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Setting Up SignTools on a Serial (Com) Connection
Problems Associated with Serial Port Connections
1. The plotter cuts the first few character cleanly and then begins to cut indefinable curves.
A. This is a typical buffer overflow and occurs on more plotters when the Com Port Flow Control is not set to Hardware. This may also occur when the communications or interface setting on your plotter don't match the Com Port settings in Windows. The most common settings are below.
|Bits per second||9600|
Refer to your Plotter's Manual for more your output device and examine DIP Switch and/or Front Panel settings to find out what serial communications settings the device is currently configured to use.
The Windows Port Settings can be accessed thru the SignTools by clicking on the Cut button followed by the Settings button. The Cut Settings dialog will open. Next click in the Location section click on the Properties button.
Please note: You must select a Port before the Properties button will become active.
You can also access the Windows Port Settings
by clicking on Start > Settings > Control Panel
> System > Device Manager > Ports > Com > Port
2. Plotter is cutting a diagonal line no matter what I try to cut .
A. Many older plotters can not handle the amount of points that SignTools sends through a serial port. We recommend that you try adjusting the Min Plot Point Separation in the SignTools Advanced Cut Settings. Try using a value of between 1.5 and 2.5 .
3. SignTools is communicating with my plotter, but it is cutting indefinable curves.
A. Most plotters require a RS-232-C
To plot from Windows to a serial plotter you need to have a correctly wired serial cable. It is possible for a cable to work fine with MS-DOS or another operating system, but not with Windows.
The following RS-232-C cable pin-outs enable IBM PC Compatibles and plotters to work with Windows. These cables are suitable for using with hardware flow control.Below are examples of RS-232-C pin out.
|25-pin to 25-pin||25-pin to 9-pin|
|Plotter (25 pin) Computer (25 pin)
FG 1 ------------ 1 FG
TXD 2 ------------ 3 RXD
RXD 3 ------------ 2 TXD
RTS 4 ------------ 6 DSR
DSR 6 ------------ 4 RTS
SG 7 ------------ 7 SG
CTS 5 ---|-------- 20 DTR
DCD 8 ---|
DTR 20 --------|--- 8 DCD
|Plotter (25 pin) Computer (9 pin)
TXD 2 ------------ 2 RXD
RXD 3 ------------ 3 TXD
RTS 4 ------------ 6 DSR
DSR 6 ------------ 7 RTS
SG 7 ------------ 5 SG
CTS 5 ---|-------- 4 DTR
DCD 8 ---|
DTR 20 --------|--- 1 DCD
|--- 8 CTS
Some Plotters will not respond if you don't use a RS-232-C cable.
4. SignTools is communicating with my plotter, but I am getting different results everytime I cut something..
A. Some serial port chips have a problem that can result in random loss of data if the FIFO buffers are enabled. Unless you or your system administrator have a reason for doing otherwise, disable FIFO buffers by unchecking the checkbox called Use FIFO Buffers.
COM1 and COM3 often share the same interrupt request line (IRQ). On most computers this means that you can't use both ports simultaneously. For example if you have a serial mouse connected to COM1, then COM3 should not be used for printing COM2 and COM4 together may have the same constraint.
A COM port can be configured to use a free IRQ if one is available: Look for IRQ in the index of Windows online Help for more information or consult your system administrator.
Other Support Pages
Installing Generic / Text Only Driver Highly Recommended
Step By Step Setup Instructions For Your Cutter
SignTools Frequently Asked Questions
SignTools Support Enquiry Form
SignTools Activation Help
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Revised: December 15, 2003.