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HP Pen Plotters - Frequently Asked Questions

Issue:
What cable works with the HPGL pen plotter?
Solution
Most of the HPGL pen plotters shipped with an RS 232 interface and require a "Null Modem" serial cable. When connecting to a computer with a ninepin RS 232 port, use HP cable part number 24542G. When connecting to a computer with a 25-pin RS 232 port, use HP cable part number 17255D. If the HPGL pen plotter does not have an RS 232 port, it probably has an HPIB port, which is not the same as a parallel printer port, and will require a special connection.
ISSUE: How can I determine if my HPGL pen plotter is working?
Solution
Each HPGL pen plotter has a procedure to print an internal Demo plot. The Demo plot is the best test to prove plotter functionality. If the Demo plot does not run, the HPGL pen plotter needs servicing. Specific instructions for printing the Demo plot on the plotter are contained in the User's Guide.
ISSUE: How can I determine if my cable and RS 232 port is working?
Solution
The easiest way to test communications to the HPGL pen plotter is from the DOS prompt. Use the following instructions:
  1. Verify that the HPGL pen plotter is at the factory default settings. See the HPGL pen plotter User's Guide for these settings).
  2. Close all programs and place the cursor at the C:\> prompt.
  3. At the prompt, type mode com1:9600,n,8,1,p and press ENTER.
  4. When the cursor returns to the DOS prompt, type echo in;sp1;pd4000,4000;sp0;pg; >com1 and press ENTER.
      note:
    If connected to com2, substitute com2 for com1 in the above two statements.
  5. After pressing ENTER for the second statement, the HPGL pen plotter should grab pen #1 and draw a diagonal line. If the HPGL pen plotter does not respond, verify that a HP cable is being used and test by replacing the cable to see if the cable is defective.
  6. If communication with the HPGL pen plotter is still not established, contact Hewlett Packard hardware technical support.
ISSUE: What driver should be used when running Windows 3.1, 95, and 98?
Solution
The three versions of Windows: 3.1, 95, and 98 all come with the HPGL drivers for older HPGL pen plotters.
For Windows 3.1
  1. Access the Control panel and click Printers.
  2. Click the Add button. A list of print devices appears.
  3. Scroll down the list to the HPGL pen plotter model. Double-click the selection.
  4. If the driver is already loaded, an entry for the HPGL pen plotter appears in the Installed Printer list. If the driver is not loaded, Windows will ask for a Windows disk. Insert the disk and follow the prompts to finish installing the driver.
For Windows 95
  1. Click the Start button and Settings.
  2. Click the Add Printers icon. The Printer Wizard appears.
  3. Click the Next button until a window containing Manufacturers and Printers appears.
  4. Under Manufacturers, select HP. On the Printer side select the model number.
  5. Follow the Windows prompts to complete the installation.
For Windows 98
  1. Click the Start button and Settings.
  2. Click the Add Printers icon. The Printer Wizard appears.
  3. Click the Next button until a window containing Manufacturers and Printers appears.
  4. Under Manufacturers, select HP. On the Printer side select the model number.
  5. Follow the Windows prompts to complete the installation.
ISSUE: What kind of graphics capabilities do HPGL pen plotters have?
Solution
The HPGL pen plotters are limited to printing vector image drawings and do not support much of the graphic capabilities provided by most Windows graphics programs. For example, the HPGL pen plotter will not print bitmap images or raster images of any sort. Additionally, HPGL pen plotter are limited to simple vector fonts and will not print the windows TrueType fonts.
ISSUE: Can an HPGL pen plotter be upgraded to the newer HPGL/2 graphics language?
Solution
No. There is no upgrade path that would convert an older HPGL language plotter to a newer HPGL/2 language plotter.
ISSUE: What kind of support is available for an HPGL pen plotter?
Solution
Telephone Support.
All HPGL pen plotters are under the pay-for-support program. Charges begin upon reaching a technical support agent.
  note:
Three sources of information are readily available to help users find an HP Support Services phone number:
1. The Web: Click here to go to HP Customer Care online Support Guide.
2. The User's Guide that came with the HP product.
3. An authorized HP Dealer or Retailer: Click here to go to HP's online Service and Support Locator.
ISSUE: Where can I get service for my HPGL pen plotter?
Solution
Service is available from an authorized HP Service Center or from an authorized Service Technician.
ISSUE: Where can I get pens and other supplies for my HPGL pen plotter?
Solution
Hewlett Packard no longer manufactures pen plotter pens or supplies. Pens and supplies are available from the following third-party suppliers:
  • Koh-I-Noor Rapidographics
  • Pentel of America Ltd.
  • Staedtler Inc.
ISSUE: Where can I get a User's Guide for my HPGL pen plotter?
Solution
User's Guides and hardware manuals can be purchased directly. First, obtain the manual part number from HP Parts Identification. Once a part number is obtained, order direct from:
  note:
Three sources of information are readily available to help users find an HP Support Services phone number:
2. The User's Guide that came with the HP product.
3. An authorized HP Dealer or Retailer: Click here to go to HP's online Service and Support Locator.
ISSUE: Is my HPGL pen plotter Macintosh compatible?
Solution
Not directly. A connection solution is available from one of following two, third party vendors:
  • Microspot
  • GDT Softworks

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