Epson FX 890 - continuous label printing

  Taran 04:19 08 Sep 2005

Other than my HP LaserJets and one or two inkjets I hate printers - now I have that little gem off my chest, here we go.

A client has an Epson FX 890 and they want to print address labels on it from within Microsoft Word (highlight/select address, click on Tools, scroll down to Letters and Mailings and select Envelopes and Lables).

So far so good.

I'd envisaged standard Avery labels on A4 sheets, blah, blah, blah.

No such luck.

They want to network share the device (no problem in itself) and they have a huge mass of labels ready to be fed through the printer. Shared over the network the printer cannot best guess the label printing and so an X labels per A4 sheet solution won't work without all printer users being capable of 'queuing' jobs. They have to avoid user 1 printing 1 label of one sheet, user 2 printing 4 labels on one sheet, user 3 printing 7 labels on one sheet and so on.

So I'd either need a queuing method or some sort of shared file/database where users can add their labels to the file and the file will print addresses at scheduled times.

They are using a non-standard label size (89mm wide, 37mm high) on a continuous tractor feed.

Eight of the labels go onto the same length page as an A4 sheet before a tear off strip divides the feed of labels.

Again, nothing really too unusual, or so I thought...

Now, odd thing.

I do my usual thing - Control Panel >> Printers and Faxes

Single click on the offending printer, go to File and then select Server Properties and then try to add the custom label size.

Nope - can't do that due to conflicting margin size

Pull hair out, curse horribly and generally progress from irritation to complete frustration.

Call Epson UK Business Support having spent a few fruitless hours trying to figure out why I can't tell this printer to default to a specific page (aka label) size. Spend 45 minutes on the phone trying all kinds of suggestions from them to finally be told that no, Epson don't know how to set the paper size up either although, in fairness, downgrading the printer driver to the Epson 850 model helped, up to a point.

All that happens is a single label is printed off and seven empties follow suite, totalling an A4 length page size.

A multiple label per A4 sheet scenario won't work too well given the fragmemted nature of the staff using this printer. Some are on different floors and all are in different rooms.

I've hooked the printer into a Windows Server 2003 (Standard) box, a second Windows Server 2003 box (just to be sure), a Windows XP Pro laptop and a Windows 2000 Pro laptop and I can't apply the custom label printing on any of them at the required dimensions.


Laser and inkjet printers are my thing and I confess that I've never worked with the FX 890 until now.

I realise that this is an odd one and that it may be beyond the scope of this forum, but I also know the wide and varied skills some members have and I would welcome any {polite} suggestions...

  wiz-king 05:23 08 Sep 2005

I have a similar (well almost) problem in that I have 12 PC users on a network scattered from one side of London to another all wanting to print labels of a special size. However they wish to print the labels from a specific printer, often not in they building. I have gone over to using a Word template for the labels and use four Zebra label printers click here I have use the LP2824 as this takes a reel of labels and we use these already. The end of a label is detected by a photocell that shines through the backing paper so almost any length of label can be used. You might have to persuade them to use rolls of labels instead of sheets!

  wiz-king 05:29 08 Sep 2005

Just re-read your post and the use reels of labels anyway, so just choose a printer that can do the label size. I will let you think about how they are going to manage the software!

  Taran 11:34 08 Sep 2005

I've seen Zebra printers before, and I've bookmarked that link for future reference.

I doubt that this particular client will be prepared to invest in more hardware though.

This is one of those "Here is the kit that we bought, now you have to get it to do what we need it to do" scenarios.

Like I said, I hate printers...

  wiz-king 14:37 08 Sep 2005

I have just checked some of our settings as we use a lot of LQ-580's, on Win 98SE it give us the option of 'custom' size label ( scroll through the paper sizes and its at the far right hand side)this give you the options of setting the size to whatever you want. This would solve your problem BUT this option is not available in Win XP! This is not the first time I have come across this problem, Dymo label printers are the same, we cannot set the label size on them on XP, no trouble on Win 98! so we have used an old Win98 machine as a print server. A fudge but it works.

  Taran 14:48 08 Sep 2005

I've found the exact same thing myself.

Previous machines were all Windows 95/98 with LQ850 printers and despite my inherent dislike of wrestling with printers in general, I could do more or less what I wanted in moments using the old setup.

New machines are all XP Pro with Office 2003 Small Business connected to Windows Server 2003 Standard.

All works beautilfully, except for label printing.

Ah, the name of progress marches steadily on, dragging us all kicking and screaming...

Seriously, I'm all for progress but losing control over such a fundamental thing as what I want to print on and where on the paper I want it to go seems backward.

Ho hum...

  wiz-king 18:00 08 Sep 2005

I am getting a new network and the Dymos cant be set to the label size in XP yet work perfectly in 98 and as we are changing all the machines to XP I will change the label printers to Zebras. I am glad I tried the old Dymos on a spare new machine before setting up the new network!

  Taran 04:22 09 Sep 2005

The thought of adding a Windows 98 machine back into the network to act as a print server creeped me out too much.

Since the network has a SuSE Linux box in place (my apologies for not having mentioned this before) to allow me to run all kinds of nice things in addition and as a supporting element to the Windows Server 2003 machine, I used CUPS on the Linux box and set it up as the network label print server with the Epson FX 890 hanging off it.

Took about 11 minutes start to finish - job done, printing beautifully, all network users able to 'see' it and since its default paper handling is independently governed, Microsoft Word's attempts to override the paper size, location of print on page and so on fails miserably and the print appears exactly where it is supposed to be [sigh].

Thanks for the suggestions you offered wiz-king.

Best regards.


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