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the same 500ps woes


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Unfortunately plotting problems have not gone away with 10.1.2, or whatever it is we're on these days.(upgraded yesterday). I have found that trying to print any sheet with anything gray-ed out will cause the print job to vaporize.(The current Hp driver will not process it-appears to skip over it). For example framing plans, MEP sheets, or any other view with the floor plan in gray just won't print with this driver.

It will print with the postscript driver, however the driver will not rotate the sheet, so I have to manually cut the sheets. This is a royal pain in the rear end.

Version 9 did not do this.

Any plans to have your print meister look at it since this driver is used on countless HP plotters?


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Did you update the firmware on this printer?

I posted an HP update for the firmware on the printing section of this board. (Where printing problems should be discussed).

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Did not purchase the GL2 card. In Vectorworks I print with the non-postscript driver. The postscript driver (recognized as a separate plotter) is used when I can't get the non-postscript to print. Specifically, trying to print any saved sheet that has grayed layers or a saved linked elevation, rendered. I do not have these plotting problems with any other program I use i.e., acrobat, photoshop, word, excel, or InDesign (previously Quark).

Which driver to use if not 5.32?

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HP gl 2 is non-post script, and PS is post script.

The 5.32 is the driver for both.

BUt, depending on whether you are using the 500 with the HP GL2 card or not will depend on which portion of the driver is being used.

That driver provides print drivers for about 12 different model printers, across 3 OS's including the WIndows default driver, PS driver, HP GL2 driver, RTL driver and AutoCad driver.

And you wonder why there are so many problems with this printer!

[ 05-28-2003, 09:24 AM: Message edited by: Katie ]

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Since this seems to be a popular plotter and even more popular driver, is anyone from NNA doing anything about what appears to be a substantial problem with the software? (I'm glad I'm not one of those who have over 50 seats and can't plot their projects).

Unfortunately this doesn't make me any less frustrated. I have 33 sheets to print per set in a month and am facing a royal pain in the rear regarding managment of this printing issue.

I realize you have a very full plate and I appreciate your efforts and promptness. I hate to keep pestering you with this issue. Is there someone in the company with whom I could take this further?

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Our engineers have been discussing the issue with HP since these problems were first introduced - when the printer came out.

We have a strong feeling the problem does not lie within VW. THis printer driver is the ONLY printer driver having problems and it's only having problems on the PC side for win nt, 2k and xp.

The Mac side works fine when fonts and other external issues are resolved.

You can talk to the Tech Support Manager (Mike) by email or phone.

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If it is not Vectorworks then why do these problems not exist with any other application listed above?

The reason it works with the Mac is because it uses a Postscript rip before it prints. However printing postscript takes probably ten times the time as non postscript--time I don't have to waste.

It would be most useful if the company would take a position on hardware. Other CAD vendors do this. We as users are left then as guinea pigs to unwittingly spend thousands of dollars and god knows how much lost revenue on equipment that is INCOMPATIBLE with the software.

It would improve the bottom line of NNA as less resources would be dedicated to diagnosing the countless combinations of cpu,os,and printer.

I have no patience for claims this would be a restriction of trade. So far the restrictions are on the users, in this case anyone on a windows machine and not on vendors. If Autodesk, Bentley, Catia and others have figured this out, where is NNA?

Perhaps NNA would like to reimburse me the $3600 to replace the plotter plus about $5,000 in lost revenue?

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Has there been any resolution to this problem?

I have a DesignJet 500 plotter and also started having this problem as soon as I upgraded to 10.1.2. My printer driver and firmware are the latest HP releases. The only solution I found so I can print a sheet is to make all grayed classes and layers visible.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I find reading about plotter issues very troubling. As much as I want to upgrade and use new features... I am frightened off by what appears to be many unresolved issues.. such as plotting. I am still back in 8.52 working with few crashes... but they are mysterious when they occur.

I will not upgrade until I know that the product really represents a productivity INCREASE. New features mean nothing when you loose countless hours fiddling around with crashing software and seeking tech support.

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Found the HP article and tried turning off spool smart as suggested. So far it doesn't affect plotting a non-post script 18x24 sheet with any classes set to gray. Plots still vaporize, and don't print. Rendersmart is enabled, but I can't figure out how to turn it off (the radio button is grayed out) to see if that works.

As you may recall, plotting with the postscript driver still works, but you can't control orientation in the driver.

Any ideas?

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I believe NMA should test their releases with all the major market share plotters, both new and old, same with drivers... and indicate which ones are good to go and which one are not.

If you can't plot your output, why bother to create it... to live in a hard drive in your computer?

Offering a list of complete systems, and their specs is not a considerate thing to do.. but a necessary requirement for NMW. OK they are going to say that there are hundreds of combinations possible. I say rubbish... just provide the LARGE MARKET SHARE items... If people want to assemble systems with other components let them do it at their risk.

Why cant we expect that from NMA?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Even if you took a small number of (as you say) "large market share" items, and tried to test them as systems, the number of combinations would be overwhelming. It's just not practical. Not even AutoDesk (hundreds of times our size) will guarantee a complete system.

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Why is it then, when I look at a DEll catalog, they sell workstations which have been certified by Autodesk, Catia, and others to be compliant with their software? Why is NNA not doing the same? Since HP commands some inordinate share of the plotter market, why would you not test your software extensively (before you ship it) using their drivers so that it would not cost me thousands of dollars of lost income in time spent diagnosing problems with Vectorworks and an HP plotter???? I am not alone. See posts by British firms about ready to jump off a cliff because of plotter issues. Its enough to make a principal decide it is cheaper to switch to another program if they can't get output (you lose market share as well as reputation).

By the way none of my other applications have trouble with this plotter, only Vectorworks, and only since I upgraded to 10. Go figure.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee


They don't certify plotters with their workstations. They certify a computer (and probably a graphics card) combination. There's only one AutoDesk or Catia, but there are -thousands- of PC manufacturers out there, hence my original point. It's simply not enough to test a plotter with one PC and imply it's good with all PCs.

If I understand the contents of this thread rightly, the issue here is -not- that the plotter won't print, it just doesn't support all the options when printing patterned lines. The plotter will print with the PS driver (which has better support of patterned lines, which is what I understood this is all about).

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Sorry for the confusion. There are three issues:

1. This plotter used to plot sheets with grayed out layers (ie. plumbing, electrical plans)in version 9 with the drivers current at that time. It no longer will plot the same saved sheets in version 10. Why?

In addition, plotting using Postscript takes up to three times as long as using non-postscript. Furthermore, there is no way to rotate the print with the postscript driver, so I have to manually trim those sheets in the set to match the 33 non-postscript printed sheets in the set. This is a major hassle.

2. Certification of Vectorworks with hardware (workstations)like its competitors, would be a good idea. (if it were a bad idea one would ask, why are the likes of Autodesk, Bentley and others doing it?)

3. Plotter certification. Like it or not, HP has an inordinate share of the plotter market. Why not verify the software works with their drivers and save your uses obscene amounts of time lost to diagnosing basic problems?

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I have no real business throwing my 2 cents in, but I am a little bored and find this an interesting thread.

It would be great if NNA could certify complete systems, or certain component combinations, but it just isn't ever going to happen in any substantive way. The resources just aren't there. The suggestion that they concentrate on market major market items isn't all that practical either. My reading of this thread is that NNA could certify that the 500ps works with your configuration. It is just slow and the (poorly written) hp postscript driver won't rotate the sheet. What might be more helpful would be a list of configurations that don't work very well. I don't think HP would be amused, however.

There must be something whack with this particular plotter. It isn't supported by gimp-print or linuxprinting. That should raise some serious flags. It isn't like this plotter came out yesterday-- and with the relatively wide support that the linux crowd has for the other hp plotters you have to wonder why this plotter is unsupported.

HP Software RIPs just aren't good-- on any platform. For my money their emulated postscript isn't so hot either. Their true postscript devices (like our 1055cm) are expensive, but they seem to perform well.

Dell doesn't write the operating system. Their certification of Autocad working on their hardware is next to meaningless. What are they going to do if it stops working, or if a feature somewhere doesn't work or if a badly written printer driver doesn't rotate a sheet? They sure as hell can't fix it. They don't write printer drivers and they don't write the OS. Contrasting Dell with NNA just doesn't make sense. The bigger question is why Dell doesn't certify VW on their hardware. How would it help you in your current situation if they did? It wouldn't.

Any firm which has 50 seats trying to plot to a 500ps is nuts. You should be glad that you aren't them.

NNA has always had a very good return policy in addition to their very good technical support policies. This has usually applied to upgrades as well.

I am proud to say that I have never used W2K, and I probably never will... but I can't help but think that there should be a workaround that doesn't require a ton of time or wielding scissors. How about installing adobe's postscript driver, or a pdf writer, write out your print jobs to file and then print from Acrobat Reader or a GhostScript based viewer? If Reader works, and I think that you indicated it did, then that would be a pretty quick work around. Skip the HP RIP.

If you were on OSX (which I am sad to say that you aren't) you could very easily script it with AppleScript. It would not shock me at all if you could script it in W2K as well. I would be shocked if it were as easy.

Better yet, if you wrote out the file to postscript or PDF and then opened it in Reader or GhostScript and weren't able to see your grayed layers then you could really howl at Katie because the HP driver would be out of the equation.

Of course, if you view it in Reader and it looks correct and then print it using the default windows driver and it doesn't come out then you are assured that it really isn't VW and you owe Katie some chocolates.

Maybe you have tried all of that and the quality just doesn't do it for you. There still might be a few other things to try involving other languages.

Anyway... sorry. I just find it hard to resist the printing threads.

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Why on earth should I have to jump through hoops to make a simple print? Why should I have to print to other program file formats, then open that application(i.e. acrobat) and print the job? Talk about file management! I used to be able to plot sheets on this problematic plotter with gray layers directly from vectorworks in versions 8 and in 9 and now in 10, I can't.

I whole heartedly agree that the HP rip and plotter drivers stink. On the other hand I can plot files from all other applications I use (word,photoshop,InDesign,(quark before), acrobat)without incident.

My comment regarding large offices stands. From what I have read, they are using much more expensive plotters and have similar to identical problems with plotting vectorworks files. So the issue is not relegated to the 500ps alone.

Believe me, if I had known going in that this software on this plotter was going to cost me the difference bewteen the 500 and the 800, I would have chosen the 800 in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately Microsoft OS is not going away. I am not about to switch all of my hardware and software because one program does work as effectively as it is touted. From what I can tell, with this software, there have been just as many problems with X as there have been with Windows. Unfortunately there has not been an initial stable release of this software since version 8, or the last release since the company was sold. I hope this changes with 11. In the meantime, if you have suggestions for a plotter replacement that is known to work with Vecotorworks without incident, let me know.

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The grayed layers thing is a problem with the driver.

HP has said that this is a problem with the driver and have an optional workaround available. However, they can't guarantee it will work.

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You shouldn't, of course. I am just suggesting a few ways that you might come up with a workaround. As I mentioned, if this was OSX you could script the whole deal and not have to interact with another program at all-- if you can do that (and I don't know if you can) in W2k then my guess is that it would be quicker than going through the postscript RIP and then cutting the sheets manually.

I certainly understand your frustration. Hopefully HP can improve their driver. Sending them some polite feedback might encourage them to do so.

It is interesting to note that your problem exists only with VW10. I would be curious as to what changed in the printing architecture that made this so.

We have had an HP 1055cm for more than 4 years now. I think that when we got it we were using MiniCad 7 on OS 8.1 as well as AutoCAD 14 on Win95-- although it has been a while and I am not sure.

Through five major (Mac) OS revisions (which included two complete printing architecture overhauls) as well as at least four major revisions to VW and three generations of computers we have not had any trouble generating output (besides a problem with corrupted fonts and jaguar that we can't blame on anyone).

We only rely on HP for the ppd, however.

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