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iratasan

800XL printing to an Epson MX-80 via 850 interface and Print Shop: HELP!

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Hello there.

 

I recently purchased an Epson MX-80 printer because I would like to use Print Shop to print out some banners just like in the good old days (silly, i know!). :-D

Hardware:

Atari 800XL

Atari 850 interface + SIO cable

Epson MX-80 mk1 printer + Graftrax ROMs installed (printer is 110AC US model so i need a stepdown power supply to use here in Italy).

Custom build centronics cable to use between printer and 850 interface (36 on one side, 15 pins on the other end).
Holmes Print Shop ATRs files on SIO2SD interface

The printer seem to work on his own, powers up, does its diagnostic test if I press LF button at poweron, also printed some text on a PC via a generic windws driver and a suitable generic parallel to PC cable.

Print Shop seems to load fine via my SIO2SD interface connected to the 850.

I tried to set the printer as "EPSON MX-80..." (first option in Print Shop) and also tried "Old Epson printer with Graftrax).

Unfortunately the Print Shop test printout is the one you can see in the below picture (the "garbage" one with the emoticons). No welcome msg and no "diamond".

Tried many dip switch settings from default to others... no luck! Still printing out garbage... :_(

There are so many things that could be responsable for this behaviour... (in this order, i think)

- the custom parallel to 850 printer cable
- bad dip switch settings
- malfunction on the Epson printer
- faulty 850 interface
- bad ATR files

Would rule out:

- SIO cable (tried many)
- Atari 800XL (tried a 130XE and did the same)

I have seen a Smoth-Corona parallel cable for Atari computers on eBay...

https://www.ebay.it/itm/Vintage-NOS-ATARI-400-800-Parallel-6-Ft-Computer-Cable-Smith-Corona/273427814396

Any idea is this was ment to connect a parallel printer to the 850 interface?? No mention of any 850 interface on the pictures with the instructions on the product packaging.

Where would you point your finger at ?? I know it's a long shot, but let me know if there are tests i can do with the 850 to check if my parallel cable is working or not.

 

As I said, printer seems fine, i did these test also before adding the 3 Graftrax ROMs... and the result was the same. So the 3 ROMS seem to be ok.

Thanks in advance for your help.

C.

 

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Boot into Basic and try to print some text with the LPRINT command.

Turned on printer, turned on 850 interface, turned on A800XL... heard the BRRRR....SKEACK... sound of the 850 handshaking with the computer and BASIC is on.

 

Tried a simple LPRINT "HELLO" and the "order" went apparently thru, but the MX-80 remained silent and still. Nothing at all.

 

 

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Are we positive that LPRINT would work on a NON SIO equipped printer like the Epson?

 

I believe so, I used a Supra interface back in the day with a Panasonic printer without issue. I've never used an 850 with a printer though.

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I believe so, I used a Supra interface back in the day with a Panasonic printer without issue. I've never used an 850 with a printer though.

 

Agree. Other than the plotter, I never owned an Atari printer and always had something connected either to the 850, ATR8000, or custom interface, and I did a hell of a lot of printing out of basic. :)

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My guess: something wrong with the 850 or the cable. Most likely the cable: maybe a couple of wires (bits) crossed? Since the printer received data and it prints, the problem is that it prints garbage.

Finally, I don't know the Epson options, but my experience after playing with my printer emulator is that EOL conversion should be on and data set to 8bits. But LF+CR should be off. That's what I got to print successfully from The Print Shop (I guess the print test with the diamond is to actuallyset the CR addition on of off, but I am not that sure).

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[EDIT]

clicked a second too late. see manterola's post above^

 

wish I still had my MX80 (now that noise cancelling headphones exist) :P

 

Make sure the printer is set to 8 bit ASCII.

 

[EDIT 2]

MX80s use ink ribbons fast. Use old ribbon and WD40 trick to do test prints.

Edited by a8isa1

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Are we positive that LPRINT would work on a NON SIO equipped printer like the Epson?

Yes, LPRINT should not fail on 850 + centronics interfaced printer.

 

One can do a partial test of the 850 by attempting LPRINT with the printer switched off or with it disconnected. Should get a timeout error (I forget the error numbers) vs a device not found error.

Edited by a8isa1

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One can do a partial test of the 850 by attempting LPRINT with the printer switched off or with it disconnected. Should get a timeout error (I forget the error numbers) vs a device not found error.

Done that, with the 850 powered off, i do get an error msg after trying LPRINT.

 

ERROR -138

 

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[EDIT]

:P

 

Make sure the printer is set to 8 bit ASCII.

MMh.. ok i will look into this. We are talking dip switches settings right?

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https://files.support.epson.com/pdf/mx80ft/mx80ftu1.pdf

 

page 27 or so gets you the relevant dip blocks and settings...

 

yes, you build your own cord or buy a ready made 850 or mio / p:r: connection cord...

Hello Doc.

 

Yes, i did already see that PDF, and did set my dip switches according to page 27 and 28 as you pointed out.

 

SW1

 

ON

ON

ON

OFF

ON

ON

OFF

ON

 

+

 

SW2

 

ON

ON

OFF

OFF

 

These are the factory default settings for my printer. Although i upgraded the printer by adding the Graftrax ROMS... so that makes the printer a sort of Frankestein edition.. so dip switch settings might need to be different. Not sure yet.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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My guess: something wrong with the 850 or the cable. Most likely the cable: maybe a couple of wires (bits) crossed? Since the printer received data and it prints, the problem is that it prints garbage.

Finally, I don't know the Epson options, but my experience after playing with my printer emulator is that EOL conversion should be on and data set to 8bits. But LF+CR should be off. That's what I got to print successfully from The Print Shop (I guess the print test with the diamond is to actuallyset the CR addition on of off, but I am not that sure).

My guess too, i think something might be wrong with the cable, might need to double check it or build a new one.

 

EOL CONV on

DATA set to 8-bits

 

Are these settings all achieved via dip switches? I do not seem to spot them on the pdf....

 

 

 

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Done that, with the 850 powered off, i do get an error msg after trying LPRINT.

 

ERROR -138

 

My memory has failed me again. I was sure there was a different error for a powered on 850 but no printer vs 850 turned off. seems you get timeout (error 138) in either case.

 

Sorry.

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My memory has failed me again. I was sure there was a different error for a powered on 850 but no printer vs 850 turned off. seems you get timeout (error 138) in either case.

 

Sorry.

 

I did these tests...

 

** TEST A **

 

LPRINT TO 850 POWERED ON (NOTHING CONNECTED TO IT).

 

i do get the timeout error -138

 

** TEST B **

 

LPRINT TO 850 POWERED ON (CONNECTED TO THE EPSON PRINTER POWERED OFF).

 

No timeout error, goes right away one line down with a READY prompt. Only weird thing is that I hear a sort or "FRRRWW" almost inaudible, very very short sound right when pressing the ENTER key. I do not hear the same if i enter a simple "not print related" basic line of code and press enter.

 

** TEST C **

 

LPRINT TO 850 POWERED ON (CONNECTED TO THE EPSON PRINTER POWERED ON).

 

Exactly the same behavious as TEST B.

 

So it seems like the cable is to blame?

 

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I found this info.. you can cross check if is what you did. I quick check looks like you get similar information of the 850 pinout,except for pin 9 and 10 which is not clear.

I also found that another picture which shows 5v redirected to the fault line. Maybe leaving pin 9 and/or 10 open will make the trick..?

 

More info about the 850 pronter interface:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/268144-atari-850-interface/

If you have a tester, check continuity and also check whether there are two or more pins connected that shouldn't.

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Edited by manterola

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I found this info.. you can cross check if is what you did. I quick check looks like you get similar information of the 850 pinout,except for pin 9 and 10 which is not clear.

I also found that another picture which shows 5v redirected to the fault line. Maybe leaving pin 9 and/or 10 open will make the trick..?

 

More info about the 850 pronter interface:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/268144-atari-850-interface/

If you have a tester, check continuity and also check whether there are two or more pins connected that shouldn't.

Thanks a lot, i will do some checking with the tester. I haven't built the cable myself, i had a friend to do it for me.

 

I was thinking to buy the one off eBay...

 

https://www.ebay.it/itm/Vintage-NOS-ATARI-400-800-Parallel-6-Ft-Computer-Cable-Smith-Corona/273427814396

 

Unfortunately i have no info on this particular cable, so not sure it was built with the 850 in mind... looks like it is but,,, not 100% sure.

 

Edited by iratasan

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iratasan,

BillC has replied to a personal conversation entitled "Centronics 34".

BillC said:

 

Hello BillC... is there a Centronics 34 standard?

I replied to one of your old posts from 2017... please check.

c.

 

It's a mistake, I meant Centronics36

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"Help me Obi Wan Kenobi.. you are my only hope!"

Calling all General Kenobis out there....

Could someone please point out a "sure" pinout of a DB15 cable connecting the 850 interface to a Centronics 36 pin parallel printer such as my Epson?

I seem to have tried all possible combinations for building the cable following the info we have read above in this topic (w/out luck).

Does anyone have such a cable at home (one that has successfully printed at least once in the past thru The Print Shop and the 850) and willing to check all connections?

May the multimeter be with you... always!

PS - Also "proper" Epson dip switch settings for Atari would be very appreciated...

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https://www.atarimagazines.com/v4n10/printercable.html

the cable shown in an earlier post is a dual ended cable from this magazine (link now provided) and you need to match pins from the top connector to the dual connector below in it's provided diagram, that can confuse some folks.

 

This listing below is easy to follow, and works well

 

Printer-850

pin#----pin #

1-------1 strobe

2-------2 d0

3-------3 d1

4-------4 d2

5-------5 d3

6-------6 d4

7-------7 d5

8-------8 d6

16-----11 ground (for signal)

32-----12 fault

11-----13 busy

9-------15 d7

---------9 +5V pull up for devices that do not provide it, used to pull required pins high see below

 

pin9 on the Atari side is the data pins pull up at 5v, pin12 on atari side must be +5v for port to
operate
. If printer doesn't provide this line then connect pin 9atari to pin 12atari.

 

pin17 on printer side for the MX is shield and goes the length of the cable but does not connect to both of the chassis- only one side of shield line ever connects to ground or a chassis

 

that is the pin out used on most Atari interfaces

Edited by _The Doctor__
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when you say you have graftrax installed, there were several different versions and were also versions with substituted character sets. are you sure you have the standard one or one modified for Atari use and not some other machine?

 

You might consider putting the original roms back in and see if you get standard text out put from basic and or a word processor

 

then re install graftrax rom, be very certain all roms face correct direction and all pins of chip are in sockets(not bent in or out missing the hole), no broken swipes or ic pins broken

 

once you have that working then it's time for print shop and it is usually the epson mx or old epson choice that should work.

Edited by _The Doctor__
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try sw 1

top is 8

on

on

on

off

off

off

off

off

 

sw2 top is 4

off

off

off

off

 

if it prints over itself repeatedly then

 

off

on

off

off

 

this is to get started

 

remember printer should be off when changing switches, it reads them at power on/boot and wont always see changes made otherwise.

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