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Need help getting a Zebra QL420 PLUS printer working on Redhat 5.2

Posted on 2011-09-22
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Last Modified: 2013-12-26
We have purchased several Zebra QL420 PLUS (wireless) hip printers to print barcode labels from an application that runs on our Redhat 5.2 server.  We've tried setting up the printer using the Zebra driver that comes with Cups v1.2 and as a "raw" printer.  As a raw printer the all we get is a form feed when we attempt to print to it.  No text at all.  As a "Zebra" printer we get control codes with the embedded text.  I guess I need any pointers on how to fix this.  Is there a way to create a ZPLII file that can be piped directly to the printer?  I'd like to isolate that the application is or is not the problem.
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Question by:lwrogers
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Expert Comment

by:tfewster
ID: 36589138
My knowledge of Zebra printers is 10 years old, but may still be relevant; They had their own printer control language, so a file sent to it had contain the Zebra codes for formatting etc.

- If you're driving it "raw", you need to include all the Zebra setup codes. The format is unique, but straightforward and covered in their programming guide. I managed to get an Access database running on Windows 95 to send "reports" to the printer embedding the codes for what I wanted. It was only 2 barcodes & the corresponding clear-text, so nothing fancy.

- If you're using supplied drivers (never tried that!), that should take care of the setup but I'm not sure about the content - barcode-type selection, fontsize & positioning etc. Something has to tell the printer "change font for the next bit of data" - the Zebra probably supports a number of standard graphics file formats.

Your current plan, to create a test file that can be sent to the printer using `lp` is a good first step to prove the printer is working, either "raw" or using the drivers. The ZPL II programmers Guide has some simple examples that would do.

Next, you can intercept what the app is sending to the printer (print to a file instead), then use that file as the basis for testing, by adding the Zebra codes if needed.

Finally, you need to get the app to embed the codes in the output. If you can't change the app, you'll have to sent it through a custom lp filter that converts the control codes the app inserts into Zebra codes
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Author Comment

by:lwrogers
ID: 36711767
Based on my test the printer is setup correctly on the Linux side.  When we print to the printer from our application we are getting a form feed with no text.  If we send a CPCL file to the printer it prints the label correctly.  If we send a ZPL file to the printer all I get is a form feed.  We know that the application is creating a ZPL label.  We found some instructions on how set the command language on the printer to ZPL by sending a text file via Label Vista.  In the text file is the following command

! U1 setvar "device.languages" "ZPL"

However this does not seem to fix the problem.  What was not specified is what this text file should be named.
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Accepted Solution

by:
lwrogers earned 0 total points
ID: 36949193
Actually the solution was a configuration file provided by Zebra that I had to upload to the printer.   The Label Vista program was showing that the printer was setup to except ZPL code but in fact it was not.  One I sent the configuration file and rebooted the printer we where in business.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:tfewster
ID: 36952908
Glad to hear you fixed it, and posted the answer for others who may have the same problem.

You can get your points refunded by clicking the Request Attention link

Regards,
tfewster
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Author Closing Comment

by:lwrogers
ID: 36991284
Solved
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Author Comment

by:lwrogers
ID: 36970319
Fixed it myself
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