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Supplement to MP65415–2

Remote Communications

Remote Communications
Introduction
This document has been produced as a supplement to the Linx 6800 Operating Manual (part number
MP65415–2). It describes how to set up the Linx 6800 printer in order to facilitate remote
communications, using the Data Input Protocol or the Linx PC Communications Manager, and how
to switch the printer to Quiet Mode. This document should be read in conjunction with the Linx 6800
Operating Manual.

Contents
Introduction..................................................................................................................................................... 1
Contents .......................................................................................................................................................... 1
Setting up a Remote Device............................................................................................................................ 1
To Connect a Remote Device ...................................................................................................................... 1
Changing the Communications Settings......................................................................................................... 2
Using the Data Input Protocol...................................................................................................................... 2
Configuring the Data Input Protocol............................................................................................................ 3
Creating a Remote Field ................................................................................................................................. 9
Using the Linx PC Communications Manager ............................................................................................. 10
Enabling Quiet Mode.................................................................................................................................... 10

Setting up a Remote Device


Read this section in conjunction with the 6800 Operating Manual, Appendix A, ‘Installation
and Setup’.

To Connect a Remote Device


You must connect the remote device to the Linx 6800 printer using an RS232 interface cable. To do
this:
1. Connect the RS232 interface cable between the remote device and the printer rear panel RS232
connector.
CAUTION: EMC performance may be compromised by the use of unsuitable devices and
cables. Use only Linx approved accessories.

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Changing the Communications Settings


Read this section in conjunction with the 6800 Operating Manual, Chapter 8, ‘Changing
System Setup’.
This section describes how to change the communications settings in order to use the Data Input
Protocol for remote communications. These settings include the current protocol and the Data Input
Protocol set up.
If you are using the Linx PC Communications Manager for remote communications, refer to the
section ‘Using the Linx PC Communications Manager’ for further information.

Using the Data Input Protocol


The Linx 6800 printer uses the Data Input Protocol to facilitate the receipt of incoming data from a
remote device. Remote devices must be RS232-compatible; device types such as bar code scanners,
programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and PCs can be used.
The Data Input Protocol provides these two facilities:
● Selecting a Message
● Setting Remote Fields

Prerequisities
● A Linx-supplied configuration code
● Software Version 1.05, or above
● User Level C, or above
● An RS232 interface cable

Setting Up the Data Input Protocol


To set up the Data Input Protocol, do the following:
● Connect the remote device. See ‘Setting the Remote Device’ for details
● Configure the communications settings. See ‘Configuring the Data Input Protocol’ for details
● Create the remote field (s). See the Linx 6800 Operating Manual, ‘Creating a Remote Field’ in
Chapter 4, ‘Creating and Editing Messages’. Refer also to the section in this document
‘Creating a Remote Field’
● Read the section ‘Guidelines and Recommendations’

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Remote Communications

Configuring the Data Input Protocol


To enable remote communications to use the Data Input Protocol, you must configure the
communications settings. To do this, use the Comms > Protocol function on the Setup menu:

Figure 1. Setup Menu (Protocol Menu Item)

To Set Up the Data Input Protocol


At the Main Window, press the Menu [ ] key.
1. Select Setup > Comms > Protocol. The RS232 Port Protocol Setup dialog box is displayed.
2. At the Current Protocol setting, select the Data Input Protocol from the drop-down list. The
Setup button is now enabled:

Figure 2. RS232 Port Protocol Setup Dialog Box


NOTES:
1. In order to use the Linx Sync Downloading Software, the Linx PC Communications
Manager, or any other Linx associated product, the Current Protocol setting must be set to
RPC Protocol.
2. Following any system downloading procedure, the Current Protocol setting must be
changed back to Data Input Protocol in order to continue to use the Data Input Protocol
for remote communications.

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3. Select the Setup button at the RS232 Port Protocol Setup dialog box (see Figure 2). The Data
Input Protocol dialog box is displayed:

Figure 3. Data Input Protocol Dialog Box

4. Use the Data Input Protocol dialog box to specify which function you wish the incoming data
to carry out:

Select this option… to…


Message Selection enable the printer to use the incoming data to select a message, for
example, if the incoming data is ‘ABC’, then the printer attempts to
select a message with the name ‘ABC’. Note that if there is not a
matching message name stored in the printer then the data is ignored.
Go to Step 6.
Remote Fields enable the printer to use the incoming data to set one or more remote
fields. Incoming data fills the remote field(s) by splitting the data over
the remote fields, according to the field name(s) and the number of
characters specified.
When you select this option, the Remote Field settings are enabled:

Figure 4. Remote Field Option


Go to Step 5.

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Remote Communications

5. When you select the Remote Field option at the Data Input Protocol dialog box (see Step 4),
you use the following settings to set up the names of the fields to which the incoming data is to
be downloaded, together with the relevant number of characters:
NOTE: The names of the fields specified here must match the names of the fields created
using the Insert > Remote Field function in the Message Editor.

Use this… to…


Field Name view and select the field names that you are setting up. To select (highlight) a
field name, press the Up [ ] and Down [ ] arrow keys.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The order in which the field names are listed here
dictates the order that the incoming data is distributed.
Chars view the number of characters set for the field name.
NOTES:
1. If the number of incoming characters exceeds the number specified,
the additional characters are ignored.
2. If there are insufficient incoming characters, extra spaces are added to
fill the field.
Add open the Add/Edit Field dialog box:

Figure 5. Adding a Field Name


At Field Name, type in the name of the field.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Field Name specified here must match the field
name (Source Name) specified when you create the remote fields in the
Message Editor (Insert > Remote Field).
At No. Chars, specify the number of characters from the incoming data to be
downloaded into that field.
Press the OK [ ] key to save the settings and close the dialog box.
Up move the highlighted field name up one entry.
Down move the highlighted field name down one entry.
Edit open the Add/Edit Field dialog where you can amend an existing (highlighted)
field name and number of characters.
Delete delete the highlighted field name.

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6. Select the Advanced button at the Data Input Protocol dialog box (see Figures 3 & 4). The
Advanced Settings dialog box is displayed:

Figure 6. Advanced Settings Dialog Box


Note that the example above shows the default setting values.
7. Use the Advanced Settings dialog box to view and to change the format of the incoming data
and the baud rate.
For further information about the format of the incoming data, see the section below ‘Protocol
Reference Information’.
8. At the Advanced Settings dialog box, use the following settings to configure the format of the
incoming data to suit your requirements:

Use this… to…


Preamble 1/2 specify the preamble byte character/s. At Preamble 1 and/or Preamble 2, select a
character from the drop-down list, or, for any other character, you can type in the
decimal value. Default values are blank. See the section ‘Protocol Reference
Information’ below for further details.
Note: If you are using Unicode transmission, ensure that the Preamble value does
not conflict with any of the Unicode character set values. If necessary, change the
value to avoid any conflict.
Postamble 1/2 specify the postamble byte character/s. At Postamble 1 and/or Postamble 2,
select a character from the drop-down list, or, for any other character, you can
type in the decimal value. Default values are CR and LF. See the section ‘Protocol
Reference Information’ below for further details.
Note: If you are using Unicode transmission, ensure that the Postamble value
does not conflict with any of the Unicode character set values. If necessary,
change the value to avoid any conflict.
Baud Rate drop down the list and select a baud rate. Default is 9600. Maximum speed is
115200.
Ack enable an ACK response after receiving incoming data (whether successful or
not). Default is disabled—no responses are sent to any messages received.
Unicode Input enable receipt of data in Unicode (two-byte character) format. This is the data
segment of the incoming data packet only, excluding preamble, postamble and
ACK bytes. Default is disabled—ASCII format. See also Notes below.

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Use this… to…


Notes:
1. Unicode characters must be transmitted in Big Endian Format.
2. Make sure that the Unicode character values are not the same as either the
Preamble value or the Postamble value.
Debug Information assist in the diagnosis of any connection problems.
Last field indicates the last communication error encountered by the protocol.
Last Data field shows the last 64 bytes received by the protocol; the most recent
item is shown first.
Defaults reset all the Advanced Settings dialog box settings to their default values (as
shown in Figure 6).

9. Press the OK [ ] key to accept the changes and exit the Advanced Settings dialog box, OR,
press the Cancel [ ] key to discard the changes and exit the Advanced Settings dialog box. The
Data Input Protocol dialog box is redisplayed.
10. Press the OK [ ] key to save the settings and close the dialog box. The RS232 Port Protocol
Setup dialog box is redisplayed.
11. Press the OK [ ] key to save the settings and close the dialog box. The Installation dialog box
is displayed:

Figure 7. Installation Dialog Box


12. Press the OK [ ] key to acknowledge the message. The Main Window is redisplayed.
13. Restart the printer. To do this, shut down and power off the printer, then switch the printer back
on again.

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Protocol Reference Information


Incoming Data Format
The format of the incoming data that can be received by the 6800 printer is as follows:

Figure 8. Incoming Data Packet Format


Default Data Format
The default format of the data received by the 6800 printer using the Data Input Protocol has no
preamble bytes, and the postamble bytes are a CR/LF pair:

Figure 9. Default 6800 Data Packet Format


Example Format
Where the remote device uses STX/ETX to define a packet boundary, the 6800 printer can be set up
to accept data in the following format:

Figure 10. Example Data Packet Format

Guidelines and Recommendations


System Performance
The system performance varies in terms of the timing, according to the status of the printer, and the
function being performed.
• When selecting a message, the complexity of the message being selected, and the number of
messages stored on the printer must also be considered.
• When setting remote fields, the size and number of fields must also be considered.
Contact your Linx distributor if you require further details.
NOTE: To ensure optimum system performance during remote communication transmission,
always switch the printer into Quiet Mode before starting to transmit data.

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Remote Field Data


When printing remote field data, the device supplying the data must be synchronized with the printer
to ensure that the data contained in a remote field is correct for the particular product on which it
prints.
For time-critical applications, you need some form of triggering device that provides the remote
device with a signal per print cycle. (Triggering requirements are determined by your production line
application). In addition, the remote device must be capable of handling external triggers. Note that it
may be necessary to use additional hardware, such as an I/O card. Contact your local Linx distributor
if you need further assistance.
When using a trigger as a method of synchronization, it is important to consider the point at which
the remote field data is transferred during the print cycle. If the data is transferred after the start of
print, or between the end of the previous print and the start of the next print, then the data will be
seen in the next print.
NOTE: If data is still being transferred at the point at which the print starts, then data will be lost,
and an error ‘3.07 Over Speed (Asynchronous Data)’ will occur.

Creating a Remote Field


Read the following notes in conjunction with the 6800 Operating Manual, ‘Creating a Remote
Field’ in Chapter 4, ‘Creating and Editing Messages’.
NOTES:
1. Data can only be received by the printer once it has been programmed with a Linx-supplied
configuration code, and either the Data Input Protocol, or the Linx PC Communications
Manager has been set up:
● If you are using the Linx PC Communications Manager, install the Linx PC
Communications Manager onto a remote computer linked to the printer, and implement
the 6800 printer interface component. Refer to the supplied CD (FA75024) for set up
instructions and documentation
OR
● If you are using the Data Input Protocol, configure the printer to use the Data Input
Protocol. Refer to the section in this document ‘Using the Data Input Protocol’ for set
up instructions
2. For optimum system performance during remote communication transmission, you should
enable Quiet Mode before you start transmitting data. See the section in this document
‘Enabling Quiet Mode’ for further details.

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Remote Communications

Using the Linx PC Communications Manager


If you are using the Linx PC Communications Manager for remote communications, do the
following:
● Refer to the supplied Linx PC Communications Manager CD (FA75024), for installation, set up
and usage instructions
● Ensure that the ‘Current Protocol’ setting on the Linx 6800 printer is set to the default protocol,
RPC Protocol. To check this setting, use the Setup > Comms > Protocol function

Enabling Quiet Mode


To ensure optimum download speed while the printer is receiving incoming remote data, the printer
must be switched to Quiet Mode. Note that printing continues when the printer is in Quiet Mode,
however, the user interface is disabled.
To enable Quiet Mode:
1. At the Main Window, press the Menu [ ] key.
2. Select Setup > Comms > Quiet Mode. The Quiet Mode Enabled dialog box is displayed:

Figure 11. Quiet Mode Enable Dialog Box


This dialog box remains displayed while the printer is in Quiet Mode.
3. To exit from Quiet Mode and enable the user interface, enter your password and press the OK
[ ] key. Note that the password you enter must be the Level C password, or higher.
The Main Window is redisplayed.

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