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HP Designjet Printers - Error Writing to LPT 1 or General Printing Problems When Using a Parallel Cable

Issue:
Error writing to LPT 1 messages or problems occur during printing when using a parallel cable connected to an HP Designjet printer from Microsoft(R) Windows 9X, 2000, NT or Windows XP.
Solution
Both hardware and software remedies must be examined in pursuing a solution to this issue. In general, for testing, confirm that:
  • The cable is IEEE 1284 compliant
  • The cable is no longer than ten feet
  • The cable does not pass through any switchboxes or "dongles"
  • The printer is connected to LPT1 or the selected port
  • The bidirectional communication option is disabled in the printer driver
The parallel port mode is also a potential cause of communication problems between the printer and the computer. HP recommends using ECP parallel printing mode. To check the parallel printing port mode, follow the instructions below:
  1. Click Start, Settings, then Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel window, double-click on the System icon.
  3. In the System Properties window, select the Hardware tab.
  4. Click Device Manager.
  5. Click the + sign in front of Ports (COM & LPT).
  6. The parallel port will list the mode type as shown below.
    Figure : Device manager parallel port mode
  7. If the port mode is different than ECP (for example, EPP), contact your computer manufacturer to change the parallel port mode in your computers BIOS.
Additionally, for Windows 2000, NT or Windows XP:
  1. Select Start, Settings, and then Printers.
  2. Select the appropriate Designjet printer.
  3. Right-click and select Properties.
  4. Open the Ports tab.
  5. Remove the checkmark from Enable Bidirectional Support.
    note:
    In some cases the printer will cut a print job part way through, then starts up again on a new sheet and continues to print the rest. It may cut and start printing several times depending on the print size. The spooler shows only a portion of the document processed when the firts cut occurs. It resumes the processing when the printer resumes. Deslecting bidirectional support will eliminate this issue.
  6. Select Apply in Windows 2000 and XP, or OK in Windows NT.
More information specific to Windows 2000 and XP:
  1. While in Device manager / Ports Comm & LP, right-mouse click on ecp printer port LPT1 and select properties.
  2. Select the Port settings tab and place a dot in the radio button next to use any interupt assigned to the port, then click Ok.
  3. Windows may or may not ask to be re-started. This allows the port access to the CPU when a print is sent.
Additionally, for Windows 9X:
  1. Select Start, Settings, and then Printers.
  2. Select the appropriate Designjet printer.
  3. Right-click and select Properties.
  4. Open the Details tab.
  5. Select Port Settings.
  6. Deselect Check Port State Before Printing.
  7. Select OK.

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