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Kurt Ofer

HP 500ps and Mac Plot

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Microspot (MacroEnter)does indeed have a new driver which is supported under OSX and will drive the HP 500ps. Go to Macroenter.com for latest info.

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Our HP 230 just quit, and am considering purchase of the 500ps with Mac Plot over an ethernet network. DOES THIS COMBINATION WORK in your experience with VW 9.51? ANY comments on this would be greatly appreciated.

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Mac Plot isn't supported under OS X, only on OS 9 or earlier.

So you would have to either use OS 9 when printing, or use VW 8.x in classic, or use the VW 9 viewer reset to start up in classic mode from the apllications Info Window. The latter is the way I currently use Macplot to drive an EnCad plotter.

I've checked the Macplot website but haven't seen any updates yet.

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Thanks everyone for your input so far. After I sent my querry, I realized that I should have said that we are running OS 9.2.

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For what its worth, I'm on a PC, win 2000 and own a 500ps plotter. My significant other works in an office that also uses the 500ps on a mac network. They have had so much trouble getting vectorworks to plot that they had to buy a xp machine in order to plot (it was taking forever to rip on the mac). They have been plotting in non-postscript mode on xp. I have had several communications with HP and they have not generated an xp postscript rip for this machine to date. They say they are going to, when, who knows...

The bottom line here is that this plotter is troublesome on both platforms. We have both had problems with vectorworks jamming text together on the first print of a job (subsequent prints are fine), most of my trouble with this has been in non-postscript mode. Otherwise, its been a good machine. If I had the money I would rather hav the 800 series since it does its ripping on board,instead of through the rip software HP has contracted out from Adobe as on the 500. If you can hold out, I would wait to see if HP produces a newer model in this price range this fall. Good luck

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If you are considering the 500PS, I would recommend against it. Either get a better model that does not rely on RIP software, or get the regular 500 and Microspot's MacPlot driver. They have a HPGL driver and Raster driver for classic MacOS and the have recently released a Raster only driver for MacOS X.

HP's driver support for any of the models using Postscript RIP has been a joke.

Matthew GiampapaNNA Technical Support

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Be aware too, that MicroSpot's OSX RIP is not a network product yet, and is only a direct USB connection to one machine. You can however use their server/client setup to print from other machines, but you are using the connected machine as a server for processing, which is irritating if that machine is also a workststion.

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We currently have a terminal on the network, dedicated as the printer processor, with direct connection to the printers, including the 500PS. PeterT: do you know anything about behavior of MacPlot in a mixed-OS (X vs. 9) environment?

P.S.VW9.x can be set up to open in Classic, also, which would allow an X client to plot to an OS9 machine with the plotter....

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TS,

We currently use Microspot's GraphicPak V.5.0 in OS 9.2.2 to an HP 800PS, and we use the Raster driver, but we use an Ethernet network connection to the plotter. With Microspot's USB dongle on any one of our machines, and a Superclient license for each machine we can plot directly to the plotter from any machine.

We find that this works fine in OS9 native mode on any of our machines. In Classic mode, under OSX, it is a little bit slower on our G4 400 Mhz machines and way slower on our Beige G3 233 Mhz machines. We find that we have to run the G3's in OS9 native for plotting (VectorWorks 9.5.2 runs terrible in Classic mode on the G3's anyway, so we just leave them on OS9 native)

On the G4's, plotting from Classic is acceptable. As far as plotting from OSX, unless we go with a dedicated print server like you have done, we cannot use MicroSpot's XRip. We hope MicroSpot will develop a network solution in the future, but that might depend on the OS, I'm not sure.

As far as using OSX's PostScript driver, you cannot create custom page sizes, so until HP or Apple provide a Driver with custom page setup, you have to hand cut every plot, hardly acceptable.

Regards, PeterT

[ 07-17-2002: Message edited by: PeterT ]

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As an addendum to my previous post, after extensive testing today, The MicroSpot driver plots O.K. only from VW 8.5.2 to our HP 800PS.

From VW 9.5.2, files spool about six times slower to the plotter than the same file spooled from VW 8.5.2, and that is from either classic mode or native mode with a file that is less than 200k in size.

I also downloaded the MicroSpot 5.1.2 Demo thinking that might be the issue, but the same thing there, files plot much faster from VW 8.5.2.

Why would the VectorWorks version affect how fast a file spools after it has rasterized? I don't get it.

[ 07-17-2002: Message edited by: PeterT ]

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Again, thank you all for the input here.

In case any of you are lying awake at night thinking, "gee, I wonder if that guy bought the 500 ps?" Well, we got our HP230 fixed. (It's amazing how quiet it runs now after having it serviced after 6 years of continuous and trouble free use.) We are going to save our pennies and go for the 800 in a few months. The idea that it crunches the plot files on the plotter rather than at the machine is the biggest plus that I can see. Besides, when you add to the base price of a 500 ps the ethernet card, the HPGL2 card, the 42" wide capability...the 800 really doesn't cost that much more. I have come to realize that whatever digital equipment we purchase...computers, scanner, whatever...we always end up using it to its full potential rather immediately. So my theory here is that if I want to output a color D size perspective, the 800 will have a greater chance of getting the job done without a lot of fuss.

I am also beginning to pride myself (the IT guy, who just like the ad, is the HR guy, the trash guy...in short, the owner) that we can go for a week or two without any system hangs, errors, or crashes on any of our 5 machines. So the stability of something like the 800, or let me put it this way, my perception of the stability of the 800 vs the 500, is also a strong factor in making our decision.

But then again, this HP 230 will probably give us another 6 years of trouble free service!

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