• Subject: Re: BPCS printing to remote location.
  • From: MacWheel99@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 06:44:14 EDT

>From Al Macintyre

> Subj:  BPCS printing to remote location.
from Sandy
>  We have an AS400 version V4R2.  Our remote location is connected
>  using frame relay and I believe using TCP/IP (I'm just learning all this).

We are still on twinax but people are making noises about replacing our 
current modems & controllers with a VPN on ISDN with routers & I have no idea 
how this will work - they say it will work exactly the same as now, except 
faster communication at lower ma bell prices.  I say, I can understand this 
PC LAN internet stuff being used for our remote PC users but how do you know 
it will work for our remote twinax users & well I do not get an answer 
because the folks who want this know PC internet they do not know twinax.
>  Our remote location has Windows NT version 4.0, and all their pc's have
>  IBM Client Access installed.  They can print to their pc's while running
>  the BPCS software.  They do not have a controller.  They have a frad,
>  router, (whatever it's called).
>  What they are looking for is a tractor fed printer to print their forms
>  in BPCS (Invoices and Pick Lists).  
>  I had suggested using their current laser printer and using just 8 1/2 
>  x 11 paper for this, but they DON'T want to do this.

Some people like to do documents on official looking expensive forms.  We do 
that for things like Invoices & Checks, in which we want to make it difficult 
to do forgeries & upper management wants what we send our customers to look 
nice, but a lot of vendors save a bundle by sending us their invoices by fax 

8 x 11 makes a lot of sense in some applications, but laser printers cannot 
do carbon copies & sometimes there is a need for sets of identical copies - 
each of our shipping offices has 2 printers attached to each PC - one is 
laser printer for bar coding application & the other is dot matrix for BPCS 
shipping documents (PICK & PACK) which we output on 3 part carbonless 8x11 
--- I had suggested printing 3 copies on the laser printer but they did not 
buy that idea.

>  Is there a tractor fed printer that can be attached to their network, or 
pc, so
>  they can print out their BPCS forms?  How should this be connected?
>  Can this be done?
>  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
>  Thank you,
>  Sandy

What we are using are
1. el cheapo purchase price PC printers costing like $200.00 retail
2. twinax emulation cards that connect PC printers to AS/400 costing like 
$500.00 retail each.
3. Several days of human PC programmer time writing macros so the PC printer 
can do BPCS reports without screwing up, because the PC printers they usually 
get do not have the capability of doing green bar for one thing, and assume 
some extra blank lines for another.

When I test a program on an AS/400 printer, I have access to every line from 
01 to 68 or 88 or whatever the length of the form is, and I tinker with 
spacing at top & bottom of page until I get a perfect alignment from 
perspective of what the users want, then we put it on one of these PC 
printers & 2 things happen.

1. the vertical print lines do not agree with the length of the form, so 
there is perpetual slippage.
2, every other page is a blank page eject, because the PC printer driver or 
whatever (I do not understand the terminology) is assuming that there is a 
need to grip single sheets, even when we are running continuous forms through 

so we either have to tailor the report to allow for the stupid waste of 
vertical paper required by the PC printer, or someone has to get into the PC 
printer manual & figure out how to tell it that we are doing a specific 
length of paper, and put that on some kind of PC user menu, so that depending 
on what kind of forms they are printing, they have to launch the 
corresponding macro.

I say why not buy an AS/400 printer for less than the total investment but 
no, what happens is a department goes out and buys something that is totally 
inappropriate for the network, then wants it connected to the network.

There are probably 40-50 vendors of the emulation stuff that will connect a 
PC or PC printer to AS/400 so that AS/400 thinks it is an AS/400 printer, 
even though it is a PC printer.  Price is inversely proportional to hassle.  
For $150.00 you can get one of these connections that will drive you up the 
wall trying to get things to work, or you can spend a little bit more money 
up front, to save you thousands of hours of agony down the road.

Our connections have the emulation stuff on the PC itself & not on the PC 
printer, so that when the PC is powered on, the AS/400 "sees" the printer 
through the story on the PC, then at end-of-day when PC is signed off then 
powered off, we get ominous error messages about the PC printer, which we 
ignore, because we know what is really going on.  Sometimes we have people in 
another office "helping out" by sending stuff to the PC printer, and 
sometimes we have people turning off the PC while the printer is in the 
middle of outputting AS/400 reports.  There has to be some training to go 
along with your hookup.

It makes no difference to our network if a printer is remote or local, PC 
printer with emulation stuff, PC printer connected to PC which has the 
emulation stuff - the AS/400 recognizes whatever the printer is pretending to 
be, and any work station on the AS/400 can send reports to that printer.  It 
helps to have automatic configuration going for local & remote, to cut down 
on the stuff you have to fool with.

There are a bunch of places that sell hardware specifically for the market 
place of PC stuff attached to AS/400 and most of them have free tech support 
without you even buying anything from them - call & describe your needs & 
they will tell you which is the best equipment for your needs, from their 

You may be better off taking this kind of question to the AS/400 trade 
publication forums where there are thousands of Q+A on related questions, or 
on a list other than BPCS_L since this question is really independent of 
whatever software package you are running on your AS/400.


I am at home so I do not have the URL handy, but 3X warehouse is a great site

I would say - go to the home page of the major AS/400 trade publications & 
search on products information - you might even find a buying guide that 
compares many vendors offering similar solutions.

There are also the products that bypass AS/400 spool printer emulation.  A PC 
can capture a report off of the AS/400 spool file & import it into the PC 
then launch from PC in any format, including changing what the report says 
before it is printed.

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