PDA

View Full Version : Printer serial to parallel converter?



retrobits
July 23rd, 2008, 11:22 AM
Hi there,

I'm looking for a way to convert serial printing to Centronics parallel. I have acquired a couple of Epson dot matrix printers, and they have parallel ports. Serial cards were available for them in their day, but it would be hard to find one now. I'd like to get a more generic solution for converting RS232 to parallel for printing. There is one product I found online, and it's slightly expensive - I'm wondering what solutions others may have come up with? There are several computers in my collection that use RS232, and it would be great to be able to print from them.

Thanks in advance, and happy retrocomputing,

- Earl

Chuck(G)
July 23rd, 2008, 12:23 PM
If your Epson printers are of the FX-80/MX-80 variety, most of the logic is already in the main printer circuitry. The so-called "serial board" is nothing more than some level-shifting circuitry. I used to build substitutes on perfboard; today, a MAX232 or some such would do the job.

I don't know what your budget is, but "universal" centronics-RS232 converters can still be had new for less than $40:

http://www.provantage.com/aten-sxp320a~7ATEN02J.htm

A MAX232 and a uC such as a PIC or AVR or 8051 will also do the job, if you're in the "roll your own" mode.

per
July 23rd, 2008, 12:24 PM
Hi there,

I'm looking for a way to convert serial printing to Centronics parallel. I have acquired a couple of Epson dot matrix printers, and they have parallel ports. Serial cards were available for them in their day, but it would be hard to find one now. I'd like to get a more generic solution for converting RS232 to parallel for printing. There is one product I found online, and it's slightly expensive - I'm wondering what solutions others may have come up with? There are several computers in my collection that use RS232, and it would be great to be able to print from them.

Thanks in advance, and happy retrocomputing,

- Earl

it might be a paralell conector, but it might also be the old 25-pin D-shell serial conector (same conector as the paralell, but with reversed "gender" and another pinout).

MikeS
July 23rd, 2008, 12:25 PM
I should have a few Serial>parallel converters somewhere, as well as one or two of the Epson boards. Might be a day or two before I can look; meanwhile, which model Epsons?

m

retrobits
July 23rd, 2008, 12:54 PM
The Epson printers are FX-880s. So, these are somewhat newer models, circa late 90s. They are 9 pin and hence have a retro "feel", but they are really fast and have lots of features. My hope is that the control codes are upwardly compatible with older models like MX-80 and FX-80 - Epson has traditionally been pretty good about that.

Thanks for the tip on Provantage - I looked at those universal converters but couldn't find them any cheaper than $50. At $37, that is looking pretty attractive.

- Earl

DimensionDude
July 23rd, 2008, 01:23 PM
I see that your printers are model FX-880. I don't know how that compares to the model LX-300+ of which I have two. They have parallel and serial input, the serial port connects to the printer motherboard.

Unfortunately both were in a hostile food processing environment (cold, wet, chlorine as sanitizing agent) so the mechanicals are rather corroded.

The following info probably won't help, but I'll post it just in case:

Motherboard ----------DB25
1----------------------11
2----------------------20
3-----------------------7
4-----------------------4
5-----------------------3
6-----------------------2
7-----------------------1

The motherboard connector is labeled CN2 and is adjacent to the parallel connector.

Kent

Dwight Elvey
July 23rd, 2008, 09:01 PM
Hi
One simple method would be to take a few years old laptop
with both serial and parallel connectors and write a program
to transfer from the serial port to the parallel port.
You might buffer in RAM as well so you don't need to
handshake CR's.
One could even do this in BASIC.
Dwight

MikeS
July 24th, 2008, 07:40 AM
Yeah, with free or cheap laptops available these days it makes sense to use them as "black box" interface and protocol converters, especially if you've got an otherwise useless one with a bad display or keyboard; I use them to interface RS-232 to TCP/IP.

Keep in mind that there are several different handshake methods used on the RS-232 side and make sure that whatever you use to convert can handle whatever your computer(s) use (Hardware(CTS/RTS) or XON/XOFF) unless you've got a large enough buffer or slow enough baud rate to not require it.

Can't find docs for these Epson boards, alas, so I don't know what they're for.
Part number FWIW: Y49020800000
A little more to them than the ones Chuck's talking about: 8035 CPU, RAM/ROM & CMOS/TTL glue chips etc.

m

nige the hippy
July 25th, 2008, 04:25 AM
There's a serial to parallel dongle on ebay uk at the moment.

ScrappyLaptop
August 1st, 2008, 01:55 PM
For about $20 for an EDE1400 or equiv, a MAX232 (or equiv, aprox $5) and a little solder you could use this:
http://www.sourceresearch.com/elab/ede1400.cfm
(schematics, etc on the page too)

Hook up a switch box to either end (or better yet, one to each end!) and you'd only need to build or buy one converter and have yourself a good, old fashioned cable mess, just like in the old days!

multiple computers -->many-to-one rs232 switchbox
-->one RS232-to-one parallel converter--->
one-to-many parallel switchbox -->multiple printers

I really disliked switchboxes, love the fact that everything can be networked these days but sometimes they do the job. Of course, you could build an RS232-to-802.3 converter, too...DallasSemi and just about everyone else has those due to USB-to-RS232 converter cables...