PRINTER ELIMINATORS

For Parallel or RS232 Serial Print Cables

Memory Card Report Recorders: Model TG and Model PDX-R

Stand alone recorders can replace conventional dot matrix printers by using removable flash card data storage. The print data on a users printer cable is
written directly onto a memory card, where later it can be manually transfered and opened on a PC.

Possible Purposes:
1. Eliminate printers where hardcopy is not required, but a record is still necessary. Example: alarm printers, or DOS applications that won't run without a printer..
2. Save time and expense of transcribing hardcopy printing to a PC application.
3. Diagnose print data as all the data bytes can be captured and analyzed for troubleshooting or development scenarios.
4. Backup for record keeping directives in quality control. (eg.USA FDA 21 CFR Part 11). The recorder can continue to pass data through to the printer.
5. Rescue database information from retiring legacy systems.

Both parallel and serial recorders can be installed so that the printer may still be connected and function normally.

                                                                                                        
Model TG for Serial printer interfaces. Model PDX-R for Parallel printer interfaces

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Nature Of Recording: the raw print data stream is written to the card. No formatting or conversion to the data is performed. If the card data is copied back to a PC printer port, then an exact printout will be obtained using a same or compatible printer. Only one file must exist on the memory card: RECORD.TXT Data will append, even after being returned to the recorder after being read in a PC. Clear the memory by erasing its RECORD.TXT file in a PC. Software: No software is supplied to view the captured print data . However many print jobs are plain text, and do not require any special software for viewing. Print output from machines such as analyzers, alarm equipment, weigh scales, or DOS computers or legacy systems frequently is plain text, ( ASCII text without any special control characters or formatting protocol, ie. just lines of printable characters with carriage control and linefeed commands). Simply use MS Notepad, Wordpad, or Word™. If the data is tabular, then MS Excel™ can probably be easily configured to columnize the data. The captured data is contained in a single file always named: RECORD.TXT Although it is a .txt extension, the file may represent any 7/8 bit data such as graphics, photos, printer protocol with escape sequences, or binary data. If the data is graphical or uses printer emulation such as Epson or HP PCL then numerous data converters are available ( by internet search) to view and convert the data. ( eg. PCL to .pdf or .txt to .pdf ). Some users have the resources to extract data and make .csv Excel compatible files for specific spreadsheet applications. Print Throughput: As there are no speed limiting mechanics of a printer being used, the throughput may be considerably higher. Serial recording is limited by the baud rate (eg. approximately 960 bytes/second at 9600 baud). Parallel recording speed may be typically 10,000 bytes/second, limited by the source or recorder electronics. Operator Involvement: No front panel controls are provided. As soon as the unit is powered up, it automatically enters record mode. The operators only real involvement is to remove the card for transfer to PC when required. To stop the unit, power down. The unit must be powered down before the memory card is removed. The card must be installed before the power is reapplied. Power Outages: The recorder automatically recovers by going into record mode when the power returns. This recovery occurs unless there is some unusual power cycling of the outage, eg. a brownout or outage that causes erratic or multiple power cycles in less than a second. Scope Of Memory Capacity: The 256 Megabyte and 2 Gigabyte capacities can be extraordinarily large for many applications, especially text type data. For 2 Gigabyte capacity: Example 1: A constant stream of serial data at 9600 Baud can be recorded for approximately 24 days. Example 2: Bursts of
1,000 bytes of data every 5 minutes can be recorded for 6,944 days. Operation Feedback: It is desirable that the user obtain status from the recorder confirming that data is being written to the memory card. Otherwise a case of losing valuable data over a long period of time may exist. Positive feedback to the user is created by issuing an audio tick sound each time a 512 byte sector is written to the memory card. This action provides a similar effect to that of a PC hard drive when it writes data to the hard disc. The user may also power down the recorder, and move the card to a PC to check the progress, then return the card, and power up the recorder. The next capture will append to the card where it left off. Model PDX-R (for parallel recording) also displays alternating blinking LED's to signify it is in recording mode. The blinking pattern is such that it is easily visible from a distance of at least 30 feet away. Remote Capture: A version of Model PDX-R contains a Ethernet Port for network access. The data in the memory card can be streamed to a remote system when the remote system sends a playback command. The remote system then collects the stream and manages the data for archiving and viewing. The user develops the software to do this, which can be elementary or complicated to suit the need. Because of this openess, the user can develop a capture system using license free software. The Ethernet port hardware is Lantronix™ embedded device server model XPort Direct Plus™. The user is also free to use any other external device server with RS232 interface as the recorder is also supplied with a remote access RS232 port.
PHOTOLOGIC LTD. . email rhoffman@sympatico.ca TEL: (905) 377-8915