VOGONS


First post, by varrol

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I've recently developed a strong need to own dot matrix printer as next piece of my nostalgic hardware.

Checking auctions there are still tons of them - even brand new - even extremely expensive like 2000$ or more.
Mostly OKI (with 3320 model), Epson - and mostly newer models with USB.

I'd like to get something solid and reliable - printing quality is not the top priority, just a welcome feature 😀

Maybe it's too late to get some older printers - I remember buying mine HP LaserJet 6P when there were dozens of them as well as 6L, 4P, 4L etc. - and now, pretty much nothing.

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600

Reply 1 of 15, by Yart

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Epson seems to be the go-to, though people really like the Tandy/Citizen ones too.

I recently picked up a Star NX-2450 Rainbow. As a new dot matrix user, I do have some pitfalls to share with you:

1) If it's a later dot matrix printer, be sure it has the tractor feed. They started to omit these from later printers. I only realized afterwards that mine didn't have the tractor as standard and for some models they're stupidly rare. For other models you might be lucky but they might charge a lot for them on eBay.
2) 55 tray single sheet feed? More like 'fight with it for an hour to print a single page' feed. You're better off with a single sheet feed printer if you're not using the tractor.
3) Quiet mode? Sure, it's less torturous to the ears but lasts 10x longer. I annoyed everyone in the house for about 40 minutes printing off a picture of a hotdog.
4) High DPI is a trap when doing colour images. It makes the dots more dense and the image darker. Lower DPI is actually nicer to look at. High DPI is ideal for black and white or text.
5) Colour ribbons will run out, but black and white ribbons can be reloaded with oil based stamp ink very easily essentially giving them a very long lifespan. WD-40 apparently works too (I haven't tried it). I know there's some early printers that use standard typewritter ribbons like the Okidata Microline 80. Might be worth looking into if you're concerned about availability of ink in the future.

If you're concerned about not being able to find drivers for a modern OS, thankfully Windows XP 64 bit does have all the drivers for the old printers that 32 bit Windows has. I was able to grab a driver from a Win XP install and it worked fine in Windows Server 2016 (essentially Win 10) with a parallel to USB adapter. So don't let the driver thing hold you back, you'll most likely find it for any system you can think of.

Reply 2 of 15, by Nemo1985

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I'm sorry for the bump, since i'm trying to build a '90 desk filled with retro hardware only I started to look for such printer.

I noticed that they have crazy price, like 250 eur for a brand new Epson LX 350, I was lucky enough to find a used LQ 350 for a small fee, which I suppose it should be better than LX350 (there is a video on youtube and the quality is not good even for text), it works like a charme in dos, but since it's a newer product it lacks the proper drivers for, let's say windows 3.11 and windows 98SE.
I readed that to be able to use it I should select a similar device driver printer, but I have no idea about which one to select, I just know that it has 80 columns and 24 needles.
I'm also looking for continous paper since evidently the printer gives it best with such paper, but I found there are different dimension, I ended up buying a 24X11" paper but i'm not sure it is fine, so any help would be appreciated

Reply 3 of 15, by cyclone3d

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If you can find a copy of the manual or spec sheet, they should list what other printers it is compatible with, and then you can go with a driver from one of them.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 4 of 15, by Nemo1985

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That's the most detailed thing I could find, but I didn't see such info.
https://www.epson.com.au/products/dotmatrix/lq350_specs.asp

On the other hand I noticed that on windows 3.1x there is a Generic ESC\P 24 pin, I think I will try this one hoping it's work.

Reply 5 of 15, by Caluser2000

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Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-09-03, 21:21:
I'm sorry for the bump, since i'm trying to build a '90 desk filled with retro hardware only I started to look for such printer. […]
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I'm sorry for the bump, since i'm trying to build a '90 desk filled with retro hardware only I started to look for such printer.

I noticed that they have crazy price, like 250 eur for a brand new Epson LX 350, I was lucky enough to find a used LQ 350 for a small fee, which I suppose it should be better than LX350 (there is a video on youtube and the quality is not good even for text), it works like a charme in dos, but since it's a newer product it lacks the proper drivers for, let's say windows 3.11 and windows 98SE.
I readed that to be able to use it I should select a similar device driver printer, but I have no idea about which one to select, I just know that it has 80 columns and 24 needles.
I'm also looking for continous paper since evidently the printer gives it best with such paper, but I found there are different dimension, I ended up buying a 24X11" paper but i'm not sure it is fine, so any help would be appreciated

You'll most likely find it emulates an Epson and a few other 24 pin older dot matrix printers a will work in Win3.x and without to much bother.

You should be able use the same printer type as you a using in a Dos word processor, graphics, banner etc...program.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 7 of 15, by Caluser2000

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Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-09-04, 00:13:

I tested the printer on dos with the plain edit command, on windows I can confirm it works with Generic ESC\P 24 pin driver.

Thanks!

No problem. Good stuff!

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 8 of 15, by wiretap

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I use the Epson FX-890 at work with DOS machines. It's beige, has tractor feed, parallel interface, etc. It's also extremely reliable. We have one that prints daily reports and it is going on year 4 without failure.

Circuit Board Repair Manuals
My Project List

Reply 9 of 15, by Nemo1985

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I have a problem, the printer has Printing Resolution 360 x 180 DPI, but if I use such resolution on windows instead of 180x180, when it prints some details are missing and it also print out of margin, it coul be because of lacking drivers?

Explaining picture: https://i.imgur.com/bjVr88C.jpg
First is printed with 360x360 setting: the writing are sharper and the ladybug too, but it lacks many details, like the watermelon
Second: 180x180: not great but it's how the picture should be.
Third: 360x180 (right setting according to the specification): it's out of margins and lacks details but less than 36x360

Last edited by Nemo1985 on 2021-09-04, 08:54. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 10 of 15, by Caluser2000

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Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-09-04, 08:42:

I have a problem, the printer has Printing Resolution 360 x 180 DPI, but if I use such resolution on windows instead of 180x180, when it prints some details are missing and it also print out of margin, it coul be because of lacking drivers?

page margin size adjustment?

There probably a few other printers it emulate liske IBM Pro dot matrix series.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 11 of 15, by Nemo1985

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-09-04, 08:47:
Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-09-04, 08:42:

I have a problem, the printer has Printing Resolution 360 x 180 DPI, but if I use such resolution on windows instead of 180x180, when it prints some details are missing and it also print out of margin, it coul be because of lacking drivers?

page margin size adjustment?

There probably a few other printers it emulate liske IBM Pro dot matrix series.

Thank you for the quick response, I added a picture to clarify. I do not think it should need margin size adjustment because I tried to print other things and they aren't out of margin.

Do you have any specific model in mind? There are plenty of models in win 3.1 drivers, I also tried the Epson LQ 400, which has 24 needles and 80 columns but I have the same issues

Reply 12 of 15, by Caluser2000

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Panasonic KX-P2000 and 3000 series?

Epson LQ300 series ?

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 13 of 15, by pshipkov

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At some point this guy was in my parents house.
Years later realized how slim and stylish it was compared to the bulky, VW Beetle sized printers at the time.
Also, worked well.

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retro bits and bytes

Reply 14 of 15, by Nemo1985

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-09-04, 09:04:

Panasonic KX-P2000 and 3000 series?

Epson LQ300 series ?

I tried several printers, in the end the best setting is to use the generic printer drivers, because with the other drivers I tried the printer doesn't use the bidirectional printing (it only prints then the head goes from left to right), I also was able to fix the issue (apparently) messing with windows print settings.

Reply 15 of 15, by Caluser2000

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Nemo1985 wrote on 2021-09-04, 21:11:
Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-09-04, 09:04:

Panasonic KX-P2000 and 3000 series?

Epson LQ300 series ?

I tried several printers, in the end the best setting is to use the generic printer drivers, because with the other drivers I tried the printer doesn't use the bidirectional printing (it only prints then the head goes from left to right), I also was able to fix the issue (apparently) messing with windows print settings.

That is good to hear.
Well done.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉