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Print to a computer

Posted on 2004-08-17
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I have Dairy Farmer customer who records the milk yields from his cows onto a computer in the parlour that is not a PC and has no floppy drives or keyboard etc. The milk yields are then sent to a printer at the end of milking via a press of a button.
He wishes to put the milk yields into a spreadsheet and at the moment he has to print these out and then input them manully.
Instead of connecting a printer to the parlour computer you could connect a PC via a parrell cable connected to the printer port of the PC. Is there any method then of reading the information sent from the Parlour computer to the PC when the farmer presses trhe print button on the Parlour computer.
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Question by:gmbeckett
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:tomar31
ID: 11823136
you could change the printer driver to print to a file instead and the open the file in excel
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by:gmbeckett
ID: 11824644
The only problem is that the Parlour computer can only output to a printer. As far as I am aware there is no way of changing it's internal drivers to print to a file and it does not have any floppy drive or indeed a hard drive as it only holds the milk information in memory for a maximum of 5 days.
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hdhondt earned 500 total points
ID: 11826531
It is possible (but not easy...) to write custom software that will capture the data coming in on the PC's parallel port. The same software will also need to remove any printer commands that are interspersed with the data. And that may be just as difficult as capturing the printer output in the first place.

Whoever writes the software will need to have intimate knowledge of accessing hardware ports under DOS or Windows, and would almost certainly need to spend some time on-site for debugging. This is not something you can buy off the shelf.
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by:patrickab
ID: 11863053
Try contacting the milking parlour computer supplier as they may well have dealt with this issue before - it can't be a new requirement.
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Expert Comment

by:hdhondt
ID: 11863210
You would probably be better off asking them for a floppy or CD drive, or even a network connection - anything to let you take the data away from that PC. It will always be easier to get the data that way than to extract it from printer output. Do they have any backup facility? If they do, can another PC access the backup files to get at the data?
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by:hdhondt
ID: 12154343
gmbeckett

Have you found a solution to your problem yet, or have you accepted the impossibility of it?
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by:hdhondt
ID: 12158919
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned..
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:
Accept hdhondt
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PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!

hdhondt
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