Ye Olde Express Lane Software, Receipt Printers, and Windows 10

We have lots of receipt printers in the library.  Some are attached to staff checkout stations (basically regular computers); some are attached to self checks running Express Lane.  We no longer have support for Express Lane, and all the hardware associated with it is… 6+ years old? Maybe 10+. I’m not actually sure.  Anyway the Express Lane self checks are where our current problems are. 

The Saga of the Children’s Room Self Check

Back in November, the self check in Children’s started acting up.  The receipt printer button disappeared from the software. Switching the receipt printer (a Star TSP 100 Future Print) to a different USB port made the receipt printer button show up again… but it broke the RFID pad. 

We went back and forth for a while with one or the other working, before getting the RFID pad up and running and accepting that there wouldn’t be receipt printing from that station anymore (at least temporarily). Telling Windows to update drivers didn’t help; upgrading Windows from 7 to 10 didn’t help; telling Windows not to manage printer preferences didn’t help. 

When I got Windows 10 on there, a giant queue of old receipts did start to print out, and had to be canceled.  I was also able to print test pages on the printer. But the “print receipt” button did not show up in the Express Lane software at that point, and we were unable to find a way to make it appear.  

A week or two later, I shuffled receipt printers around so that the nicer receipt printer on the self check (where it wasn’t doing any good) could go to another computer where it WOULD do some good.  The Star TSP 100 Future Print was perfectly happy on the other computer after I manually downloaded its drivers to make the computer recognize it as a printer. And the Star TSP700II that I put on the Children’s self check was immediately recognized by the computer AND it made the “print receipt” button show up in Express Lane! 

I tried to do a checkout, and a job was sent to that receipt printer–I could see it in the printer’s queue. But it didn’t ever print, even though I let it sit there for upwards of 15 minutes while I was doing other things. 

Current Status: Baffled

Self Check #3 at Main Circ (Save an OXPS File)

Meanwhile, Windows 10 updates were rolling out throughout the library.  I put Windows 10 on a self check upstairs, which had previously been playing just fine with its receipt printer (a Star TSP743II).  After the update, the “print receipt” button continued to exist in Express Lane… but if you hit it, you’d get a Save window instead of having a receipt just print out. 

The file type it was trying to save was .oxps, which I read doesn’t play with Windows 7.  I knew that receipt printing used to work in Windows 7, so I told Windows to use .xps instead of .oxps.  This did nothing except change what file type I’m asked to save when I hit the “print receipt” button.

Telling Windows to update the receipt printer’s drivers accomplished nothing.  Manually updating the drivers from Star’s website did get me a newer version of the drivers, now featuring a way-too-wide right margin that’s cutting off the text when I print a test page.  The “print receipt” button still shows up in Express Lane, but it’s bringing up a save dialog rather than actually printing the receipt. Switching back to .oxps didn’t fix any of this.  

Current Status: Baffled

Ridiculous Slowness at a Branch

We also installed Windows 10 on a self check at one of our branches.  On *that* self check, I have a report that the receipt printed… after a 5-minute wait.  That’s clearly not going to cut it from a patron’s point of view! The printer model there is a Star TSP700II.

Current Status: WTF

Conclusion

So basically… we have 3 self check stations running Windows 10.  All of them are now connected to a Star TSP700II receipt printer. 

  • One prints receipts after a ridiculous, unusable delay.
  • One tries to save the receipts instead of printing them. 
  • One does nothing when you tell it to print a receipt.  

On the bright side, I know that Express Lane recognizes Star TSP700II receipt printers. Woooo?

Updates

Factoids I forgot to include yesterday:

  • Until yesterday, both Self Check #3 and the Children’s self check were using driver version 3.1.0.0. I manually updated Self Check #3 to version 3.6a yesterday; that’s when its margins got wonky.
  • I tried making it so that the Children’s self check couldn’t put USB devices to sleep to save power, just in case that’s what was happening. It didn’t help.
  • Also I noticed today that the Children’s self check had Microsoft XPS Writer listed as a printer and Self Check #3 didn’t. I figured out how to get XPS Writer to show up on Self Check #3… but it didn’t change the fact that Self Check #3 still asks users to save the .oxps file.

Current Status:

  • 1/9/20: Still baffled. Self Check #3 still asks users to save the receipt file. Children’s self check has moved on to not even putting a receipt in the printer’s queue (?!).
  • 1/21/20: All three self checks at main circ are doing the try-to-save-a-file thing when you tell them to print a receipt… but the self check in Children’s has had a miraculous recovery. It works. (But WHY?!?!)