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Canon BJ5000 Printer error message

Last Modified: 2013-12-03
Canon BJ5000 & Windows 98 2nd Edition

When sending a large image (say scanned at 720dpi) the printer comes back with 'error writing to LPT1' .... 'Parameter is incorrect'. Everything is fine with smaller images (300dpi). The setup is ECP.

Any help appreciated

Jon Morris (j.morris@napier.ac.uk)
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It sounds like you are trying to print a photo that simply is too big (MB wise) There are limits on the size of the file that can be spooled and I would say you are exceeding that size. You really won't see much improvement over a photo that was scanned at 300dpi.
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The printing industry's term for resolution is lpi (Lines Per Inch), a measure of printed image resolution-like detail. Magazines are typically 133 or 150 lpi, newspapers are typically 85 lpi.
The standard rule about printing (assuming printing at original size) is that we must scan for the capability of our specific output device, using scanning resolution dpi = lpi x 1.5. The extra 50% is to accommodate the printer driver's resampling when it creates the halftone screen. Some say a 2.0 factor is better, but more say 1.5 is plenty. 2.0 is the acknowledged maximum limit of usefulness. Our home inkjets use a different dithering principle anyway.
One big problem with lpi is that we cannot find lpi mentioned in our printers specifications, because lpi is not within the hardware. Instead lpi varies however the graphic software and printer driver chooses to use the hardware.
There is much uniformity in commercial practice. Those scanned images are typically always sent to 1200 or 2400 dpi imagesetters (to generate halftone screens) for publication, which are very single purpose with known standard lpi requirements, 133 lpi for very many magazines, and scanning at 133 x 1.5 = 200 dpi is correct for most cases.
But at home, we are at the mercy of many different software packages, and we all have a different printer and driver. This makes it pretty difficult to use the (lpi * 1.5) formula, simply because we do not know it. You can however sometimes see this lpi value in your printer driver or graphics software options. For example, PhotoImpact indicates 85 lpi for my HP 6P 600 dpi laser printer. So, 85 x 1.5 = 128 dpi would be a good safe scanning resolution to use. It's more than the printer can normally use (the 50% safety factor), and I don't notice improvement in printed detail if scanning over 100 dpi. And 85 lpi suggests 600/85 = 7, therefore a 7x7 halftone grid, with the possibility of 50 shades of gray. The printer is spec'd at 600 dpi 128 colors, but it cannot do all those numbers at any one setting. Normally, it must use a middle of the road compromise.
The overall significance of this halftone grid is that the printer must use several of its dots to represent each one pixel in the image. This greatly reduces the printers real image resolution capability to a fraction of the printers advertised dpi.
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