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Using new parallel printers on old machines

Overmann

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Apr 21, 2017
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I've been wanting to buy a 24pin dot matrix printer for quite some time. I have a "new" 9pin Oki ml280 Elite which works perfectly on every parallel system I've tried it with.
I'm eyeing the Epson LQ 590II but as it's quite expensive I can't make myself order one before I'm confident that it'll work. According to the manual it supports ESC/P2 and IBM PPDS.
Are these the same EPSON and IBM routines that all my old Amiga's, Commodore's, IBM compatibles, Microbees etc. support?
Do you think I'll be able to use this printer with old machines? It has parallel, serial, usb and ethernet. Pretty sweet machine by the looks of things.
 

NeXT

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As long as it has a parallel port I do not see why not. If there is one good thing the modern dot matrix printers can do its support or at least emulate very very old standards because the big reason they still even exist is to replace older printers that have worn out after 35 years.
 

Overmann

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Great, thank you. Contacting Epson was pointless, but this sounds reasonable. :)
 

whartung

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Even the modern parallel port standards are designed to be backward compatible with older hosts, though you'll likely not run in to this with a printer vs other devices.
 

Overmann

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Interesting. Please let us how it works out and some info about your sources.

What sources? Do you mean source machines, as in connected computers? I can tell you that my Oki ml280 Elite works with every machine I've connected it to. So that's a Tiki100 (old Norwegian CP/M machine), Amiga, 8088 DOS PC and Microbee. ML280 does not have a serial interface however, so I've not been able to test it with any non-parallel machines.

Even the modern parallel port standards are designed to be backward compatible with older hosts, though you'll likely not run in to this with a printer vs other devices.

So you don't foresee any issues? The thing is: I don't know what "ESC/P2 and IBM PPDS" is. Is it the same as selecting Epson or IBM compatability on my old 80's Star-printer? Because worst case scenario for me so far when it comes to getting a printer to work is that a program does not specifically support my printer (by name) and I've had to select some even more ancient IBM or Epson printer with which it's compatible. If this was still true for NEW Epson printers then that would be amazing. Considering this LQ-590II even has a serial port.
 

Agent Orange

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What sources? Do you mean source machines, as in connected computers? I can tell you that my Oki ml280 Elite works with every machine I've connected it to. So that's a Tiki100 (old Norwegian CP/M machine), Amiga, 8088 DOS PC and Microbee. ML280 does not have a serial interface however, so I've not been able to test it with any non-parallel machines.



So you don't foresee any issues? The thing is: I don't know what "ESC/P2 and IBM PPDS" is. Is it the same as selecting Epson or IBM compatability on my old 80's Star-printer? Because worst case scenario for me so far when it comes to getting a printer to work is that a program does not specifically support my printer (by name) and I've had to select some even more ancient IBM or Epson printer with which it's compatible. If this was still true for NEW Epson printers then that would be amazing. Considering this LQ-590II even has a serial port.

Sources: Where you found them.
 

Overmann

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Just wanted to post a little update. I ended up buying the printer and so far it's been working as I had hoped. I haven't tested extensively but every vintage computer communicates with it just as easily as a vintage printer. It prints fast and has high quality output. I'll be testing with more systems but so far it's worked without issue on Win/mac/linux (back to win 3.11 and mac system 7), DOS (tested with wordstar), Amiga and Tiki-100 (CP/M).
 

Eudimorphodon

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I guess technically there is one thing to note about the MX-80: if you have an *extremely* old one it might not be compatible with "standard" Epson printer drivers. The original MX-80 shipped with a ROM that included TRS-80 compatible semigraphics characters in the high ASCII positions and did *not* include bitmapped graphics support. Epson later released newer ROM revisions/upgrades that added the bitmapped graphics support and, with "Graphtrax Plus", eliminated the TRS-80 characters; this is what most DOS printer drivers are going to expect from an MX-80. (IE, this is the firmware that's mostly compatible with the improved "FX-80" printer, which is typically the target if you have a generic "9 pin Epson" driver.)
 

oldgreywolf

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I guess technically there is one thing to note about the MX-80: if you have an *extremely* old one it might not be compatible with "standard" Epson printer drivers. The original MX-80 shipped with a ROM that included TRS-80 compatible semigraphics characters in the high ASCII positions and did *not* include bitmapped graphics support. Epson later released newer ROM revisions/upgrades that added the bitmapped graphics support and, with "Graphtrax Plus", eliminated the TRS-80 characters; this is what most DOS printer drivers are going to expect from an MX-80. (IE, this is the firmware that's mostly compatible with the improved "FX-80" printer, which is typically the target if you have a generic "9 pin Epson" driver.)
This is interesting as I know nothing about the MX-80. I was given the printer by a friend who found it in his attic with an ATARI 520ST(FM) / ATARI SM124.
I have attached pictures of the MX-80...I still have to test it....
IMG_2808.JPGIMG_2814.JPG
 

Eudimorphodon

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If the printer was made in 1982 or later it almost positively has the “modern” firmware; if it was being used with an Atari ST I’d expect this to be a non-issue.
 
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