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I am CONVINCED this is a network not printer issue!

Discussion in 'Networking' started by mjjmike, Mar 28, 2008.

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  1. mjjmike

    mjjmike Thread Starter

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    Hi greetings to everyone.

    Wanted to run this by all of you. I am a desktop tech at a company and we are having this printer issue. Well I say printer issue, they are saying it's a printer issue that I believe to be more of a network issue. the story goes like this...

    They put it a new print server called bartender to run these label/tag printers that we have roughly 75-85 of at three different locations. The week of the change we started having these issues. The user could put in for a tag or label to be printed from the application they use, and they would get no jobs, no tags/labels, nothing. On the server side of things, the job on that printer would show errored out and the printer would appear as if it were offline. But at the same time it would be pingable. You could ping through the entire process. Funny thing is, is you could recycle the power on the printer and it would release the jobs and clear the queue right up. Now like I said we have between 75-85 of these printers, some of these get used more than others, some of these , this issue is occurring more on than the others. But keep in mind that they are spread out throughout three different locations, states and cities. Now some of these printers that the issue is occurring on is really bad. like at some locations, there may be a couple of printers that we may refer to as the "problem printers" because they seem to have this issue way more often than any of the rest of them.

    Now we have tried updating the firmware, drivers, nic firmware ect, that didn't seem to help any. We have tried swapping the cable that goes to the computer that never seems to drop the connection with the network cable that the printer uses and we never see a change, it never seems to drop connectivity when it's connected to the computer.

    The printers being discussed here are the Datamax I-class 4208 Thermal Tag/Label Printers. We have talked to their tech support and they pretty much are saying what I am thinking in this situation...that they cannot imagine that 30-40 of their printers have all at one time decided to get together and start failing, and that they suspect it to be something on our network, a configuration issue or something. I mean this was stated after they worked with us on updating the firmware and drivers and nic firmware and a few more of their ideas. They did attempt to at least help. But anyway, thought I would run this by a few more eyes up here on a tech board to see if any of you have seen this type of issue before? Any help would be greatly apprecited. Thanks and have a good day! ~Mike
     
  2. Compaq__

    Compaq__

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    What OS is this printer server running?

    Got to be a print server or network problem.
     
  3. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    "you could recycle the power on the printer and it would release the jobs and clear the queue right up"

    Is that a queue on the printer or a queue on the sending computer?

    I assume that from a given computer sometimes the print will work as expected, but sometimes the printer needs the power cycle. In other words, you don't have computers that always get their prints fine and other computers that always get the failure scenario?

    Do these creatures have any settings to print only at certain times of the day, or to not print until further notice, or anything that might get misconfigured and cause this? Any buffers that could fill up and not be freed until a power cycle (which, for a printer, is something like restarting a Windows PC)?
     
  4. Wanderer2

    Wanderer2

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    "They put it a new print server called bartender to run these label/tag printers that we have roughly 75-85 of at three different locations."

    I find this a very disturbing statement.

    Single server multiple remote locations
    Single point of failure
    75 to 85 printers is alot for one server

    What exactly is your "print server"? A real server? Hardware print server? Three locations, how/what connects them?

    Updating the nic cards? Are you having any other network issues? If no other network issues networking is NOT your issue.

    Not a single mention of looking at the "print server". It is in common for all printers and should have been your first stop.

    Did you get the optional ethernet interface for the printers or are you running these connected to a pc?

    If you did get the ethernet interface what happens when you do direct pc to printer printing via the network [ip printing] with no "print server" in the mix?
     
  5. mjjmike

    mjjmike Thread Starter

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    thanks for your response guys. I will try to answer your questions.

    What exactly is your "print server"? A real server? Hardware print server? Three locations, how/what connects them?

    The server is housed at the main location in Penn. I support 2 locations in NC. So I really don't know what kind of hardware it is. I don't have any access to it, for I am their "Desktop technician" and only "Client server techs" are allowed to touch the server. In my queries to them about it, they claim it's just a regular print server, nothing special.

    Updating the nic cards? Are you having any other network issues? If no other network issues networking is NOT your issue. No other network problems, just these printers. But how did all of these printers just all of a sudden start failing in light of this change, all at the same time? I just find that ODD!

    Did you get the optional ethernet interface for the printers or are you running these connected to a pc?

    If you did get the ethernet interface what happens when you do direct pc to printer printing via the network [ip printing] with no "print server" in the mix?


    No. Unfortunately, I do not have access/authority to try this, I wish I did. The printers are just plugged into network ports just like the PC's.

    Is that a queue on the printer or a queue on the sending computer? Printer/Server queue, not the workstation.

    In other words, you don't have computers that always get their prints fine and other computers that always get the failure scenario? Not always, but defintely some that ocurr more than others.

    Do these creatures have any settings to print only at certain times of the day, or to not print until further notice, or anything that might get misconfigured and cause this? Any buffers that could fill up and not be freed until a power cycle (which, for a printer, is something like restarting a Windows PC)? Not that I am aware of.

    What OS is this printer server running? Windows Server 2003.

    Well thanks again guys, I hope the answers help to come to more conclusions. I appreciate the help.
     
  6. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Feeding off Wanderer2's thoughts and your response I'm thinking maybe the server gets bogged down and "forgets" to send some jobs; the power cycle, of course, causes the printer to leave and rejoin the network. Its return to the network jogs the servers memory and it post haste sends the delayed jobs.

    Unfortunately even if this thought is on the right track you don't have the control to check it out. If you have any way to correlate the time that jobs get "lost" on the server with times of heavy usage of it maybe you can get somebody's attention.

    At any rate it might be worth the effort if somebody on the server could try to unclog the queue w/o a printer power cycle.
     
  7. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    The place to diagnose this issue is at the server location, it's the central point where the problem is most likely to be located. You need to get them involved in the process.
     
  8. srhoades

    srhoades

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    Somebody is in deep doo-doo if they didn't verify combatibility. Not all printer servers work with all printers.

    Edit to add: according to the website the printer is supported. http://www.hallogram.com/barcodes/bartendr/printers.html#datamax

    Considering the cost of that software, I would be on the horn to tech support pronto.
     
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