How can I capture a print stream from a centronics cable to a file on another computer.

spolt
spolt used Ask the Experts™
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We have an old PIC OS system with a database on it's hd.  We can't see the hd on any other system - it's probably been formatted in a proprietary manner.  The PIC system runs - I can print the data I need to a centronics printer.  I want to capture the print stream from a crossover cable (laplink type cable) onto a windows box as a file so that I can import it into a windows database.   The other option is a utility that would let me see the hd in windows.  
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Commented:
Hi,

I don't know of any commercial solution to your problem, although there may be one.
A home brew solution is  possible but will require that a special cable be made and a program written to emulate the centronics printer.
Information on parallel port programming and hardware can be found at -
http://www.beyondlogic.org/
http://www.programmersheaven.com/zone7/articles/article320.htm

However, if the amount of data is not enormous you might be better off scanning the printouts and the OCRing them into a text file.

Commented:
what kind of database?  

The problem is to remove the embeded printer control code from the data stream later.

If you can print it you should be able to dump the data to ASCII delimited (text/csv) file.  Back up the csv or text file to a removeable media and restore it to the other system.  If you have networking capability on the PIC you can send the file as attachment in an email or do a file transfer.

You can try redirecting the printer port to a .txt file and print to it to create your txt file.

cheers

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Commented:
lidsky,

I don't think the job is worth the effort of constructing a cable and writing special code - I was hoping someone had a solution that was a little more plug-and-play.  The report is going to be thousands of pages and scanning is not going to be an option either.

Thanks


Gnart,

The PIC OS is sort of a hybrid OS and Database system (prehistoric Oracle).  I can't do anything with the data inside the PIC system. I need a way to get the data from the print stream - I'm pretty sure I can clean it up once I have it.

Thanks
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Commented:
I've come across this, which may be a solution to your problem.

http://www.imeg.com/jadtech/hawk.htm

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Commented:
lidsky,

Jadtech both sells and rents their units.  That was exactly what I was looking for.  

Great Job!

Spolt

Commented:

Glad to be able to help.

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