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2005/05/06 PCL6 Problems

© May 2005 Tony Lawrence

PCL6 can cause problems for Unix machines that want to send text files or even files with "normal" HP escape sequences inserted. That's because PCL6 is much more like Windows GDI than anything else - it's binary commands rather than escape sequences. If the printer defaults to PCL6 mode, it will error out or refuse a simple text file.

Fortunately, the fix is easy: preface each job with the escape sequence that selects PCL5 mode. That's ESC % 0 A ESC E, so a shell script using "netcat" might just do this:

cat /usr/lib/selectpcl5 $* | netcat -h dell1 -p 9100

Previously we would have created selectpcl5 with:

# bash
echo -e "\033%0A\033E\c" > /usr/lib/selectpcl5
# sh
echo "\033%0A\033E\c" > /usr/lib/selectpcl5

I had this problem recently with a Dell 3100 printer..

Read more about PCL history here

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