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Xetec Graphics AT printer interface: A diamond in the rough

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     BITD I used the 850, ATR-8000 and then an ICD MIO for parallel printer interface.  Today my preference is the ICD P: R: Connection.  Its small"ish", runs off the SIO 5VDC, has an SIO pass-thru and has the ability to add carriage return at end of line.  Most other Atari interfaces don't have that option.  You have to set a dip switch on the printer to advance the line feed.  It's a small thing, but important to me.  I've tried smaller Ape Face, MPP-1150 and the U-Print inerfaces.  The latter two have the SIO pass-thru which is nice since my SIO2SD is already a dead end device.  

 

     I recently bought a NIB Star NX-1000 Multi Font that came with a little known (at least to me) parallel interface called the Xetec Graphics AT.  Its small, has no SIO pass-thru, but it has two features that seem unique.

 

1)  Has 8 dip switches on the outside to select different modes and functions.  One of which is carriage return at end of line (like the P: R: Connection).

 

2)  The ability to print ATASCII Ctrl characters!  What?  Yes.  By flipping one of the dip switches, you can list programs directly to your printer with ATASCII Ctrl characters.  Really a nice feature. 

Edited by ACML
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Yes, I used one of those with my Star printer up until 1992. It was pretty widely available, cheap (it cost around thirty bucks, new), and did its job well. It was kind of ugly, though...

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I had a P: R: interface for a number of years I bought used for real cheap from a local Mom&POP computer shop back in the 80's, with the intention of eventually getting a printer and modem to use with it. I had it for about 5 years and ended up selling it or trading it or something. In the early 90's when I was in college, I finally got a 24-pin Panasonic printer for school work and bought a Supra MicroPrint interface to use with it from B&C. I love the MicroPrint (I still own and use both the printer and the interface) which uses the SIO 5v and is just an SIO cable to an interface with Centronic's plug at the other end that direct connects to my printer's port. It's simple plug and play using Epson FX drivers included in most Atari WP software(I used Atariwriter + back then, and The Last WP today with the same interface and printer). No dip switches to worry about, at least with my printer.

 

I do plan on buying an 850 interface to go with my 800, as some where along the line I picked up the 850 to 825 printer cable, that I had no idea what it was for, for many years until I saw one in an auction with an 850 a few years ago!

Edited by Gunstar

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Bumpity bump bump. I am being gifted a Xetec Graphix AT printer interface and it is supposed to arrive Saturday. Are there any tips or knowledge anyone can drop about this? I’ve grabbed the PDF manual for it from AtariMuseum. 

 

Leftover from our family business, I have an Okidata ML320 Turbo and ML321 Turbo that I’d like to connect and try out on the old Atari. It’d be great if it works, as I have lots of extra ribbons and printheads. 

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No knowledge of the printer interface or your Okidata's in particular, but as long as they have an Epson compatible mode they should work fine. If not, you may have to find or write a compatible driver. IIRC, The Last Word processor allows you to create custom drivers for printers.

 

I'm still using my Panasonic KX-P2023 printer (which had gotten very yellowed in storage so I re-painted it to match my XL system). As I stated above, I use Supra's (originally made by MPP, IIRC) MicroPrint interface. After years in storage the ribbons have dried, and I've currently been looking into rejuvenation techniques for ribbons, including good-old WD-40 that I may try first. Then I need to get a hold of some old fan-fold paper so I don't have to sit there and constantly feed regular paper in one at a time! I've just set-up the printer and am ready once I get past these other minor hurtles.

20200108_085544.jpg

20200108_085617.jpg

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The Okidata ML320 Turbo and ML321 Turbo are still extremely popular dot matrix printers, especially in warehouses & supply houses (which was my business for decades). They are absolute workhorses. If I had a dollar for every document printed on them there would be a tractor trailer load of retro gear showing up in a few days :)

 

Per the manual, they are Epson compatible. I found my old 1025 and 1027, but they are both broken and worth repairing, so the SIO ports are pulled and will be used for another project. All I want to do with it for now is to print program listings. 
 

For posterity and in case anyone searches in the future, the DIP switch settings are below. 
 

 

 

FC9D2B2C-83D9-4577-A3F1-ECBA57E5C663.jpeg

B99FECF9-7D74-4E10-9E07-B1D0DCDB8AAF.jpeg

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You have lots of choices for printer driver compatibility, from the list on those dip switches you shouldn't have a problem with most any Atari software that has print-out functions! Though many of the printers listed there that can be emulated emulate Epson's themselves.

 

Though most (Atari software) have Epson drivers, there are some that work better with say Star SG-10 for example and quite a few other choices. I take it that those Okidata's are 24-pin printers? Or did they make printers better than 24-pin on any dot-matrix? Anywho, wow. My Panasonic 24-pin can only emulate Epson LQ-850 and IBM Proprinter X24E. Though all I need is Epson LQ-850 emulation because the LQ-850 is compatible with all previous Epson dot-matrix printers. Plus it's compatible with all the Panasonic printers listed on your guide too (this I know from experience).

20200108_233717.jpg

Edited by Gunstar
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Star NX-1000r printers are nice. Compatible with Epson JX-80. Nice color printer for Atari. Both of them are.

That's what I printed the C=64 Commode door pic on that I put on the local Commie dealer's door back in the day.

It was fun.

 

:)

 

 

TOLETC64.PNG

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Gunstar, I’m almost certain they are 9 pin printers (they print around ~425 CPS IIRC). It has been several years since I’ve toyed around with them. It sounds like I’m good to go. This will be a refreshing turn of luck :) On the flip side of that good luck, the USPS tracking now shows it will be arriving on Tuesday instead of Saturday :( Tuesday I have to drive 100 miles and spend a day at the hospital, so testing will have to be put off.

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If anyone is still looking for one a Graphix AT, I've just listed one on eBay.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/143551113203

 

It came as part of a bundle when I bought some equipment recently and I have no need for it - even though for nostalgia purposes I'd love to keep it. :)

But I'd rather it go to a good home instead.

 

 

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This is my luck so far with the Xetec Graphic AT.

Can't figure out why the end of each line is giving me a cent instead of going to a new line..

I tried the DIP 4 on and off, with no change.

 

Weirdly on the Citizen GSX-140, which claims to be compatible with either the Prowriter or Epson LQ settings I can get either graphics (ATASCII) or Text to work, but if I do a line of graphics + text the graphics will show up, but no text.  Or if I do text first, that shows... it is odd.  Thoguh I think it went into a funky phase, as at one point I did get it to look almost exactly like the Samsung laser printer.

20200528_223154.jpg

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On 9/1/2019 at 8:02 PM, gilsaluki said:

Still use my PR Connection by ICD.  ICD made quality products for our 8-bits.  God bless those Rockford, IL. Atari Nuts.

Yeah, I still use mine too.  I traded even for my first PR connection back in the 80s for a working 850.  I liked the size of it, and, as was mentioned, it's powered over SIO.  And it looked better with my 130XE.

 

Today, I use it with a printer (rarely) and a MSS100 to connect to BBSs and IRC chat once in a while.  I sold a PR connection to Larry 20 or so years ago, and kicked myself for doing that for a while.  Then I obtained this one maybe 10 years ago from Slor or orpheuswaking in some sort of trade.  Nice to have some local guys around, though we have not gotten together in quite some time.  Oooh.  My set up is looking a little dusty!

20200530_122921.jpg

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58 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

My PR: Connection has never been unhooked since I got it in the eighties.  Printed disk directories last night with it.

Ah, but does it print ATASCII? 

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20 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

with software or the correct printer it does...

Tried it connected up to my Samsung ML2571N last night and with The Last Word, could only get it to print over the same line. 

So will have to play with other settings for sure, but I kniw I got it to print correctly with Printshop before.

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hmmm carriage returns and linefeeds?  are they configurable in this series printer in some way?

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7 hours ago, leech said:

Tried it connected up to my Samsung ML2571N last night and with The Last Word, could only get it to print over the same line. 

So will have to play with other settings for sure, but I kniw I got it to print correctly with Printshop before.

The Last Word has a CONTROL STRING that enables sending the Carriage Return, the following is from the V3.21 manual:

Quote

6.2.2 CONTROL STRINGS
The CRLF statement allows you to set up a code string for the carriage return/linefeed
sequence you want to send to the printer at the end of every line. For an EPSON
compatible printer, you would type:

CRLF 13,10
This will sent an ASCII carriage return and linefeed sequence to the printer at the end
of each line. The ICD Printer Connection sends the line feeds for you, however, so
most of the time you can just have:

CRLF 155
This is Atari’s normal End of Line character and is the default in LW, so unless you
want the CRLF sequence to be anything other than 155, you needn’t include a CRLF
instruction in your printer driver.

Edited by BillC

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15 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

hmmm carriage returns and linefeeds?  are they configurable in this series printer in some way?

Huh, even with the printer settings like this it didn't give me a carriage return out of the ICD Printer Connection.

8 hours ago, BillC said:

The Last Word has a CONTROL STRING that enables sending the Carriage Return, the following is from the V3.21 manual:

Sounds like 155 should be the default here, which in theory should work.

 

Interestingly enough through Printshop, the Samsung Laser printer prints the 'welcome to the printshop' just fine, and then prints ><>< which Printshop asks which one came out.  The Citizen GSX-140 (which I'm now printing on as I type this), actually prints out with the <> (as Printshop says Unbroken Diamond vs Broken one). 

Ha, this is usually why my printing stays with HP printers and Linux.  They just work.  The old experience of having 15 different printer languages are gladly forgotten for the most part.

 

On the upside, this Samsung printer is amazing, in that it supports PCL, Epson, Postscript and IBM ProPrint.  If I could find a continuous sheet feeder for it, and if it were color, I'd be set. 

Screenshot from 2020-05-31 11-27-10.png

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Back on the topic of the Xetec.  Is there two models?  Guess I will find out when the second comes to me... top one is the one I just ordered,  the bottom one is the one I had been using.

 

SmartSelect_20200531-113905_eBay.jpg

20200531_114107.jpg

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I've got the gold one here, it needs a new sio plug but happy to post for cost if anyone wants it 

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On 5/29/2020 at 12:41 AM, leech said:

 

20200528_223154.jpg

Hi leech

 

Looking at that test on your laser printer I can see that besides the cent issue, it prints correctly the Atari graphics characters. That's a good thing to know.

However, I can see that the regular text ("ATASCII IS AWESOME") is not being printed using the Atari font. Instead, it is using the printer font.

 

Is there a way to configure the Xetec Graphix AT interface so that it uses the Atari font instead of the printer font for the regular text?

 

Can you please show us what inverse regular text looks like when printed on your laser printer?

 

Thanks in advance,


Luis.

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5 minutes ago, lbaeza said:

Hi leech

 

Looking at that test on your laser printer I can see that besides the cent issue, it prints correctly the Atari graphics characters. That's a good thing to know.

However, I can see that the regular text ("ATASCII IS AWESOME") is not being printed using the Atari font. Instead, it is using the printer font.

 

Is there a way to configure the Xetec Graphix AT interface so that it uses the Atari font instead of the printer font for the regular text?

 

Can you please show us what inverse regular text looks like when printed on your laser printer?

 

Thanks in advance,


Luis.

Sure, I also managed to pick up the revision of the xetec, hoping it works better.

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