Jump to content
HDTV1080P

Coleco ADAM printer history and information on connecting a Laser printer

Recommended Posts

Some Coleco ADAM printer history plus information on connecting the ADAM to a Laser or Ink Jet printer

When the ColecoVision was released in August of 1982 it had a front expansion module interface for a coming soon home computer system. I never knew the computer for the ColecoVision when released would be called the ADAM computer. Coleco could have named their computer just about anything and if the specs would have been the same I would still have purchased the computer.

 

When Expansion module #3 the ADAM computer was released for the ColecoVision on October of 1983, Coleco bundled the ADAM computer with a letter quality Daisy wheel printer that offers better letter quality resolution when compared to a Dot Matrix printer. The two negatives about the Coleco ADAM printer is that it made a lot of noise when one printed on the printer. In addition, the other problem with the Coleco ADAM printer especially the earlier generation is that it would overheat from having the entire computer system power supply built into the printer. Later on some third party companies came out with a power supply that did not require the ADAM printer connected, and some third party ADAM power supplies had a DB9 jack on the power supply so that the ADAM printer could be connected and the third party ADAM power supply would power the Coleco ADAM printer (Also that design kept the printer cool since the internal power supply in the printer never needed to be used again).

 

Back in 1983 and 1984 some of the first Coleco ADAM owners were happy with the letter quality Daisy Wheel printers print quality at 120 words per minute. However, the Coleco ADAM printer made a lot of noise, plus some people wanted to own a Dot Matrix printer for graphics printing and faster lower quality draft mode printing that was below letter quality. Therefore, Coleco designed one or two fully functional serial/parallel ADAMNET interfaces that were only used by inhouse Coleco employees. The advantage of this product is that since one was using ADAMNET no printer patching software needed to be created. Any external Centronics parallel printer connected to the ADAM computer would work with all existing Coleco and ADAM third party software since ADAMNET would treat the external parallel printer just like the original Coleco ADAM printer. However there is one problem, this very important Coleco ADAMNET serial/parallel interface that most likely would have been released in late 1985 was canceled since Coleco made a business decision and left the home computer and videogame business in January of 1985. To this day no ADAMNET serial/parallel product exists on the market except in a select few former Coleco employee homes.

 

Soon after Coleco stopped manufacturing the Coleco ADAM computer in January 1985, a lot of third party hardware and software companies stepped in to support the ADAM community

Eve Electronics and others came out with serial and parallel interfaces and with a software patch one could use a Dot Matrix or Laser printer on the ADAM computer for the very first time. Plus instead of using an original Coleco 300 baud modem, one now could use a external serial Hayes compatible modem up to 19,200 baud (Most people used 1200 and 2400 baud modems on the ADAM computer when they got rid of their original 300 baud Coleco internal modem. While others used 9600 and 19200 baud Hayes modems as technology improved).

 

To this day the best interface device created by a third party company was the Micro Innovations MIB3 card that plugged into the second slot of the ADAM computer and offered 2 serial outputs and one parallel printer output. Plus there was a eprom socket so one could plug in products like Walter Software’s ADAM’s Desktop which would instantly boot to override the built in Smartwriter program. With the Micro Innovations MIB3 card one could have a Centronics Laser printer, 19,200 baud modem and an external 80 column terminal connected (All 3 devices connected at the exact same time). Not bad for a 1983 computer.

 

In the year 2018+ the Coleco ADAM computer can no longer be connected to a modern Laser and Ink Jet printer because of the 100% USB issue and not being able to emulate more modern printer languages

In the 80’s people used both Laser and Dot Matrix printers with their ADAM computer and later on people started using Ink Jet printers also. As far as I am aware there was never any software developed for the ADAM that would allow the full function of a color Laser or color Ink Jet printer to be used. Even on my modern high end X99 Intel PC I built in 2015 I only have a $200 HP black and white Laser printer connected since I do not print that often and black and white printing is a lot more economical when compared to color printing. In addition, I prefer a Laser printer when compared to Ink jet printers because there is no ink to dry and no smearing with a Laser printer. Also Lasers are more economical and the toner cartridge can sit for several years versus Ink jet printers have cartridges that dry up in 6+ months if they are not used.

 

I have not used my Coleco ADAM computer for any printing since the early 90’s. I was considering connecting a Laser printer to the ADAM computers MIB3 card so I could start printing again with it. However 100% of all Laser printers and Ink Jet printers in production in the last few years are 100% USB only. No third party company ever developed a USB to ADAMNET interface for the ADAM computer. In addition, all of the parallel to USB adapters are for connecting a parallel Centronics printer to a modern USB computer running under an operating system like Windows. The problem is no one makes a USB adapter designed to connect to a USB printer and then going to a parallel interface. To make a long story short I cannot use any modern Laser or Ink Jet printer since they are all USB only models. Therefore, I would need to hunt down an old discontinued Laser printer that has a Centronics parallel interface. The Laser printer would be used or refurbished most likely, unless I were to pay double the list price for the rare new ones that exist online. However, there is another major problem with connecting a Laser printer; it is my understanding that the Coleco ADAM software patches only use the Epson FX emulation. As far as I am aware no one created software drivers for the ADAM computer that will work with PCL 6 (XL) emulation or PCL 5e emulation. The reason might be that the ADAM computer might not have enough processing power to handle the PCL6 amd PCL 5e printer lanugages. Epson FX takes much less computer processing power and it is my understanding that is the only printer emulation that the ADAM supports.

 

My family members have several HP Laser printers since back when Windows Vista 64 bit came out HP was the only printer company that offered a Windows 64 bit driver. Almost all other Laser printers on the market back when Vista 64 bit launched had no 64 bit Windows drivers (today of course many years later all modern printers have a 64 bit Windows driver). In addition, I personally like HP Laser printers since we have had their printers for around 15 years and some of the printers are over 15 years old and still working fine. HP Laser printers are very reliable and offer good support. However, no HP printer supports the Epson FX emulation mode. To make matters worse many brands of printers do not support the Epson FX emulation mode. Also almost every printer currently in production dropped the Epson FX emulation mode since all new printers are USB only. The Brother brand of Laser printers use to always have the Epson FX mode but as soon as they dropped the legacy parallel interface they also dropped the Epson FX emulation mode which is required by the ADAM computer. However, to my surprise only one printer company still offers the Epson FX emulation mode when they dropped the parallel interface. The OKI Data brand of Laser printers still all have the Epson FX emulation mode, however the problem is all the new models are USB and the ADAM requires a Centronics parallel printer. Therefore, my point is there is no modern Laser printer in production that uses both Epson FX emulation with a parallel interface. This means my only choice for Laser printers to use with the ADAM computer is to find an older out of production Brother or OKI Data brand printer since only the older models have both the parallel interface with Epson FX emulation. Many times that means used or refurbished.

 

What a nightmare. I really wanted to use a HP Laser printer but that is not a possibility with the ADAM, so I am not even going to try to connect it. It is too bad a modern ADAMNET to USB interface does not exist for the ADAM. Then with a modern printer driver on the ADAM just about any Laser or Ink Jet printer could be used.

 

All this classic computer stuff is time consuming.

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So instead of buying a new laser printer, go to eBay and find yourself an older HP Laserjet with a parallel port. Or one of the other brands you mentioned.

 

Honestly, I don't know why you're so upset at this technological march that has been occurring since USB was introduced 20 years ago. It was easier to use, and cheaper than parallel, so of course it was going to take over eventually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So instead of buying a new laser printer, go to eBay and find yourself an older HP Laserjet with a parallel port. Or one of the other brands you mentioned.

 

Honestly, I don't know why you're so upset at this technological march that has been occurring since USB was introduced 20 years ago. It was easier to use, and cheaper than parallel, so of course it was going to take over eventually.

I agree USB 3.1, 3.0, and 2.0 is much faster and a better quality interface when compared to the discontinued parallel interface. Back in 2015 I purchased a brand new HP Laser printer for a new X99 PC I built. That HP printer has only a USB 2.0 port since parallel interface was removed from all new models of printers in the last 3-5 years. The problem is I cannot go out and purchase a refurbished HP Laser printer since according to the specs no HP printer well work with the ADAM computer because of HP not supporting Epson FX emulation. So my frustration is the amount of days and hours of research it takes to interface products like a printer with a old classic 1983 Coleco ADAM computer. If the ADAM computer would have more modern printer drivers then Epson FX emulation would not be needed on a printer. But those more modern printer languages take more processing power and perhaps the ADAM computer is not powerful enough to use some of the more modern printer languages.

 

So my only solution is to find a 5+ year old printer from either Brother or OKI Data. Those two models 5+ years ago have parallel interfaces with the Epson FX emulation mode. This also means unless I want to spend around double the list price it well be a used or refurbished Laser printer most likely. I am also for the latest in technology as long as that technology is better then the old technology. I guess the problem is the ADAM computer in Ocrtober of 1983 is the very first computer I every owned and even when faster and better computers came along in late 1985, I was not willing to upgrade. I actually used my ADAM computer from around 1983-1993 until I switched to a Windows PC.

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Some Coleco ADAM printer history plus information on connecting the ADAM to a Laser or Ink Jet printer

When the ColecoVision was released in August of 1982 it had a front expansion module interface for a coming soon home computer system. I never knew the computer for the ColecoVision when released would be called the ADAM computer. Coleco could have named their computer just about anything and if the specs would have been the same I would still have purchased the computer.

 

When Expansion module #3 the ADAM computer was released for the ColecoVision on October of 1983, Coleco bundled the ADAM computer with a letter quality Daisy wheel printer that offers better letter quality resolution when compared to a Dot Matrix printer. The two negatives about the Coleco ADAM printer is that it made a lot of noise when one printed on the printer. In addition, the other problem with the Coleco ADAM printer especially the earlier generation is that it would overheat from having the entire computer system power supply built into the printer. Later on some third party companies came out with a power supply that did not require the ADAM printer connected, and some third party ADAM power supplies had a DB9 jack on the power supply so that the ADAM printer could be connected and the third party ADAM power supply would power the Coleco ADAM printer (Also that design kept the printer cool since the internal power supply in the printer never needed to be used again).

 

 

The 1983 Coleco ADAM printer is still working after 35 years. I just powered it on and the 35 year old ribbon and Daisy Wheel are still offering a letter quality print. I cannot say that is true for the many other printer technologies on the market after 35 years. However, there is a bug or unwanted feature in the SmartWriter program and/or all ADAM Printer firmware (This bug or unwanted feature occurs with all Coleco ADAM printers released). Every time the Coleco ADAM memory console is reset the printer advances the paper feed one space. Therefore, after one does several resets of the memory console the paper needs to be reloaded in the Coleco ADAM printer.

 

I do have one correction to make to my prior post. Most and perhaps all 3rd party power supplies for the ADAM computer did not actually power the ADAM printer. Instead after testing what actually occurs is that the DB9 connector on the side of some third party ADAM Printer power supplies is for connecting of the ADAM printer for data communications only, and the printer remains off as long as the power switch on the back of the printer is off. However, as soon as one turns the printer power switch on (located on the back of the actual printer), what actually happens is the printer well not work unless the power cord is also plugged into the electrical outlet. Therefore, the ADAM printer still uses its own internal power supply when connected to a third party ADAM memory console power supply. Therefore, when one wants to use the ADAM printer they have to still turn it on and use the power supply built into the printer. However, the printer does run cooler when connected to a third party ADAM memory console power supply, because the internal printer power supply is only powering the printer and not powering the entire ADAM computer system.

 

I did notice one nice improvement about the ADAM printer when connected to a third party power supply. The DB9 connector on the power supply is wired in such a way that the bug or unwanted feature where the ADAM printer advances one space after each memory console reset no longer occurs anymore. This is a very nice improvement not to have to reload the paper after several memory console resets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on recent history, I'm predicting this leads to an Adam Net to USB cable being sold on eBay very soon.

 

Wont work - too much of the processing on peripherals is done on the PC now - there is no stand alone printer that can be accessed with a USB. Also USB does not like the 62.5 baud combined read transmit line - I know - Ive tried to use it.

 

Milli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Wont work - too much of the processing on peripherals is done on the PC now - there is no stand alone printer that can be accessed with a USB. Also USB does not like the 62.5 baud combined read transmit line - I know - Ive tried to use it.

 

Milli

There are a total of two problems to overcome. All new printers use USB only (plus Ethernet sometimes) and the Epson FX emulation printer language was dropped. So even if a USB interface was made for the ADAM memory console one still needs to write a printer driver that handles a modern printer language like PCL 6 (XL) or PCL 5e emulation.

 

Milli Vee if the ADAMNET 62,500 baud is to slow for USB 3.1. 3.0, 2.0, or 1.1 then a USB port that plugs into one of ADAM’s 4 expansion slots could be used. The expansion slots are much faster than ADAMNET (I do not remember the exact speed but might be 115,000 baud). Only Coleco’s original unreleased parallel/serial interface uses ADAMNET, all third party serial and parallel devices designed for printing use one of the ADAM’s expansion slots (most of the time the internal expansion slot #2 and other times expansion slot #4 the external expansion slot). ATARIMAX did make a USB port on their ColecoVision/ADAM 128 in 1 USB Flash cartridge. Maybe someone could create a 32KB printer driver rom image that would use the existing USB port on the cartridge when plugged into the ColecoVision/ADAM (right now the USB port is designed for a Windows PC only). Around 4,096Mb of space would be usable with a firmware update if the 128 in 1 rom image function was disabled.

 

Let’s say someone is able to get a USB port to work off of an internal card that replaces the MIB3 card. Then the major problem is all the ADAM software printer drivers use Epson FX and the modern printers have dropped Epson FX emulation. So a new printer driver would need to be created for the ADAM that would emulate modern printer language like PCL 6 (XL) or PCL 5e emulation. The problem is the modern printer languages require a lot of CPU processing power and the ADAM computer might not be fast enough to handle PCL6 (XL) or PCL 5e emulation.

 

However, in theory there is a way to get a ADAM computer to work with a modern USB printer that uses PCL6 (XL) emulation if all else fails. A hardware designer could make a special external parallel to USB interface box that has a built in CPU. The parallel interface would plug directly into the ADAM's existing Micro Innovations MIB3 card, then the CPU in the special external interface box would automatically convert Epson FX emulation to PCL6 (XL) emulation and then send the PCL6 data out of its own USB port. Perhaps using some type of internal Linux 64 bit operating system that would handshake with a HP Laser printer.

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 2016 Brother HL-L5000D was the last Laser printer made that has both a parallel interface and the Epson FX emulation mode

All the 2018 low end, medium end, and even high-end several thousand dollar Laser printers and ink Jet printers have removed the parallel interface and Epson FX emulation printer language support from the latest models. After doing a lot of research I discovered that the last and best Laser Printer made by Brother that supports both parallel and Epson FX emulation was the Brother HL-L5000D that was released in February of 2016 with a list price of $299.99 (For some reason the models below and above that model number in 2016 did not have the parallel interface jack). The Brother HL-L5000D has a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi and a print speed of up to 42 page per minute (That would be cool printing 42ppm on the ADAM computer). Also it comes with 128MB of memory which is the maximum amount of memory for the printer. It holds 250 sheets of paper in its tray with a double sided printing feature.

 

In addition, one can use this printer with their Windows 64 bit operating system over a USB connection using PCL6 emulation and then the ADAM would be connected with the parallel printer connection using the Epson FX emulation mode.

This 2016 model Brother HL-L5000D with a list price of $299.99 is out of production and is no longer being made. However some dealers still have factory new and sealed Brother HL-L5000D Laser printers in stock for as low as $176.97 with free shipping. According to the spec sheet even the parallel printer cable is included for free.

 

This printer can be purchased brand new from New EGG for $194.99 or $176.97 with free shipping from Amazon. Since QTY’s are limited on the printer since its out of production, some dealers have limited purchases to a maximum of 5. Some businesses and government agencies need this Brother HL-L5000D printer for some old 80’s computer systems that require both parallel interface with Epson FX emulation (It’s not just ADAM owners looking for a modern brand new Laser printer).

 

If I get time I might try this Brother HL-L5000D with the MIB3 card to see how well it works with the ADAM computer.

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brief user review of the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer when connected to the classic 1983 Coleco ADAM computer

I purchased a 2016 model Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer since it is the last Laser printer on the market that well work with the Coleco ADAM computer as long as one owns a parallel interface with proper cable and software (Laser printers and ink jet printers no longer offer parallel interfaces with Epson FX-850 emulation support and all the new 2018 models from every manufactory is USB with a modern printer language like PCL6, etc.). Upon opening the factory new 2016 model Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer I discovered that my printer has a manufactories date of January 2018 (It is my understanding that January 2018 manufacturing date is the last run for this 2016 model, and the printer is now out of production). In addition, the price of this Laser printer has greatly increased in the last two weeks from around $176.97 to around $209 as several dealers are now out of stock with no inventory to restock the printer. New Egg is now out of stock and only a few New Egg dealers have the printer in stock with prices around $209+. As this is the last of the parallel printers with FX emulation. It is possible that this Laser Printer well be selling for $299.99 full list price or even higher as inventories get close to being fully depleted.

 

 

One negative feature of this Brother HL-L5000D is the quality is not as good when compared to printers like the HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dne and several other HP Laser printers on the market

I normal try and start my brief user reviews with the negative features of the product first (Then later mention some of the positive features of the product). I am not a fan of Brother Laser Printers. Around 15+ years ago I tried a Brother Laser Printer to use with a Windows PC and at the location I lived at the time. The Brother Laser Printer would cause the lights in the room to flicker when printing. Most likely due to a massive power drain and/or electrical noise generated by the Brother Laser printer when it prints. Therefore, after that experience around 15+ years ago I returned the Brother Laser Printer for a refund. Also after messing around with color Ink Jet printers with ink that would dry after 6 months, I moved to reliable HP Laser Printers which I have been happy with for around 15+ years. Now the positive thing about the Brother HL-L5000D is that when printing the lights in the room do not flicker or dim like what I did experience 15+ years ago. However, I ran into other issues with the quality of the Brother HL-L5000D power supply. For the record, I do not connect Laser printers or copying machines to UPS power backup systems since most UPS models unless they are over 1500VA well shut down and go into protection mode since Laser printers and copying machines have a huge surge power draw when they start printing. So 100% of the time all my Laser printers are plugged into a standard surge protector or line conditioner without a UPS attached.

 

What was very disturbing about the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer is that when the printer is first turned on and also when it is printing, my Cyperpower UPS system in the same room on a different circuit breaker makes a loud humming noise because of the huge power drain and electrical noise that is being generated by the Brother Laser printer. I tried moving the Brother Laser printer to a another room, and in that room a high-end pure sine wave 1500VA kicks in once and awhile from the power drain even though the Brother Laser printer is not connected to the UPS unit (So the Brother Laser printer has the same issue in two different rooms). I am seeing reports online from people that are also mentioning that their Brother Laser printer causes their UPS system to make a loud humming noise when the Brother Laser printer is printing (all or several different Brother models have the issue). Brother Laser printers have a huge power drain when first powering on and mainly when printing (Also Brother Laser printers generate more electrical noise that gets sent back down the power line). The Brother Laser printers also have lower quality power supplies when compared to HP Laser printers. I have used and installed around 10 HP Laser printers and not once have I seen a huge power drain or electrical noise that causes this type of problem with UPS systems in the same room. At least the lights do not flicker when using this model of Brother Laser printers, so improvements have been made. If this printer was going to be used on a Windows PC, I would have sent this Brother Laser printer back and would have purchased a HP Laser printer instead. However the only reason why I am keeping this Brother Laser printer is because HP does not support Epson FX emulation which is needed for the Coleco ADAM computer system. This Brother Laser printer is both UL listed and FCC certified therefore any interference generated by the printer well in theory be within the FCC guidelines. HP Laser printers have better power supplies and make less physical noise when printing. But if I were to return this Brother Laser printer there is no other factory new printer on the market to use with my Coleco ADAM so that is the only reason I am keeping the printer. The Brother Laser printer when printing is also nosier when compared to a HP Laser printer.

 

Now some people might not own a UPS system in the same room or a different electrical setup and might not experience what I was experiencing. In addition, the high-end pure sine wave UPS unit in the other room where the printer was also used, that UPS unit made noise but not as much noise (might be no coils or higher quality coils in that higher end model).

 

Connecting the Brother HL-L5000D to the Coleco ADAM Family Computer System

I initially connected the Brother HL-L5000D to a Windows PC over a USB connection so that I could download and install the latest firmware update to the Laser printer. The firmware update was successful and I was able to print fine from a Windows PC. I then went to connect the Laser printer to the ADAM computer which is the purpose for buying the printer. This Laser printer automatically detects and switches to the correct printer language that is being sent. One can have a Windows PC over USB and the ADAM computer connected on the parallel interface at the exact same time to the same printer and the printer well automatically know what printer language it is receiving.

 

Coleco was planning on coming out with a ADAMNET based serial/parallel interface that would not require any software patches when used with a parallel Laser printer, Ink Jet printer, or Dot Matrix printer. All existing ADAM software would be 100% compatible with no software patches needed if that hardware product would have been released (One or two fully functional prototypes currently exist and are in the hands of former Coleco employees) . However, the ADAMNET serial/parallel interface never saw a late 1985 release since Coleco in January of 1985 made a business decision to cancel the ADAM and ColecoVision system. Thanks to EVE Electronics and other companies around 1985+ a serial/parallel interface hardware devices were made for the Coleco ADAM computer with software patches that would work with some (not all) Coleco software when connected to a parallel printer.

 

I successfully connected the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer to Micro innovations MIB3 card (The MIB3 card is an internal card that plugs into the ADAM, and offers dual serial with one parallel interface). In addition, I successfully was able to connect the Laser printer to the EVE Electronics SP-1 unit (one serial and one parallel interface box that plugs into the side expansion module interface on the ADAM computer). However, one cannot use the existing cables that come with the Micro innovations MIB3 card. Around 10+ years ago Laser printers used a 36 pin Centronics parallel interface and the printer cable that comes with the MIB3 card is setup for that type of printer. Sometimes one would also use a DB-25 to Centronics 36 pin gender changer or cable. However what was very surprising to me is that the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer has a female DA-26 parallel connector on the printer which is a more modern parallel interface connection but also extremely rare connector used on parallel printers. It is so rare that Brother includes a 28 gauge male DB-25 to male DA-26 printer cable with every Brother HL-L5000D printer that is sold. I purchased a Centronics 36 pin female-to-female DB25 gender changer, however when connected to the MIB3 card and Eve Electronics SP-1 the printer would never receive any data from the ADAM computer. The ideal cable to use with this printer that would not require any adapters would be a female 26 pin IDC to male 26 Pin DA-26 connector (however such a cable does not exist and would need to be custom made). The second best solution to make this Brother Laser Printer work with the MIB3 and Eve SP-1, is to purchase a DB25 Female to 26 Pin female IDC cable for $5.95 (and this is the cable I am currently using). Then one connects the female 26 Pin IDC into the parallel interface on the MIB3 or Eve SP-1. Then the female DB25 end gets connected to the male DB-25 printer cable that came with the printer. Then the other end of the printer cables male DA-26 connector gets connected directly to the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer’s female DA-26 parallel port. So one needs to replace the existing MIB3 and Eve SP-1 parallel cable with the $5.95 cable mentioned above. There is one other step that one also needs to do to get this printer to work with the ADAM computer. In the “Print Menu”, “Auto FF” must be changed from the default “Off” to “On”. Now the printer well work with the ADAM, however there is a couple of other menu settings I would recommend changing. In “General Setup” change the “Resolution” to “1200” so that the printer offers 1200 x 1200 print quality. Then if you want to save the amount of paper used you well want to turn on 2 sided printing. In “Paper Tray” change “2-sided” to “Long Edge”. Now you are ready to use the Laser printer with the ADAM computer when connected to the MIB3 or EVE SP-1.

 

The best printer patching software from 1991 is Water’s Software’s ADAM Desktop which is now a public domain rom image that works with both the 128 in 1 USB flash cartridge and the Ultimate SD Wafer Drive from ATARIMAX. It is nice to have a 42 page per minute Laser printer for the ADAM computer. There are a lot of software that requires one to either use Smartwriter to read the manual on the screen or to dump the manual to a Laser Printer. One can easily dump around 600 pages to the Laser printer and with double sided printing that works out to only 300 pages used.

 

Remember using a parallel printer is a little harder to use when compared to Coleco’s original daisy wheel printer that access ADAMNET with no software patches needed. One always 100% of the time needs to install a software patch before printing with this Laser printer on the ADAM computer. And that is what ADAM’s Desktop cartridge and other programs are used for. I was successfully able to get Smarttwriter word processor to work with the Laser printer after a software patch (When using Smartwriter change the paper setting from single sheet to fan fold is ideal when printing several pages at once), also Recipe Filer worked fine after a software patch. However there are certain original Coleco software and third party software that is not compatible with the latest printer software patches that was created in the early 90’s. For example Buck Rodgers Hall of Fame printing well not work at all with the software patch and all other Supergame hall of fame screens that I tried would only print out correctly on the original Coleco ADAMNET Daisy wheel printer. Sure someone could create a software printer patch to fix the troubled programs, but it’s my understanding from talking with former Coleco employees is that the unreleased porotype ADAMNET serial/parallel interface works with all Coleco ADAM software with no software patch needed (the device emulates a ADAM printer for any compatible parallel printer attached).

 

Back in 1983 Smartwriter was a very fancy Smartkey driven EOS word processor program that was one of the best on the market when compared to other home computers. Plus one had access to CP/M 2.2 word processing programs. However, 35 years later the Smartwriter program really needs an update and with almost unlimited storage capacity of the Ultimate SD Wafer Drive, that could become a reality for a computer programmer.

 

I became aware of Microsoft Word offering spell checking with mis spelled words underlined in red in the early 90’s (later on grammar checker with grammar errors underlined in green). Even though Walter’s Software came out with a spell-checking program around 1988 for the ADAM computers built in Smartwriter word processor, the problem is it is not as nice as Microsoft word. It would be neat if one day if someone would create a super version of Smartwriter for the Coleco ADAM computer. The new super Smartwriter word processor could be 16MB or larger in size if the Ultimate SD Wafer Drive is used. Then a live real time spell checking feature in Smartwriter could underline words not in the dictionary in red. Perhaps even a grammar checker with certain sentences underlined in green. Also with an 80 column HDMI interface plugged in the ADAM’s expansion module interface, one could have a 80 column version of Smartwriter.

 

If the ADAM computer had a updated version of Smartwriter then I would consider using it as a word processor. In addition, a more modern printer driver could be created so that Smartwriter could access more printers. Why not also make Smartwriter have different size fonts and font styles. There are amazing possibilities that a programmer could do to the ADAM if the time and demand existed.

post-10892-0-83747200-1534937962_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-10524200-1534938063_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-85302800-1534938136_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-12732200-1534938196_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-67432000-1534938270_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-35028300-1534938335_thumb.jpg

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/22/2018 at 7:55 AM, HDTV1080P said:

Now the printer well work with the ADAM, however there is a couple of other menu settings I would recommend changing. In “General Setup” change the “Resolution” to “1200” so that the printer offers 1200 x 1200 print quality.

Does the printer, print out Ascii text like when a BASIC program uses an LPRINT command or a program is listed to the printer?  Does the printer use a built in Font?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, venom4728a said:

Does the printer, print out Ascii text like when a BASIC program uses an LPRINT command or a program is listed to the printer?  Does the printer use a built in Font?

The only printer made for the ADAM computer that does not use any printer driver patches is the original 1983 Coleco ADAM Smartwriter printer that connects up to ADAMNET. Any other printer including the Brother Laser printer requires some type of printer driver patch. So the only way you would be able to print in SmartBasic would be if you patched the software with some third party program to allow printing.   

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MrPix said:

The RetroPrinter solves this problem.

https://www.retroprinter.com

 

Thanks for the link. However from what I am reading online it sounds like the device captures parallel port data and then converts it to a PDF file to be printed on a modern desktop computer. In the ideal world someone should make a parallel port device that connects to a USB printer (but such devices only works with the USB device being a Windows machine and the printer being parallel).

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It takes parallel input, converts it to a PDF then can directly print it via a USB attached printer and also save the file as a PDF.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, MrPix said:

It takes parallel input, converts it to a PDF then can directly print it via a USB attached printer and also save the file as a PDF.

Ok so it has its own USB printer driver built in so no Windows PC is needed. For it to work with the Coleco ADAM it would need to be able to handle Epson FX emulation going into the parallel port. Not sure it has that feature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Retro-Printer.  The Retro-Printer hardware has an on/off switch and a Centronics connector it is a top hat for a raspberry pi and a few other single board computers.  The software receives the data from the parallel port stores that in a RAW folder from the RAW folder it builds a PNG, If I am remembering correctly converts to a PDF. The PDF can be dumped to a USB or Network printer that the user setups up using LINUX CUPS. The PDF can also be stored and retrieved but by default I think it is set to delete after its printed.  There are also PCL software modules that can be added in, which give the Retro Printer the ability to decipher Printer Control Languages other than Epson Esc/p.   

My Atari uses an external P: printer module that adapts atari outpt to centronics parallel and can also add in Line Feed as the Atari simply output CR a carriage return. The Atari output ATASCII which has an Ascii Base, I think all normal letters and punctuation in atascii match Ascii, but when you get into the extended characters Atascii differs from ascii.  So if I dump a README from an Atari to a printer it is very likely that it will be all Ascii characters.  BASIC listing are also mostly Ascii characters, but people use the Atari Atascii extended characters to make nice looking text menu.  The Atari specific extended characters always came out as garbage unless you used a print device/software that converted them to graphics data or used an Atari printer that had the Atascii characters built in.

 

What I was wondering, does the Coleco Adam adapter send ascii to the printer using the printers built in fonts to print or does it build a graphical image of the page using a font built into the adapter?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The Coleco ADAM printer uses binary machine language over ADAMNET and most likely a simple form of ASCII since daisy wheel printers only print letters and numbers with a built in font style depending on the daisy wheel installed (to change the font requires changing the daisy wheel). The Coleco ADAM printer was what I did not like about the ADAM. Power supply built into printer and very noisy printer. However excellent true Letter quality printing on the Coleco ADAM printer that outperformed the Dot matrix printers in 1983 that were only near letter quality printing  Around 1985-1989+ people started attaching Laser printers and Dot Matrix printers with third party adapters and special software that allowed the printing of graphics in monochrome (black and white).   

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 8/22/2018 at 6:55 AM, HDTV1080P said:

Brief user review of the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer when connected to the classic 1983 Coleco ADAM computer

 

I purchased a 2016 model Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer since it is the last Laser printer on the market that well work with the Coleco ADAM computer as long as one owns a parallel interface with proper cable and software (Laser printers and ink jet printers no longer offer parallel interfaces with Epson FX-850 emulation support and all the new 2018 models from every manufactory is USB with a modern printer language like PCL6, etc.). Upon opening the factory new 2016 model Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer I discovered that my printer has a manufactories date of January 2018 (It is my understanding that January 2018 manufacturing date is the last run for this 2016 model, and the printer is now out of production). In addition, the price of this Laser printer has greatly increased in the last two weeks from around $176.97 to around $209 as several dealers are now out of stock with no inventory to restock the printer. New Egg is now out of stock and only a few New Egg dealers have the printer in stock with prices around $209+. As this is the last of the parallel printers with FX emulation. It is possible that this Laser Printer well be selling for $299.99 full list price or even higher as inventories get close to being fully depleted.

 

 

One negative feature of this Brother HL-L5000D is the quality is not as good when compared to printers like the HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dne and several other HP Laser printers on the market

 

I normal try and start my brief user reviews with the negative features of the product first (Then later mention some of the positive features of the product). I am not a fan of Brother Laser Printers. Around 15+ years ago I tried a Brother Laser Printer to use with a Windows PC and at the location I lived at the time. The Brother Laser Printer would cause the lights in the room to flicker when printing. Most likely due to a massive power drain and/or electrical noise generated by the Brother Laser printer when it prints. Therefore, after that experience around 15+ years ago I returned the Brother Laser Printer for a refund. Also after messing around with color Ink Jet printers with ink that would dry after 6 months, I moved to reliable HP Laser Printers which I have been happy with for around 15+ years. Now the positive thing about the Brother HL-L5000D is that when printing the lights in the room do not flicker or dim like what I did experience 15+ years ago. However, I ran into other issues with the quality of the Brother HL-L5000D power supply. For the record, I do not connect Laser printers or copying machines to UPS power backup systems since most UPS models unless they are over 1500VA well shut down and go into protection mode since Laser printers and copying machines have a huge surge power draw when they start printing. So 100% of the time all my Laser printers are plugged into a standard surge protector or line conditioner without a UPS attached.

 

What was very disturbing about the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer is that when the printer is first turned on and also when it is printing, my Cyperpower UPS system in the same room on a different circuit breaker makes a loud humming noise because of the huge power drain and electrical noise that is being generated by the Brother Laser printer. I tried moving the Brother Laser printer to a another room, and in that room a high-end pure sine wave 1500VA kicks in once and awhile from the power drain even though the Brother Laser printer is not connected to the UPS unit (So the Brother Laser printer has the same issue in two different rooms). I am seeing reports online from people that are also mentioning that their Brother Laser printer causes their UPS system to make a loud humming noise when the Brother Laser printer is printing (all or several different Brother models have the issue). Brother Laser printers have a huge power drain when first powering on and mainly when printing (Also Brother Laser printers generate more electrical noise that gets sent back down the power line). The Brother Laser printers also have lower quality power supplies when compared to HP Laser printers. I have used and installed around 10 HP Laser printers and not once have I seen a huge power drain or electrical noise that causes this type of problem with UPS systems in the same room. At least the lights do not flicker when using this model of Brother Laser printers, so improvements have been made. If this printer was going to be used on a Windows PC, I would have sent this Brother Laser printer back and would have purchased a HP Laser printer instead. However the only reason why I am keeping this Brother Laser printer is because HP does not support Epson FX emulation which is needed for the Coleco ADAM computer system. This Brother Laser printer is both UL listed and FCC certified therefore any interference generated by the printer well in theory be within the FCC guidelines. HP Laser printers have better power supplies and make less physical noise when printing. But if I were to return this Brother Laser printer there is no other factory new printer on the market to use with my Coleco ADAM so that is the only reason I am keeping the printer. The Brother Laser printer when printing is also nosier when compared to a HP Laser printer.

 

Now some people might not own a UPS system in the same room or a different electrical setup and might not experience what I was experiencing. In addition, the high-end pure sine wave UPS unit in the other room where the printer was also used, that UPS unit made noise but not as much noise (might be no coils or higher quality coils in that higher end model).

 

 

Connecting the Brother HL-L5000D to the Coleco ADAM Family Computer System

 

I initially connected the Brother HL-L5000D to a Windows PC over a USB connection so that I could download and install the latest firmware update to the Laser printer. The firmware update was successful and I was able to print fine from a Windows PC. I then went to connect the Laser printer to the ADAM computer which is the purpose for buying the printer. This Laser printer automatically detects and switches to the correct printer language that is being sent. One can have a Windows PC over USB and the ADAM computer connected on the parallel interface at the exact same time to the same printer and the printer well automatically know what printer language it is receiving.

 

Coleco was planning on coming out with a ADAMNET based serial/parallel interface that would not require any software patches when used with a parallel Laser printer, Ink Jet printer, or Dot Matrix printer. All existing ADAM software would be 100% compatible with no software patches needed if that hardware product would have been released (One or two fully functional prototypes currently exist and are in the hands of former Coleco employees) . However, the ADAMNET serial/parallel interface never saw a late 1985 release since Coleco in January of 1985 made a business decision to cancel the ADAM and ColecoVision system. Thanks to EVE Electronics and other companies around 1985+ a serial/parallel interface hardware devices were made for the Coleco ADAM computer with software patches that would work with some (not all) Coleco software when connected to a parallel printer.

 

I successfully connected the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer to Micro innovations MIB3 card (The MIB3 card is an internal card that plugs into the ADAM, and offers dual serial with one parallel interface). In addition, I successfully was able to connect the Laser printer to the EVE Electronics SP-1 unit (one serial and one parallel interface box that plugs into the side expansion module interface on the ADAM computer). However, one cannot use the existing cables that come with the Micro innovations MIB3 card. Around 10+ years ago Laser printers used a 36 pin Centronics parallel interface and the printer cable that comes with the MIB3 card is setup for that type of printer. Sometimes one would also use a DB-25 to Centronics 36 pin gender changer or cable. However what was very surprising to me is that the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer has a female DA-26 parallel connector on the printer which is a more modern parallel interface connection but also extremely rare connector used on parallel printers. It is so rare that Brother includes a 28 gauge male DB-25 to male DA-26 printer cable with every Brother HL-L5000D printer that is sold. I purchased a Centronics 36 pin female-to-female DB25 gender changer, however when connected to the MIB3 card and Eve Electronics SP-1 the printer would never receive any data from the ADAM computer. The ideal cable to use with this printer that would not require any adapters would be a female 26 pin IDC to male 26 Pin DA-26 connector (however such a cable does not exist and would need to be custom made). The second best solution to make this Brother Laser Printer work with the MIB3 and Eve SP-1, is to purchase a DB25 Female to 26 Pin female IDC cable for $5.95 (and this is the cable I am currently using). Then one connects the female 26 Pin IDC into the parallel interface on the MIB3 or Eve SP-1. Then the female DB25 end gets connected to the male DB-25 printer cable that came with the printer. Then the other end of the printer cables male DA-26 connector gets connected directly to the Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer’s female DA-26 parallel port. So one needs to replace the existing MIB3 and Eve SP-1 parallel cable with the $5.95 cable mentioned above. There is one other step that one also needs to do to get this printer to work with the ADAM computer. In the “Print Menu”, “Auto FF” must be changed from the default “Off” to “On”. Now the printer well work with the ADAM, however there is a couple of other menu settings I would recommend changing. In “General Setup” change the “Resolution” to “1200” so that the printer offers 1200 x 1200 print quality. Then if you want to save the amount of paper used you well want to turn on 2 sided printing. In “Paper Tray” change “2-sided” to “Long Edge”. Now you are ready to use the Laser printer with the ADAM computer when connected to the MIB3 or EVE SP-1.

 

The best printer patching software from 1991 is Water’s Software’s ADAM Desktop which is now a public domain rom image that works with both the 128 in 1 USB flash cartridge and the Ultimate SD Wafer Drive from ATARIMAX. It is nice to have a 42 page per minute Laser printer for the ADAM computer. There are a lot of software that requires one to either use Smartwriter to read the manual on the screen or to dump the manual to a Laser Printer. One can easily dump around 600 pages to the Laser printer and with double sided printing that works out to only 300 pages used.

 

Remember using a parallel printer is a little harder to use when compared to Coleco’s original daisy wheel printer that access ADAMNET with no software patches needed. One always 100% of the time needs to install a software patch before printing with this Laser printer on the ADAM computer. And that is what ADAM’s Desktop cartridge and other programs are used for. I was successfully able to get Smarttwriter word processor to work with the Laser printer after a software patch (When using Smartwriter change the paper setting from single sheet to fan fold is ideal when printing several pages at once), also Recipe Filer worked fine after a software patch. However there are certain original Coleco software and third party software that is not compatible with the latest printer software patches that was created in the early 90’s. For example Buck Rodgers Hall of Fame printing well not work at all with the software patch and all other Supergame hall of fame screens that I tried would only print out correctly on the original Coleco ADAMNET Daisy wheel printer. Sure someone could create a software printer patch to fix the troubled programs, but it’s my understanding from talking with former Coleco employees is that the unreleased porotype ADAMNET serial/parallel interface works with all Coleco ADAM software with no software patch needed (the device emulates a ADAM printer for any compatible parallel printer attached).

 

Back in 1983 Smartwriter was a very fancy Smartkey driven EOS word processor program that was one of the best on the market when compared to other home computers. Plus one had access to CP/M 2.2 word processing programs. However, 35 years later the Smartwriter program really needs an update and with almost unlimited storage capacity of the Ultimate SD Wafer Drive, that could become a reality for a computer programmer.

 

I became aware of Microsoft Word offering spell checking with mis spelled words underlined in red in the early 90’s (later on grammar checker with grammar errors underlined in green). Even though Walter’s Software came out with a spell-checking program around 1988 for the ADAM computers built in Smartwriter word processor, the problem is it is not as nice as Microsoft word. It would be neat if one day if someone would create a super version of Smartwriter for the Coleco ADAM computer. The new super Smartwriter word processor could be 16MB or larger in size if the Ultimate SD Wafer Drive is used. Then a live real time spell checking feature in Smartwriter could underline words not in the dictionary in red. Perhaps even a grammar checker with certain sentences underlined in green. Also with an 80 column HDMI interface plugged in the ADAM’s expansion module interface, one could have a 80 column version of Smartwriter.

 

If the ADAM computer had a updated version of Smartwriter then I would consider using it as a word processor. In addition, a more modern printer driver could be created so that Smartwriter could access more printers. Why not also make Smartwriter have different size fonts and font styles. There are amazing possibilities that a programmer could do to the ADAM if the time and demand existed.

post-10892-0-83747200-1534937962_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-10524200-1534938063_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-85302800-1534938136_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-12732200-1534938196_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-67432000-1534938270_thumb.jpg

post-10892-0-35028300-1534938335_thumb.jpg

The 1983 Coleco ADAM computer requires a Laser printer or Ink Jet printer with both a parallel port and Epson FX-850 emulation support. This weekend I spent several hours researching the latest 2020 printer models and none of  them will work with the ADAM computer since there is no parallel port on the printers anymore. While it’s true a select few Brother Laser printers still support Epson FX emulation, all the current Brother Laser printers use either USB, 1Gbps ethernet, and WI-FI to communicate with the printer instead of a standard parallel port. The ADAM printer drivers were all made to work only with a parallel port printer. While its true there is Retro-Printer adapters on the market that convert parallel signals to USB, it is my understanding that none of them offer Epson FX emulation (As far as I am aware).

 

Therefore the 2016 model Brother HL-L5000D will go down in history as the very last Laser printer that was manufactured with a parallel port that accepts Epson FX emulation. It is my understanding that this 2016 model Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer last manufacturing date was January 2018. While this Laser printer originally sold in price for around $176.97 with free shipping, because of supply and demand almost everyone is out of stock on new and sometimes used ones. New ones now sell in the $300+ price range plus shipping if one can find one in stock.

 

I still have one Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer that I use with my ADAM computer once and awhile. This BD25 Female to 26 Pin IDC adapter cable for $5.95 with free shipping needs to be used to interface the Laser printer with the MIB3 and Eve SP-1 products.

 

Even all or most of the online Amazon and EBAY dealers are out of stock on this Brother HL-L5000D Laser printer. Attached is the Laser printer spec sheet and a copy of the rare instruction sheet that ADAM dealers offered to people that wanted to configure the Laser printer for their ADAM computer.

HL-L5000D_Brochure.pdf Connecting the Brother Laser printer to the ADAM.docx

Edited by HDTV1080P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...