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bar code printing problems

Posted on 2005-04-14
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
We are printing bar codes.

When we print the bar code labels to a laser printer, the scanner reads every single one.

When we print the same bar code labels to a Zebra or Eltron printer we get mixed results.
These printers have the newest drivers.
The problem started when we upgraded the PCs which are connected to these printers from Windows 98 to Windows XP.

Other than printer drivers does anyone have any thoughts.

We have been on the phone with Zebra/Eltron many times.
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Question by:glenn_1984
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WillHudson earned 600 total points
ID: 13788598
Have you upgraded the Eltron printer's firmware from their website?
http://www.zebracard.com/drivers/
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by:glenn_1984
ID: 13791203
That would be the next step.
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by:WillHudson
ID: 13791276
"Other than printer drivers does anyone have any thoughts."

What makes you think it is not the driver? I know there is a tick-box for HP printers for "Print true-types as bitmaps" option on one of the printer preferences pages - which helps when printing non-text. It may be worth seeing if there is that option on the printer you have
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by:Watzman
Watzman earned 600 total points
ID: 13792103

The eltron and Zebra printers are thermal printers, and probably only have resolutions of 8 dots/mm (very roughly that is 200 dpi).  This is the same resolution as the "high" resolution setting of a fax machine.  The laser printers, meanwhile, have resolutions of 600 dots per inch -- which is nine times higher (360,000 dots per square inch vs. 40,000 dots per square inch).

If the bar codes that you are printing are not reading, the only solution to really address the problem (other than changing printers) is to make them larger.  If you make them "large enough" the problem should go away.
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by:glenn_1984
ID: 13793258
The size issue is valid, but there are business  reasons why they cannot be larger.

I think it may be the driver.  However on the Zebra Printer we have downloaded and installed the newest Zebra driver.  We have also checked against two printers.

I have not yet obtained the newest drivers for the Eltron and will do so.
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Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13793914

I have no way of knowing how complex a bar code you are trying to fit into how many square inches.  But a 2 cubic foot box will only hold ...... 2 cubic feet.  For readability the very smallest element of the bar code needs to be at least several pixels wide, and from that basic requirement and the overall format of the specific bar code that you are using, there is a minumum number of total pixels required to print the bar code legibly.  If that number dictates a minimum total barcode width of, just for example, 2 inches, and you are trying to constrain the overall barcode to less than that, well, your chances of getting it to work reliably may be poor.  Keep in mind that the particular bar code that you are trying to print may not be -- and, in fact, probably isn't -- the least readable possible information.  That is, while all UPC codes are 12 digits, the pattern of bars produced by some 12-digit UPC codes are a LOT less readable (by the bar code scanner) than the patterns produced by other numbers.  For your product, and for reliability, you need to arrive at a solution that not only works reliabily and consistently, but which does so with the "worst case" bar code pattern.


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by:wyliecoyoteuk
wyliecoyoteuk earned 300 total points
ID: 13810964
You mention that this began when you upgraded from win98 to XP.
What application are you printing from? Have you upgraded it to the latest version for XP?
If you are using barcode fonts, are they the latest ones for XP?
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