Crazy Apple II Printing Question

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Simon27's picture
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Joined: Jul 7 2005
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So I was looking at this Apple II Epson parallel printer card on eBay and noticed that the connector on it is exactly the same as the one on the back of my 10 year old Epson photo 870 printer.

Is there even the remotest chance that the (relatively) new printer could be used with an Apple II!?

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Joined: Apr 11 2006
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What is that connector, exact

What is that connector, exactly? Is it a Centronics? Then, probably. But much will depend on the various emulations the printer understands and can support. Text is altogether likely to work; graphics, maybe not.

Simon27's picture
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I'm not sure what you call it
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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Electrically, yes...

That plug is a Centronics parallel printer connector. The 36 pin connector has been relatively standardized since the late 1970's and most printers utilizing it are electrically backwards compatible. Thus there's a reasonable chance that an Apple II can send data to your Epson printer successfully. (I had my TRS-80 Model I's Centronics port plugged into a 1990's laser printer for a while.)

The real question is whether the printer will be able to do anything useful with the data it receives. Googling it looks like the Photo 870 *may* support emulating a 24 pin Epson LQ printer, at least partially. The specification PDF on their site says it supports "ESC/P Raster", which is promising. (Many newer printers are not capable of printing raw text or emulating anything older *at all*, and are completely dependent on a software driver to render text as raw bitmaps.) If it will emulate an LQ those were introduced about the time that the Apple ][ was slowly falling off the radar, so you may have problems finding graphics programs that work. The LQ wasn't really (software) backwards compatible with the MX series, which is what many an Apple ][ Centronics card was tuned to work with, with built-in graphics screen printing functions, etc..

So... you can probably feel relatively safe hooking it up and trying it. You probably won't blow anything up trying. Of course, if it does... not my fault. :^b

Simon27's picture
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Thanks for the reply! It w

Thanks for the reply!

It would certainly be interesting to try it.

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