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1200XL M.U.L.E.

Looking for a printer solution

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23 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

I use a late 80's Panasonic KX-P2023 24-pin dot-matrix with my 1200XL (which of course has the resister fix spoken of) with Supra Corporations MicroPrint Centronics interface (the same as MPP's interface as Supra bought them out). It does require the resister fix as the interface uses +5V from the 1200XL. But the Panasonic is 100% Epson compatible which also means it's 100% compatible with virtually any Atari program that prints since Epson was the standard back then, and even Atari software developers made sure their software had drivers for Epsons.

 

I haven't looked to see if there is a new ribbon out there that works with it, I have the original and an extra I picked up at a Goodwill that was driy, and I re-ink them myself. But that's a whole other topic I won't get into now, and though re-inking works fine, I'd rather be able to pick up new working ribbon cartridges than have to go through the trouble. But I don't trust old-stock since I have one already that was dry.

I'm bummed - the print head in my Panasonic KXP is worn out.  It's like the pins are now too short - regardless of how close I adjust the printhead, the print is too light.  Even with new ribbons.  Even when I have it adjusted so close to the paper that it leaves a smudge line.  I enjoy having a printer connected directly to the Atari, especially a dot matrix that takes fanfold paper (which I still have most of a 5000 sheet box).  I am not sure what to do - find another one, or just give up and use one of the newer solutions.

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29 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

There are a lot of great things about Fujinet including it's printer facilities, but I'd rather print to my vintage printers and writing I do for magazines and whatnot gets sent in rich text format converted from the Atari Last Word processor I use and sent via e-mail, not PDF. But I do use Fujinet to get the documents to my PC from the Atari now, nice and wireless without the need for software running on the PC like with SIO2PC and PC virtual drive software like APE or AspeQT. 

 

What's your process for this? Save to a disk image and open the image up in Altirra or something else?

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57 minutes ago, Stephen said:

I'm bummed - the print head in my Panasonic KXP is worn out.  It's like the pins are now too short - regardless of how close I adjust the printhead, the print is too light.  Even with new ribbons.  Even when I have it adjusted so close to the paper that it leaves a smudge line.  I enjoy having a printer connected directly to the Atari, especially a dot matrix that takes fanfold paper (which I still have most of a 5000 sheet box).  I am not sure what to do - find another one, or just give up and use one of the newer solutions.

You need to lube the print head and have it self test with the paper/platen further away to work off the stickies or rust gunk. Then with a new ribbon / fresh ink try again moving the paper/platen closer again. This sometimes does the trick and gets the pins throwing full stroke again.

Edited by _The Doctor__
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1 hour ago, gozar said:

 

What's your process for this? Save to a disk image and open the image up in Altirra or something else?

Print to the fujinet from Atari, visit fujinet admin in a web browser, download PDF.

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1 hour ago, _The Doctor__ said:

You need to lube the print head and have it self test with the paper/platen further away to work off the stickies or rust gunk. Then with a new ribbon / fresh ink try again moving the paper/platen closer again. This sometimes does the trick and gets the pins throwing full stroke again.

Wow - ok - thanks.  Never owned a dot matrix before this one.  Any tips on what to use in the print head?

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believe it or not the purest IPA is still good at getting gunk out, dried ink, ribbon fabric, paper dust that joins with those and sticky label material... it's a cleaning followed by wd 40 or a touch of blaster, and repeat. then it's the standard dot matrix lube of the day, or nothing at all. Print heads get very hot... most lubes burn off, whatever the equivalent today, it must be thin and high temperature, or failing that, nothing at all. You don't want burnt oil gumming up the works. You can re pin or rehammer print heads, but usually if it is truly worn down, replacing the head is the easiest move. just pick something with paper handling problems and steal it's head.

Edited by _The Doctor__
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On 2/18/2021 at 5:51 AM, Larry said:

Do you have a Windows printer? 

 

My solution is to use APE (from Atarimax.com); gives a wide range of printing options including printing Atascii listings.  If you can use a PC with your Atari system, this solution works well!  Quite a few Atarians use a small (even very old) laptop to serve this need.  In addition, APE gives great ease of use to ATR's from the power of Windows. I rarely use floppy disks anymore. (RespeQt gives many of these features and is improving all the time.)  I don't know much about SIO2SX other than it exists, if you are a Mac user.

 

The typical "ya-but" to this is that some folks don't want to have a PC "tethered" to their Atari.  It's never been an issue with me.  I welcome the idea of not having an extra printer on my desk.

The APE does indeed offer a way to print via Windows to whatever printer you have configured. I loaded up Bank Street Writer and printed a simple text string.

 

"It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood."

 

Seeing that come out of my WiFi enabled Brother laser printer was a little surreal.

 

I'm still itching for that screechy dot matrix experience though. Haha!

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Some tips:


You can still buy new Epson or Oki (9 or 24 pins) dot matrix printers. These usually have USB and Centronics parallel connectors and are "Epson" (ESC/P or ESC/P2) compatible.

I bought an OKI ML3390eco (European model) refurb (factory repaired/like new) in 2019, for 83 euros.
You can buy a telex roll holder for this Oki, great if you want to print old style banners. Ribbons are easy to get.

I also have a second hand Brother HL-5370DW laser printer, it has Wifi, USB and parallel interfaces. It is both laserjet PCL and Epson compatible. Great value.

Look for the XETEC Graphix AT parallel interface on Ebay. It can print program listings with ATASCII characters on Epson compatibles with a dip switch setting. No program needed.
 

 

Edited by Almerian
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Seriously, unless someone is addicted to the screech of a vintage dot matrix printer, there’s no excuse in 2021 to recommend anything except a FujiNet. You have 18 different output emulation options (I just counted) and near-infinite possibilities once you have the PDF or HTML output file. What’s better than that, especially considering the bazillion other things you can do with the very same FujiNet device? 

These are all quick snaps of a short BASIC program I had handy, “printed” to the FujiNet ATASCII printer, then actually physically printed to a standard networked inkjet printer from my laptop over my home LAN. Same could be done from a phone or tablet or whatever else you use for modern-day real world work or fun. 

 

6FE1CE24-D411-4075-8C52-9EE9D40F0223.jpeg

6B00AA7C-C79C-4F9A-BAD3-F629E985B32E.jpeg

FBD5E543-01FD-4266-A84F-06263AB5338D.jpeg

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Because a printer is a printer and not everyone is buying a fujinet, especially folks who are getting all of their Atari stuff out of storage and are getting their old gear back into running condition... they already have pretty much everything and might just need a new printer or to fix the old one... they might not be looking to spend anything at all... iron on transfers and carbon copies as well as the feel of impacted print are other nostalgic points an inkjet or laser printer are not going to provide... some people aren't looking for a pc in the link... they just want the Atari to do it all, every last part of it. If fujinet has a way to print directly to the network printer that's one thing... but using the pc to load and then print the pdf is quite another. Showing a set up that print from Atari to fujinet to printer is the best thing, adding yet another computer in between is just a pain in the *ss some folks don't want.

 

I hope that's helpful in the reasons why department

Edited by _The Doctor__
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3 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

Because a printer is a printer and not everyone is buying a fujinet, especially folks who are getting all of their Atari stuff out of storage and are getting their old gear back into running condition... they already have pretty much everything and might just need a new printer or to fix the old one... they might not be looking to spend anything at all... iron on transfers and carbon copies as well as the feel of impacted print are other nostalgic points an inkjet or laser printer are not going to provide...

Have you actually been following the discussion? These folks are recommending people go buy Centronics interfaces, new printers, etc. That's all gonna run a lot more than a single FujiNet, which can also provide a network interface; ATR, ATX, CAS and XEX file loading; R: device interface; MIDImaze interface; SAM speech emulation; CP/M emulation and who the hell knows what else Thom's crew of merry boffins might yet imagine. All in one tiny device that plugs into your SIO port and lives on the LAN. 

 

But hey, whatever. 

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The op said he didn't find fujinet in so many words an avenue he was going down, he did use APE and found it fun but wanted the nostalgic dot matrix noise, action and feel... I followed the OP  and others during the thread including folks who want to fix up their gear.

 

While I highly recommend the fujinet, I don't make it a forceful point and certainly don't ignore the entirety of a thread to promote it. I think I followed the discussion very closely. Did you?

Edited by _The Doctor__
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22 hours ago, slx said:

While [the 1029 is] sleek looking it is a lot noisier than the others, the print quality and speed are not very convincing, and while the ribbons are readily available, they seem to dry out over a couple of months, if not weeks, leaving you with light grey prints.

Now there's something I didn't know! My 1029 has been sat gathering dust for want of new ink and paper. Who is your supplier?

 

Like you, though, I don't feel much of a need to bring it back into service when there are now other options that would do a better job. It does look the part when sat next to an 800XL though!

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15 hours ago, manterola said:

Which Brother printer are you referring to? 

I am interested...

It‘s called HL-5000 but with printer manufacturers using different designations everywhere it might have different names elsewhere and I think there are other models with Centronics port as well. It is supposed to be ESC/P compatible but I don‘t have one so I can‘t say if it works with Atari graphics print utilities. ESC/P should be mostly compatible with the Epson codes prevalent in the Atari age, it‘s just an extension IIRC.

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9 minutes ago, Dr Do said:

Now there's something I didn't know! My 1029 has been sat gathering dust for want of new ink and paper. Who is your supplier?

 

Like you, though, I don't feel much of a need to bring it back into service when there are now other options that would do a better job. It does look the part when sat next to an 800XL though!

Found them on EBay.
 

The fanfold paper may be more difficult. I bought two 2500 sheet boxes locally (and have come to regret the second one as we have hardly scratched the first one and they are bulky and heavy). Apparently some office supply webshops still carry it.

 

If you read about the unihammer technology it is clearly inferior to the Epsons. I have yet to try 10-print for better results. 

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 1:23 PM, gilsaluki said:

And here is the VERY best interface for a little more. ICD's PR:Connection

What is it that makes it superior? Is there anything it can do that an 850 can't? 

(Reading through this the main advantages seems to be size and lack of PSU, anything else?)

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On 2/18/2021 at 1:19 PM, gilsaluki said:

Search "Atari Printer" on Ebay.  Here's an interface that works well.  There are others.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Microprint-Printer-Interface-By-MPP-for-Atari-XE-XL-800-New/143019152533?hash=item214c9b1495:g:67YAAOSwNTNb8mCv

ABBUC sells the MicroPrint to members for 8 EUR. (I actually bought a couple just for the SIO cables before Lotharek started selling the half cables.)

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12 hours ago, slx said:

What is it that makes it superior? Is there anything it can do that an 850 can't? 

(Reading through this the main advantages seems to be size and lack of PSU, anything else?)

The fact that ICD of Rockford, Il. made it, and the fact that it has a pass through SIO. AND it is small.  Very good quality and good documentation.  I am sure the 850 is quality as well, but I couldn't afford those, or they were not available at the time I needed one for my printer (out of production by the time I went from a direct-connect 1027 to a dot matrix printer (the Fortis 1410 which I still use).

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I think this thread is coming to a logical end here. The take-away here :

 

Get a SIO->Centronics interface adapter and pick whatever print suits you.

Emulate a printer through APE, Fujinet, or other device to print via Windows, to a PDF, etc.

 

I am still leaning toward a physical printer just because I feel like I still need to scratch that itch. To that end, I'm going to replace the 100 Ohm R63 resistor with a 0 Ohm resistor to ensure I have no problem powering any Centronics interface device. It was very, very cool to try printing through an emulator printer port, though!

 

I did want to address @DrVenkman and his posts that question going down this path. Why search out an old, loud, screechy, low quality printer when there are so many new, quiet, slick, and high quality options?

 

Simple.

 

I (we?) do this for the same reason people play with vacuum tube electronics when there are solid state options. It's the same impulse that drives people to hotrod their cars and raise their Jeeps or play stringed instruments when virtual digital instruments are available on their phones.

 

Because it's not always about bigger, better, faster, newer, and slicker. If that were the case then we can work backwards even further and ask why are we even using our Atari computers when the world is awash in modern Windows, Linux, and MacOS computers. Your Atari can't drive three individual monitors, stream 4k content, and play Fortnite. Not even close. And, don't forget there are emulators that can replace a mountain of old aging equipment. Yet, here we are. So, why then?

 

Because it's fun! No right or wrong way to enjoy your Atari. Just enjoy it. :) 

 

I didn't mean to be a smarty-pants here or anything but I did want to address @DrVenkman point.

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19 hours ago, slx said:

What is it that makes it superior? Is there anything it can do that an 850 can't?

I'm not certain that I remember this correctly but I believe the PRC serial port may be capable of 19,200 BAUD, double that of  the 850.

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15 hours ago, 1200XL M.U.L.E. said:

I think this thread is coming to a logical end here. The take-away here :

 

Get a SIO->Centronics interface adapter and pick whatever print suits you.

Emulate a printer through APE, Fujinet, or other device to print via Windows, to a PDF, etc.

 

I am still leaning toward a physical printer just because I feel like I still need to scratch that itch. To that end, I'm going to replace the 100 Ohm R63 resistor with a 0 Ohm resistor to ensure I have no problem powering any Centronics interface device. It was very, very cool to try printing through an emulator printer port, though!

 

I did want to address @DrVenkman and his posts that question going down this path. Why search out an old, loud, screechy, low quality printer when there are so many new, quiet, slick, and high quality options?

 

Simple.

 

I (we?) do this for the same reason people play with vacuum tube electronics when there are solid state options. It's the same impulse that drives people to hotrod their cars and raise their Jeeps or play stringed instruments when virtual digital instruments are available on their phones.

 

Because it's not always about bigger, better, faster, newer, and slicker. If that were the case then we can work backwards even further and ask why are we even using our Atari computers when the world is awash in modern Windows, Linux, and MacOS computers. Your Atari can't drive three individual monitors, stream 4k content, and play Fortnite. Not even close. And, don't forget there are emulators that can replace a mountain of old aging equipment. Yet, here we are. So, why then?

 

Because it's fun! No right or wrong way to enjoy your Atari. Just enjoy it. :) 

 

I didn't mean to be a smarty-pants here or anything but I did want to address @DrVenkman point.

Hallaluya!  You'll singing my song now!   This from a guy that still has 8-track tapes, cassettes, vinyl and a flip phone (which I hardly ever use). F()ck texting. 

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A modern laser printer that has a centronics interface that works with the Atari is the Samsung ML2571N, but I agree, FujiNet is required for so many reasons!  I still find it odd that the 1200XL is the only one where they didn't hook up all the voltage to go out the SIO port.  My first one already had the modification, the second one doesn't.  Though now one of my 800s is being flaky and having a similar issue (no power out on the SIO port, I'll have to take a look at it..)

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On 2/19/2021 at 1:23 PM, gozar said:

 

What's your process for this? Save to a disk image and open the image up in Altirra or something else?

If you are talking about my LWP files, I have been using SIO2PC with APE and just save the file to the APE virtual drive that is mirror mounted, no need to go through all the trouble of .ATR and Altirra run around. Then I access the file from the folder I saved it to with mirror mount on APE. But now, I use Fujinet and save the file to a virtual drive on it which is saved on the micro SD card, which I then pull from Fujinet and insert in my PC. Of course with Fujinet I could also transfer it to the PC via bluetooth too, or, with my 800 with Incognito I can use PClink  too, I think, I haven't really bothered with BT or Incognito PC-link yet, as it's simple enough for me to just use the SD card with Fujinet or on my 1200XL use SIO2PC with APE. It just depends which Atari I choose to use with TLW processor on a given day.

Edited by Gunstar

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On 2/19/2021 at 9:31 PM, _The Doctor__ said:

Because a printer is a printer and not everyone is buying a fujinet, especially folks who are getting all of their Atari stuff out of storage and are getting their old gear back into running condition... they already have pretty much everything and might just need a new printer or to fix the old one... they might not be looking to spend anything at all... iron on transfers and carbon copies as well as the feel of impacted print are other nostalgic points an inkjet or laser printer are not going to provide... some people aren't looking for a pc in the link... they just want the Atari to do it all, every last part of it. If fujinet has a way to print directly to the network printer that's one thing... but using the pc to load and then print the pdf is quite another. Showing a set up that print from Atari to fujinet to printer is the best thing, adding yet another computer in between is just a pain in the *ss some folks don't want.

 

I hope that's helpful in the reasons why department

Exactly! I only use a PC at all because for somethings I have too, like Internet browsing (I hate using my phone for Internet-only used when I don't have another way) and when I need to use the PC for flashing Atari stuff that won't flash with Uflash on my Atari.  I own a Fujinet but it's PDF to PC and then to printer isn't the reason I bought one and as you say, isn't as convenient as printer directly from my Atari, so I still don't care about it. I bought the Fujinet for wi-fi for using the R: handler for Platoterm and other terminals for BBS browsing, and for multi-player online gaming like 8-bit Slicks. I make use of the SD card and virtual drives to download from TNFS servers (which replaces my need for SIO2PC and downloading from archival software sites on my PC web browser) and eventually either transferred to real floppy disks or my CF cards for Incognito Side loader or MyIDE II. I'll make use of Bluetooth eventually since it's there, but none of it's virtual facilities for disk drives(except to transfer to real drives), printers, cassettes, etc. are of any use to me, because I already have the all those for real. I might use them if I didn't have the real devices, but I do, and I like to use the real Atari hardware whenever I can.

 

I too am working on getting back to totally PC free Atari use, and Fujinet was one way to lose the tether of SIO2PC and virtual software on the PC. unfortunately, even Fujinet requires the PC for your Fujinet device page so you can adjust settings of devices and SIO speed, etc., and to flash new firmware. I wish I could do this stuff too on my Atari, but I can pretty much set and forget for the most part with the Fujinet web page. Hell, I've been using an SIO2PC and APE on my PC for 25 years and never once have I used it's printer facilities, even though I could get deskjet quality prints that way, I just never have wanted to use a PC as a middle man for my printouts either, and have always had the dot-matrix for that. As soon as I build a Fujinet into my 1030 modem, I can totally get rid of SIO2PC and PC software for both my Atari's and be about 98% PC free for my Atari's. And move that damn PC out of my Atari work space into another room and still have access to it, if need be, through Bluetooth.

 

In fact, I've decided to buy one of the Samsung laser printers with Centronics port for my Atari now, so I can have better than dot-matirix printout, which is still exactly what you get with Fujinet anyway ; you pick from a choice of ancient dot-matrix virtual printers to make the PDF so when it comes out of your PC deskjet is still looks like a dot-matrix printout. Why bother when I can get a dot-matrix print out directly from my Atari and it's dot-matrix printer? I like using my dot-matrix because I like using vintage hardware, I have fun with that noisy old thing! But sometimes I would like a better quality printout, directly from my Atari, with no PC involved. I'll keep the dot-matrix hooked up to my 1200XL and get the laser printer for my 800.

 

To me, the boring old PC is a tool I use when I have too, but I hate using it. Just like I have tools for working my vehicles even though I hate working on vehicles and only do so when I have too (I can fix them myself for a fraction of the cost of a mechanic so I do). The Atari is fun for me to use, and makes non-fun things like bills, record keeping and word processing less of a chore because I get to use my Atari. So I do that stuff on it instead of a PC too. Also for security purposes.

Edited by Gunstar
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