Saturday, October 24, 2009

USB Zebra doggy style

Do you have a Zebra printer that has firmware restrictions? I'm looking at you FedEx!

Well, most FedEx printers with custom firmware (99% of them) still understand raw ZPL II commands. If you have a dotNET or Java application that is sending ZPL II commands to the printer then you already know that the parallel port is the easiest way to do it.

But let's say that you code with the assumption that you'll always be on a parallel part and then suddenly you find yourself toe to toe with a locked up FedEx Zebra (Z4M is the one I seem to be running into lately).

These printers are USB and using the dotNET stack to send USB ZPL II to the printer is not only a headache, but you'll have a better chance to make PNGs and send them to the printer to be printed.

Instead, setup the printer to have a network share "we'll say Printer in this case", pull up a command line in windows and chant the following words:


NET USE LPT1 \\127.0.0.1\Printer /PERSISTENT:YES


Ta-Da! Now you can send ZPL II to a USB printer via the usual raw data port API Stuff. This also has the happy effect of by-passing evil FedEx firmware locking out stuff thingies.
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