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Printer pooling between different makes of printers - How?

Last response: in Networking
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November 5, 2011 1:39:19 PM

I am not sure which section to post this in, I thought this might be the closest.

On the surface a simple question, but after substantial Googling I have found no answer. I want to connect two different USB printers, (of DIFFERENT makes) to 1 PC (running either Windows 7 or Vista) and have the PC automatically send the print job to which ever printer is free (i.e. not busy printing or run out of paper). If they were both identical printers I could use the Windows inbuilt printer pooling function, but they are not. I don't mind a software or even a simple hardware solution. This is a mobile solution printing pictures from a laptop to dye sublimation printers so a hardware solution needs to be small and easily portable. I know I could manually choose the relevant printer from within the application before printing but this is a high pressure situation where the extra steps to print are impractical. Any ideas please?
November 6, 2011 4:52:19 PM

Are you using PCL or PostScript? Do both printers support common capabilities, e.g., PCL 5?
November 7, 2011 12:48:46 PM

Hi, I'm not using postscript, straight print of a JPG image file from a graphics program.
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November 7, 2011 1:39:52 PM

Depending on the printer and the drivers, the JPeg file has to be converted to PCL, Postscript or some other printer language. It would help if you provided info about the printers and the drivers being used.
November 7, 2011 1:49:20 PM

The printers being used are HiTi P510 and DNP DS-40, both dye sublimation printers and I am using the drivers supplied by the respective manufacturers. Does this help?
November 7, 2011 2:24:28 PM

Those printers are rather diiferent. If you can't use the HiTi P510 drivers on the DNP DS-40 and vice and versa, then they are not compatible. Since they both use proprietary drivers, the only solution is to buy identical printers. Another solution would be to find a printer driver that's compatible with both (the resolution would have to be set to an identical value), but I doubt such a universal driver exists.
November 12, 2011 8:42:42 AM

I certainly can't use the same print driver for both printers. So as I feared it looks like there is no solution other than selling one printer and buying another so I have two identical - which I find slightly surprising.

In effect I need little more than a script that once I choose "print" would look at the current status of the first printer, and if it is busy then using the standard Windows dialogue box choose the alternative printer to print to.
November 12, 2011 12:52:52 PM

Printers don't have to be identical, but they have to share the same printer driver. Was that requirement specified when the printers were bought?

You don't need a script; you only need to configure print pooling. See http://www.jimguckin.com/2010/01/windows-printer-poolin... for a good explanation.
November 12, 2011 7:07:04 PM

I'm not sure why you have pointed to the printer pooling article, I have already stated that they can't use the same print driver so pooling is not an option. Hence a script, or more likely the sale and purchase of another printer is required.
November 12, 2011 8:48:39 PM

The best option is to buy another printer.
February 2, 2012 1:04:52 AM

Jezza8 said:
I'm not sure why you have pointed to the printer pooling article, I have already stated that they can't use the same print driver so pooling is not an option. Hence a script, or more likely the sale and purchase of another printer is required.


Hi Jezza8,

Coincidentally, I am in the exact same boat as you. I am beginning to wonder if we are doing the same type of project.

I have a Sony UP-CX1 5x7 dye sub printer and I just purchased a HiTi P510S 5x7 (up to 6x9) dye sub printer. I need to do exactly the same thing. I need the ability to have .jpeg images go to the next available printer very quickly.

There is a program I have been using that automatically sends a .jpeg image to a printer as soon as it appears in a designated Hot Folder. I was only using one printer in the past and it worked beautifully. The program allows you to set up multiple printers associated with a single Hot Folder. In theory, it should work exactly as we want it to. However, I have been unsuccessful so far. I don't know if it is a printer problem, or the program itself.

The images are sent to the Sony no problem, the next image that appears in the Hot Folder immediately is sent to the HiTi printer, but I encounter errors that don't make sense. (Ribbon mismatch error, image contains no data error, and my all time favorite: It goes to the printer for a fraction of a second and then disappears without printing.)

The name of the program (if you can get it to work for you) is Chiizu Photo Printer. www.chiizu.com. It is free to try, and about $30 to buy. The trial version puts a watermark across the image.

I hope you try the Chiizu software and get it working for yourself. If you do, please let me know.
February 2, 2012 2:25:18 AM

It can't work if the printer drivers are different for both printers. Can the Sony UP-CX1 and the HiTi P510S use the same drivers?
February 2, 2012 1:03:22 PM

GhislainG said:
It can't work if the printer drivers are different for both printers. Can the Sony UP-CX1 and the HiTi P510S use the same drivers?



Hi GhislainG,

Actually it works with any printer attached to your computer or network. Each printer uses its own driver.

Just now I dragged and dropped 6 jpegs into the hot folder. Previous to this, I associated the following printers to the Hot Folder:

1. HiTi Photo Printer P510 Series (connected to Laptop via USB)
2. Sony UP-CX1 Series (connected to Laptop via USB)
3. HP Laser Jet 305 (Shared printer on office network)
4. Smart Driver ID card printer (Shared printer on office network)

Each of the six jpeg images was immediately sent to the next available printer. All images printed on their respective printer except the HiTi Photo Printer.

Sitting on my desk in front of me I am looking at five prints:

Two 8 1/2 x 11 Laserjet prints (B&W) from the HP Laser jet
Two 5x7 Photo Prints (Colour) from the Sony
One 2.13 x 3.38 Plastic ID Card (Colour) from the DataCard SP55 Card Printer)

It is interesting to note that the images were automatically scaled to fit the media of each printer.

The only one not to print was the one sent to the HiTi Printer. I hope I can figure out why, because that is the printer I just purchased, and the one I NEED to work in conjunction with the Sony.

I can send screen captures of the program setup if anyone has doubts.

February 2, 2012 1:43:54 PM

I obviously misread your post. Your environment is different as you don't use printer pooling; you send jpeg images to a shared folder. I presume that each system monitors the folder and picks up a file to print, but how is it controlled?
February 2, 2012 5:03:42 PM

GhislainG said:
I obviously misread your post. Your environment is different as you don't use printer pooling; you send jpeg images to a shared folder. I presume that each system monitors the folder and picks up a file to print, but how is it controlled?



It is controlled by a small program called Chiizu Photo Printer. That program, which runs in the background, monitors a specified Hot Folder and any time a jpeg appears in the Folder, Photo Printer sends it to the next available printer you had associated with that Folder.

You can actually have Photo Printer monitor multiple Folders and assign multiple printers to each one.

www.chiizu.com is the site. The Application, Photo Printer is free to try, $29.95 to buy.

I still can't make it work with the HiTi P510s printer. Either the printer is a piece of *expletive deleted* or the program has issues with it. I am going to download and install the newest version of Photo Printer to see if that fixes the problem. Other than that, I may have to return this printer and try a different brand.


Addendum:

Eureka!!!!! I just installed the newest version of Chiizu Photo Printer and everything works!

I set up my Hot Folder and associated both the Sony UP-CX1 and the HiTi P510s to the folder.

I then dropped four jpegs into the Hot Folder. One went immediately to the Sony, the second to the HiTi, the third to the Sony and the fourth to the HiTi.

My world is round again!

This could be exactly what the original poster needed. I hope he/she keeps an eye on this thread.
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