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Older program will not print to laser printer

Posted on 2006-03-20
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I am running Ezdental 98 program on a both a windows 98 and windows XP computer.  In either case I can only get the program to print to an injet printer.  It will not print to any laser that I have tried.  I have tried several inkjet models and they all work fine, but just can't get it to print to any laser.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to get around this problem.
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Question by:waytron
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by:Callandor
ID: 16237502
Try DOSPRN to see if it will let you print to a laser: http://www.dosprn.com/
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by:waytron
ID: 16240037
Thanks for the suggestion, but that did not work.

As soon as I select anything other than an inkjet printer in Easy Dental 98 I get an error if I try to print or even preview a report.  The error is "Application Error,  DXPRINT caused a General Protection Fault in module DXPRINT.EXE".

I have tried to change some of the laser settings such as print directly to the printer but still can't get it to work.
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by:Callandor
ID: 16240282
The problem is most lasers expect Postscript or PCL code, and your old program is not sending that.  Windows printer drivers do this translation for you.  Perhaps you can print to a file, and then use a program like notepad or Word to print?  This would be very awkward is you are printing a lot, but a batch program could help.
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by:waytron
ID: 16241600
That would not work, this thing is printing reports and bills all day long.  I wanted to switch to a laser because the inkjet is too expensive for all the printing I do.  Any other suggestions?
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by:Callandor
ID: 16242376
You might consider a dot-matrix printer, which will typically handle straight text.  It's not as pretty as laser, but it gets the job done, and I'm sure the program will understand how to communicate with a machine from the same era.
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16243345
What is the laser printer it won't print to.
What are the inkjets it does print to.
I want to look at Postscript/PCL versions.

I am thinking an older laser printer that uses older Postscript or PCL versions might do the trick for you.
Your newer laser jet has a Postscrpit/PCL version that is too advanced for your program.

I can't be sure it will work with your software but I think an old HP Laserjet 4-Plus will do the trick.
(The *Plus* is important. The LJ4 is much slower.)

They work with old DOS -only- computers so they -should- work fine with your software.
Note: They print black only........

(As I understand it. I'm not a printer guru.)
The Postscript conversion takes place IN the printer on these via a special add-in memory module so your software doesn't -have- to support Postscript to use this printer. The module was an option, the printer doesn't NEED one.
-- If you want one with the module and can't find one with it, the modules are $10-$30 on eBay and easy to find.

There are also network adapter cards that fit in a slot in the back so you can set them up to run off any PC on your network by connecting the printer to a network hub or switch instead of to one of your PCs. (Also easy to find on eBay.)

There are (4) 72pin memory slots that each take (up to) 16 Mb modules.
- Speeds up sending the print job to the printer big time.
Memory for these is also easy to find.
The memory is the same used in some PC's but it's better to buy memory that specifically says it's for LJ4+.
(LJ4 uses different modules.)
One memory slot is taken up by the special postscript module if you have one.

HEAVY DUTY. Rated at 20,000 pages a month.
They were the standard printer used by the military for years.
(They managed to survive bouncing around on ships at sea just fine.)
Standard toner cartridges yeild ~6,800 pages and the high capacity ~8,800 pages.

They built zillions of them.
-- Not too hard to find used or even fully refurbished.
-- Not hard to find parts for them or optional parts like letter feeders, legal size trays, high capacity trays....

Not expensive used but you risk a dud if 'untested'.
On the other hand I risked it and bought two 'untested' from eBay for $1 each (was Local so no shipping costs) and they both work fine. (These are HEAVY so people don't want to pay shipping on 'untested' printers.) They log their total prints since new in internal memory. One of the two I got had printed only 23,000 pages-lifetime. The other around 150,000. - Remember they are rated for 20,000 pages/month.

Even though they are old I see them on eBay with under 50,000 lifetime page prints very often.
By use that's less than 3 months old.
.
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Home.jsp?locale=en_US&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=25484&lang=en&cc=us

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/DriverDownload.jsp?prodNameId=15024&lang=en&cc=us&taskId=135&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=25484

Sorry - Got windy. - I REALLY like this model printer. Real work horse!!!
.

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by:nobus
ID: 16244743
problem is probably your program version is too old - can you get an upgrade? not too expensive?
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by:waytron
ID: 16245681
Thanks guys for the suggestions.  I tried older lasers including the 4 plus.  I agree with you on this printer, I have 2 of them still in operation.

I have even tried a Series II laser.  Not luck.  I have tried installing all kinds of lasers and still get the error.  I don't even have to actually have the printer, as soon as I install the driver and try a print preview I get the error.

There has to be some way to fool the software into thinking it is printing to an inkjet but really going to a laser.  I can't upgrade the software at this point.  It has years of data and all the computers would have to be upgraded.
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by:waytron
ID: 16245755
FYI, thinking it could be a Windows XP issue, I also tried a laser connected to a Windows 98 computer running the same software.  Still same printing error.
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by:nobus
ID: 16245797
From your comment above, it is not an xp issue : the same error on different OS
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by:garycase
ID: 16249736
I looked up the program you're using and note that they still support EzDental, but it's up to EzDental 2005.   I'm sure this would support any modern printer; but did also note that the upgrades are NOT inexpensive :-)   As a dental patient, I appreciate you wanting to keep your expenses down (and hopefully passing those savings along to your patients).

I can think of two approaches here:

(1)  Refill your own cartridges.   You can generally refill an ink cartridge about 3 to 4 times with good results -- and the refills are MUCH less expensive than new cartridges (and easy to do).   This would likely bring your per page cost down to the same range as lasers.  As I noted, it is VERY easy to do this.    The kits are quite inexpensive, for example:  http://www.meritline.com/black-uni-kit-7-ink-cartridges.html

(2)  Post a list of supported inkjets here.  I (or someone else) may have a link to an emulator for one of those printers that you can use to translate the output to standard Windows calls -- in which case you can use ANY printer you want.
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16253579
I agree with Gary about upgrading your software. - Best choice.
I looked at that yesterday but the only price I saw given was $1395 for a DOS to Windows upgrade.
They want you to call for a quote for upgrades. https://www.easydental.com/shop/order.asp?Grp=2
Either Gary has a different idea about what inexpensive is or I was lookin' on the wrong site.
- Check with them first but I'd think it would auto-migrate your old records into the new software

In the relm of outrageous there's yet another option.... Bulk ink systems for inkjets.
Here a company with some for various printers so you know what I mean.
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZinkexpress4uQQhtZ-1

PCBONEZ
.

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by:garycase
ID: 16254171
PCBonez -- do you think $1395/user is inexpensive??
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16254334
No Gary, you noted it's not expensive, not I.

Software is often cheaper when you DON'T buy direct from the manufacturer so I thought perhaps you found a less costly source of the software than I did.
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by:garycase
ID: 16254351
You obviously didn't read what I said correctly !!  

I noted "... that the upgrades are NOT inexpensive ..."


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by:waytron
ID: 16255392
Ok, I didn't think this was going to get into an issue of my being cheap or that I would have to explain why I want a laser.  The issue of cost is not really the problem.  However my total cost to upgrade would end up being around $9000 or more not including time to implement the upgrade and train everyone how to use it.
The new software would requre that I purchase 3 new computers.
I am not eligible for the upgrade and would have to pay full price for the software because the practice was purchased from another dentist.
I have almost 10 years of patient data on this system and I was told that not all data would come over to the new system without sending the database out for custom conversion.
The new software is much slower than the original DOS version.

I want to print to a laser because of several reasons.
Cost of Ink is high on inkjet and refilling is a pain.
Laser is much faster
Laser print quality is much better

I have not found an inkjet that it would not print to yet. The newest one that I have used was an epson 820.

Printing to a laser is the only draw back that I have and to go through all the cost, time and problems of upgrading just does not seem to worth it just to be able to print to a laser.


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by:garycase
ID: 16259271
Wasn't suggesting you were cheap -- just pointing out to PCBonez that I did NOT say the upgrade was inexpensive (I said the opposite).

I agree that if a program works well for your business it makes little sense to change it just because there's an upgrade -- as you've noted there are other factors besides cost that make an upgrade, particularly from such a relatively old version of the program, much more of a pain than simply running the install program.   (e.g., the same logic is why many people are still running Windows 2000 or Windows 98 -- including you and me !)

It's a bit tricky to set up, but DOSPrinter is a pretty full-featured printer emulator that will let you emulate an Epson printer and send the output to any Windows printer.   Depending on how your program prints, you may have to also use a printer port redirection utility; but with a bit of "fiddling" I'm fairly sure this would work (and once set up it will all be transparent).  I would, of course, be sure you have a current image or system-state backup of the system before you set this up (just in case).   http://dosprinter.netfirms.com/

Does EzDental 98 allow you to print to a file?
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16263901
Gezzz,, relax,, .. GAWD!!!

I honestly thought gary found a cheaper place to get the software and that was my way of asking where he found it.

I'm quite sure that I'm MUCH more of a cheapskate than -either- of you... LOL
PCBONEZ <-- Still uses win98 and Win2k...

Can we get back to the problem now????

The solution may be to have a driver guru write you a custom driver for your program.
Can you determine what drivers the program uses to print?
.


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by:garycase
ID: 16264573
"... I'm quite sure that I'm MUCH more of a cheapskate than -either- of you ..." ==>  I won't debate that, but I also won't concede it :-) :-)   (I can be pretty frugal)

As for the issue at hand, if EzDental 98 will allow printing to a file, I'm sure fairly sure DOSPrinter will resolve this issue.   If not, then waytron needs to do a bit of experimenting -- it may still work (with a capture utility), but then again it may not.   From earlier comments, it appears the program writes directly to the printer port -- but there may be an option to write to a file; or if not it may still work okay if a port capture program is used.   Either way, if the output can be directed to a file DOSPrinter will then look for the existence of that file, and will automatically print it to any Windows printer.

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by:waytron
ID: 16267705
No, I can not print to a file.   I can only print to an Ink Jet which can be either a USB or LPT1 printer.
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by:PCBONEZ
PCBONEZ earned 750 total points
ID: 16268329
Will it let you print to FAX as the printer?
If it does it should create a tiff file.
- Just reaching for threads here..
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by:waytron
ID: 16268352
No, it will not let me print to fax or paperport or anything but an inkjet.  Although I have not tried a dot matrix.
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garycase earned 750 total points
ID: 16269536
I would try DOSPrinter and a port capture utility -- see my post at Date: 03/22/2006 08:54AM PST
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by:waytron
ID: 16278912
Well guys, I split the points because you both gave it a good try and stuck with me on this.  For now I will give up but may come back to your port carture and DOSprinter idea.  Thanks for all your help.
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 16291425
Thank you,
Don't forget one of the other possibilities.
Have a programmer write you a custom printer driver.
Perhaps you have a patient that's a programmer????
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by:skinet
ID: 21101088
I don't know if this is a very old issue,  so this may not be timely.
Last year I upgraded a client who had Window 98SE to Windows XP Pro who had Easy Dental 98 on the Windows 98SE PC.  They have an HP Laserjet 5 on the now XP PC attached thru a parallel port and up until today 03/11/08 was printing OK.  There was some alignment problems with the printer.but nothing else.  Well today they are getting the DXPRINT error.  I have changed the driver from HP 5 to HP 3 with no luck.  The HP 5 is downword compatible to the older HP Laser printer so printing should work.
With the Easy Dental problem, they are still able to print from Word, Exel without problem.  

What I would like to know is how you select the printer in Easy Dental 98,  I know it may be between inkjet or laser but I have found no location for it within the program.  
I seems silly to have to upgrade to Easy Dental 2008 just because the printer no longer works.
But this may be the only solution to get support and get the vital system working.

I feel that the problem is somewhere within easy dental and XP.  
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by:Callandor
ID: 21101712
skinet, if you're asking a question, you need to post a new original one - this one's closed as far as points go.
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by:waytron
ID: 21104380
Hi Skinet,
I have Easy Dental  running on Win98 and XP and have never been able to get it to print to any laser printer on any computer or operating system.  I even tried an old HP Series II.  I always get the same error.  I have also had the error with newer Inkjet printers as well, so as long as I stick with Older printers I seem ok.
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by:skinet
ID: 21126403
I was able to resolve the problem by going to a previous backup of the entire disk and then copying the most recent data folder to it.  I feel this was not a printer issue since the print failed on my system immediately and it did not matter which printer was attached and if the printer was on or off.  I believe somehow a module in the Easy Dental program got corrupted.   As soon as I went back a few days all was OK.  No change in the printer, cable or anything
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by:waytron
ID: 21126905
Interesting,  This program was inherited when the Office was purchased.  There are no original disks and it has not printed to a laser since the day we took over the office.  So I have nothing to go back to.  It is not a big deal anymore.  We just upgraded one office to Easy Dental 2008 and we plan to do this office in a few months.
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