Lines and Boxes
Serial and Parallel Interfaces
The Bar Code Module (BCM3000) is a plug-on barcode upgrade for all standard laser, dot matrix and some thermal transfer printers. The BCM3000 transforms them into powerful bar code and labeling printers. With more then 50,000 units in use worldwide, the barcode module is your easiest method to print barcodes from existing software to standard printers.
Normal printer operation is not affected - BCM3000 simply extends the printer's capabilities to include bard codes, scalable text, line and box drawing.
With both parallel and serial interfaces in the same unit the BCM3000 connects to systems ranging from PCs to multiprotocol networks, IBM AS/400 and Enterprise systems.
The BCM3000 uses a barcode extension set called PCE, which activates barcodes. Using the PCE commands is simple - a single command generates a complete bar code. To show how this works, a bar code symbol encoding 'ABC123' is produced by the command '@ibABC123\'.
To make it even simpler to program, BCM3000 comes with a Windows program, PCE-CAD - design the label on screen and PCE-CAD generates a file containing all the required PCE commands.
Because BCM3000 drives all standard laser, matrix and some thermal transfer printers, programs developed for one printer can be used to drive others. Upgrading for faster output or selecting the most suitable printer for an application requires little or no software revision.
The BCM3000 plugs into the printer's parallel port and offers parallel and serial interfaces to the host computer. Power is taken from the printer or form an external transformer unit.
Bar Codes: Code 39; 2 from 5; EAN/UPC; Codabar; MSI/Plessey; Code 128; Telepen, Postnet. Bar codes can be printed in a variety of styles and ratios to suit the application. Options are included for automatic check digit generation and to print human readable data under the bar code. Bar codes can also be printed sideways on laser printers.
Large Characters: Character width and height are independently variable from 2mm-300mm on matrix and 1mm-150mm on laser printers. Characters can be printed normal or inverse (white on black). Additional shading options are available on matrix printers. Characters can be printed rotated in one of four orientations.
Lines and Boxes: Lines and boxes up to 300mm wide and 300mm high with variable thickness.
Color Printing: Black + 6 colors on color printers.
Interfaces to Computer: Parallel Centronics and Serial RS232.
Power Requirements: Powered from printer 5v at 110mA (pin 18 of Centronics connector) or Mains powered via 10vDC 300mA external transformer unit (supplied).
Alternative Trigger Code: In some situations (e.g. from a Mainframe) it is not possible to send the ESCAPE character. The BCM3000 translates these into actual printer codes.
Hex Input Mode: All character codes (00-FF hex) can be sent using this mode. This overcomes the difficulty that Mainframes have in sending some codes. Only 0-9, A-F and ESC (or its alternative) need be sent. The BCM3000 translates these into actual printer codes.
Printer Command Extension: Bar codes, large characters and lines can be freely mixed with all the printer's normal output including 10/12/17 cpi normal or NLQ text, printed at 6 lpi or any other vertical spacing. The printer's existing command set is simply extended with the labeling commands.
Ribbon Wear Monitor: For matrix printers, a count is kept of print head use. An alarm sounds to indicate that the ribbon needs changing. This ensures good print contrast for bar codes.
Option Set-Up: The options are set up by using two buttons. A menu is printed allowing selections to be made. Once selected the options are stored in the non-volatile memory. No DIP switch settings are necessary.
Compatible Printers: Printers that are compatible with the following: EPSON FX, EPSON LQ, IBM Proprinter and HP LaserJet. Most printers are compatible with one of the above.
Laser Printers: The unit works with lasers in HP LaserJet II compatible mode. There is no need for font cartridges or extended memory. font elements are downloaded to the printer allowing labeling to be done at normal printer speed.
Cobra Systems, Inc., 3521 E. Enterprise Dr., Anaheim, CA 92807. Tel: 714-688-7999; Fax: 714-688-7998.