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My label printer—Brother P-Touch 2430 PC—can do about 60 labels before I have to change the tape. My typical print job is 300 labels. If I add 300 print jobs into the print queue, when the tape runs out the printer doesn’t stop. It continues attempting to print, even though it has no more tape left and proceeds to delete these “printed” jobs from the queue.

So in practice, I have to babysit the printer so I can immediately intervene when I see that it is not actually printing anymore. I empty the whole print queue, manually examine up to what point it managed to print, change the tape and then re-add the remaining jobs and restart printing.

Each label is different and it is important that I don’t miss any or print any twice, as they are address labels used for shipping products. Having a missed label would cause someone not to receive their shipment, having an extra one means I would ship twice.

How do I make this process more sane?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Personally I would suggest using a different printer, especially in a business situation. One with a higher capacity will be quicker, more economical with ink/thermals and alot more robust long term.

We use Toshiba TEC’s here (have 3x B-SV4T and 6x B-572) for everything from plant bed labels, shipping labels, plant retail labels and addresses for letter envelopes (I work in a plant nursery). Some weekly prints are nearly a thousand labels.

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Are you using them with a Mac? – user16145 Dec 2 '11 at 10:44
No, combination of Win2k, Win7 and Linux (Ubuntu). Some are spooled via our server (linux) from databases (My SQL with Access front ends) using a 'Jetstream' device. Other (newer) ones are using D-Link print servers (so spooled locally) and the SV4T's are all done locally (using USB) on Windows 2000. – HaydnWVN Dec 2 '11 at 12:53

The only reasonable thing I can think of is to use a printer and driver which know to stop when the supply runs out. Given that, Mac OS X should handle automatically resuming when you've taken care of it.

It is possible that the printer knows its supply levels and the driver ignores the information, in which case perhaps there is an different (open-source, perhaps) driver which can talk to your hardware better.

You are probably better off getting a better printer as well, as HaydnWVN said.

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