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TI-99/4A to Apple ImageWriter II

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I'm wondering what it would take to utilize an Apple ImageWriter II as a TI printer... The main problem here is that the TI printer out is parallel while the Imagewriter II is a serial printer.

 

According to the specs, it uses RS422 protocols and is 100% software-controlled. Basically they took the hardware control and dip switches out of the original ImageWriter and made it a solely proprietary machine.

 

But.... that doesn't mean it's impossible.

 

I know I can use HDX to print pages to a modern printer, but that's not really what I'm after... as a matter of fact I have a nice Panasonic KX-P1091 printer as well which works fine with the TI. My primary objective is to have one Dot Matrix printer (preferably the ImageWriter, as it is superior in many ways to the 1091) set up at all times, and to make it switchable via a Belkin data switch box. This way I can print from my Mac, my Apple IIe, and my TI-99/4A. The first two aren't an issue, as the Mac has ready-made drivers for the printer, and the printer was practically designed to work on any Apple products. Is it possible to make this serial printer print from the TI's parallel port?

 

I'm assuming that the immediate answer is "no." Then the question becomes, "how do we print using the rs232 port?" There are adapters to go from rs232 to rs422... but I think it would be a bit more complex than that, since we have no software to communicate precisely what we are wanting to accomplish with the data we are sending to the printer... But perhaps we can do a conversion from parallel to serial....

 

 

This link is for a shift register IC that looks like it takes 8 bit parallel inputs and converts to serial. This could end up being a breadboard project, if it REALLY is that simple... which I doubt.

 

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/nxp-usa-inc/74HC165N652/568-1410-5-ND/763014

 

 

The pinouts for both machines are below. I'm genuinely interested in figuring this problem out.

 

 

TI PIO pinout (16 pin connector)
 
Pin # Function
 
1 Handshake Out
2 Data, LSB
3 Data
4 Data
5 Data
6 Data
7 Data
8 Data
9 Data, MSB
10 Handshake IN
11 Logic Ground 
12 10 OHM pull up (+5v)
13  Spare Input Bit
14 Spare Output Bit
15 1 kilohm pull up (+5v)
16 Logic Ground
 
 
 
TI RS232 serial port pinout (db25)
 
 
1 Ground
2 RD-1  Data input
3 TX-1  Data pit[it
4 NC
5 CTS-1  Clear to Send
6 DSR  Data Set Ready
7 Ground
8 DCD1  Data Carrier Detected
9 NC
10 NC
11 NC
12 DCD-2 Data Carrier Detected
13 CTS-2 Clear to Send
14 RD-2 Data Input
15 NC
16 TX-2 Data Output
17 NC
18 NC
19 DTR-2 Data Terminal Ready
20 DTR-1 Data Terminal Ready
21 NC
22 NC
23 NC
24 NC
25 NC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apple Imagewriter II pinout (mini-DIN 8 pin)
 
 
 
1    DTR Data Terminal Ready
2    DSR Data Set Ready
3    TXD Transmit Data
4    Ground
5    RXD Receive Data
6    TXD Transmit Data
8    RXD Receive Data

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Try your RS232 port maybe ? The TI printer is both 8 bit and serial, just like the RS232 card.

Edited by marc.hull

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Try your RS232 port maybe ? The TI printer is both 8 bit and serial, just like the RS232 card.

 

Perhaps I'm over-thinking it, but my understanding was that the PIO port was 8 bit parallel, and the serial db25 port on the card was... well, serial. So, I can do a "LIST PIO" in TI BASIC. I know I can't do a LIST RS232... so perhaps LISTing in conjunctuion with an OPEN command might work? (again, forgive my ignorance here... I have limited experience with this kind of thing)

 

 

 

Try this, with the TI at 9600 baud:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Hosa-Synthesizer-Controller-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B000068OER

 

You will have to get a DB9 to 25 adapter.

 

 

I actually have a DIN to db9 adapter and multiple db9 to db25 adapters... I could use these for the interfacing. I am mostly just confused on how I will be able to print BASIC listings or use software designed for PIO printing via the parallel port. It's obvious I need to do some more reading and just start hooking sh** up.

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Perhaps I'm over-thinking it, but my understanding was that the PIO port was 8 bit parallel, and the serial db25 port on the card was... well, serial. So, I can do a "LIST PIO" in TI BASIC. I know I can't do a LIST RS232... so perhaps LISTing in conjunctuion with an OPEN command might work? (again, forgive my ignorance here... I have limited experience with this kind of thing)

 

I actually have a DIN to db9 adapter and multiple db9 to db25 adapters... I could use these for the interfacing. I am mostly just confused on how I will be able to print BASIC listings or use software designed for PIO printing via the parallel port. It's obvious I need to do some more reading and just start hooking sh** up.

There is no way you can use a parallel interface on a serial connection—unless, of course, you actually have such an interface between the 4A and the printer.

LIST "RS232" works just fine. For 9600 baud, it is LIST "RS232.BA=9600". You may also need to add other options to the device name such as .DA=8 for the number of data bits. Also, don’t forget that TX and RX need to be reversed, unless that is handled with the DE9-DB25 cable (probably not).

 

...lee

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Okay great!

 

So, can I print from pagepro using the rs232 interface? I guess I need to find the documentation for that program and read up.

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Okay great!

 

So, can I print from pagepro using the rs232 interface? I guess I need to find the documentation for that program and read up.

 

Yep. You can usually change from PIO, to TP, to RS232 in most all programs, except some of the very first modules that were hardwired to TP (A-Maze-Ing comes to mind).

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Much appreciated. I am buying some components to build a custom cable. Hopefully this will work out, although many of the PagePro add-ons specify Epson compatible only printers. I am wondering what thats about as well...

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Much appreciated. I am buying some components to build a custom cable. Hopefully this will work out, although many of the PagePro add-ons specify Epson compatible only printers. I am wondering what thats about as well...

 

It surely is about PagePro using Epson graphics codes for its output to any printer. Because of the popularity of Epson printers, any printer company that had any hope of making it in the burgeoning home computer market had to emulate Epson print codes and fonts—even if that was not the printer’s native mode. Even early laser printers had an Epson printer mode.

 

...lee

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With that said, graphics should print as expected, even without using an Epson-compatible printer, or is the output from the software relying on a particular firmware in the printer to print accurately?

 

Again, forgive me... Ive never done publishing from my TI, other than printing screens from time to time, outputting graphics from Behnkes ToD editor and printing BASIC listings.

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With that said, graphics should print as expected, even without using an Epson-compatible printer, or is the output from the software relying on a particular firmware in the printer to print accurately?

 

Again, forgive me... Ive never done publishing from my TI, other than printing screens from time to time, outputting graphics from Behnkes ToD editor and printing BASIC listings.

 

No—What I am saying is that the software is sending Epson escape codes to print graphics. You would need to capture the output and interpret it for any printer that does not emulate an Epson printer.

 

...lee

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I am using a Imagewriter II with the TI RS232 port on my setup. I bought an apple serial cable and remapped the pins on the DB25 end to work with the TI. Since it is not "ESC/P" compatible, printing graphics might be an issue.

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you can print text all you want but graphics you'll have to either write your own software OR use software on the TI that supports it out of the box/has user editable codes

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