Debugging Problems with SNMP Hardware Checking

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The manual has a section on troubleshooting Hardware Checks Troubleshooting which provides some guidance on working out what may be going wrong with the Hardware Checking. Below is more discussion on this topic.

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Common Problems Setting Up Hardware Checking

The installation is on Windows and you have forgotten to set up a PaperCut TCP/IP port for your printer.

To gain control of sending the print job to the printer and in order to check on the SNMP state before and after the print job, we need to have a custom Port Type for Windows. If you don’t use our port but rather the Standard TCP/IP port then no extra hardware checking will be done even if you have enabled hardware checking for the printer in the printer details page for PaperCut. See the following section in the manual to set up the port: Windows Printer Queue Configuration

You have forgotten to enable the feature on the printer of interest.

You need to enable the “Validate Page Count” option on every printer that you want to monitor. To make this simpler for other printers you can set this up on the Template Printer or copy over the printer settings to other printers. The enabling is discussed in the manual here: Configuring the Hardware Checks

Do you have to use the “public” SNMP community name?

No, since PaperCut version 11.5, you can modify the community string in the file:

[app-path]/providers/print/[platform]/print-provider.conf.

The lines in the file look like:

#
# Change the SNMP community string that is used at the Print Provider layer when communicating
# to printers via SNMP.
# For example, this setting will be used by Hardware Check Validation to retrieve SNMP printer state data.
#   Default: public
#
SNMPCommunity=mycommunity

If you change the community string and want to test if it has worked, then you can use the PaperCut program of pc-print-monitor (mentioned below) to test it. This program will read the print-provider.conf configuration file.

Printer errors which are not fatal

The SNMP standard for Printers reports a number of possible printer error states which the printer can concurrently be in. Some of these errors cause the Printer to stop printing jobs and some of the errors are more like warnings and just report some unusual state or an impending problem. The Hardware Checking is interested in the former errors which actually prevent the job from printing and require a person to fix the problem to allow printing to continue. If we have one of these critical errors, then we will not finish with this print job until the error is cleared. This allows us to determine the number of pages printed at the printer after the error has been rectified. A common example is that the printer runs out of paper. We will wait for more paper to be added (so that the error state is cleared) and will then report on the page count.

However, on some printers, what we think may be a critical error may actually not stop printing from occurring. If you are then sure that a particular error is not a problem then you can set a configuration variable to ignore it. In order to check on what the current state of the printer is, please run the following command:

On Windows you can run:

[app-path]\providers\print\win\pc-print-monitor.exe -p -h [printer-ip]

On Mac/Linux/Novell you can run:

[app-path]/providers/print/[platform]/pc-print-monitor -p -h [printer-ip]

In order to ignore this error, please contact support with information about this non-critical error so that we can track this information. We will give you a line to add to your print-provider.conf file.

Color print counts not supported on this printer.

There are many makes and models of printers and they all have a number of page count metrics which are specific to the particular printer. An important example of such a metric is the number of color pages printed on the printer. We have the SNMP codes for many printers for these metrics but there are a number of printers that we don’t have this information. If you are finding that the color page count is not being checked for your printer then we are probably missing this information. Please see the KB article PrinterSupportHardwareChecks for guidance on how you can help us out in this area.

Incorrect Page Counts on Sharp Printers/MFPs.

Some Sharp printers have had a setting whereby the SNMP printer state has been disabled. This means that with this setting the printer state of “idle” and “printing” and error states are not exported by SNMP. PaperCut hardware checking relies on this state information and will have a difficult time operating without it. A Sharp technician needs to check simulation 55–03 and software switch SW9 to see if bit 5 is set to 1 or 0. PaperCut needs this bit to be disabled and have a value of 0. If it has a value of 1 then it needs to be changed for PaperCut hardware validation to work reliably.

NOTE: This setting also affects the maintenance flag. A maintenance flag simply means some counter has reached a predetermined threshold and preventative maintenance action should be done. It’s like an oil change for the car. Nothing is broken and the unit can continue to work but a technician visit should be scheduled. If the setting is 1 then when the flag happens the MFP will continue to function. If the setting is 0 then when the flag happens the MFP will be out of service. So if the setting is changed to 0 in order to work with PaperCut’s Hardware Page Counting, then you need to be aware that if the maintenance count is reached it will take the MFP out of service even though it should still be able to function.

To verify if the printing state is exported by SNMP, you can use the pc-print-monitor command:

[app-path]\providers\print\[platform]\pc-print-monitor.exe -P -h [printer-ip]

and then send a print job to the printer. It should change from “idle” to “printing” state when it is printing.

Turning On Debug Level Logging For Hardware Checking

For Windows, please see the section on turning on debug logging for the PaperCut Port monitor as described in the knowledge based article How To Enable Debug Logging In The PaperCut Port Monitor.

For Mac or Linux, please turn on debugging if asked by support, by referring to the instructions in the knowledge base article How to Enable Debug in the Print Provider.


Categories: Hardware Checking


Keywords: diagnose diagnosing snmp hardware validation debug troubleshooting problems

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Article last modified on April 13, 2017, at 12:36 AM
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