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Old 8th Sep 2019, 5:12 pm   #1
Karen O
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Default Sipix A6 printer interface

Confession time: A while ago I offered up for sale a Sipix A6 pocket printer. It failed to sell, which I am not unhappy about because I've found out how to drive it! It turns out that it supports a small subset of ESC/P, specifically, the bitmapped graphics commands. Apart from things like line feed and form feed, it has no support for simple ASCII text.

My PIC adapter has changed that It accepts simple text at 1200 baud and issues the required bitmapped graphics commands to print characters. The PIC has a single character font that I stole from my ASR 33 terminal project.

I had considerable trouble with my USB serial dongle - it barely implements RTS/CTS handshake at all, that is, it does respond, but not before it's sent a hundred or so characters that overrun my buffer Even worse, I noticed the occasional missing character. I traced this to the computer side - sometimes when responding to the hardware handshake, the computer/dongle combination would lose a character. Be warned - some of those USB dongles are a bit rubbishy.
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Old 10th Sep 2019, 9:37 pm   #2
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

I've been busy

I have built the SiPix printer into a nice case, along with the PIC adapter board. So I now have a nice, small, low tech printer to use with my micro projects.

See - modern tech is not completely beyond redemption!
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Old 10th Sep 2019, 9:45 pm   #3
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

Superb 😀
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 1:08 pm   #4
dominicbeesley
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

Ooh that's cute, how does the print look?

D
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 2:34 pm   #5
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen O View Post
I had considerable trouble with my USB serial dongle - it barely implements RTS/CTS handshake at all, that is, it does respond, but not before it's sent a hundred or so characters that overrun my buffer Even worse, I noticed the occasional missing character. I traced this to the computer side - sometimes when responding to the hardware handshake, the computer/dongle combination would lose a character. Be warned - some of those USB dongles are a bit rubbishy.

Yes, I've had various problems with them in the past [specifically the handling of a BREAK signal].

A few years back there were quite a few fake USB-to-serial-interface chips on the market; the genuine ones came from FTDI but these were cloned somewhere in China and had very variable behaviour!
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 4:35 pm   #6
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

I'll post a scan of a print-out just as soon as I find the spare rolls of thermal paper, Dom. As always, I've put them somewhere so safe I can't find them again
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 7:22 pm   #7
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

Here's that scan. About par for the course for thermal print-outs, I'd say...?
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 8:56 pm   #8
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

It’ll be good until the print fades......

We used to photocopy the thermal prints onto plain paper. Slightly adrift from the “paperless office” that we were promised in the ‘80’s…
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Old 19th Sep 2019, 12:13 am   #9
Karen O
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

The spare rolls of thermal paper came in opaque black wrappers. I assume that's due to UV sensitivity or something? I was going to mount a 'loo roll holder' on the top of my printer, but I suspect the paper will spoil if left exposed like that.
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Old 19th Sep 2019, 3:46 pm   #10
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

I'm not sure how long it takes, but UV certainly does degrade thermal paper so I'd probably not leave the paper on a roll holder between printing sessions.
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Old 20th Sep 2019, 12:05 pm   #11
dominicbeesley
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Default Re: Sipix A6 printer interface

That doesn't look bad! I'm tempted to get one for my 8bit machines now. It's not that often I want to print from them but occasionally a program listing is in order...
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