Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology
Tech Info Library

LabQuest Printer Configuration (advanced)

LabQuest supports many HP printers. For a list of known and tested HP printers, see TIL 1659: Which printers are supported in LabQuest?

We are often asked if other printers work with LabQuest. In version 1.7.4 and newer (original LabQuest) and 2.6.0 and newer (LabQuest 2), we added support for printers that we have not directly tested. Short of testing each model, we do not know for certain. However, we can tell you how the LabQuest printing system works works:
-LabQuest will connect to the printer
-Based on the printer model name & number, LabQuest tries to load a driver for that printer from its internal cache of printer drivers.
-If LabQuest can't load a driver by name, it will present a list of generic drivers.
-In many cases, the generic driver will work.

The default choice is "PCL 5 enhanced". "PCL" stands for Printer Control Language and "5 enhanced" refers to the 1992 version that tends to be very well-supported. The main limitation is that it is a black&white driver. The other options are "PCL 5 color" (for color printers), "PCL 6 color" (most but not all printers that use this will work fine with PCL 5 color), "PCL 3" (for older and low-end printers), and "PostScript" (which tends to be supported on a lot of high-end devices, not just HP-branded printers). If you look through printer specs, you'll typically see a note to the effect of "Print languages HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5c, HP postscript level 3 emulation, PDF, URF, PCLm, Native Office, PWG Raster". That means you typically should be able to print just fine from LabQuest to that printer. If you don't see anything like that (and especially if it says "Host Based"), you definitely won't be able to print from LabQuest. Most HP printers support some of those languages, but higher-end units from other manufacturers also often support these languages.

Short of testing a printer, you won't know for sure. We've seen printers that say they support the driver, and yet it will just draw a big black box in the middle of the page when we try to print. We've seen printers that respond to every command with "I'm out of paper", but if you ignore that and keep sending the job, the printer will print anyway (LabQuest ignores all error messages it gets from the printer). So without testing every single model of printer, we don't know if it will work or not. The models we have tested and know do not work are also listed in:
TIL 1659: Which printers are supported in LabQuest?

If you are looking to buy a printer for LabQuest:
Buy one of the models listed here: TIL 1659: Which printers are supported in LabQuest?

If you already have a printer:
Connect to printer: TIL 1797: How do I connect LabQuest to a printer?
It will prompt you for a driver. Unless you know that the printer supports a specific one, it is best to pick the default first, then go into the LabQuest App and try to print. If it doesn't work, delete the printer from the LabQuest and try again with a different driver. For color printers, you will want a color driver, and for low-end or older printers you'll want PCL 3, but it is often a matter of trial and error.

For more details about PCL, see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printer_Command_Language

See also:
TIL 3666: What is the Print to File feature in LabQuest 2?
TIL 2956: How do I update the LabQuest software?

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