Seagull Drivers vs SATO Drivers
Issue: One of the fields on my label requires the time of printing. We print several thousand copies of a label daily, and to differentiate them the time is necessary. The printers we are using are the SATO S84-ex print engine and the SATO Lt408 print engine.
Current Behavior: Bartender does not allow usage of the printer's clock if the printer is set up using drivers directly from the manufacturer, SATO. Seagull provides drivers that enable this functionality. However, Seagull's provided drivers for the aforementioned printers are horrible and do not function well. They also lack downloadable fonts, which makes little sense as SATO's drivers allow for this on both the S84 AND the Lt408. Seagull's drivers also have unusual interactions with the printers in question, essentially locking the quantity to 1 (as in, 1 job), when using SATO's drivers displays the number of labels.
Suggested Resolution: Enable Printer Clock usage on third-party drivers, or update the Seagull-provided drivers for these printers.
Personal Comments: I do not, for the life of me, understand why this is so difficult. SATO produces printers with onboard real-time clocks. The software we currently use from two decades ago manage to leverage the real-time clock on our S84 models without issue, while still utilizing SATO's driver. SATO's driver has so much more functionality and customizability, so I really think Seagull should just enable printer clock features on 'third-party' drivers. In this case, SEAGULL's drivers are third party, old, hopelessly out of date.
I have just installed both those drivers and the Printer Clock option is available for both of them as long as you enable it, see the tickbox on the screenshot below:
There does not seem to be an option to download fonts from the driver but it looks like you have to do this via the front panel menu and not the driver anyway. I dont know if you have installed a font on the printer via this method if the driver will pick this up though as I have not got a printer to test with.
Not sure what you mean about locking the quantity to 1 unless you mean Printing 1 of 1 x 1000 rather than Printing 1 of 1000. If you do this will be font related I would expect. If BarTender is sending a print job down that uses none residential fonts and a field includes variable data, then BarTender will have to send those fields down as graphical images rather than in printer code and so will send each file/label individually. I have never had an issue with the Seagull Sato drivers but I have only used them intermittently on customer's sites and so I have not played with all the features but I see there is an option to configure font substitutions and so I dont know if that would help in this instance.0
Thank you for the response. Seagull, the maker of Bartender, and SATO, the maker of the S84 printer itself, both have their own driver for the S84 printer. SATO's driver (read: manufacturer's), when enabled, will not allow use of the Printer Clock. Seagull's driver (read: software creator's), when enabled, will allow use of the Printer Clock but only with fonts on the printer. SATO's driver allows downloading fonts to the printer but Seagull's does not. It is possible to install fonts whilst bypassing the drivers entirely by using the printer itself or SATO's All In One utility, but this doesn't seem to have helped any.
As for the quantity being at 1, it is VISUALLY locked to 1 despite the print job containing 1000 labels. Thus, it is a "Printing 1 of 1 x 1000" situation, as you said.
BarTender will only fully interface with the drivers that they have created but will replicate the functions in the manufacturers drivers. As the font download option is not included in the Sato driver (but is in the All in One as you say) then the Seagull driver will not include this function.
For your information, with other drivers, such as those in the Zebra range or the Datamax O'Neill's the font download is a feature of the driver and so Seagull incorporated it in to theirs. This means that BarTender will be able to use downloaded fonts (that the driver being used "knows about") and send down the commands as text strings rather than graphics. I can't recall using the RTCs onboard of these printers using downloaded fonts for the label field though and so I am not sure if that would work on those.
Not ideal, but if you know the Sato command for the string you want to print that calls the downloaded font and uses the RTC then you could try adding it here in the label:
Or else you would need to use one of the Resident fonts that BarTender can access for the clock field. Changing what ever field (serial number?) that is variable on every label to a resident may also help you get round the 1 or 1 issue or you could also check to make sure that Allow Serialisation is enabled on the File>Print>Performance tab0
Just wanted to provide an update on this issue as we inch closer to our deployment.
First and foremost: none of your suggestions actually fixed the 1 of 1 issue, and in fact, we ran into a much more severe issue with Bartender having a terrible interaction with Windows Print Spooler, despite us trying every single setting there was.
Again, the issue was never that I could not access RTC capabilities at all - I could. However, the restrictions put in place by the Bartender driver are nearly insurmountable for the functionality we get out of it. With the drivers made by SATO, we can:
Successfully print any font we like
Bypass our issues with Windows Print Spooler entirely
Have a much nicer UI with more features and finer control.
The crux of the issue is that Seagull Scientific has not updated and rebuilt their SATO S84-ex drivers in 16 years, as shown with the Driver Build Date of June, 2006. SATO themselves, however, have drivers as new as last year for this same model printer.
The printer itself certainly possesses capabilities we need - TrueType font compatibility, a real-time clock, and it's a print engine for our Print-Apply system. However, Seagull Scientific has made working with Bartender so absurdly difficult for seemingly no reason at all when they can just request the current drivers from SATO and modify them for this functionality. The most unfortunate issue out of all of this is that we can't even use a different Bartender-based driver if we wanted to, there are no workarounds with the SATO driver that I've been able to find, and as a developer, I feel that I am being pressured into replacing a perfectly functional device with a completely different one for no purpose other than Seagull's stubbornness.0
I just wanted to provide a few updates:
First and foremost, I apologize for some of my misunderstandings. After carefully working the problems we had, I found some of what I said to be in error. The drivers Seagull provide for the printers are far newer than I had thought. I was reading the Windows Print Spooler's driver build date.
Second, I figured out many of the issues I ran into were being caused by Document-Level Scripting being enabled. This would force Bartender to send each copy as an individual print page as opposed to one big batch job. Disabling that feature gave us our copy quantities to show up on the printer itself.
With all that being said, some of what I said still stands - the SATO S84 Printer seems to support downloading fonts, despite Seagull's driver being incapable of loading them. The UI and setup of the Seagull Drivers are much worse. Fonts, in general, do not translate well from screen to label, introducing far too much guesswork.
All that being said, I did not give Seagull enough credit before. Their drivers are perfectly adequate.0
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