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Author Topic: Ticket printers?
Elise Brandt
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 160
From: Kuusankoski, FIN/ Kouvola, Finland
Registered: Dec 2009

 - posted 01-18-2012 05:11 AM      Profile for Elise Brandt   Email Elise Brandt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Long story short: what kind of ticket printers do you use? We're looking for a good deal on a new one, so again I'm turning to your expertise to help me look for one.

(the cinemark bathroom death was big news in Finland this week as well...)

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12767
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 01-18-2012 10:59 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We use a Samsung thermal printer. It's a workhorse but the only downside to it is it uses thin rolled paper. It occasionally just stops printing for no reason, but a simple turn off/turn on fixes that.

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David Zylstra
Master Film Handler

Posts: 432
From: Novi, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2007

 - posted 01-18-2012 03:57 PM      Profile for David Zylstra   Email David Zylstra   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We use Practical Automation printers, overall very reliable - downside is our older units while still functional no longer have print heads available since they changed the design (only 2 in 10 years have come up with bad print heads, besides that no real issues besides the ocasional paper jam). We also have Boca in some of our kiosks, also reliable.

We also have 2 locations using Epson thermal printers - we use a thicker paper with a perforation to facilitate tearing the ticket.

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Aaron Garman
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1470
From: Toledo, OH USA
Registered: Mar 2003

 - posted 01-18-2012 04:29 PM      Profile for Aaron Garman   Email Aaron Garman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I haven't encountered a Boca that wasn't good and reliable. Sadly, we don't have them here currently but a clone (Datatmax) that is iffy often times. It works via parallel or USB, with the USB being extremely unreliable. Also, often times in batches of 100 or more tickets, it will slow up. However, when not doing that, not a bad printer.


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Dominic Espinosa
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1172
From: Boulder Creek, CA.
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 01-18-2012 08:33 PM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Samsung/Bixolon/Epson SRP-350's (they're all essentially the exact same unit, just different brand names).

Used to use some Practical Automation printers but they would break down so frequently and cost ~$600+ to repair so we said to hell with it.

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Jack Ondracek
Film God

Posts: 2348
From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

 - posted 01-18-2012 09:15 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I use the Epson TM-T88 series thermal printers on my RTS stations. They print on everything I've thrown at them, from thin receipt rolls to RTS's thicker ticket paper.

This is the same kind of printer I see at Sizzler restaurants. MTBF 360,000 hours,
MCBF 52,000,000 lines.

In 9 years of use, I've had only one of 12 give me grief.

The highest price I see in a quick scan is about $340. You can get them for a lot less, if you have time to look around.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2253
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 01-18-2012 09:30 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We started using Epson T-88 printers about 2 years ago. Mainly because the cost of ticket stock and printer repairs for our Practical Automation printers was too high. We now spend $250 for a case of 50 perforated rolls which lasts about as long as 5-6 cases of stock for the Practical Automation printers. And at about 1/5 the cost.

After making the switch, we have had some people upset because the new tickets don't really work as a keepsake. I think it's difficult to justify an extra $2000+ annual expense for this reason.

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Bruce McGee
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1776
From: Asheville, NC USA... Nowhere in Particular.
Registered: Aug 1999

 - posted 01-20-2012 05:36 PM      Profile for Bruce McGee   Email Bruce McGee   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've only had one Boca printer die in the last 7 years in my theatre.

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Jussi Siponen
Film Handler

Posts: 75
From: Mikkeli, Itä-Suomi, FINLAND
Registered: Jan 2010

 - posted 01-23-2012 02:52 PM      Profile for Jussi Siponen   Email Jussi Siponen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The POS software used at Elise's cinema outputs FGL.

To my knowledge, FGL compatible printers are available from Boca and Practical Automation - please chime in if I'm missing a manufacturer here.

For you to be able to use other brands of printers (e.g. Datamax), the provider of your POS software will have to add support for it.

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Eric Robinson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 538
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Registered: Jan 2005

 - posted 01-23-2012 11:30 PM      Profile for Eric Robinson   Email Eric Robinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Boca printers do work well for a substantial period of time; however, the repair costs and part costs are high. If you repair them yourself like I do, then they will drive you mad. Especially the ones that have the loose chips on the motherboard that intermittently work or don't work.

Practical Automation, those look like a nightmare waiting to happen.

TM-88: Cheap and it always works. Save lots of pain, frustration, and money. But like it is stated earlier, the ticket is a flimsy piece of receipt paper. [Mad]

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2253
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 01-23-2012 11:42 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Practical Automation printers work pretty well. They can be a nightmare if they jam, but that usually only happens when the stock isn't unfolding nicely - stack gets nicked or gets sticky. The main problem is they seem to be very sensitive to power surges. The main thing is they have be be blown out from time to time or dust will accumulate on the sensors.

Over the years I have had 3-4 go bad following power outages or surges - even when plugged into a surge protector. The repair cost is about $500 and I don't believe they will sell you parts so you can do the repairs yourself.

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Richard Hamilton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1341
From: Evansville, Indiana
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 01-26-2012 01:29 PM      Profile for Richard Hamilton   Email Richard Hamilton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Automaticket [thumbsup] Go "Old School".

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Thomas Anderson
Film Handler

Posts: 1
From: Camarillo, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

 - posted 01-29-2012 08:59 PM      Profile for Thomas Anderson   Email Thomas Anderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We have Boca at our location. They have issues from time to time but are usually easy to fix. Staying on top of cleaning them defiantly helps. Love your Boca and it will love you back.

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Elise Brandt
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 160
From: Kuusankoski, FIN/ Kouvola, Finland
Registered: Dec 2009

 - posted 01-30-2012 08:39 AM      Profile for Elise Brandt   Email Elise Brandt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks a bunch [Big Grin]

We have been using Boca so far and apparently will go with it this time as well. So far the relationship has worked _quite_ well, what with the odd delays and printer deciding not to play with you today but those occur very rarely and we know which spot to aim the curses at to make it go again.

Thanks for the input, again!

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 01-30-2012 12:23 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with Justin's comments on the Pratical Periphals units.
I have 4 of them, and overall they've been pretty reliable.

But as he stated, they do need to be pulled out & cleaned a
couple of times a year or the paper-sensors start acting up.

As for the power surges- - I've learned to keep a spare package
of fuses inside the access cover of each printer 'just in case'.

Our printers are the type that are countersunk into the box
office counter. But we have one spare "tabletop" unit that can
be used in an emergency if one of the regular printers fails, since
it takes a bit of time to pull them out of the counter to fix 'em.

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