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PrintCart FAQ

Question: What is the purpose of a PrintCart?
Answer: The PrintCart provides a wireless, point-of-use thermal printing and wireless terminal platform for use in demanding logistics and distribution warehouse environments.  PrintCart can be deployed anywhere in the physical limits of a business at any time to provide terminal and labeling capability over multiple shifts.
Question: Which printers can be used with the PrintCart?
Answer: The PrintCart is designed for and ready to mount the Printronix T4M/SL4M and T5r/SL5r in either 4” or 6” print width.  All of these printers listed will work on the PrintCart.  Some will not allow the Utility Drawer to be installed due to the height of the printer.  So, the column –  “Accepts Utility Drawer?” identifies which models are too high by answering “No”.  See compatibility matrix.
Question: What terminals may be used with the PrintCart?
Answer: PrintCart has support features for bolting a user-supplied terminal or notebook computer mount in a variety of locations on the top work surface.  There are, also, several options for locating and connecting an AC power supply for your terminal.
Question: Can the PrintCart support optional equipment?
Answer: Yes.  There is a large reserve of power capacity in the PrintCart power system that is capable of operating additional equipment.  Depending on the equipment demands and operating requirements, the battery capacity and charging rate are adequate to meet the needed operating cycle.  Equipment must operate from the AC source in order to be managed by the control system.  Additional power cords or outlet strips may be required.
Question: Will the ODV reader work on the PrintCart?
Answer: No.  The size of this assembly does not fit within the restrictions of the shelf space.
Question: What type of power system does the PrintCart use?
Answer: The Advanced Power Management System has 4 main elements:
  1. Lead acid batteries store the electrical charge to power the cart when not connected to line power.  PrintCart uses only Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) type batteries.  These batteries are environmentally sealed preventing escape of battery gas or corrosive vapors and require no maintenance.
  2. An inverter converts the battery energy to the equivalent of line power for operating equipment.  PrintCart uses a commercial grade inverter rated at approximately 2 times the expected demand of the cart equipment to insure long life.
  3. A battery charger replaces the battery energy when connected to line power.  PrintCart charges at an optimized rate for the battery bank capacity in order to minimize charging time and maximize operating time.
  4. PrintCart’s proprietary, smart self-defending control system automatically manages cart resources for optimal performance and health of the batteries.
Question: Why is this system unique?
Answer:

The PrintCart is the only mobile printer station designed to protect your investment.  The PrintCart uses deep cycle batteries typical of the Marine industry.  The deep cycle battery has less instant energy but greater long-term energy delivery.  The life cycle of the battery is extended if the depth of discharge is limited.  The charge cycle is another critical element to maintaining battery health.  Our smart controller manages both the depth of discharge and the charge cycle to enable the longest battery life cycle while maximizing the up-time for PrintCart’s service. 

Our smart self-defending controller uses computer technology to perform a 3 step charging technique.  The first step is bulk charging where up to 80% of the battery energy capacity is replaced by the charger at the maximum voltage and current amp rating of the charger.  When the battery voltage reaches 14.4 volts this begins the absorption charge step.  This is where the voltage is held at a constant 14.4 volts and the current (amps) declines until the battery is 98% charged.  Next comes the Float Step.  This is a regulated voltage of not more than 13.4 volts and usually less than 1 amp of current.  This in time will bring the battery to 100% charged or close to it.  The float charge will not boil or heat batteries but will maintain the batteries at 100% readiness and prevent cycling during long term inactivity.

Question: How long can I operate the PrintCart on a single charge?
Answer:

The PrintCart can support operating durations from 8, up to 20 hours in a 24 hour cycle.  The maximum single charge operating time depends on battery capacity and equipment power consumption (idle power, peak power & duty cycle for all equipment).  It is important to note that battery capacity will degrade over time & use.  Typically, a battery at the end-of-life, will have only 70% of its original capacity. 

Continuous 24 hour operations are possible by exchanging optional battery sub-pallets and using an external charger.
An amp-hour (AH) is a rating found on deep cycle batteries.  If a battery is rated at 100 amp hours it should deliver 5 amps for 20 hours, 20 amps for 5 hours, etc.  The PrintCart comes with 2-100Ah batteries for a capacity of 200Ah.

See this chart  to estimate the life for your application.

Question: Can PrintCart support continuous for three-shift operations?
Answer: Yes with the appropriate additional equipment and operating procedures.  In order to support more than 18 operating hours in a 24 hour operating cycles, a second, externally charged battery sub-pallet is required along with a external, wall mounted charger.  The spare battery sub-pallet will charge at a fixed charging station while the cart is operating.  When the cart battery reaches the recharge point, the charged external battery module is exchanged.  The time to change out a sub-pallet is about 10 minutes.  In this manner, PrintCart is able to provide nearly continuous, cordless power.
Question: What does PrintCart’s smart self-defending controller do?
Answer:
  1. Automatically and without interruption switches the power source for cart equipment from onboard power to line power (when available) and back again so equipment need not be switched off. 
  2. Minimizes charging time by powering mounted equipment from line power when charging.
  3. Protects batteries from excessive discharge.  It continuously monitors battery state of charge and prevents discharges beyond recommended levels.  Other power carts do nothing to protect the batteries.  Users can drain them completely and repetitively, causing permanent damage (the primary cause of poor battery health and frequent battery replacement).
  4. Advanced recharge warning so the user knows how much longer they can continue working before the PrintCart enters a mandatory shutdown cycle. 
  5. Notifies user of mandatory shutdown with enough warning to plug-in before power interruption.  
  6. Requires the PrintCart to remain plugged in until the recharge level is met.
  7. Displays cart operating mode and power level status on an intuitive display. 
  8. Identifies power equipment failure.  Malfunctioning or disconnected power equipment will illuminate a fault LED.
Question: Do I need to charge the PrintCart before I use it for the first time?
Answer: The PrintCart battery is charged prior to shipping from our factory.  Simply unpack, install your equipment, plug in the battery and it is ready to operate.
Question: What is the AC output and input voltage for the PrintCart?
Answer: There are both 120V/60Hz and  220V/50Hz models of PrintCart.  They can not be switched.  The input voltage and cart operating voltage are identical.  The 120V cart is fitted with a NEMA 5-15 plug and has a single duplex GFCI NEMA 5-15 receptacle.  The 220V cart is fitted with a universal IEC 320 plug and has a quad IEC 320 receptacle.
Question: What do I do if the input plug is damaged and unserviceable?
Answer: The input cord for the cart is an off-the–shelf extension.  The extension connects to a fixed power input plug inside the cord wrap.  The extension is locked to the input plug with a plastic clip.  The extension can be replaced by the user without tools in just a few minutes.  The input plug is on a cord intentionally too short to reach a line outlet or the floor (to prevent it from being run over).  Extensions can be provided by Printronix.
Question: How do I know when the PrintCart should be charged?
Answer:

The best practice is to charge whenever the cart is stationary for a period of time and near a line power receptacle, regardless of state of charge.

Any time the battery monitor display flashes.  A slowly flashing monitor is an indicator that the battery is nearing its maximum discharge and charging should become a priority as soon as the current task is completed. 

If the warning timer expires and the audible alarm sounds, the cart has enters a terminal shut down phase and needs to be plugged in immediately.  The internal self defending controller will shut off battery power to the cart in a very short time.

Question: Typically, how long does the PrintCart need to be charged?
Answer: The time needed for charging varies with the maximum charge rate, the battery capacity and the battery state of charge.  In typical use, the 45A charger will charge a fully discharged 200Ah battery pack in 4-5 hours.
Question: Should the cart be unplugged after fully charged to prevent “overcharging”?
Answer: No.  The intelligent, 3 stage charger senses that the batteries are fully charged and switches to a float charge that can be applied indefinitely.  The cart should always be plugged-in to line power unless cordless operation is needed.  There is no “off” switch for the cart so leaving it plugged in is necessary to both insure that the batteries are always fully charge and prevent the battery from being drained while idle (even if cart equipment is turned off, the inverter is always on).
Question: Can operating personnel replace batteries?
Answer: No.  Only trained service personnel may replace the batteries.  Batteries weigh approximately 70lbs (32kg) each.  They require special handling and disposal.  There are electrical safety concerns when making connections.
Question: How often do batteries require replacement?
Answer: Batteries require replacement when they no longer support the required operating cycle.  The degradation rate of the batteries depends on the number of charge/discharge cycles and the average depth of the discharge cycle.  PrintCart with its smart self-defending controller should operate for 600-700 cycles.
Question: What kinds of replacement batteries do I need and where do I get them?
Answer: Printronix can provide original equipment batteries through any of our repair centers.
Question: At what ambient temperatures and weather conditions can I use the PrintCart?
Answer: The PrintCart is designed for indoor use.  The temperature operating capacity ranges from +2°C to +40 °C (up to 95% RH, non-condensing).
Question: Can I use the PrintCart in chilled food environment?
Answer: Yes, the PrintCart is designed for operating in environments as low as 2°C.  Due to the loss of battery capacity in lower temperatures your operation cycle may be lower.  Movement between chilled and heated space must be avoided to prevent condensation on metal parts and power equipment which might cause electrical failure.
Question: Can I use the PrintCart in a freezer?
Answer: No.  Neither power equipment nor printers are rated below 2°C.
Question: How is PrintCart constructed?
Answer: PrintCart is made exclusively of steel and stainless steel (top work surface) with all major components welded into a single unit.  Only add-on accessories and replaceable parts are bolted.  All steel members are encapsulated in highly durable baked-on powder coat.  Exclusive use of high-grade materials insure the PrintCart will provide a long-lasting, quality service for many years.
Question: How is PrintCart’s layout different from other powered work carts?
Answer: PrintCart is a best-in-class mobile print station solution.  It is designed to withstand your physically demanding environment & reduce your total cost of ownership.  The Advanced Power Management System protects your investment.  PrintCart is designed specifically to support a wireless terminal and mid-to-high performance thermal printers.  Built-in features of the frame and structure support operation of mounted printers and terminals, as well as accessories to help organize the mobile workstation.
Question: How large of a vertical obstacle can the PrintCart negotiate?
Answer: The large diameter, solid rubber rear wheels move easily on varying surfaces and are able to easily negotiate 1” high obstacles.  The weight of the cart prohibits a user from being able to lift the cart but the handles are robust enough that it can be maneuvered by one or more users across rough terrain.