I understand these are elusive?

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I understand these are elusive?

Postby OffensiveJerk » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:43 am

Got this in a lot of Commodore 64/128 stuff for $50 total.
The IBM PC Compact Printer
Haven't tested it yet.


printer.jpg
(89.43 KiB) Not downloaded yet
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby Brutman » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:38 am

Elusive? More like they were in hiding because they were so bad ...

They really are not that bad - see the details here: http://www.brutman.com/PCjr/pc_compact_printer.html

After the PCjr was killed off IBM unloaded the parts. Some of these printers were rebadged as "Big Blue" or something like that and sold to C64 owners. I'm not sure if the ROMs were changed to have C64 characters or not.
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby James » Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:00 pm

Just saw one of these on ebay. New in box.

I don't think there was much software available that supported serial printers, even older software. I do seem to recall either a program or a DOS command that allowed you to redirect the parallel port output to a serial printer. Can't recall the details.

When I got my used PCjr in 1989 it came with a Mannesmann-Tally Spirit 80. A 9 pin Dot Matrix that was built like a tank. I am sorry I threw it out when I got a IBM Execjet 4076 around 1994. I bet the Mannesmann-Tally would still work.
-PCjr (1989)-DOS 3.3, Racore Drive II, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, jrExcellerator, Tandy Mod, Serial Card, Combo v2, Config Plus, IBM Parallel Port, Megaboard, Xircom PE3-10BT
-PCjr (2001)-DOS 3.3, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, NEC v20, Parallel Port, Comswap, Xircom PE3-10BT
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby Brutman » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:50 pm

It's not really a software issue for this printer. This printer uses the standard Epson escape codes, so except for the print quality of an 8/9 pin thermal printer it is just as capable as the big printers. The BIOS of the machine automatically redirects requests for printing to the serial port, so the printer still answers to LPT1. Most software of the time used the BIOS routines to send chars to the printer, so it is generally not a problem.

Now, where it does get weird is if your software assumes that LPT1 is on the parallel port. Trying to bit bang to LPT1 when it is not where you expect it does not work too well. ;-0
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby OffensiveJerk » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:13 pm

There was a cable in the Commodore lot that said "Big Blue" on it. I assumed it allowed for IBM printer use, but didn't know it was official product.
Wow, didn't know they marketed these to Commodore users! Guess after the PCjr flopped they needed to find a market somewhere.
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby Brutman » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:31 am

IBM probably just unloaded the excess inventory. The Compact Printer was nearly unique in the PC line in that it used a serial connection, which most other PCs could use but would not because they had parallel ports. But C64 users ... they like serial devices. :-)

I doubt that plan went well. But you still see some survivors out there.

Sometimes the interesting parts of the hobby are not the parts themselves - it is the stories behind them.
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby Vorticon » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:31 am

I have used my thermal printer extensively while programming on my Jr, and it works just fine except that you frequently end up with scroll-like listings that can be 10-15 feet long depending on the length of the program! And of course the paper darkens with time and the printout fades gradually. After a while, my office was starting to look like the great Alexandria library :)
My biggest problem currently is that I can't seem to find thermal paper for it. I did hack a fax paper roll to size once, but the hub was too big and it only worked after a fashion. If anybody here has pointers to a source of compatible thermal paper, please let know.
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby jharre » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:21 am

You can pick up a six-pack of thermal fax rolls that drop right into the compact printer at Staples (or staples.com). Part number 269571 was about $19 for six rolls when I picked one up last month. The rolls are 8.5" X 98 feet.

Jim
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Re: I understand these are elusive?

Postby Trixter » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:32 am

jharre wrote:You can pick up a six-pack of thermal fax rolls that drop right into the compact printer at Staples (or staples.com). Part number 269571 was about $19 for six rolls when I picked one up last month. The rolls are 8.5" X 98 feet.


This is the best PCjr advice I've gotten all year, since my roll just got used up. Thanks!
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