SUMMARY: Parallel Printing Problem

From: Steve Lodin (
Date: Fri Jan 29 1993 - 17:16:20 CST

I wrote:

me>I am having difficulty with printing using an SBus parallel port. I think I
me>have everything configured correctly, but I noticed one possible sticking
me>point that I want to run by you.
me>System: Sun SPARCstation IPX running SunOS 4.1.2
me> Sun SBus parallel printer port
me> Sun NeWSprint parallel port software
me> Tektronix Phazer Color Laser Printer
me>I have the printer running via the serial port at 19200 baud. The user would
me>like faster speed between the printer and the workstation. I told him an
me>option was to go parallel, so we installed the parallel card.
me>I installed the driver in the kernel, created the device file and did all the
me>other stuff associated with the printer using the NeWSprint software. I have
me>a very simple printcap entry, which assumes that postscript only will be sent
me>out the port:
me> :lp=/dev/bpp0:\
me> :sd=/var/spool/ct1t9:\
me> :lf=/var/spool/ct1t9/log:
me> :mx#0:sf:sb:sh:
me>The doesn't seem to work, resulting in the following message:
me>[3] koadsy09: lpq -P ct1t9
me>Warning: ct1t9 is down: waiting for ct1t9 to become ready (offline ?)
me>no entries
me>I was just reading thru the manual for the printer and it said that the
me>parallel port was uni-directional. The lightbulb went off. Doesn't the BSD
me>lp system need bi-directional communication to a printer? Is this what the
me>problem is? If not, I assume that I screwed something else up.

The solution was to reload the kernel drivers using add_np_printer. I did
it by hand the first time and I must not have done it correctly (even though
the kernel thought they were loaded). I was wrong about the lp system
needing bi-directional communication, it was the Transcript and Interleaf
printer interface communication programs that I was thinking about.

From: Roy Richter PH/32 <>
From: (Halvard Halvorsen)
From: David Sansom <>
From: (Andrew Rakowski - USU - RS/GIS Lab)
From: Warren Stokes <>

Here are the responses:

From: (Halvard Halvorsen)

the error message indicated usually means the driver has been unloaded from the
kernel. check with /usr/etc/modstat to see if that is the case. if no
significant output load the drivers again (my script is placed under

me>The command modstat showed that the driver was loaded.

well - i would recommend that you use the NeWSprint add_np_printer
script to to this for you. my printcap entry for a QMS PS-810 on the
paralell port looks like this - and works (it is slightly modified from
the one NeWSprint suggested :

me>In the end, this did it.

From: David Sansom <>

You could check that the print deamon isn't down with lpc, try restart
and clean. I've often found it to go screwy.

me>Did that many, many times :-)

Another thing that springs to mind is to check the printcap entry.

Check there's no typo on the device file name, you've not got an rm
in there or something like that !?

me>It was OK.

From: (Andrew Rakowski - USU - RS/GIS Lab)

I would check to be sure your Tektronix printer is set up for
Centronics interface, and not the "Tektronix" interface used with some
of their other equipment.

me>The status light was blinking like it should be.

From: Warren Stokes <>

I am using the parallel port as you suggest in two ways: 1. just like you
above with no filters. It works fine. Bidirectional parallel comms is NOT
necessary. 2. with all the newsprint filters and a Postscript type param
file in the spool directory.

The only suggestion I have is that the "Ready" status line back from the
printer is not in the correct state. Hook it up to a PC and see if
you can communicate with it. I assume you had no problems with loading
the bpp0 module??

me>That was just confirming that it should work.

Thanks again to everybody!


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