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Technical support: printers


The TurboDriver makes use of an enhanced queue system which by default the standard Acorn printer manager cannot handle. Computer Concepts has worked around this problem since January 1994, and a list of changes required within the Acorn source were sent to Acorn at this time. Since release 1.22 of Printers, the TurboDriver installer has had to include the necessary !RunImage patches for each subsequent version of Printers. We have now run out of disk space and have requested that Acorn do make the alterations/bug fixes we sent details of in 1994. Until then, the best version of !Printers to use is 1.28c (RISC OS 3.1 & 3.5) and 1.45 (RISC OS 3.6).

Technical Notes

Halftone resolution

Please be sure to alter the halftone settings when you change the resolution of your printer within the printer driver configuration box. The exact value to choose varies with printers but the correct value is between an eighth and a tenth of the printer resolution (dpi).

For example, 360 dpi requires a 45 lpi halftone resolution and 720 dpi requires 72-90 lpi. On Laser Direct only 600x600 and 600x300 dpi requires 53lpi - other 600 dpi printers require 60-62 lpi.

Colour Correction curves

When possible, it is always best to colour correct from an application rather than the printer driver. As such, if you use Impression Publisher or Style or ArtWorks, choose the appropriate colour table within the preferences of these applications and set the TurboDriver to 'Linear Tables'.

The latest versions of the TurboDriver, Publisher and Publisher Plus will interact within each other and you only need to configure the appropriate colour table in Publisher or Publisher Plus - NB this does not apply to Style. The TurboDriver will automatically change to linear tables. This system works with the following software release versions and later:

Style and Colour Correction curves

Unlike Publisher which has a menu system for choosing colour tables, Style requires some file copying to configure for the appropriate printer setup. The following procedure should be followed for configuring output from Style to a TurboDriver:

Once the TurboDriver has been correctly installed on your system, a set of colour correction curves are held within the !System folder. The exact path is !System.!CCShared.cmyk. (Open up the !System folder by holding down Shift while double-clicking on the icon).

Within the cmyk directory are a set of appropriately named directories holding the colour-correction curves. For instance, BJ4000pp contains the colour tables for the BJC-4000 TurboDriver when using plain paper (hence pp; cp stands for coated paper). The HP and Epson TurboDrivers hold appropriately named directories.

Assuming you had a BJC-4000 with a TurboDriver and you wished to print from Style to plain paper, you would need to configure Style to make use of the BJ4000pp correction table. Here is the procedure:

When you next load Style, the colour tables in use will be for the BJC-4000 printing to plain paper. Don't forget to change the TurboDriver to Linear tables.


Please remember that all printers and hardware faults are handled by the manufacturer (or their approved agent) and when you encounter a hardware problem, speak to them first.

Here are some pointers towards good maintenance of your printer:

TurboDrivers and the PC Card

The PC Card can print through the TurboDriver cable if the following procedure is followed:

  1. The PC Card is configured to print via the RISC OS print stream (usually via LPT1).
  2. Printers (which contain your TurboDriver) is run first. You can subsequently quit the printer icons from the icon bar to save a little memory - the main printer driver 'engines' are still retained in memory.

Do not configure the PC Card to make exclusive use of the parallel port, ie, do not tick the 'Allow PC Card to access parallel port directly' button. If you do so you will only output garbage via the TurboDriver cable and will have to replace it with a standard printer cable.

Similarly, do not tick the 'Ignore RISC OS printer stream' button as this will also result in garbled output.

Queue stalling

Sometimes the printer will stop printing but you can continue to print from your applications, the output seemingly disappearing. If you check in the Queue status window, more print jobs are being added to the queue (assuming you try to print again), but they are not being fed to the printer. This is called Queue stalling and is usually caused by printer manager 1.22. Upgrading to Printers 1.28c or later will address the tendency.


The TurboDriver/Laser Direct code has proven to very reliable. However here are a list of possible errors, their cause and effect:

File Printer: not found
This is caused by the application sending the print data to a printout file, before actually creating the printout file. Due to ambiguity in the RISC OS Programmers Reference guides, many software houses made this mistake. All have upgraded their software, so if you receive this error message, upgrade the application concerned.
File handle is either illegal or has been closed
This can be caused by a disk fault, but if you have a Laser Direct system the installer may not have created a directory called LaserQueue within !Scrap.ScrapDir.PrintQFS. Simply create the directory within the PrintQFS directory and all will be well. If the directory is present, verify the disc which contains !Scrap.
Can't find !System (when running !install)
Reasonably self explanatory. The TurboDriver installs new code to the !System folder and so you must have a !System folder on your hard drive or, if you use a floppy-only computer, a disk which contains only !System. You may need run (double-click) !System first to inform the computer that this is the !System folder concerned.

Note: You should have only one working System disc. Make sure you remove all other copies of !System from your hard drive and working floppy discs. On older Acorn machines (RISC OS 2 & 3.1) !System should only appear in the first hard disc window. RISC OS 3.5/6 machines contain !System within the !Boot application.

The document contains a bitmap font, try again with QuickText turned OFF (or similar message)
Something of an embarrassment as we stopped using the term QuickText when we developed the RISC OS 3.1 TD and LD. Part of the TD/LD speed gain is achieved by using an optimised font manager which we wrote. This font manager is very fussy over the data it receives and will only render 100% correctly encoded Acorn outline fonts. Some early Acorns fonts were bitmaps which means they were not scalable. There are also some public domain fonts which are not correctly encoded and although they are outline fonts, they are not 100% correct. QuickText is now called 'halftone of text' and the button which controls this feature is held within the Halftone options dialog for the TurboDriver. Shift-Select click on the TurboDriver icon on the icon bar, click on the Set button and then untick the Text option in the halftone options area of the Halftone options dialog (see page 15 of the TurboDriver manual for more information.
Queue Status window
When first installed, the TurboDriver will automatically open up the Queue Status window. This window displays important information on the status of the printer and also shows you what is happening to the print queue - what jobs are waiting to be printed and where the data originated. It also gives you access to the buttons to abort print jobs. Some people have asked that they be able to permanently switch off the window, or have it open up in a different place on screen. To do so, either close off the window or move it to the position of choice, then press F12 and type *PQFS. Return The new settings will be remembered. If you inadvertently close off the Status window, Alt-Select click on the TD icon (on the icon bar) will open it up again.

© Copyright Computer Concepts: page last updated 1 Apr 1997
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