iSeries (AS400) Spool file issue

Occasionally, we have a spool file that will have a 1* (asterisk) under the Total Pages of a spool file.  When this happens the printer stops printing.  You cannot view or print the spool file.  As i said it only happens once in a while on print files that typically print without issue.

Does anyone have any idea what could cause this?

Thank you,
Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAsked:
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Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
Yes, that happens when the system can't determine the page count by looking at the file contents.  For example, if the spooled file is a *USERASCII file, containing ASCII PCL, the system doesn't know how to calculate a pagecount.

Odds are these files are intended to be printed on a specific printer.

Look at the spooled file attributes - what is the datastream type on one of the problem files?
Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your reply Gary.  Unfortunately this happens very rarely and I need to delete the spool file so that the other jobs behind it will print.  Next time it happens i will check the data-stream type on the spool file.  

The strange thing is that the program that creates the spool file may run hundreds of times a day and the spool file will be successfully printed.  It is just every so often that this happens.

Thanks again for your assistance.
Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:

Next time it happens, just hold the spooled file instead of deleting it, and post back here.

Sounds like you may have a program bug that is creating a bad print file, though some AFP files are non-displayable.

Do you have a programmer or vendor that you can report the problem to?

Do you get an error message when this happens?  If so, next time it happens, post the entire error message- first and second level text.
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Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
Actually, I am the programmer.  

There is no error message.  The spool file just sits there with the 1*.  I am usually made aware of the issue when someone contacts me that a job they submitted to print isn't printing.  When i look into it I see the 1* and all of the submitted print jobs sitting behind it.

Next time it happens, I will definitely post back here as much information as I can get from the spool file.  

Thanks again,
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
This is an infrequently occurring issue, as stated in the thread.  Prefer you'd leave it.
Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
Please do leave.  As Gary stated, this does not happen often and has not happened since I initially posted my question.

Thank you,
Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
As luck would have it, this just happened again last night (11/11) on 2 spool files.  The strange thing is that I checked with the user who's id is on the file and they left the office before the time stamp in the spool file.

Also, instead of having their workstation id under the job it has QPRTJOB.  From what I have been reading this spool file could be getting generated by a completely different job.  According to IBM: “Spooled files are generated under a QPRTJOB job whenever the Set Profile Handle (QWTSETP, QsySetProfileHandle) API is used to generate spooled files for another user profile or whenever the spooled file is generated by a TCP/IP or Host Server Job and not by a user job running under the user profile”.  I checked the job log and prior to the timestamp on both of the spool files a QTCP/QTSMTPCLTP job ended.

I am going to assume that this is the cause.

Thanks for your help.
Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
Can you post the attributes of the two problem spooled files, please?

(QTSMTPCLTP is a TCP Client child job - if the spooled files are getting generated from there, it isn't surprising that they are showing up in QPRTJOB).
Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
Thanks Gary.  I attached 2 PDF documents.  One for each of the bad spool files.  Like I said it is very strange.  I added a comment to each of the PDF's stating that the user signed off the system prior to the spool file getting created.

Thanks again,
Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
Hey Tammie,

File (and User-Specified data): IN504P - Usually a clue about the printer file name, program or job that generated the spooled file.  Does IN504P mean anything to you or to the users involved?

Output queue: CBLASER04 - What make/model printer is associated with this queue?

Device type: *USERASCII - Indicates that the OS is supposed to treat this output as "final form" ASCII printer output, and that no translation or transformation should be performed.  File should just be pushed to the printer as-is.  

Device file: QPTMPLPD - Usually indicates that this spooled file was pushed to this system from another system (and QPRTJOB supports that).  This happens when a person or program does a SNDTCPSPLF from another system or selects SEND from WRKSPLF.  Probably also happens on TARGET400 when a remote outq is created on SOURCE400 pointing to an outq on TARGET400.  You've obscured the system names so I can't tell for sure if this originated on another system or another.

You mentioned that "printing stops".  What do you mean my that?  Does the writer end abnormally?  Do you get a writer message?  Either way, there should be an error message that gives a clue to the problem.  Can you please post the error message?


Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
IN504P is the program/printer file name

CBLASER04 is an HP printer.  I am not in the office and I do not remember the exact model number.

All I meant by "printing stops" is that the spool file with the 1* will sit in the outq and all other print jobs submitted will get backed up behind it.  The writer does not stop and there areno error messages anywhere.

The system name is the same for all spool files.

The IN504P program is our pick ticket printing program.  We generate thousands of IN504P spool files every week with no issues.  This is why I believe this spooled file was pushed to this system from another system.  I noticed that 1 -2 minutes before the time in the bad spool files there was a QTCP/QTSMTPCLTP job that ended.  Based on your post I am thinking that this may be the culprit.

Thanks again for all of your help.  I am going to check with our Operations guy to see if he can track this down.
AndrewIT ConsultantCommented:
Hi Tammie,

Is the HP printer dedicated to the as/400 or is it shared with another print server (ie Windows)?
Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew,
I believe this printer is dedicated to the AS400.

I never did find out what was causing this.  However, I handled it by checking for the 1* and deleting the spool file if the total pages has a 1*.

thanks for your reply.


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Tammie SuttonSenior Programmer AnalystAuthor Commented:
I could not figure out what was causing this.  Therefore, I handled it by checking for the 1* and deleting the spool file if the total pages has a 1*.
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