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Networking a TEC Printer

Hi Experts,

I have a TEC Printer which 4 employees use. They currently have to log into and out of a separate work station to use the printer for abetween 1 and 6 box labels.

Is there a way to network the TEC printerto the 4 work stations so that they can eliminate the login process?

Thanks
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IndyBean
Asked:
IndyBean
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1 Solution
 
CallandorCommented:
If you get a print server and connect it to an ethernet network which all four systems are attached to, anyone on a workstation will be able to print to the printer if it is set up as a TCP/IP printer and installed as such on each workstation.  I have a DLink DP-303 that handles it.
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IndyBeanAuthor Commented:
What is a Print Server, and what's the cost with it?
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IndyBeanAuthor Commented:
HAve you done this with a TEC brand printer or just a typical Lazer printer?
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CallandorCommented:
A print server allows you to connect one or more parallel port printers to a network device and share it with everyone connected to the same network.  This says it's selling for $50: http://www.bizrate.com/marketplace/product_info/overview/index__cat_id--496,prod_id--7824487.html
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MarakushCommented:
IndyBean,

Okay I have a few TEC printers here...

Depending on the software you use to print the lables, you might be able to use a printserver.  Now the software we use to print shipping labels has issues with several printservers I've tried... So here in lies the problem with a printserver and a TEC label printer.  

What I used to correct the problem was a 4 port parallel switch to the TEC. That worked the best, the printservers for some reason always caused mis-aligned labels from computer to computer all using the same software... Yes Experts, its strange but true with a TEC label printer.

This is what I'm using 4 computers to one TEC.

http://www.pcpartscollection.com/autprinswitb.html

And yes I know its a cheap-o solution to the problem but unless you use one of these TEC printers you have no idea how much of a pain in arse it can be to configure.

(And yes I have 53 laserprinters on printservers)

Marakush
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kpaskeCommented:
Two questions I need to ask:

1.  Are the 4 computers already on a network?
2.  What operating system are they using?

If the computer's aren't on a network, and have no need to be, one solution would be to use the parallel switch as suggested by Marakush.  The drawback to that is each time an employee wants to print, they will first have to go to the switch, turn it to the correct position, send the print job, then go back and pick up their labels.  Because parallel cables are limited in length, all 4 computers would need to be in close proximity.

If the computer's are already on a network, most operating systems allow some sort of printer sharing.  For example, if you are running Windows, configure each machine for file and print sharing, set up the printer on one of the four machines, permit the printer to be shared, then point each of the other three machines to use that shared printer also.  In this case you are using one of the existing machines as a print server without having to buy anything extra.

The only real advantage to running it on a print server is that the parallel ports on all four machines will still be available so they can each have their own dedicated laser printer or what-have-you.  If you were printing a large volume of labels to the TEC printer, the print server might make sense, but in this case simple printer sharing should work fine for you.

If the computers are not on a network, what you need is a network hub or switch, four ethernet cables, and four ethernet adapters.  For printing, even an old 10MB hub would work, but you should be able to pick up a decent 10/100 switch and 4 cards for under $50.  If you really want to go the print server route, some switches even have built in print servers, but they will also be slightly more expensive.

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MarakushCommented:
:) Sounds good...

Marakush
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kpaskeCommented:
Not to take points away from Marakush, as he or she provided some valuable input, but was my comment not valuable also?
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