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IBM 5181001 Connector Question

Tespo

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Jun 8, 2022
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Hi,

I have an IBM 1581001 printer and I would like to see if it is possible to hook up to a modern computer. The weird thing is it has a 5 pin din connector, all the other ones I seen have a different one. Is it still possible to hook this up to anything? What adaptor should I get?
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ajacocks

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That printer is usually sold for the IBM PC Jr as the “IBM PC Compact Printer”:

It usually has a PC Jr style connector, but the interface is serial, so it shouldn’t be too hard to whip up an adapter. We have had previous discussion of the printer, here:

There is mention of a Commodore compatible version, so maybe that’s what it is?

I’m grasping at straws here, on the connector, but @mbbrutman would know for sure.

By the way, welcome to the forum! You might want to introduce yourself, in the appropriate topic.

- Alex
 

Tespo

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I haven’t had any look finding an adapter. It seems like everyone has a male 5 pin but I did it female
 

Tespo

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Thank you! But I am still having trouble trying to find that cable online, especially the female din one
 

ajacocks

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Here‘s a cable that you could modify:

If you cut that cable, you could use a solderless DE9 female adapter, like this, to create your adapter, if you don’t want to solder:

And here’s the connector, itself:

You can also always buy connectors like these from electronic parts vendors like Digikey or Mouser:

Hope that helps.

- Alex
 

mbbrutman

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The printer is supposed to have a PCjr specific printer. That one has been modified.

The printer only needs three wires in the cable and two extra connections in the connector. Receive Data, Clear To Send, and two Grounds all go through the cable. Within the connector DTR is connected to DSR and RTS is connected to CD. You might want to pin the connector out to see what they did before connecting it to anything. When I found one of these with a non-standard connector I replaced it with a proper 25 pin serial connector correctly wired as DCE.

Things that might help you:

-Mike
 

mbbrutman

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BTW, these are great little printers. The are primitive, slow, crude, and not quite fully Epson ESC/P2 compatible. But I've had a lot of fun getting them to print JPGs, and the simple/crude construction means that they have been pretty good at surviving nearly 40 years.

The thermal printer used by the IBM PC Convertible is a much nice printer, but nowhere near as robust. They don't age well do to tiny plastic pieces warping over time because they are under tension. The 5181 does not have similar problems.
 

ajacocks

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Thanks much, @mbbrutman ! That's exactly what I was referring to, earlier.

It's quite interesting to me that these were so commonly modified for Commodore use. Though, I suppose that it isn't surprising, as Commodore buyers were quite price conscious, and these might have been available second-hand for a reasonable price. I wonder if a distributor was clearing them out?

- Alex
 

mbbrutman

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I can't remember if it was DAK or one of the other liquidators, but yes, when IBM couldn't sell them others tried. I think the C64 was a common target. They would be rebadged as "Big Blue" and given an adapter box or had the connector converted. I don't think they changed the character set EPROM and they didn't use PETSCII, so I'm sure that was not a rewarding experience.
 
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