HPI-3010 Protocol Converter FAQ

What kind of printers does the HPI-3010 work with?

The HPI-3010 Protocol Converter is a USB version of the HPI-3000 Protocol Converter - the printer interface for Honeywell Universal Stations which has been sold by WPC since 1996. The HPI-3010 lets you replace the Honeywell matrix printer on your Universal Station with a USB printer.

Some printers are only available as refurbished units due to the age of the printer, but the Brother HL-L5100dn is currently available as a new printer. The HPI-3010 produces a screen print on a HP LaserJet 4 in 45 seconds.

What's different about using a laser or inkjet printer instead of a matrix printer?

Laser printers and DeskJet printers are sheet-fed page printers, where the original Honeywell matrix printer uses continuous forms. These page printers will respond to a form-feed command by ejecting a page, where the matrix printer would scroll to the top of the next page. This results in an occasional blank page being ejected from the page printers. Since the HPI-3010 is a hardware device external to the Universal Station and makes no changes to the US operating software, it can only pass along commands from the Universal Station that were intended for the matrix printer.

Similarly, if the last page of a report prints half of a page and the Universal Station doesn't add a form feed, the last half page will remain in the printer until some event occurs that either fills the page or generates a form feed. On these printers, a status light on the printer console will indicate that a partial page is waiting, which may be retrieved by simply pushing the form feed button on the printer console.

Note that you won't be able to read a single line sent to a page printer until the entire page is full (or until you manually eject the page). For applications where it is important to read the output as it occurs (such as alarm printers), an Epson-compatible matrix printer may be preferable.

So what does the "form-feed suppression" option do?

There is one circumstance where it is safe to suppress the form feed and prevent ejecting a blank page from a laser or inkjet printer. The form-feed suppression option deletes the form feed between two successive screen prints (since the previous print always clears the buffer).

How much setup is involved in using the HPI-3010?

If you tell us what printer you intend to use it with, we'll configure the jumpers for you prior to shipment. Otherwise, there are three jumpers inside the box (accessible by removing 2 screws), which are positioned to select between laser and matrix printers, to select between wide and narrow carriage matrix printers, and to activate options such as form-feed suppression and landscape text printing. Other than that, you just plug in the cable to the Universal Station and printer, plug in the power module, and you're ready to print.

Can I use the same cable that I've been using with my Honeywell matrix printer?

No, the HPI-3010 requires its own cable to go between the Universal Station's I/O paddle board and the HPI-3010. For stations with a 25-pin printer connector on the paddle board, this is a 25-conductor straight-through cable, included with the HPI-3010. The use of this cable instead of the original Honeywell cable was a design decision, made to allow the implementation of enhanced printer status reporting via the HPI-3010 (with a laser printer, conditions of no paper, off-line, and power off are all reported on the Universal Station peripheral status display).