Please ignore any reference to a telephone number or address for CharterHouse.  Instead, contact Tamlin Software Developers
All references to Lyon also mean Charter, depending on how you installed.
PRINTING FAQ.  This is REQUIRED READING.  Please do not skip it.

For troubleshooting help, see Windows 95 Print Troubleshooting.

For alignment help, see Printing Help and Print Alignment Files.
Note to Vista Home users: You must run CHARTER.BAT as Administrator.  See Vista Home.


Dot matrix printers are the only choice for printing multi-part forms.  CharterHouse expects the printer to be in IBM Proprinter mode.  RTFM.

Laser and inkjet printers work with CharterHouse; they are essentially identical.  Inkjet printers are far more expensive per page because the ink is expensive, especially with color printers.

In general, we discourage multipurpose printers (scanner + FAX + Etc.) because we believe that the printer should be available now, not whenever the FAX finishes arriving.  Do you want a FAX on your invoice form?!

Connecting the printer
In CMOS/BIOS Setup, set the printer port(s) to NORMAL.  ECP does not work and EPP is not necessary.

NOTE to Windows 7 and newer users: If you have a physical parallel port on your computer but no printer attached to it, and if there is a way to disable that port in CMOS setup, you are advised to do so.  If there is no way to disable in CMOS, then the next best alternative is to disable LPT1 in Device Manager (and then reboot).  If
NET USE LPT1: \\ServerName\PrinterShareName
says your credentials (login name and password) are incorrect, the physical port is causing the interference, which you can prove by changing LPT1: to LPT2:.

Although DOS is able to handle more than 3 printers, CharterHouse rejects any input into the PREPARE YOUR PRINTER prompt where the LPT port exceeds 3.

Where possible, use a parallel port printer and assign it one of the three possible parallel port numbers LPT1:, LPT2: or LPT3:.  If you must use a USB printer, then you must find a way to assign it to one of the parallel port numbers.  If you use an operating system where this is possible, you can share the printer (using a short name with no spaces) and then, from a CMD or COMMAND ("MS-DOS") prompt, assign the port:

 net use LPT#: \\ComputerName\PrinterShareName 
where "#" is in the range of 1 through 3, "ComputerName" is the network name of the computer (see PROPERTIES in MY COMPUTER), and "PrinterShareName" is the short name you assigned when sharing the printer.  Since this is DOS, your printer share name must contain between 1 and 8 characters - perhaps "MyPrinter".  You should probably insert the "net use" into the batch file you use to run CharterHouse, placing it on a separate line just above "CH %1".

In order to be sure that NET USE LPT# \\ComputerName\ShareName will work, first run NET VIEW \\ComputerName on the computer to which the USB printer is attached.  If you get an error message rather than a listing that includes the printer you have already set up as shared, there is some problem with networking on this computer.  Tamlin does not support either hardware or networks, so you need to have a technician correct such a networking issue.  When networking works, so will NET VIEW \\ComputerName.  Please be aware that for remote computers to be able to use this printer, anything that interferes with network connections might prevent the NET USE LPT# command from working.  For example, an incorrectly configured firewall might be the culprit.


Printers that require an operating system

"GDI" or "Windows only" or "Host Based" printers require Windows.  Please read this page, which explains why some printers don't work with Lyon (or any other DOS program) unless you use a program like DOSPRN.
IP (network) Printers
For information on our attempts to make a network connected and "Windows Only" Panasonic printer work with Lyon, see Network connected (IP) printers.  Note that this printer is a GDI printer, so the previous paragraph applies to it.  We made this printer print in Lyon, although we need to emphasize that no support is available if you have trouble getting it to work.
DOSPrint
Where it is not possible to share the printer and assign an LPT port to it, or simply because it nearly always works and is easy, you may prefer to use DOSPrint, a program that accomplishes this for you.  Download DOSPrint by clicking here.  Setting up DOSPrint is easy, but you must read the instructions in the (included) DOSPrint.PDF file.  Install DOSPrint as a service.
Note that DOSPrint can assign a parallel port number to any printer your computer can use, so any printer visible to your computer can be used in CharterHouse (although the printouts may not format correctly).

DOSPrint redirects an LPT port number in the range from 1 through 3 to the printer you specify.
CharterHouse prints to a printer port number in the same range.
When you print from CharterHouse, you will see a PREPARE YOUR PRINTER prompt, containing something like

1:NULL
where 1 is the LPT port number and NULL is the name of a file that configures the printer to match the description displayed at the top of the PREPARE YOUR PRINTER prompt.  Most users just smack the ENTER key without thinking about what they're doing.  Please LOOK before you leap.

Verify your setup:
Right click on the DOSPrint icon in the System Tray and select CONFIGURE.  You should see at least one line containing a port number and a printer (a "complete" line).  If not, you need to configure DOSPrint.

Assuming that there is at least one complete line in DOSPrint, make sure that the specified printer is working and that the port is less than 4.

Now get back to that PREPARE YOUR PRINTER prompt and make sure the port matches what you set in DOSPrint.  Hit ENTER to print when correct.

Notes:
USB printers

Many USB printers disconnect after a period of idle time.  We have seen many cases where the only solution is to reboot the computer to which the printer is connected.  If this happens to you, buy a parallel port printer, because nothing else will correct the problem.

Printers that do not work
A printer that requires Windows ("GDI printer") will not work with CharterHouse.  These printers do not have a CPU and depend on a Windows GDI driver on a computer that provides a substitute for the necessary intelligence.  Some known printers falling into this category:
Inkjets:  HP 600, 710, 720C, 820CSE, 1000C
             Epson 400, 440
             NEC Silentwriter 660
Hint: Check our Knowledge Base to see if your printer is listed there.  That information may be more current than the above.
Laser and inkjet gotchas
How does the paper feed through the printer?  Some printers feed paper from the bottom of the tray.  Some feed the trailing edge first.  You must determine how to load a form such that it prints right-side-up and on the face.
The printer must be PCL-compatible.  CharterHouse uses PCL ("Printer Control Language") 5 or 6.
The printer must not require a Windows GDI driver.
Recommended laser or inkjet printers
CharterHouse does not endorse or recommend any hardware.  If the printer is PCL 5 or PCL 6 compatible, has a CPU and is on an LPT port number from 1 through 3, it will work.
Matrix gotchas
Examine the tractor.  It must allow the paper to load low enough that it does not jam when the first page advances.  Make sure the printer can be easily set to print a thickness of one through six parts and that the tractor feed and platen can handle six parts (and any carbons between, if appropriate).
You don't want to have to mess with babysitting the forms through the printer!

Make sure it is easy to set Top Of Form.

Make sure the printer can emulate an IBM Proprinter.  This means that when you send the decimal value 018 (eighteen) that the printer is set to Pica (10 CPI) and when you send 015 (fifteen) that the printer is set to Compress mode (17 CPI).  It is not necessary that the printer respond to 012 (twelve), the Form-Feed character, because CharterHouse never sends a Form-Feed.   The "standard" width of most carriages is 80 Pica characters, but printing forms pushes that limit.  The printer must print at least 82 characters before the paper auto-advances to the next line!

Recommended matrix printers
There aren't many matrix printers around anymore, so Oki / Okidata seems to be the best choice at this time.  However, we do not endorse or recommend any hardware.
Multiple printers
Printer selector switches are error prone and expensive.  If you want more than one printer, then we strongly advise adding another parallel port to the computer and attaching an additional printer to that port such that the second printer is LPT2 (and the third, if it exists, is LPT3).  The cost of an additional parallel port is far less than any switch.  CharterHouse cannot use any printer on a port higher than LPT3.
Windows demands that a DEFAULT PRINTER be set, and switches do not change this default.  If the print driver is different for the two printers, you'll likely get garbage when the wrong printer for the default driver is selected.
Vista Home
To run Lyon as Administrator, right click on the icon on your desktop, then left click on Properties.  On the General tab you should see a button named Advanced.  There you should be able to select the Run as Administrator option.

It is also recommended that your batch file contain a line that is located above CH and MMDATE that says FIXLPT

More...

Hopefully the following, a letter sent to a customer, will help.

Most laser printers are now USB.  If yours is, you must SHARE it, even if it is attached to the computer you run Lyon on.  If any workstation runs Vista or Windows 7, it must be the 32 bit version and the batch file that runs Lyon (usually CHARTER.BAT) must be "run as Administrator".  Even if everything else works, printing in Vista or 7 requires Administrator.

All DOS programs, including Lyon, require that the printer be addressed as an LPT device.  Nothing else can be made to work.

Tamlin Software does not provide either hardware or networking support; we support the accounting software only.

Similar to mapping a network drive, you must "capture" the printer on all computers that run Lyon such that the identifier becomes one of LPT1 or LPT2 or LPT3.  If you need help to make sure the printer is available to a particular computer, have your tech run
NET USE
from a CMD prompt.  The printer must appear in the resulting listing.

If the printer is connected via a network cable, it is usually impossible to use it in Lyon.  Your tech might "make it happen" as described above for a USB connected printer, but don't depend on it.

If the printer can be connected using a parallel cable, it will automatically be set up by Windows as one of LPT1 or LPT2 or LPT3, where the digit is determined by the number of parallel connected devices.

Once the printer is available as one of LPT1 or LPT2 or LPT3, you then make sure you pay attention during printing to make absolutely certain that the PREPARE YOUR PRINTER prompt contains the digit corresponding to the digit you used when you captured the laser printer.

Here are a few examples of the correct content of PREPARE YOUR PRINTER when the laser printer was captured as LPT2 and NET USE shows LPT2 in the "Local" column:
2:RESET      - is for forms such as work orders and checks
2:LASER-N  - is for 80 column reports
2:LASER-C  - is for wide, 132 column reports

Note that a delay when printing AR sales invoices is normal, but an error 25 (or any other error for that matter) means that the printer is not correctly captured or that you specified the wrong digit.  Also remember that it is important that the AR SYSTEM CONTROL (F4 #13) setting be configured for a laser printer.


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