus Plotter - Issues and Solutions

No Upgrade to the HP DraftPro Plus Plotter Series
ISSUE: Is it possible to upgrade an old HP DraftPro series plotter to one of the new "Plus" models?
SOLUTION: No. Both the shell and the electronics are different and it would not be cost effective to upgrade.
How to Run the Demonstration Plot
ISSUE: How do you run a demo plot on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION: Complete the following steps:
  1. Turn the plotter on.
  2. Load a piece of paper.
  3. Load the pen carousel, with the appropriate pens loaded in positions 1-3.
  4. From the front panel menu, press the down arrow key twice. The display will read DEMO PLOT. Press the Enter key and the plotter will start the demo.
HP DraftPro Plus Plotter Compared to the Old HP DraftPro Plotter Series
ISSUE: What are the differences in features between the new HP DraftPro Plus plotter and the old HP DraftPro plotter?
SOLUTION: The new HP DraftPro Plus plotter provides significant improvement over the old HP DraftPro plotter in the following ways:
  • Ease Of Use: A VFD panel gives direct, easy access to the plotter’s many functions. An AutoCAD driver for releases 10, 11, 12 is included in the box to facilitate the configuration.
  • Line Quality: Improved through an algorithm that produces smoother curves.
  • Performance: Increased by 10%-20% through a combination of higher speed, higher acceleration, and the curve-smoothing algorithm.
  • Lockout Time: Decreased significantly by adding: HP-GL/2 language, Centronics and serial 19200 ports and a standard 1 MB buffer.
  • Additional Functionality: 26 functions are available (only 5 in HP DraftPro plotter), that will ensure that the plotter keeps up with the user’s growing needs.
ISSUE: Is the HP DraftPro Plus plotter’s drawing system different from the HP DraftPro plotter’s?
SOLUTION: The HP DraftPro Plus plotter's drawing system is mechanically identical to HP DraftPro plotter’s. However, the improved electronics have allowed additions such as the curve-smoothing algorithm, which improve the quality of the curves.
ISSUE: How does the HP DraftPro Plus plotter’s performance compare to the old HP DraftPro plotter's? And compared to the HP DraftMaster plotter's?
SOLUTION: The HP DraftPro Plus plotter's throughput has been improved by at least 10%-20% over the previous HP DraftPro plotter's. The HP DraftMaster plotter continues to be HP’s top-performing pen plotter, providing at least 20% faster throughput than the HP DraftPro Plus plotter.
HP DraftPro Plus Plotters Compared to the HP DraftMaster Plotter Series
ISSUE: What are the differences in features between HP DraftPro Plus plotter and the HP DraftMaster plotter?
SOLUTION: Although the HP DraftPro Plus plotter is a significant improvement over the old HP DraftPro plotter, the HP DraftMaster plotter continues to be HP’s top-of-the-line pen plotter. While the HP DraftPro Plus plotter is more affordable and easier to use, the HP DraftMaster plotter offers the best combination of line quality and speed in a pen plotter.
ISSUE: Explain how the new HP DraftPro Plus plotter is a "hybrid" between the HP DraftPro plotter and the HP DraftMaster plotter.
SOLUTION: It can be considered a "hybrid" because it leverages from the HP DraftPro plotter mechanical platform and writing system, but also incorporates the HP DraftMaster plotter firmware in order to obtain significant improvement in performance. The HP DraftPro Plus plotter has also incorporated new features such as higher speed and acceleration, a Centronics port and a new industrial design.
ISSUE: How does the HP DraftPro Plus plotter’s performance compare to the old HP DraftPro plotter's? And compared to the HP DraftMaster plotter's?
SOLUTION: The HP DraftPro Plus plotter's throughput has been improved by at least 10%-20% over the previous HP DraftPro plotter's. The HP DraftMaster plotter continues to be Hewlett-Packard’s top-performing pen plotter, providing at least 20% faster throughput than the HP DraftPro Plus plotter.
Power Options / Specifications
ISSUE: How do you change the power on the plotter if you want to take it to another country?
SOLUTION: The plotter was designed with a wide-range power option, meaning that it auto-senses voltages ranging from 100 - 240 volts (plus or minus 10%) and frequency ranges of 50 - 60 HZ (plus or minus 10%). You must order the correct power cord for the country of destination. Refer to the User's Guide for available power cords.
Interfacing
ISSUE: What interface options are available on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION: Both models have RS-232 and Centronics built-in.
ISSUE: The default settings on the front panel.
SOLUTION:
  • Baud = 9600
  • Parity = none
  • Handshake = Both
Refer to the User's Guide for other Baud and Parity settings.
ISSUE: Can you connect an HP DraftPro Plus plotter through the parallel port with any software?
SOLUTION: Although the HP DraftPro Plus plotter has a parallel port, there may be some software applications that do not support connecting to a parallel port. In such cases, the plotter must be connected through the serial port or by plotting to a file and using the DOS copy command to use the parallel port.
ISSUE: Does the HP DraftPro Plus plotter support auto-switching from one port to another?
SOLUTION: No. When changing from the serial port to the parallel port, the plotter must be turned off then back on again. As soon as it receives data on one port, it will lock out the other until the power is cycled.
Questions on Carousels
ISSUE: What kinds of pen carousels are available for the HP DraftPro Plus series plotters?
SOLUTION: Two types of carousels are available.
  • 07570-60050 for Fiber-tip and transparency pens.
  • 07570-60055 for Refillable/disposable drafting pens.
Questions on Pens and Media
ISSUE: What pen and media combinations are supported by the HP DraftPro Plus series plotters?
SOLUTION: The following pen and media combinations are supported.
  • Paper with fiber-tip and drafting pens
  • Translucent, vellum and polyester film with drafting pens
  • Transparency film with fiber-tip pens (not supported on the HP DraftPro plotter)
ISSUE: What happens if a specific type of pen is used in the wrong carousel?
SOLUTION: When the wrong carousel is used, pens will not fit properly in the caps, and they will dry out sooner.
ISSUE: Why can’t you use rollerball pens on the HP DraftPro Plus plotters?
SOLUTION: Rollerball pens require more force applied by the plotter to work correctly; more force than is required for use of the fiber-tip, refillable or disposable pens. The HP DraftPro series plotters do not have an adjustable force option.
Pen Speed, Force, and Settings
ISSUE: How do you adjust the pen speed on the HP DraftPro Plus series plotters?
SOLUTION: The HP DraftPro Plus plotter defaults to 50 cm/s but it is also adjustable through both short and full menus on the front panel display.
  1. Press the PEN SETTINGS button.
  2. Press ENTER for SPEED.
  3. Press ENTER again for ALL PENS, and scroll until you get the desired speed. The recommended speeds are:
    fiber-tip
    50 cm/s
    drafting
    30 cm/s
  4. Press ENTER again.
The pen speeds range from a minimum of 10 cm/s to a maximum of 110 cm/s. It is very important to set pen speeds correctly in order for the pens to plot properly (too high a speed can cause damage to the pens). Set the correct speed before starting to plot.
Pen Force
ISSUE: Can the pen force be adjusted on any of the HP DraftPro series plotters?
SOLUTION: No. There is no force adjustment on the plotters.
Pen Settings
ISSUE: If the pen settings (speed, thickness, etc.) in the software application and the HP DraftPro Plus plotter's front panel are different, what will happen?
SOLUTION: If pen settings can be set up in the software, it will override any settings set on the front panel. If the software does not have the option to set any pen settings, then front panel selections will stay in affect.
Memory Issues
ISSUE: What are the built-in buffer sizes on the HP DraftPro Plus plotters?
SOLUTION: 1 MB (not upgradable)
ISSUE: Can you add memory to any of the HP DraftPro Plus plotters?
SOLUTION: No. The standard 1 MB memory cannot be expanded.
ISSUE: How much data can the HP DraftPro Plus plotter 1 MB buffer handle?
SOLUTION: The HP DraftPro Plus plotter buffer will store up to 900 KB of data. The HP DraftPro Plus plotter comes with a standard 1 MB buffer that allows commonly-used files to be stored in the plotter while they are being plotted (average file is around 300 KB). However, a small part of the buffer is used for internal functionality of the plotter, resulting in a reduction of the storing capacity.
ISSUE: When sending a file to the HP DraftPro Plus plotter, the computer is locked out for a long time. How can you free up the computer more quickly?
SOLUTION: The HP DraftPro Plus plotter has the required tools to help free up the computer quickly. In order to attain that, make sure that you are using an HP-GL/2 driver (if your software application allows it), that you connect the plotter through the parallel port, and that the 1 MB memory is turned on (front panel - FULL MENU - PLOTTER SETUP - MEMORY - ON).
Plotter Language / Emulation
ISSUE: What language does the HP DraftPro Plus plotter understand?
SOLUTION: HP-GL and HP-GL/2.
  note:
The plotter has 7585B and 7595A selections under its GRAPHIC LANGUAGE sub-menu. The default is 7595A.
ISSUE: How can you configure a software application to work best with an HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION: When configuring your software application, you must specify your plotter model to the driver by choosing the correct device from the device list. Not all packages will list the HP DraftPro Plus plotter. To optimize the performance of the plotter, choose a device from the following in order of backwards compatibility.
  1. HP DraftPro Plus plotter (HP-GL/2)
  2. HP-GL/2 device
  3. HP DraftMaster SX, RX, MX or HP DraftMaster SX Plus, RX Plus or MX Plus plotter (HP-GL/2)
  4. HP DraftMaster I or II plotter ( HP-GL)
  5. HP 7585B (HP-GL)
  note:
Do not choose HP DraftPro/DXL/EXL plotter drivers because backwards compatibility with them is not guaranteed.
ISSUE: What HP-GL commands for the HP DraftMaster plotters are not recognized by the HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION:
AF -
Advance Page
AH -
Advance Page
AS -
Pen Acceleration
EC -
Enable Cutter
FR -
Advance Frame
FS -
Force Select
GM -
Set Graphics Memory
OT -
Out Put Carousel Type
PG -
Page Advance
  note:
For additional information, refer to the HP DraftPro Plus plotter's User’s Guide, pp. R-19 - R-20.
ISSUE: What HP 758XB HP-GL plotter commands are not recognized by HP DraftPro/DXL/EXL plotters?
SOLUTION:
BL -
Buffer Label Character Fill Mode
CC -
Chord Angle
DL -
Define Downloadable Character
IC -
Input Character
OB -
Output Box Dimensions
OL -
Output Label
PB -
Plot Label From Buffer
Margins, Plottable Area and Clipping
ISSUE: What are the margin settings for the HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION:
Normal
leading edge
39 mm
1.5 inches
left, right, trailing edges
15 mm
0.6 inch
Expand
leading edge
31 mm
1.2 inches
left, right, trailing edges
5 mm
0.2 inch
  note:
The "leading edge" is the front end of the paper as you stand at the front of the plotter. The "trailing edge" is the back end of the paper that hangs out the back of the plotter.
Using expanded margins can cause the pinch wheels to roll over where ink has been laid down on the plot. The pinch wheels may track the ink around the drawing.
ISSUE: How can you have more plottable area on the paper loaded on an HP DraftPro Plus plotter so drawings are not clipped?
SOLUTION: Try changing the margins to expanded. Through either the short or full front-panel menu, select PAGE FORMAT, EXPAND, ON.
ISSUE: When using AutoCAD and one of the HP DraftPro series plotters, how can you make sure that the drawing is not "clipped" along the edges?
SOLUTION: You experience clipping with AutoCAD when you select a standard media size through the software. The "standard" plotting area in AutoCAD is larger than the one allowed by the plotter. To avoid this, input the actual plotting dimensions in place of the media size. For example, take the actual dimensions of the media and subtract both plotter margins and approximately 0.3 (8 mm) to account for media measurement variation.
How to Put the Pen Away
ISSUE: How do you put the pen away on an HP DraftPro Plus series plotter?
SOLUTION: Press PEN SELECT. Use the "up arrow" or "down arrow" keys to select NONE, and then press ENTER. The pen will be returned to the carousel.
  note:
The software command to put the pen away is "SP0;".
Rotating a Drawing from the Front Panel
ISSUE: Rotating a drawing through the front panel on the HP DraftPro Plus plotters.
SOLUTION:
  1. Press the PAGE FORMAT button.
  2. Press the UP or DOWN arrow key until the display reads ROTATE.
  3. Press the ENTER key.
  4. Press the UP or DOWN arrow key until the degrees of rotation are what you want (0 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees or software), then press ENTER.
      note:
    The default is ROTATE = SOFTWARE which means the software will control the rotation.
Supported Media Sizes
ISSUE: What types of media can be used on the HP DraftPro Plus plotters?
SOLUTION: Use the following media on the HP DraftPro series plotters.
  • Plotter paper
  • Vellum
  • 3-mil double-matte polyester film (Mylar)
  • Transparencies
      note:
    The sizes listed below are ANSI, Architectural and ISO (A4 - A0) page sizes.
HP DraftPro Plus Plotter (C3170A)
ISSUE: What media sizes can be used on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter (C3170A)?
SOLUTION: A/A4 - D/A1
  • Widths from 8.16 inches (207 mm) to 25.02 inches (635 mm)
  • Lengths from 8.28 inches (210 mm) to 63 inches (1600 mm)
HP DraftPro Plus Plotter (C3171A)
ISSUE: What media sizes can be used on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter (C3171A)?
SOLUTION: A/A4 - E/A0
  • Widths from 8.16 inches (207 mm) to 36.17 inches (918 mm)
  • Lengths from 8.28 inches (210 mm) to 63 inches(1600 mm)
ISSUE: Can the HP DraftPro Plus plotters use Architectural Other (30 x 42 inches or E1) media size?
SOLUTION: Yes.
ISSUE: What pen and media combinations are supported by the HP DraftPro Plus plotters?
SOLUTION: Pen and media combinations are:
  • Paper with fiber-tip and drafting pens
  • Translucent, vellum and polyester film with drafting pens
  • Transparency film with fiber-tip pens
Fastest Draft Output
ISSUE: Plotting draft copies of drawings and want them to print as fast as possible. What settings should you use on an HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION: When you do not need the highest line quality, you can use the plotter’s highest speed. To do this, press the Drawing Quality key on the front panel and select the draft option which automatically selects 100 cm/s.
  note:
This speed is not recommended for drafting pens because it will damage the pens. Use the fiber-tip pens.
Front Panel Menus
ISSUE: For what can the HP DraftPro Plus plotter's front panel be used?
SOLUTION: The front panel is a specially-designed tool to simplify working with the plotter. It offers a choice of six languages and can be used for the following:
  • Configuring the plotter and port.
  • Changing pen settings.
  • Learning the cause of errors.
  • Knowing the steps to perform different tasks.
  • Performing other functions, such as page formatting.
ISSUE: What is the difference between short and full menus on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter? When is the use of "full menus" recommended?
SOLUTION: The short menu (the default) displays the most basic and commonly-used options. The full menu gives access to all 26 options and is recommended for experienced users.
Curve Smoothing Algorithm
ISSUE: How does the curve smoothing algorithm work on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION: This specially-designed algorithm on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter causes the plotter to draw continuous lines in a curve instead of plotting them as a series of small line segments.
Pens Out of Ink During Plotting
ISSUE: Is there a way to avoid the problem of pens running out of ink in the middle of a long drawing on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter?
SOLUTION: Yes, you can use the "groups" feature. With this feature, you can create several groups of pens (1, 2, 4), where each group should contain pens of the same thickness and color. The plotter will draw 100 meters with one pen in one group and then will move to the next pen in the same group. In this way, you make sure that all pens in the same group (e.g. 3) are used consecutively, allowing you to get more "mileage" drawn because you are using three pens instead of one.
Media jams with Sheets Over 48 Inches
ISSUE: When trying to plot with sheets up to 1.6 m (5.3 feet) long, the media jams in the HP DraftPro Plus plotter.
SOLUTION: The HP DraftPro Plus plotter supports lengths up to 1.6m (5.3 feet or 63 inches). If you get media jams, the cause may be that the paper was rolled tightly before it was loaded in the plotter. To avoid this problem, flatten the paper before using it.
Digitizing
ISSUE: Digitizing with the HP DraftPro Plus series plotters.
SOLUTION: This will require software that supports digitizing. You cannot access the plotter’s digitize menu without the aid of software that supports this feature. Most software packages that support digitizing require that the plotter have a digitizing sight loaded. The digitizing sight available for the HP DraftPro Plus series plotters:
  • 09872-60066 straight sight
  1. Using your software, put your plotter in digitizing mode. The Digitize menu on the HP DraftPro Plus plotter is hidden until software initiates the digitizing process and puts the plotter in digitizing mode. The plotter will display the digitizing menu.
  2. Load a digitizing sight into the pen carousel just as you would load a pen.
  3. Select your digitizing sight from the pen carousel using the pen select key.
  4. Use the pen control keys to place the digitizing sight directly over the point you want to digitize.
  5. Press Enter to send the point to the computer. Depending on your software’s requirements, you may need to press a key such as Return on your computer’s keyboard.
  note:
See the User’s Guide pages 8-2 and 8-8.)

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