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RSI Hydra

Inkjet Printer

Version 1.6.9

Introduction ......................................... 4

1.1 Key Features ......................................................................................................... 4


1.2 Dynamic Data ....................................................................................................... 4
1.3 Barcodes ............................................................................................................... 4
1.4 InfiniteDPI ............................................................................................................ 5
1.5 User Security and Reporting ................................................................................ 5
1.6 Advanced Text Options ........................................................................................ 5
1.6.1 Flexible Text Formatting .............................................................................. 5
1.6.2 International Character Support .................................................................... 5
1.7 Multi-Lingual interface ........................................................................................ 6

2
3

Start Screen .......................................... 7


Hydra Layout Designer ....................... 9

3.1 Dynamic Fields in a Layout ............................................................................... 10


3.2 Creating a Layout ............................................................................................... 10
3.3 Layout Designer Menus ..................................................................................... 13
3.4 Creating Clocks, Time Stamps, Shift Codes and User Inserts ........................... 15
3.4.1 Clocks ......................................................................................................... 15
3.4.2 Timestamps ................................................................................................. 16
3.4.3 Shift Codes .................................................................................................. 18
3.4.4 User Inserts ................................................................................................. 19
3.4.5 Counters ...................................................................................................... 20
3.5 Adding and Editing Objects in a Layout ............................................................ 21
3.5.1 General Editing ........................................................................................... 21
3.5.2 Text Objects ................................................................................................ 22
3.5.3 Barcodes ...................................................................................................... 26
3.5.4 Bitmaps ....................................................................................................... 33
3.5.5 Conditional Bitmaps ................................................................................... 33

4
4.1
4.2
4.3

5
5.1

Workflow ........................................... 35
Job Source Selection .......................................................................................... 35
Data Source Selection ........................................................................................ 35
Remote Control .................................................................................................. 37

User Management .............................. 38


Roles ................................................................................................................... 39

Configure IO ...................................... 41
7 System Configuration and File
Management.............................................. 42
8 Printing .............................................. 43
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8.1 Loading a job ...................................................................................................... 43


8.2 Printing ............................................................................................................... 44
8.2.1 Ink Levels.................................................................................................... 45
8.2.2 Print Preview ............................................................................................... 48

Printer Configuration ......................... 49

9.1 Print Head Configuration ................................................................................... 49


9.1.1 Stitching ...................................................................................................... 50
9.2 Encoder and Edges ............................................................................................. 50
9.2.1 External Encoder ......................................................................................... 50
9.2.2 Positional Encoder and InfiniteDPI ............................................................ 51
9.3 Upgrades............................................................................................................. 51
9.3.1 Firmware upgrade ....................................................................................... 52
9.3.2 Add Pen ....................................................................................................... 52
9.4 Advanced Properties .......................................................................................... 53
9.5 Images and Data ................................................................................................. 54
9.6 Spitting ............................................................................................................... 56

10
11

Reporting ......................................... 57
Setting up a printer........................... 59

11.1
Major Components of the printer ................................................................... 59
11.1.1 Hardware ..................................................................................................... 59
11.1.2 Software ...................................................................................................... 59
11.2
Encoder Speed Scaling ................................................................................... 59

12
13
14
15
15.1

16

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Resolution and Barcodes ................. 59


Upgrading Software ......................... 61
Backing up and Restoring Data ....... 61
Recovering from Disk Failure ......... 61
Recovering the data drive ............................................................................... 61

Troubleshooting the Hydra Printer .. 63

1 Introduction
The RSI Hydra printer includes several high performance components that
together create a flexible, accurate, high value platform for using HP inkjet print
technologies. Combined with RSIs complete print solutions, from print heads to media
transport solutions, the highest quality printing can be achieved in all of our solutions.

1.1 Key Features


-

Full Featured Graphical interface software with easy to learn and use interface
Flexible workflow configuration to minimize necessary operator training and
skills.
Wide support for barcodes, including 1D, 2D and postal formats
Print at any horizontal DPI and at both 300 and 600 DPI vertically
32% faster than other printers (165 ft/min at 600 DPI to 660 ft/min at 150 dpi)
International Character support
TCP/IP remote control via second LAN interface
Multi-lingual interface
Unlimited variable data
Unlimited image width and height
User friendly printer configuration
Robust print control
Flexible print options

The RSI Hydra printer consists of two primary components. The hardware based
printer and the software based layout and print controller called the HMI. The standard
user interface for RSI allows creation of print jobs with dynamic data, 1D, 2D and postal
barcodes and bitmaps. An easy to use interface provides complete control over all
configuration and runtime printing information.

1.2 Dynamic Data


Data can be loaded from flat files or external databases to allow printing of
dynamic data. The amount of data and the number of variable fields is limited only by
memory. Timestamps, Shift codes and counters are available as well with flexible
configurations to meet the most difficult requirements.

1.3 Barcodes
-

InifiniteDPI allows optimal barcode quality


A wide variety of barcode formats, including 1D, 2D and postal, are supported
300 DPI vertical print mode allows scannable barcodes to be printed in tough
print situations

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1.4 InfiniteDPI
The Hydra printer uses InfiniteDPI to print at anywhere from 1 to 600 DPI in the
horizontal direction (the direction of travel of the target material). This has multiple
benefits for the commercial user:
-

Allows precise barcodes to be printed at any size (see Resolution and Barcodes)
Allows the DPI to be precisely tuned to minimize ink usage
Allows sub-optimal substrates to be used for high quality printing
Allows the print parameters to be tuned to increase printer speed.

For example, typically print resolutions are set at 300 DPI to provide for sufficient
contrast for scannability. With InfiniteDPI, the resolution may, for example, be set to 270
DPI. This would allow substrates speeds 10% faster than solutions that allow only 300
DPI, use 10% less ink while providing similar readability.
In addition, if small barcodes need to be printed the resolution can be tuned to
allow precise rasterization of barcode modules (the Resolution and Barcodes) without
purchasing additional hardware with associated cost and print defects.

1.5 User Security and Reporting


Role based user security with auditing and reporting is available. Detailed print history is
also maintained with ability to export to HTML format.

1.6 Advanced Text Options


1.6.1 Flexible Text Formatting
Advanced text formatting allows you to create the labeling you need, in any language.
Key formatting features include:
- Use any True Type Font for text and barcodes
- Rotate text at any angle
- Have multiple fonts and font styles in a single text box with a wide variety of
standard text formatting options, such as centering and word wrap.

1.6.2 International Character Support


All printable text supports any international characters available on the Windows
platform. To enter IME mode for some languages press CTRL-SPACE.

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1.7 Multi-Lingual interface


The interface is available in English, Chinese (simplified), French, Spanish and German.

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2 Start Screen

The Start screen gives you easy access to the main elements of the printer. Features at a
glance include
- Workflow configure how a print operator works by pre-selecting jobs, data or
configuring remote control of the printer via a custom application
- User Management Force login and control access to each element of the printer
by user id through the Start screen.
- Configure printer Set the properties of the printer, including encoder settings,
data mode and pen properties. Also, add more print formatter boards to print
larger images.
- Configure I/O control a light stack, signal PLCs or other external equipment of
the printer status. Requires optional equipment on some models of printer.
- Layout Designer create jobs that include text, barcodes and images.
- Print start printing, loading data or jobs for a print session if necessary.
- Reporting browse print history by job, review user activity by role and save
information in easy to share and print HTML format.
- Log Off If log on is required this button will be visible and will allow changing
users.
- Shut Down exits the Start screen and shuts down the computer.
- System Configuration and File Management allows for administrative access for
Windows and Hydra configuration and file management.
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Show keyboard icon if the floating keyboard is lost pressing this button causes it
to be shown.

On the lower left a small portion of a keyboard can be seen. If this is clicked the
keyboard will appear as below:

This can be used to perform layout editing or other typing functions. Clicking the arrow
in the lower right
will minimize the keyboard and clicking
will switch
the keyboard between the top and bottom of the screen to allow typing in any area. When
the keyboard is minimized dragging the small image with a mouse of swiping on a touch
screen will cause it to move to the four corners of the screen if it is covering objects.

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3 Hydra Layout Designer

Initially the layout editor will have no project loaded and most edit menus are disabled. A
layout must be created or loaded to begin work. It is possible to create layouts that
require more pens than are available to the attached printer. These jobs can be saved and
viewed in print preview but will not print without the appropriate hardware and licenses.
A warning will appear if a layout requires more pens than are available in the configured
printer.
Icons functions:

- New layout
- Open Layout

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-Save layout
- Print
- Add text object (including Time stamps, Shift codes, and counters)
- Add 1D or 2D barcode
- Add bitmap image
- Edit selected object settings
- Copy, Paste, Cut and Delete selected objects
- Move all objects to visible area of layout

3.1 Dynamic Fields in a Layout


Data fields, timestamps, shift codes and user inserts will be discussed in the
following document. Each field has a specific format. The format is a set of brackets, [],
enclosing a unique name for the field. Timestamps, shift codes and user inserts can have
any unique name that does not match a data field name. Data fields have the form [Field
#], where # is the number of the field without leading zeroes.
Dynamic fields are replaced when a job is printed with the appropriate data.
Fields can be placed multiple times on a layout. Every instance of a field will be replaced
on each print. For example, if [Field 1] is in two different text objects it will replace in
both objects on every print. The same rule applies to timestamps, shift codes and user
inserts.

3.2 Creating a Layout

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From either the File menu or using the blank paper icon on the toolbar a new layout can
be created. Any layout currently being edited should be saved or any edits will be lost.
The layout properties window shown in Fig. 2 will be shown to allow the specification of
the print layout. In the center of the window is the pen properties box. This allows
specification of individual pen properties, including attaching pens, their horizontal and
vertical DPI and the width of the image for each set of attached pens. The number of pens
displayed here is selected at top left with the box labeled Number of Pens. When the
number of pens is changed the settings for each pen go back to default.
The number of data fields is also specified here. This allows automatic entry of data
fields in text and barcodes. The unit of measure can also be switched from English to
metric on this screen.
The layout shown above has 4 pens defined. As is shown, the first two pens are attached
(as indicated by the
icon), as are the last two. When two pens are attached
they are rendered together and layout objects like text are allowed to cross over the pen
boundaries. It is assumed that the printer used to print these images has the attached pens
physically stitched so this will print correctly. In this example, each set of attached pens
has a different horizontal and vertical resolution and different image width. The
allowable vertical resolutions are 300 DPI and 600 DPI. The horizontal resolution can be
any whole value from 1 to 600. Any width can be specified, limited only by the memory
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of the controller. For more information on the effects of print resolution on printing, see
the section entitled Print Resolution
To change to default values for the layout settings dialog, click the Default button at the
lower left of this screen. There you can set the default values for number of pens,
resolution, width and data elements that will be saved for future editing sessions.
If more than four pens will be attached then the only allowable horizontal
resolutions are 600,300,200,150. The Disable InfiniteDPI configuration option
(discussed under Printer Configuration) must also be checked.
Release Note for Current Version
In general, odd numbers of attached pens on a single print head with different
horizontal resolutions is not supported. In this release, the second and third pens of any
head cannot be attached unless the first and fourth are the same resolution. Any other
combination is acceptable, for example four individual or two pairs (first and second and
third and fourth) or all attached. Rearranging the physical pens with regard to the pens
associated with the layout is a work around for this. For example, instead of attaching the
second and third pens, move the pens so that the pair is the first and second or third and
fourth pens on the head.

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The above image shows the layout as defined in the previous step. The first two
pens are 4 inches wide and connected. The blue line in the top section indicates the
boundary between pens. This is only a visual marker and has no effect on layout. Objects
may be placed anywhere inside either white section. Objects may also be moved off of
the white area to allow printing as close to the edge as needed. Care must be taken to
ensure areas that are off the white areas of the layout print correctly as nothing will be
printed outside the white layout areas. The vertical ruler is only for easing layout. The
value on the ruler has no impact on how the layout prints. The second set of pens is wider
than can be shown on the screen therefore the scroll bar at the bottom must be used to
display this section of the layout. At the bottom of the screen the ruler values are shown
to aid in editing.
The pens that are used to print each .5 inch section of the layout are determined
using the Print Configuration screen, explained under the section Printer Configuration
later in this document.
The currently selected set of pens is shown with a solid border around it. Any
objects added layout will be added to the currently selected set of connected pens.

3.3 Layout Designer Menus


This section gives a quick overview of the menu items available. Detailed instructions
follow in the appropriate sections.
The File menu has the basic file operations available.
File -> New creates a new layout and unloads any layout that is currently being edited.
File -> Open opens an existing layout and unloads any layout that is currently being
edited.
File-> Save saves any changes to the current layout.
File-> Save As saves the layout under a new name
File-> Print opens the print controller with the currently open layout as the print job.
File->Exit exits the Layout Designer
The edit menu contains items for editing the layout.
Edit -> Undo This will undo only deleted object on a layout, not any other operations or
changes to the settings of the entire layout.
Edit -> Item Properties Edit the properties of the item that was most recently selected.
Edit->Layout Settings Edit the settings of the current layout
Edit->Delete Delete all selected objects
Edit->Cut Remove one or more selected objects and allow it to be pasted elsewhere.
Edit->Copy Copy one or more selected objects for pasting.
Edit>Paste Paste any objects previously cut or copied to the currently selected grid.
Layout Menu

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The layout menu contains items for adding objects to the layout, including text, barcodes
and pictures.
Layout->Add Text add a text object to the layout
Layout->Add Barcode add 1D, 2D or postal barcodes to the layout
Layout->Add Picture add a bitmap to the layout
Layout->Clocks add and edit clocks, used for timestamps and shift codes, for this
layout
Layout->Timestamps add and edit text timestamps for this layout
Layout->Shift Codes add and edit text shift codes for this layout
Layout->User Inserts add a user insert for this layout.
Layout->Counters add a counter for this layout.
Format menu
Format-> Align various sub-menus allow alignment of objects (only at design time,
doesn not affect print layout for dynamic objects)
Format-> Make Same Size various sub-menus allow objects to be identically sized
(does not affect print layout for dynamic objects)

The
button brings all elements onto the visible area of the selected layout. This is
useful if the location of the element is off the visible area.

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3.4 Creating Clocks, Time Stamps, Shift Codes and User Inserts
3.4.1 Clocks

The dialog is access via the Layout->Clocks menu item. Clocks are used to determine the
time in creating timestamps and shift codes. If no offset is created, the clock represents
the current time on the local system. A Default clock representing the current time is
created with every new layout. In the above example a clock called 6HrsBefore has
been created that included a 6 hour offset before the current time. This was created by
clicking the New button and changing the Offset Direction to Before and the Hours
dropdown box to 6. If it is currently 7 A.M., the time for the 6HrsBefore clock would be
1 A.M. The New button allows a new clock to be created. Any text with the exception of
[ and ] can be used in a clock description. All changes as saved by clicking the OK button.
The Cancel button will discard any changes made since the dialog box was opened.
TIP: If an expiration code changes with the shift instead of at midnight, this
can be done using negative offsets. For example, if the expiration date is 365 days
after production date and it rolls over at the shift change at 6 AM the clock should
be After, Days should be 365 and Hours should be -6. This will roll over the
clock to the next day at 6 AM rather than midnight.

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3.4.2 Timestamps
Timestamps are added by selecting Layout->Timestamps.

In the above figure, a timestamp called CurrentDateAndTime was created to display the
Date and Time for the current locale. At the top of the screen is the clock selection for the
current timestamp. In this case, the Default clock was chosen, which represents the
current time. Start of week allows the first day of the week to be chosen. For example, if
a Day of Week timestamp string is displayed it determines whether Sunday is day 1 or
Monday is Day 1. It also affects Week of Year calculations.
In the current example, the the Date and Time Appropriate for Locale was chosen from
the Time Format Strings list in the center of the screen. The symbol for this string is
shown below it (the [DTL] to the left of the insert button. After selection, the Insert
button is pressed to insert this string into the current time stamps display string. The
Timestamp String box shows that the [DTL] was inserted for this timestamp. To delete
strings from the TimeStamp String box, select the desired timestamp descriptor and press
the delete key. To move a timestamp string within the TimeStamp string box select the
desired string and press the left or right arrow.
The Leading Zeroes checkbox indicates whether numeric values (such as numeric
month or numeric day) should have leading zeroes prepended on to them.

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The figure above show a new timestamp based on the 6HrsBefore clock created earlier in
the example. The Alpha Weekday timestamp string has been added to it. This maps the
day of week (with Monday always being day 1) to a string value that is printed. In this
case, the strings chosen are A-G. After editing the values, Insert was clicked and the
Alpha weekday string was added. All alpha timestamp strings and the Text string (which
allows any text) are edited by double-clicking on the string in the TimeStamp String box.
This will open a dialog box which will allow the values mapped to be changed.
TIP: Free form text can be added by adding a [Text] item located at the bottom of
the list. This allows and text to be entered for each [Text] item in a timestamp.

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3.4.3 Shift Codes


Shift codes are created by selecting Layout->Shift Codes.

The figure above shows the Shift Codes dialog box. A shift code called Group A Shift
was created by clicking the New button. Initially, the Shift Code column is blank. The
shifts called A, B and C were added. The start times for each were also selected. The
Shift Code text for this shift code is printed when the time is greater than or equal to the
Start Hour and Start Minute and less than the Start Hour and Start Minute of the next
shift code. The clock used to compare to these times is selected at the top. In this case,
the default clock was selected so the current time on the computer will be used to
determine the shift code that is printed. After editing the values for a shift code the Apply
button must be clicked to save any changes before selecting another shift code.

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3.4.4 User Inserts

The above window allows entry of user inserts. User inserts contain data that is entered
by the operator when a print job is started. The Insert ID is the unique id that is entered
into layout objects. This id (and its brackets) will be replaced at print time with the data
entered by the operator. The User Prompt is the phrase that is displayed to the operator
when prompted for the data. The Default Value is the default that is used if the operator
does not change the value.

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3.4.5 Counters

Counters allow auto incrementing values to be included in layouts.


Start Value The value of the counter at print start.
Increment - added to the current value every time a new image is printed. This can be a
negative number
Minimum, Maximum If the counter reaches this value it will no longer be incremented.
Number of Digits The number of digits that should always displayed. Leading zeroes
will be added for values that are less than the number of digits. If zero is entered here
there will be no leading zeroes added to the number.

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3.5 Adding and Editing Objects in a Layout

3.5.1 General Editing


In Figure 4 a text object is shown added to the layout. It is shown with six small
red squares around it. These indicate the object is selected for editing. A selected object
can be moved by clicking and holding the left mouse button and dragging around the
layout. Objects can not be dragged from one set of connected pens to another. In this
example, the text object must remain on the top set of two connected pens. Clicking and
holding on any of the red squares will allow the object to be resized. 2D barcodes
maintain the 1:1 aspect ratio required for correct printing so the height or width may be
adjusted automatically.
The currently selected set of connected set of pens has a thin solid border around
it, which in this image is the top section 4 inches wide. This indicates that this set of
connected pens is where all objects added (or pasted) will be added to this set of
connected pens.
Holding the CONTROL key and clicking other objects will select them as well
and any initially selected object. Hitting the DELETE key will delete all selected objects.

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Selecting the Edit->Undo will restore the last deleted object. The Undo menu must be
selected multiple times to undo multiple deletes.
After one or more objects are selected, Cut or Copy (via the menu or with the
CTRL-X and CTRL-C) can be used on the selected objects. Cut, Copy and Paste are not
available for bitmap objects.
Right clicking an object will bring up a context menu. The context menu allows
the object properties to be viewed, object deletion and sending the object to the back. The
Send to Back menu item moves an object behind all other objects within a set of
connected pens. It does not alter the rendering order of the object during printing but does
allow objects hidden on the screen to be viewed. If two objects are selected the right click
menu will have a docking selection enabled. Selecting this will bring up the docking
menu, as describe in the Docking section.
Adding an object to a particular set of connected pens requires that the set of pens
be selected before adding the object. A narrow black border will surround the active set
of pens.

3.5.2 Text Objects


A text object is shown added to the layout here. This text is selected, as indicated
by the red squares around its perimeter. A text object can be added by pressing the
toolbar button with the letters Abc, using the Layout-> Add Advanced Text menu item.

Text properties can be edited by double clicking on a text object, right clicking
and selecting Properties or using the Edit -> Item Properties menu item. In the Data box
the text displayed can be edited. To the right are listed the available Data items,
TimeStamps and Shift Codes. The TimeStamps, Shift Codes and User Inserts that were
added in the above examples are shown. If no Data fields, TimeStamps, Shift Codes or
User Inserts are defined there will be none shown in this box. Double clicking on any
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item will add it to the text in the Data box. Alternately, the correct name surrounded by
brackets can be manually typed. However, any errors in typing the name of an element
will cause it not to be recognized during printing and printed as normal unchanging text.

The figure above shows the Text properties box after editing. The text has been
changed, a data field, a TimeStamp, a Shift Code and a User Insert has been added to the
Text box. Carriage returns have been added between each element for clarity.
In addition to modifying the contents of the text the Text Properties box allows
the modification of its appearance. The font, size and style (bold, italics, underline, or
strikethrough) can be changed below the text box. Multiple fonts and font styles can be
included in a single text object. The Font Width Multiplier widens or narrows the text
without changing its height. Draft Mode causes the text to be drawn at half resolution.
This conserves ink while allowing full resolution for other elements on the screen, such
as barcodes. The Apply button applies changes to the text box without closing the
properties dialog.
International character support is supported here. To enter IME mode for Asian
language entry press CTRL-SPACE if an appropriate IME is installed.

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The General tab in the Text properties box, shown above, allows the direct entry
of the position on the layout as well as its size. If Natural Size is checked, the text box
will be sized according to the text that is in it, otherwise text will not be printed outside
the boundaries of the box. If a Data field is entered, the text box will be resized for the
data that is in the box at print time if natural size is chosen. Care should be taken to
ensure that the text will not overwrite other elements in the layout as the size will
increase without any limit during printing. It is not possible to resize the text box on the
layout when the Natural Size box is checked as the box will always be the size of the text
within it.
The Rotation setting rotates the text to the desired angle. Text rotated at angles
other than 0, 90, 180 and 270 take significant resources to render and may require more
powerful computers for high speed printing with complex layouts.
Word wrap causes text to be wrapped at the text boundary rather than clipped.
This is only available if Natural size is not selected.
If Transparent text is not selected a white background will be painted with each
text element, erasing anything that is overlapped. Transparent text will overlay anything
that is already printed without any additional erasing.
Force aspect ratio is available only if natural size is not checked. If Maintain
aspect ratio is selected the aspect ratio that existed when feature was selected will be
maintained when the box is resized. This only applies when resizing by dragging the
resize borders in this release. Entering a new value will change the aspect ratio.
Force Square causes the height and width to be equal during any resizing.
Character based word wrap causes text to be wrapped at any character instead of
at word breaks (typically spaces). This is useful for languages that do not have word
breaks.

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The Justification and Borders tab has settings for text justification, borders,
margins and character spacing.
Text Justification causes and text to be aligned as selected relative to the border of
the text object. For example, the Middle setting for Horizontal causes text to be
centered in the box and Center in the Vertical box cause the middle line of text to be on
the center line of the box.
Margins are white space that is maintained on each edge of the box. Care should
be taken not to make the margins larger than the box itself or no text will print.
Borders are black bars on each edge of the box. Each border can be sized
independently.
Additional character spacing inserts extra pixels between each character in text to
spread the text out. The characters are still printed at their normal width, just with extra
white space between them. This is useful if you would like to spread text out to fill a text
box. This is only available if Natural Size is selected in the general tab.

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The data formatting tab allows formatting of dynamic field data when printing.
This has no effect on text that is not loaded from data fields.

3.5.3 Barcodes
Clicking on the Barcode toolbar item or selecting Layout->Add Barcode will bring up a
list of barcodes available for use. These include 1D, 2D and Mailing barcodes. Each
barcode has different properties and requirements for characters that can be entered,
checksum digits and other properties. This manual is not intended as a tutorial on
barcodes and familiarity with the uses of a particular barcode in specific applications may
be necessary to have it print properly.

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The figure above shows the sample layout with a Code 128 barcode added. When
added the Code 128 barcode has 10 digits of default data entered. Different barcodes may
have different default values based on their requirements. Entering invalid data (such as
character data for a numeric only barcode) will generate an error and cause the barcode
not to be printed on the screen.

Shown above is the Barcode Properties dialog. The first tab, labeled Barcode,
contains general options for barcode drawing. There are two options for module size. For
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larger barcodes, the barcode can be drawn to fit the bounding box. For best results and
smaller barcodes, the module size of the barcode can be selected by selecting Specify
Module Size. The available module sizes are in the list box next to the label. These are
dependent on the horizontal DPI selected for printing and will change if the horizontal
resolution of the layout is changed. Below the module size is the drop down list for Shave
Pixels. This will shave horizontal pixels for 1D barcodes and both horizontal and vertical
pixels for 2D barcodes. Barcodes printed using inkjet printers may be more readable if
some pixel shaving is done.
The ratio string allows direct selection of the barcode ratio for narrow to wide
bars. This is an advanced option and should only be used for custom barcode drawing.
On the right, bearer bars can be selected for barcodes. Below this is the
specification for quiet zones. Quiet zones have certain minimums depending on the type
and module size of the current barcode. Entering a quiet zone below the minimum
required for a barcode will generate a message box requesting to fill in the minimum
values for the barcode. Many barcodes require either 10 times the module size or .25 inch
as a minimum quiet zone to the left or right of the barcode.

Shown above is the Barcode Data tab of the barcode properties. The Code Data
Input box is where the data for the barcode is entered. This data will be encoded in the
barcode itself. To the right of the barcode is a button with three dots on it. Clicking on
this button will bring up a list of available data fields, timestamps and shift codes.
Clicking on one will add it to the barcode data. The barcode shown on the layout will be
the rendering of this data. If there is invalid data in this field the barcode will not render
and the Sample Data field should be filled with valid sample data.
For most barcodes, if a check digit is defined it will be calculated automatically if
the length of the barcode data is appropriate. For example, for EAN13 if twelve digits are
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entered the thirteenth digit is calculated automatically. If thirteen digits are entered it is
assumed the data includes the pre-calculated check digit.
If the Sample Data field is filled the barcode in the layout screen will be rendered
with this data. The final print barcode, including print previews, will not use this data.
The Encoding Mode is used for 2D barcodes that allow multiple code pages. The
default code page is ANSI.
The Format field is used to format the input data to the barcode. For example, if
additional numbers or characters are always present in a barcode they can be added in the
format field. It is also possible to include certain required data for all barcodes. If no
format is entered, the data is used directly as entered or loaded at print time from any data
fields, time stamps or shift codes. The format characters are:
Description
Placeholder
character
#
Stands for the next data character of the
input data
&
Stands for all remaining data characters in
the input data
^
Stands for the next check digit (use only if
check digits will be computed)
A
Switch to Subset A (used in: Code 128,
EAN 128, UCC 128) Start- or stop
character A (only in: CODABAR)
B
Switch to Subset B (used in: Code 128,
EAN 128, UCC 128) Start- or stop
character B (only in: CODABAR)
C
Switch to Subset C (used in: Code 128,
EAN 128, UCC 128) Start- or stop
character C (only in: CODABAR)
C
Enable compatibility mode for
CAPTIVA/IBML document scanning
software (used in Data Matrix only)
D
Start- or stop character D (only in:
CODABAR),
Only for Pharmacode: encode the
Pharmacode directly (bar by bar)
Only for Data Matrix: use an alternative
error correction algorithm for symbols of
size 144x144.
E
Translate the Escape Sequences that the
input data contains.
S

Only for MaxiCode: enables setting the values of Date,


Preamble, Service Class, Postal- and Country- Code
directly in the barcode data (only in conjunction with
escape sequences).

<

Adds quiet zone markers at the left (<)


and/or at the right (>) side of the
barcode. These markers are supported by

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the following barcode types:


EAN8 and add-on variants (both sides)
EAN13 and add-on variants (only right
side)
UPC-A with 2 and 5 digit add-on (only
right side)
UPC-E with 2 and 5 digit add-on (only
right side)
ISBN (only right side)
J

Enables formatting of Japanese postal


code data for JPN 4 state barcode.

If the E character from the above table or the Translate Escape Sequences
checkbox is selected then the following escape sequences will be interpreted by the
barcode renderer.

Escape sequence
\a
\b
\f
\n
\r
\t
\v
\\
\0
\0ooo

\ddd

\xhh

\Crrggbb
\Ce
\F

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Description

Valid for Barcode


Symbology
All

Bell (alert)
Backspace
Form feed
New Line
Carriage Return
Horizontal Tab
Vertical Tab
The backslash \ itself
Zero Byte (if subsequent char is non-numeric)
Available in TBarCode V10+
ASCII-character in octal notation:
ooo up to 3 octal digits (0..7)
First digit is always zero.
ASCII-character in decimal notation:
ddd up to decimal digits (0..9)
First digit must not be zero.
For encoding bytes or ASCII-characters in hexadecimal
notation
hh hexadecimal digits (0..F)
Color selection
See Pharmacode
Reset the color to default
FNC1 (Function Number
EAN-128, UCC-128,
Character 1) used as field Codablock-F
separator
MicroPDF417: a special
FNC1 codeword is inserted

when using emulation


mode for EAN-128 or
Code-128
Data Matrix: a special
FNC1 codeword is inserted
PDF417, MaxiCode and in
QR-Code
QR-Code: When using
format UCC/EAN/GS1 Gs
is inserted in Byte Mode,
a % is inserted in
alphanumeric mode.
MaxiCode, Data Matrix,
QR-Code, PDF417,
MicroPDF417, Aztec Code

\F

Inserts a Gs (Group
Separator) or ASCII
1DHex. Dont encode the
\x1d directly!

\Ennnnnn

Extended Channel
Interpretation (ECI).
nnnnnn 6 digit ECI
number with leading zeros
Used for defining the
character set (code page)
for the subsequent
encoded data see C.1
ECI
Special ECI identifiers for QR-Code
nesting ECIs.
\EB (ECI Begin) opens a
nesting level,
\EE (ECI End) closes it.
Global Language
PDF417
Identifier (GLI), similar to
ECI (see \E).
FNC1
Code128, EAN-128,
UCC128, Codablock-F
FNC2
Code128, EAN-128,
UCC128, Codablock-F
FNC3
Code128, EAN-128,
UCC128, Codablock-F
FNC4
Code128, EAN-128,
UCC128, Codablock-F
DC1
Code93, Code93Ext
DC2
Code93, Code93Ext
DC3
Code93, Code93Ext
DC4
Code93, Code93Ext
Rs (Record Separator),
PDF417, QR-Code, Data
ASCII 1EHex
Matrix, MaxiCode (Mode
3,4 SCM)
Gs (Group Separator),
PDF417, QR-Code, Data
ASCII 1DHex
Matrix, MaxiCode (Mode

\EB, \EE

\G

\210
\211
\212
\213
\x11
\x12
\x13
\x14
\x1e

\x1d

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3,4 SCM)
Note that to display a \ character requires a double backslash when Translate
Escape Sequences is active.
If Human Readable Text is checked the text encoded by the barcode will also be
displayed. The Format Text checkbox applies the Human Readable Text format to any
displayed text.
Checking Text above barcode will cause the text to be rendered above the barcode
instead of below. At the bottom the displayed text font and size can be selected. The Text
Distance is the distance of the text from barcode bars.
In the general properties tab for barcodes location and position can be set directly
is desired.

The general tab allows manual placement and sizing of the barcode. In addition,
rotation of 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees is available. Z order is the order of printing of the
object, from lowest to highest. The minimum Z value is one. If a value greater than the
number of objects is entered the value will be set to the number of objects (the last to be
rendered). Objects rendered first may be overlaid by objects rendered later.

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3.5.4 Bitmaps

Add a bitmap to the active set of connected pens by clicking the Bitmap button on
the toolbar or selecting Layout->Add Bitmap. A file dialog will open allowing the
selection of a bitmap to import. Large pictures may take a long time to load.
Many image formats are supported and color images will be converted to black
and white on import. Although images can be resized once added to the layout the best
image quality will be available if the image is correctly scaled and converted to black and
white in an image processing program before loading. This will allow more sophisticated
modification of image properties.
It is important to note that image processing programs are designed to correctly
display images on the screen which has an equal horizontal and vertical resolution. If
images appear stretched in the layout it is most likely because the horizontal and vertical
resolutions do not match the print resolution for the layout and thus the image will appear
stretched when printed. For example, a 1 inch by 1 inch image to be printed on a 300 DPI
horizontal by 600 DPI vertical print should be 300 by 600 pixels to appear correctly.
Additionally, note that even when printing at 300 DPI vertical resolution bitmaps should
have 600 pixels per inch in the vertical direction to render correctly.
The bitmap properties allow a new file to be loaded for the selected image or the
position and size to be manually entered. If a rotated bitmap is desired it should be
rotated before it is loaded to ensure the highest quality image.

3.5.5 Conditional Bitmaps

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In the properties screen for a bitmap the bitmap can be changed to a conditional bitmap.
If selected, a data field is selected in the drop down box. The value column in the list
below indicates what value of the data field will cause the picture to be displayed. If the
value is not equal to any value in the list no image will be displayed.
In the screen above two images have been added and Field 2 has been chosen as the data
field with which to compare data values. Large numbers of images may take several
seconds to load.

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4 Workflow
On the Hydra Start screen the Workflow button allows the configuration of the print
operator workflow. This workflow definition will control how the print window is
displayed to the print operator and what layout jobs and data can be configured by the
operator

4.1 Job Source Selection

The first option for Worklfow is selection of job source. A local job source is one
controlled by the local printer and local to the file system of the currently running
printer.There are two options for local jobs, either a fixed job that is always loaded at
print time or an operator selected job. An operator selected job allows the operator to
select a job from the \Hydra\jobs directory for printing.
Remote jobs are controlled by the Hydra remote TCP interface. The local operator
has no control over the print job. A job must be selected via the remote TCP interface
before printing can begin.

4.2 Data Source Selection

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The screen above shows the Data workflow selection screen. Similar to the Job
selection screen, data can be loaded from a local or Hydra Remote TCP interface. The
possible options for local data are None (no data), Fixed data source (the same data is
always loaded at print time), Operator Selected (operator selects local flat file at print
time) and Remote Database.
The Remote Database option, shown selected above, allows the specification of a
remote SQL database that can be accessed via ADO.NET data providers. An appropriate
provider must be installed for the desired database. All locally installed providers will be
listed in the drop down list box below Select ADO Provider. After this is selected, the
correct ADO.NET connection string must be entered to connect to that database.
Familiarity with the format of the ADO.NET connection string for your provider is
essential for correct operation. Finally, the SQL query that will return the data desired for
printing must be entered. This must be a valid sql statement for the provider and database
selected. The columns selected will be used in the order they appear in the result set as
the values of the data field in the layout job. For example, Field 1 in a job will be the first
column in the SQL results set. The correct operation of the remote database can be
verified in the print screen at print time.
If the Data selection is Remote, data can only be loaded via the Hydra Remote
TCP interface or plugin.
Allow Reprints indicates whether the operator should be able to re-print data for
a job. If this is not checked a user with Configure Printer access, either administrator or
Maintenance operator by default, are the only users able to reset the print count for a job.
If this is not checked, the Increment field will be enabled. This number indicates how
much the record count for a job will be incremented when a print session is stopped.

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4.3 Remote Control

The remote control tab is only enabled if either remote job or remote data is configured in
the prior tabs. Currently, only the TCP/IP remote client is supported. Clicking the
configure button allows designation of IP address and port that the remote server will
listen on. By default this is 127.0.0.1 and port 700.
In addition to TCP/IP remote control software plugins that allow different remote
protocols can be added to the product. A standard plugin for remote control via an RS232 serial port is included. See the Simple Serial documentation for more information on
this plugin. To use a plugin, select the Plugin option from the drop down box.

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5 User Management

The User Management button from the Hydra Start screen allows configuration of
role based security for the printer. Checking Require Logon will force user logon
before the start screen is enabled. It will also enable a Logoff button on the Start screen.
When logon is required access to features via the start screen can be controlled using the
three roles shown in the screen above.
If Require Logon is checked ensure that a password is set for at least one user.
This is done by double clicking on the user id.

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When Require Logon is checked the screen above is displayed at application


start. There is no way to exit this screen. The keyboard icon is available below if needed
to enter the user id and password.

5.1 Roles

The screen above shows the tasks that can be controlled via the Role management
window. The Administrator role, shown above, has all functions enabled. Deselecting
tasks will cause the button that allows access to the feature to be hidden for the role.
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Ensure that Manage Users is enabled for at least one role to allow future changes to
users.
If the administrator password is forgotten or you otherwise become locked out of
the program the logon requirement can be disabled by editing the Hydra.config file in
\Hydra\files and setting RequireLogon to no. A default password is also hard coded.
The userid is rsiadmin and the password is rsi. This default can be disabled by setting
DefPwdEnabled to 0 in the Hydra.config file. This is enabled by default.

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6 Configure IO

The configure I/O screen allows specified events to trigger output relay actions. NC
indicates No Change, C indicates close the relay and O indicates open the relay. These
will only have an effect if the RSI I/O controller is included in your printer or you
purchase the optional accessory box with an I/O controller included. Green, Yellow and
Red indicate the relays that are normally connected to the Green, Yellow and Red lights
on the RSI light stack. This light may be an optional accessory with your printer as well.

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7 System Configuration and File Management

This screen is only available if the software is in embedded mode.


On embedded versions of the software the system drive ( C:\ drive) is write
protected for system reliability. To upgrade the Hydra software or make permanent
changes to the operating system disk protection must be disabled first. After any
changes are complete disk protection must be re-enabled for system reliability.
There is no ongoing backup of the system drive incorporated into so leaving write
protection disabled puts the system at a higher risk of complete failure.
The Windows Explorer and Control Panel buttons open the Windows features of
that name. On exiting this window any instances of explorer will be closed.
Backup Data and Restore Data buttons copy the entire Hydra directory structure to a
backup location. Backups are rotated between two locations and are only marked
complete after a successful backup. This will ensure that there will always be at least one
good backup of configuration and job data at all times.
The Backup Data button manually backs up the Hydra directory. Automatic
backups are also made every time printing is stopped, at most once an hour. Clicking
Restore Data copies the last good backup to the Hydra directory. Care should be taken
when using this restore feature as all duplicate files from the backup will overwrite the
current files in the Hydra directory. Any changes made since the last backup will be lost.
Flip Screen inverts the screen 180 degrees. Disk protection must be turned off or
this setting will reset after the next re-start.
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8 Printing
8.1 Loading a job

Printing can be started either from the Main menu screen or by clicking the
Printer icon on the layout toolbar or the File->Print menu option. If printing is started
from the layout editor the currently editing job will be automatically loaded. If not, and
the workflow configuration was set for operator selected job, this screen will be shown
and a job can be selected. A basic summary of the job is also displayed, showing the
number of pens required as well as what objects are on the layout. To the right is the print
history, showing the last print date and time, number of records printed at that time and
the total number of records printed in the history of the job.
The Min. Distance Between Edges is a calculated field. This is the minimum
distance before a new edge will be triggered. This value helps avoid triggering false
edges, for example due to contrasting printing on a label. The value that is in the text box
is the maximum width that will be printed in the job. Any value can be entered here
before printing if desired. This is available only in units of inches.
Total records printed indicates the number of records printed for this job. This
number indicates what record the will be used when printing for this job is started. If
Allow Reprints is not checked the operator will not be able to print records earlier than
this number.
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8.2 Printing

The print tab allows printing to be started. There are three modes to printing.
Selecting Print Continuously starts printing and it will continue until printing is stopped.
Selecting Print to End of Data starts printing and continues until the data that was
loaded is complete. The data that is loaded was specified on the Load data tab. Print
fixed amount prints the number of records specified in the box to the right of the label.
After the print mode is selected Start Print can be pressed. The printer must be powered
on before this button is pressed. Any messages during printer startup or printing will be
shown in the text box below. Typically, each pen needed for the print job should respond
positively and be listed. After at least one pen needed for the job has responded the
printer will be listed as ready to print. If there is an error, for example no pens are
available or the printer is not responding, the printer will not start. Large data sets or a
large number of images in the job may cause a several second pause before printing will
start.
On the right of the screen the name of the current job file and the data file (if in
use) are shown. If either the job and/or data is supplied by the remote TCP client the
client status will be shown below the data file name. The Conveyor speed is at the bottom
of the list on the right. This is updated periodically during printing.
The green square on the lower left indicates ink levels in the attached cartridges.
The ink levels indicated here are estimates based on drops printed. These are available as
an indication of estimated available ink in cartridges, not actual cartridge ink levels.
When the ink in any cartridge drops below 15% the button will turn yellow. The alter the
types and sizes of cartridges or to reset the ink level in cartridges click on the green
button.
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8.2.1 Ink Levels

On this screen are the properties of the attached ink cartridges and the estimated
remaining ink levels. The type of cartridge affects the drop size which will affect the rate
of ink usage estimation. The size (single use or various bulk sizes) can also be selected.

45 | P a g e

If a job requires data it is loaded using the Load Data button, which opens this
screen. The Load Data button is available only if the Workflow settings allow operator
selected data or a remote database (via ADO.NET) is specified. Various flat file formats
can be loaded here. The options for the data file format must be selected before the Load
Data button is pressed. After the data is loaded, the View Data tab will be displayed. If
the data is loaded correctly, the data will be shown here. To load new data, go back to the
Load Data tab and load a new file. The figure below shows the data for three fields
loaded correctly.

The record number is indicated in the left hand column. The data that will be loaded into
[Field 1] on any object in a layout in the current job is listed here. For example, the first
record printed for this job will have the value 1 anywhere [Field 1] is listed on the
layout.
Selecting Print Selected Rows only will put the data grid into select mode so
that whatever rows are clicked will be selected. When the job is printed, only the data
from selected rows will be used to print. If Start from First Selected Row is selected
then when printing is started the data used will be used starting from the first selected row.
Enter a record number and click Go To Record to move to that record in the
loaded database.
It is not possible to edit data in this view. If it is desired to print a subset of data it
should be done by clicking Print Selected Rows Only and selecting the desired data.
If Allow Reprints is not checked in the workflow screen the Print Selected
Rows only and Start from first selected row will not be enabled.

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After printing is started the only button enabled will be the Stop button. The
current print count will be shown in the green box. If records from the current job and
data have already been printed during this print session, the value will start at the last
print count instead of zero. Loading a new job or data file will reset the print count to
zero. When printing is stopped if any records were printed this will be saved to a local
data file. The print count and stop data and time are available in the reporting screen.
In the box below is the print log. Messages regarding printing (and any errors that
may occur during use of the program) are shown here. In this example, Four pens are
licensed for use and required for the loaded job. However, only one pen is connected to
47 | P a g e

the printer. Therefore, the screen shows that pens 2-4 have not responded affirmatively to
the start command. The job will still print, but only the first .5 inches of the layout will be
printed. If at least one pen responds affirmatively to the start print command printing will
continue. The only error that will cause printing to stop is if the head stops responding to
the print controller. Any errors that are generated will be logged here but will not cause
printing to halt.

8.2.2 Print Preview


To preview the print job before printing, click the Print Preview button.
The first image of the print preview will be shown. At the bottom is shown the current
image number (1 in the picture above) and the total number of preview images (39
above). In this example, there were only 39 records in the data loaded and Print to End
of Data was selected so there are only39 preview images. Use the << and >> buttons to
scroll through the images. If Estimate Ink Usage is selected the number of drops in the
entire job will be counted. This will take several seconds depending on the size of the
image. A bitmap file of the current image can be saved by clicking the button with a disk
icon. Clicking on the button with a printer icon will print the current image if any printers
are available. The exit button on the bottom right will close the window. If there are any
errors in the image (for example, it contains elements such as barcodes that are
unavailable) these items will not appear in the print preview, even if they are shown in
the layout. To print any items that do not appear contact your dealer to upgrade your
license.

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9 Printer Configuration

9.1 Print Head Configuration


The printer should be configured before printing. This is done by clicking on the
configuration button in the upper right on the first screen on the print window. This will
open the printer configuration window.

The grid shows the heads and pens available in the current configuration. These
are determined by what licenses are available for this printer, not what pens are
physically connected to the printer. Sections of the job are assigned to the pens in the
order in which they appear on this screen. For example, if a layout 1 inch high is created,
Pen 1 and Pen 2 from Head 1 above would be used to print it. Any other heads or pens
would not be used. The order of the pens listed above can not be changed. However, if
multiple heads are listed their order can be changed in the Advanced Properties screen.
The Distance from Sensor column determines how long the print pen will wait
before firing that pen. The sensor is the object detection sensor that is typically placed
before the print head. Alternatively, this is the distance that the pen will wait before
printing from the internally generated edge signal.
The Fine Adj adjusts the distance of the pen from the sensor by individual
pixels. This number can either be positive (moves the pen away from the sensor) or
negative (towards the sensor). This is useful when stitching one or more pens.
The direction of printing determines the order of firing of the printer nozzles. If
this is set incorrectly the images will appear ghosted or double printed and backwards

49 | P a g e

when printed. This direction is determined by looking at the label of the pen cartridge and
indicating the direction of travel of the transport.
The Change to Metric button at the bottom left allows the units for all tabs on
this screen to be changed to centimeters. The label will change to Change to Inches and
clicking it again will change units back to inches.

9.1.1 Stitching
The Stitching column shows the number of pixels that should be shifted into the
pen above from this pen. The corresponding pixels in the pen above will be blanked. For
example, if pen 2 has a value of 10 then 10 pixels of what would have been on bottom of
pen 1 will be printed at the top of pen 2 and the bottom 10 pixels of pen 1 will be blank.
This allows the image to be overlapped electronically to allow easier stitching of images.
The maximum amount of overlap on any set of stitched pens is 20 pixels. This
maximum applies to each set of joined pens in a job. If more than twenty pixels are
overlapped among any set of joined pens the amount above 20 pixels will be ignored.

9.2 Encoder and Edges

This screen configures the properties of the positional encoder and the edge
sensor.

9.2.1 External Encoder

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For best results an external encoder should be attached to the printer. The encoder speed
indicates the nominal pulses per inch value that the printer will receive from the external
encoder. This value should be set as close to the actual value as possible to ensure the
highest quality printing.

9.2.2 Positional Encoder and InfiniteDPI


Using an external positional encoder allows the print head to determine the
precise speed and location of target materials. This allows precise printing on the
substrate creating high quality prints. The encoder positional accuracy is the most
important aspect of printing outside of the physical attributes of the ink and substrate.
Without precise positional information high quality printing is difficult to achieve.
The positional encoder pulses per inch is the resolution of the encoder that is
attached to the system. The nominal value of the encoder RSI supplies is 300 pulses/in.
For best quality printing, this value must be adjusted to match the actual pulses per inch
generated by the encoder. See Setting up a Printer below for information on
configuring this value.
Alternatively, if the transport for the print medium is relatively stable the internal
encoder can be used. This value is the actual speed of the transport in inches/second or
cm/second. For best print quality using the internal encoder use a vertical DPI of 300.
This will eliminate blur in the image and speed variations will only cause the printed
image to stretch or shrink.
The Disable InfiniteDPI check box causes the printer to print at a small subset
of allowable DPIs. This must be checked if a set of connected pens spans two or more
heads to ensure proper alignment of printed images. If this box is checked, only
horizontal resolutions of 600,300,200 and 150 DPI may be used in the job. In addition,
the same DPI must be used for all pens on all heads. Different sets of connected pens may
still have varying widths for their layouts with InifiniteDPI disabled.
The internal edge generator creates a simulated edge sense at the specified
interval after the start button is pressed. Although this feature is tied to the positional
encoder some drift may occur and is used primarily for troubleshooting and installation
purposes.
Normally, the Edge Sensor signals an edge when the input value falls from logic
high to logic low. Inverting the edge sensor causes an edge to be signaled when the input
goes from logic low to logic high.

9.3 Upgrades

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9.3.1 Firmware upgrade


Upgrading the firmware requires a valid firmware image from RSI. The printer
must be turned on and connected to the controller computer before beginning the process.
After clicking the button a valid firmware image must be selected to upload to the printer.
After selecting the firmware image the upgrade will begin automatically. A message
indicating successful upgrade will be displayed when the process is complete.

9.3.2 Add Pen


A pen can only be added to a head with fewer than 4 pens. If an upgrade is attempted on
a head with 4 pens an error will be generated. After successful addition of a pen, the new
pen will appear on the Print Head Properties tab. A RSI smart card reader and smart
card with available pen upgrades is required to add pens to a head.

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9.4 Advanced Properties

On this tab some advanced properties of each head configured can be made. The
voltage and fire time can be set for each head. These values should be set according the
ink used for printing. The pen fire voltage can be 5.0 to 13.2 volts and the pen fire time
can be anywhere from 1.0 us to 3.1 us. The Head IP address can not be changed as it is
fixed permanently on the print head. The local IP address for each head can be changed if
desired. However, the rules for IP routing must be respected. Generally this value should
not be changed without a good understanding of the IP protocol. If the Head IP does not
match the IP address on the outside of the print controller attached the printer will not
start.
If the printer will be run at high speeds the pen fire time should be kept short. For
maximum speed the pulse width should be 1.7us or less. If the image is printed wider
than is set in the job either the encoder was not adjusted correctly (see Encoder and
Edges). If the pulse width is reduced the voltage should be increased to maintain the
correct energy to enable the head to fire. Print quality may vary with varying pulse width
and voltage settings.
If multiple heads are available the arrow keys on the lower left will be enabled.
These are used to move the selected head up or down on the list if it is desired to change
to order in which the pens are assigned to the layouts.
If a head is moved or added to this printer it can be added by clicking on Add
Head and selecting the printer configuration file for the new head. This file is included
with any head purchase on a portable storage device. After adding a head the program
will prompt to save the new configuration file. This should be stored separately from the
controller as a backup in case of controller failure.
The Warming column is used to set the pen warming temperature (in degrees
Celsius) for each head. All pens on that head will be warmed to that temperature.
Warming will be turned on when printing is started and turns off when the printer is
stopped. When a new cartridge is placed in a pen stall care should be taken to make sure
53 | P a g e

it is close to the ambient temperature of the print station as this will improve the accuracy
of the warming temperature set point. Care should be taken while using warming as it can
reduce decap time for pen cartridges. In addition some inks do not work with warming
enabled.

9.5 Images and Data

This screen allows the configuration of the data mode for the printer.
In Sequential mode the printer takes data records one at a time and uses the data
for each subsequent print record. For example, the first image for all pens uses data from
the first available record, the second image the second set of data and so on. The renderer
buffers up to 32 images when printing is started. This allows different images to be
printed simultaneously on large arrays of print heads.
In Single buffer mode only one record of data is held in memory at a time and is
used the next time an edge is detected. If there is no data in the buffer when an edge is
detected nothing will be printed for any images that have data on the next print. This
mode is also useful for keeping time stamps current when printing is frequently paused
(the printer is not stopped but target items stop triggering, for example when a line is
stopped.) Since the image is not rendered until an edge is detected the time stamps will
also be current when an image is printed. Depending on the complexity of the image and
speed of the transport there is a minimum distance required between the edge sensor and
the first pen in this mode. Typically 5 (12 cm) is sufficient, but it may be more or less
depending on the above mentioned variables.
In Repeat mode each data record is repeated the specified number of times before
moving to the next data record.
Render on Demand mode causes images to be rendered only upon sensor edge
detection. This mode is automatically enabled when Single Buffer mode is selected.
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Render on demand allows the data buffer to be empty except when the trigger for the next
image is received. At least one record must be in the data buffer or a buffer underflow
message will be logged and the printer stopped.

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9.6 Spitting

Spitting primes the nozzles on the head. If spitting is turned on it will always occur
on the first print, regardless of the spit timeout value. After that it will only occur after
the Spit timeout.
Spit lines are the number of lines to print when the Spit timeout happens. The Spit
timeout is in seconds. The Spit timeout counter starts after the end of the prior image.
Spit distance is the distance from the leading edge of the print image to spit. This
must be less than the distance of the pens from the edge sensor. This setting is per head,
so if the distance is less than the pen to sensor distance on some pens spitting will occur
on those pens. If the spit distance is greater than the distance on other pens spitting will
not occur.

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10 Reporting

The main reporting screen show the print history for this printer. The left pane shows all
jobs that have been printed. Clicking on a job in the left pane will display the detailed
print history in the right pane. The pieces per hour for short run times may be inaccurate
due to rounding. The drops printed is based on actual drops printed at the printer. The
volume of ink actually used will vary based on pen settings and print conditions. The
Save button saves the print history as an HTML file.

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The screen above shows the audit log. Last login for the three built in ids as well as
operating parameters for the printer are also shown.

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11 Setting up a printer
11.1 Major Components of the printer
11.1.1

Hardware

The Hydra printer hardware comes in several hardware configurations. If it does


not have an integrated print controller an RJ45 Ethernet connection allows complete
control over the printer. This Ethernet connection should never be connected to other
networks or devices as print quality could be affected. This Ethernet connection must be
a dedicated connection between the HMI and the print controllers. If multiple print heads
are connected to a single controller a single 1Gb switch should be used to connect the
print heads. Some versions of the Hydra printer have the switch incorporated into the
hardware.

11.1.2

Software

The software is available as a standalone installation package or bundled as an


embedded solution with an industrial computer. If installed from the standalone package
the section Software Installation should be followed.

11.2 Encoder Speed Scaling


The actual value of the pulses per inch of any encoder must be set in the printer
configuration. Using the InifiniteDPI mode of the Hydra printer makes this an easy task.
Every installation contains one test job called PenTest.job in the \Hydra\jobs directory.
This is a 300 DPI image that contains a four inch image plus two nozzle priming bars on
either side. If this image is printed then length of the center image should be exactly four
inches long. If it is not, the External encoder speed setting in Printer Configuration
should be adjusted until the image is four inches long (excluding the nozzle priming bars)
when printed. Even if the printer will not be operated in InifiniteDPI the encoder
configuration should be done in this mode to ensure accurate calibration.

12 Resolution and Barcodes


Printing barcodes requires paying special attention to the resolution of the printer,
especially if barcodes are small. Barcodes require a specific ratio of dark and light
sections to be read properly. Because the printer job has a particular resolution (for
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example, 300 DPI) the barcode light and dark sections must be fall along the columns of
dots for the resolution of printing selected. For example, if a module size of 3.333 mils is
chosen for a 1D barcode, either 300 or 600 DPI would be an optimal resolution. At 300
DPI each line of pixels is printed every 3.333 mils and 600 DPI is half that.
The module size of a particular resolution can be found by dividing 1 by the
resolution. For example, at 300 dpi, the minimum module size that can be printed
accurately is 3.333 mils. Therefore, to print the barcode with high accuracy, the module
size must be a multiple of 3.333 at 300 DPI or some distortion of the barcode will occur.
If the barcode is large, this might not be noticeable. However, small barcodes may not be
scannable if the module size is not chosen correctly.
In the layout window the available module sizes for barcodes are selected based
on the horizontal resolution. It is always best to select the module size directly for
printing. If the barcode is instead fit to its bounding box the module size will be selected
automatically at print time and some distortion of the barcode may occur.
In addition, some bleeding of ink may occur during printing, causing the barcode
ratio of dark to light areas to be distorted. Therefore, pixel shaving may be necessary to
adjust for this bleeding. Since the amount of ink bleed varies widely based on the ink and
substrate the best method for selecting the appropriate amount of pixel shaving is
experimentation.

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13 Upgrading Software
If your printer came with an embedded controller upgrade the software as follows:
-

Click the System Configuration and File management button.


Click Disable disk protection and reboot
After reboot, go to Windows explorer via the System Configuration and File
management execute the upgrade file that was provided or downloaded.
The printer software will stop then re-start.
Click the System Configuration and File management button.
Click Enable disk protection and reboot

14 Backing up and Restoring Data


The primary data drive is listed as Drive1 in the RSIPrint.config file in the
C:\Program Files\RSI directory. By default, this is the C drive. Drive2 is the automatic
backup drive. This is also the C drive in the default installation. After printing is stopped
(but at most once an hour) a complete backup of the \Hydra directory is made. Two
rotating copies of the data directory are created. If the primary data directory becomes
corrupted the data from these directories can be used to restore your jobs, printer license
files and other information. This backup process guards against data corruption or
accidental file deletion during operation.
Although the automatic backup process guards against corruption, it does not
guard against disk failure. Regular backups of important files should be made to avoid
data loss.

15 Recovering from Disk Failure


Power failure or other events can cause disk corruption of writable partitions. If the
data drive (D:\) on an embedded system the partition can be recovered from the
automatic backups manually. At boot, the system detects the data failure and starts
the Windows explorer desktop and opens the System Configuration window.

15.1 Recovering the data drive


1. Hold the shift key down during boot or hit CTL-ALT-DEL after startup to
logoff. Log on as administrator.
2. Check to ensure the E:\ drive is available by looking for it in the list of drives
under My Computer in the explorer interface. If it is not, the Hydra directory
should be recovered from an external backup.
3. If the D:\ drive is available but no files are on it format the D: drive and copy
the hydra directory from the directory named 1 on the E:\ drive.
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4. Reboot.

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16 Troubleshooting the Hydra Printer


TIP: The Ethernet cable must be plugged into the left Ethernet socket as you face
the printer.
Symptom
Print Log No valid local IP
address

Possible Causes
Ethernet adapter not
configured correctly

No Ethernet connection or
bad Ethernet cable

Possible Solution
Value of Local IP Address
in Advanced Printer
Settings must match
Ethernet adapter address
Check cable, ensure both
ends are connected. Check
to make sure printer is
powered on.
Connect cable or test known
good Ethernet cable.

Printer not powered on

Power on printer

Invalid Printer License

Value of Head IP Address


in Advanced Printer
Settings must match value
on the front of the print
unit.
If the print head is
connected the firmware
version will be printed in
the log window. If so,
verify that at least one pen
with an ink cartridge is
available. The pen must be
in a position that is required
for the print job. A message
of Head # Pen #
connected. will appear for
each pen needed for the job
that is connected.

Printer not powered on or


connected
Print Log Printer not
responding. Check to make
sure the printer is connected
and powered on.

No attached pens

Printer starts, but no images


print

Job has no printable objects


Pen cartridge nozzles
clogged

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Run print preview for the


job to make sure the images
are not blank.
If the cartridge has been
idle for a long time it is
possible all nozzles are
clogged. Clean the cartridge

Encoder not connected or


configured incorrectly

Edge sensor is not


connected or failed

Invalid cartridges

Incorrect Voltage or Fire


Time

Print quality is poor

Nozzles are clogged

Encoder not calibrated


Direction of travel for pen
not set correctly

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and replace if necessary.


Verify the encoder settings
in the Printer configuration
and check to make sure
encoder wheel is connected
and turning. The speed of
the encoder should be
greater than zero in the print
window when printing.
Verify edge sensor is
triggering. Hit CTL-ALT-M
with the cursor in the print
status window. A message
for each edge should appear
in the window when an
edge is detected.
If the printer requires
licensed cartridges and they
are not detected at print
start an Invalid Cartridge
message will appear. No
pens with invalid cartridges
will print.
In the Printer Configuration
window under advanced
settings ensure that the
voltage and fire time are not
too low.
Print nozzles can become
clogged if the printer is idle
and the cartridge is not
capped. Check the decap
time for the ink in use. If
the printer will be idle for
extended periods during
printing turn on spitting to
clear the nozzles before the
next print or wipe the pens.
See the section entitle
Setting up a Printer in this
manual.
The direction of travel for a
pen is the direction looking
down at the top of the
cartridge from the back
(where the connector is

Target too far from pen


while printing

Transport moving too fast

Printer stops while printing

Print controller stopped


responding
Pen cartridge fails

Hydra Software does not


start

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Corrupt data drive (D:\)

located). The label of the


cartridge should be facing
away from you as you look
at the top.
The maximum distance for
printing is approximately
1/8 (3mm). Any farther
any the drops will begin to
diverge, causing the print to
appear blurred.
The maximum speed for the
transport is 333 ft/min ( at
300 DPI). The speed of the
transport is shown while
printing on the print screen.
If a print controller is
powered down, loses
connectivity or otherwise
fails the printer will stop.
If any of the pens that were
connected at print start fails
an error code will be printed
and printing will stop.
Restore partition and
recover data from E:\ drive
backup