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options for printer on classic computers


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#1 discgolfer72 OFFLINE  

discgolfer72

    Moonsweeper

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:39 PM

soooo  I have fond memories of the Garfield paint programs and print shop on the apple2 and commodore  

 

I used to make all my own greeting cards and other funny things

 

 

is there an option  for classic computing that will allow the use of a modern printer either using real hardware or emulation

 

 

from my little research  it seems the apple emulators  do not support printers

 

 

if I have no options  for using emulation or real hardware  using modern printers

 

what would my best route be  with a original printer

is ink available still what about the old paper  (at a reasonable price I can screw around  and let my kids make funny stuff)

 

what's the best one that would work with several of  my old computers (ti,c64,apple2) or do I need one for each machine



#2 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    Metagalactic Mule

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Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:59 AM

Interesting question, and one that I had rarely considered before. For some of the older matrix printers, there are spare ribbons to buy but not all models. Some parts might be possible to refurbish.

 

Redrumloa connected his C64 to a Centronics interface and then a laser printer. It takes four minutes to send the data to print one page, but it can be made to work. I'm not sure if the Turbo Chameleon 64 does anything in this mix other than speeding up the C64, providing VGA output and acting as a memory card storage device.

 

 

In theory you should be able to get similar interfaces for most older computers, though software support might differ and you might need another form of interface to go from e.g. Centronics to USB or network, a type of device that I don't know if it even exists.

 

I see that there are some projects using a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino as a printer (interface). This one seems to capture text printed from the C64 into a text file, but I'm sure it could be adapted to capture graphics data as well, then some conversion to get a format that a modern printer accepts. Nothing ready made to plug in and use though.

 

In the land of Commodore emulation, it appears to me that e.g. WinVICE outputs a file called viceprnt.out that may contain text and/or graphics depending on how you configured the emulator. Then there is a standalone program called VICEtoPS that tries to convert the output to a PostScript file which you can send to a printer supporting PostScript or distill with GhostScript etc to get a PDF. There is also a program called VMPS801 that generates a series of PNG images out of the viceprnt.out file. However I've never tried either method, so I can't answer subsequent questions about those and why it doesn't work as expected.


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#3 discgolfer72 OFFLINE  

discgolfer72

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  • 271 posts

Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:40 PM

Interesting question, and one that I had rarely considered before. For some of the older matrix printers, there are spare ribbons to buy but not all models. Some parts might be possible to refurbish.

 

Redrumloa connected his C64 to a Centronics interface and then a laser printer. It takes four minutes to send the data to print one page, but it can be made to work. I'm not sure if the Turbo Chameleon 64 does anything in this mix other than speeding up the C64, providing VGA output and acting as a memory card storage device.

 

 

 

In theory you should be able to get similar interfaces for most older computers, though software support might differ and you might need another form of interface to go from e.g. Centronics to USB or network, a type of device that I don't know if it even exists.

 

I see that there are some projects using a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino as a printer (interface). This one seems to capture text printed from the C64 into a text file, but I'm sure it could be adapted to capture graphics data as well, then some conversion to get a format that a modern printer accepts. Nothing ready made to plug in and use though.

 

 

In the land of Commodore emulation, it appears to me that e.g. WinVICE outputs a file called viceprnt.out that may contain text and/or graphics depending on how you configured the emulator. Then there is a standalone program called VICEtoPS that tries to convert the output to a PostScript file which you can send to a printer supporting PostScript or distill with GhostScript etc to get a PDF. There is also a program called VMPS801 that generates a series of PNG images out of the viceprnt.out file. However I've never tried either method, so I can't answer subsequent questions about those and why it doesn't work as expected.

hmmm thanks for the info  ill research some more  and see what I can come up with

 

its kind of a interesting idea

and I'm kind of surprised there is not more info out there  its surprising with all the other homebrew kits and such no one has designed a usb printer interface

 I guess everyone emulates/buys hardware  just for the games lol

 

 

lol

ask and you shall receive 

 

guy brought a lot of stuff in the store to sell today and bam these were in the mix lol  now hopefully one works (crossing fingers its the trs 80 one lol)

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#4 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    Metagalactic Mule

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Posted Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:53 PM

Generally speaking, old printers have been the lowest rated vintage computing gear for years. Even a complete in box MPS-801 or similar for a long while was impossible to give away at expos, despite no additional shipping costs were involved. Possibly the interest has been increased lately as every other item of computing has become desirable. Old floppy drives and other means of storage are cruicial for operation, whether it is for games, running a BBS or doing any form of serious work done. Connecting a printer can be fun every now and then, but generally very few users have a need for hard copies these days, which probably is why the topic is less discussed and evaluated.



#5 RWAP OFFLINE  

RWAP

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 1:36 PM

I just came across this topic - and you might be interested in my own forthcoming Retro-Printer Module - www.retroprinter.com

This is a hardware solution which captures centronics printer data and converts it to PDF and will output it to a modern USB printer if you wish.

This is currently at the factory for final production of the module and case so we are hoping to have it available for sale in July.

If you are looking for just the conversion routines, we have released the ESC/P2 conversion routine on https://github.com/RWAP/PrinterToPDFso that this can be improved.  It handles most ESC/P2 codes (unlike the various ESC/P conversion routines available on the internet).



#6 AMenard OFFLINE  

AMenard

    Dragonstomper

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 1:42 PM

I got an Epson Actionprinter 4000 on ebay for $10... You can set it up all the way down to an RX/FX/MX-80 via dip switches. All you need is a centronic interface for your old computer, again cheap... Ribbons are also available and cheap as those printer are still used in business for printing carbon backed forms and bills.

In fact the box of fanfolded printer paper cost me 4 time the price of the printer.

#7 Keatah OFFLINE  

Keatah

    Missile Commander

  • 21,651 posts

Posted Fri May 25, 2018 1:12 PM

Generally speaking, old printers have been the lowest rated vintage computing gear for years.

 

Apple II Emulator Virtual ][ 8.3 offers a good emulated dot-matrix output. It is the up and coming Apple II emu. It already outclasses Applewin.

 

But, yes, emulation support for printing is about as low a priority as finishing Astrocade emulation. Printers are like disk drives. They're hated peripherals and emulators would drop support of them if at all possible.






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