Introduction to VendPrint and Printing - The Andy West Page

Introduction to VendPrint and Printing - The Andy West Page
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Introduction to VendPrint and Printing
Andy West
Microcomputer/Systems/Network Analyst
Library Information Technology Services
20 December 2007
Revised 22 October 2008
What is VendPrint
VendPrint is a program that monitors the flow of print jobs from our public workstations
to our public printers, tracking information on each job printed by each public printer. It
runs off of special-purpose computers called release stations, which hold print jobs for up
to two hours while users work on other projects.
What is PrinterOn
PrinterOn is a Web service that allows laptops to send print jobs to some of our public
printers via the World Wide Web. A print job are sent from the laptop to a remote server,
which in turn sends the print job to the appropriate release station.
What VendPrint Does
What happens when a user sends a print job to a public printer?
1. The job first goes into an input queue for that printer on the print server LibXII,
where it is held (paused).
2. VendPrint takes information identifying each job and displays it as an item in the list
on its release station.
3. The user go to the release station, selects their job and presses Print.
4. VendPrint moves the print job from the input queue to the output queue.
5. When the print job reaches the top of the output queue, it is sent to the printer.
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PrinterOn adds the steps of sending a print job to a remote server, which sorts out where
the job is supposed to go, then sends the job to the appropriate input queue, from which
VendPrint takes over.
Since the print jobs are on the print server rather than on the release stations, the jobs will
be there for users even if the release stations are rebooted.
A print job remains in the input queue for two hours, at which point VendPrint deletes the
How Does A LaserJet Printer Work
A laserjet printer consists of one or more paper trays; a paper path with firm, roughsurfaced sheet rollers; a toner cartridge; a transfer roller underneath it; and a fuser. The
cartridge holds the toner, a very fine black powder that is the printer’s “ink”, and the means
to transfer that toner to paper.
Each print job, no matter what the document’s original format, reaches the printer as a
series of instructions on how to print the document. The printer interprets those
instructions and tells the cartridge how to deposit the toner. The cartridge fires a laser on a
photosensitive drum to give selected parts of its surface a charge. The drum then picks up
toner on the charged parts of its surface, holds it until it reaches the paper, and then
presses it onto the paper with the help of the transfer roller underneath. Then paper with
toner enters the fuser, where it is pressed again and heated to hundreds of degrees in the
fuser. The newly boned printout is then expelled out the top.
The Public Printers
HP LaserJet 8150dn
The make and model of most of our public printers are the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet
8150dn. All the printers have four trays (with the 2000-sheet feeder designated tray four),
all of which are set in the printers to plain letter paper. The dn in the model number means
each printer also has an internal duplexer, which flips paper over to allow printing
on both sides; and that
each has a network interface card which has a unique IP address set on it, so that the
card is assigned, not to each printer, but to each location.
Card Swapping
That last point means that when a printer is swapped, the network cards was exchanged.
Card-swapping saves time in getting a working printer online quickly, in not having to
reprogram the card, and in avoiding a network conflict if swapped printers with the same
IP address were connected to the network at the same time. It also provides Cannon IV,
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our printer service contractor, a central place to make repairs in the LITS server room,
where damaged printers are taken.
HP LaserJet P4515n
The Architecture and SHS libraries have the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet P4515n for their
public printers. Architecture has three trays (the third being a 1500-sheet feeder); SHSL
has only two. Their network cards are built into the printers, making card swapping
impossible. For this reason, it is likely that repairs to any P4515n will be done on-site
rather than in the server room.
VendPrint Problems
VendPrint is gone.
The release stations are set up in kiosk mode, in which VendPrint is the only program
running. If it is gone, do a Control-Alt-Delete to bring up Windows Security; press Shut
Down, choose Restart from the dropdown list, and press OK. VendPrint will come back up
after the restart. No print jobs will be lost.
Print job not on list at release station.
It is possible that the user sent a print job to one printer, thinking that it is sent to another.
Check all the release stations first.
If the print job is not found, it is likely that the job did made it into the input queue, but in
such a damaged state that VendPrint cannot recognize it as a print job. If so, the job is
unprintable; it will remain in the queue until it is removed by hand.
Print job on list, but print button greyed out when highlighted.
This kind of print job happens, but not very often. VendPrint has never figured out why
this happened, even though I found and submitted samples of print jobs that cause this in
the release station.
Fortunately, this kind of print job is rare.
Print job released, but does not print.
This kind of problem is usually associated with error 79.x, explained below.
Print job prints — garbage!
This happens when a public printer is turned off during a print job. The output queue
simply pauses, waiting for the printer to come back on. After the printer is switched back
on, the print job resumes: But, without any idea of the format of the print job, the printer
works on raw data, printing junk characters on page after page.
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The best thing to do is to hit the Cancel button on the printer panel until the print job
PDF printing problems.
PDF files from the online services, like EBSCO, sometimes behave in strange ways,
especially in printing one or a few pages and then skipping the rest. You can get around this
in the Print dialog box by pressing the Advanced button, checkmarking Print As Image, and
pressing OK twice.
Print job removal.
Print jobs can be removed from the queues only by LITS staff, such as for deleting
malformed jobs from the input queue or jobs in the output queue to relieve an error 79
VendPrint can be set up on the release stations to allow users to delete print jobs. But there
would be the issue of users deleting the print jobs of other users, either accidentally or on
purpose. That's why on-site print job deletion is turned off.
Print job redirection.
It is not possible to redirect a print job from one printer to another when the first printer is
down. The user will have to send the print job to another printer.
PrinterOn Problems
what cannot be printed
The Wireless Printing FAQ covers most of the problems associated with wireless laptop
printing. Basically, uncommon and specialized formats such as for Microsoft Works,
IBM/Lotus Suite applications, Adobe Creative Suite (except PDF) and SPSS are unprintable.
Such documents have to be converted into a printable format (Office 2003, PDF, plain text,
JPEG/GIF/PNG/BMP images) before uploading them to PrinterOn.
Office 2007 (PC) and 2008 (Mac) formats are now printable.
When a user reports that they cannot print to wireless printing, first check the source
program and the extension of the document they are trying to print. If the document is in
an unprintable format, the Wireless Printing site will give the user an error message and
will not pass the print job on.
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page limits
The maximum number of pages a user can print from their laptop is thirty (30) pages.
This has been set to encourage paper conservation, and is enforced from the server end. If a
user prints more than thirty pages, the job will cut off at the thirtieth page.
If the user must print more than thirty pages, they will have to break up the document, or
(better) in the Print box use Print Range to print in thirty-page segments.
mass printing outage
A mass inability to print from laptops may be caused by either
our wireless network being down; or
the PrinterOn server being down.
Let LITS know at once so that we can contact UCS (for campus wireless loss) or the
PrinterOn company (for server loss) to get the problem resolved.
Mac Printing Problems
What iMacs Print to Where
iMacs in Reference print to all Reference public printers, with printer #1 as the default.
iMacs in Education Resources print to printer #7 as default, but can also print to printers
#6 and #10.
iBooks and MacBooks use wireless laptop printing.
Adobe PDF is found as the default printer
This can happen, but it does not mean that the public printers are not available. Have the
user open the printer list in the Print dialog box and choose a public printer.
Public Printers are down
When this happens it is okay to have Mac users print via wireless laptop printing until the
printers are back online.
Color printing
Printing to the Canon color printers on either Reference or Periodical/Reserve is not
available to the iMacs because Canon does not make the same custom driver used by the
Windows workstations available to Mac OS X.
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Printer Maintenance
A printer is good for a given number of pages: 350,000 for an 8150dn, 225,000 for a
P4515. When that limit is passed, you will see the message Perform Printer Maintenance
on the printer panel.
There is nothing wrong with the printer itself. It will be fine for a few thousand pages more
until LITS installs a maintenance kit, which includes new sheet rollers, a new transfer roller,
and a new fuser. After the kit is installed the maintenance page count is reset; the kit is run
through its paces with a paper path test; and the printer is good to go.
Printer Problems
Paper Jams
As explained above, paper takes a winding path through the printer until it reaches the
toner bay. There the paper gets its toner from the cartridge pressed with the transfer roller
and bonded with heat by the fuse. Finally the paper comes out into the output bin.
Here is a diagram of an 8150dn with points along the paper path where jams can occur.
The most common causes of paper jams are:
worn, smooth paper rollers
excessive paper in trays
wrinkled or dog-eared paper
excess paper dust in path or on sensors
worn fuser
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poor synchronization along the paper path
LITS can replace worn rollers and fusers, and clean out excess toner and paper dust.
The internal partitions in the trays have trianglar marks that show the upper limit for
paper. Do not load paper higher than these marks. Use only smooth, whole paper in the
After checking the parts of the diagram for jams, you should also remove the toner
cartridge, left the green handle in front, and check for accordian papers. Check the back of
the output bin, for sometimes paper jams hide in there. Check the fuser, lifting the green
tabs and very carefully removing the accordian paper.
If, after all this, you still get paper jam messages, it is time for LITS to swap the printer.
Squeaks can be caused by the same problems that cause paper jams. Or they can come from
defective toner cartridges. If neither are the source of the squeaks it is time to swap the
Streaks may be dark or light. They may go horizontally or vertically across every page, or
every other page, or every few pages. Streaks are usually caused by a leaking toner
cartridge. Replace the cartridge. If the streaks continue, then the fuser is at fault, and must
be replaced by LITS.
Ghost Text
Ghost text is the faint impression of a text on subsequent print jobs. The text has been
burned into the fuser's heating element. The fuser will have to be replaced by LITS.
Faded Text
Faded text is a sign that the toner cartridge is out of toner, whether the cartridge was newly
packaged or not. Replace the toner cartridge.
Toner Flaking Off
The fuser is broken and no longer bonding the toner on the pages. The fuser will have to be
replaced by LITS.
Blotched or All-black Pages
The toner cartridge is broken inside, delivering a burst of toner badness. Have LITS come
down to sweep out the toner bay. Then replace the toner cartridge.
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Error Fuser 50.x
A glitch has happened in the fuser. Turning the printer off and on usually fixes the problem.
If not, LITS will swap the printer.
Error 79.x
The printer is wrestling with a badly-formed print job in the output queue. This is a LITS
fix: The printer is turned off; the output queue is flushed of all its jobs (not just the bad
one); and the printer is turned back on.
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