View Full Version : Easiest/cheapest way to get a GPIB printer to work on a modern-ish computer?

August 14th, 2017, 04:17 PM
Hello everyone. This past fall, I picked up a Hewlett-Packard Thinkjet 2225A printer at a hamfest. Unfortunately, it's the version which uses the HPIB (aka GPIB, aka IEEE-488 ) interface, rather than parallel or serial. I'm wondering if there's a way to get it working with a modern-era computer without spending a lot of money. Most of the USB-to-GPIB interfaces I've seen online seem to sell for $200 or more, and that's way more than I'd like to pay considering the fact that I have no idea whether or not the printer works (the unit got a bit wet at the hamfest I found it at, and ink was dripping out from the vents). Is there a solution of some sort which isn't going to break the bank? I did find this (http://www.edn.com/design/test-and-measurement/4318969/Build-a-USB-based-GPIB-controller), but the page seems rather outdated, and I'm not sure if the parts are available anymore. If worse came to worse, I could probably hook it to my HP 85A computer (http://www.electronixandmore.com/adam/temp/hp85/hp85_1.jpg) if I could find a 82937A interface, but I don't have any software for the computer, and I'd rather interface it with something more modern. Anyway, thanks in advance!

August 14th, 2017, 05:27 PM
You could get an 82937A on eBay for $40 or less for you HP 85A and that would seem to be an appropriate use for a 2225A printer, also if you don't already have the I/O ROM you probably need one of those too.

If you have a PC that is old enough to have ISA slots you could pick up a NatInst AT-GPIB or an HP 82341 for cheap, but then you also need to pick up a GPIB cable, and install a bunch of driver software to talk to the GPIB card, and then write some software of your own talk to the GPIB drivers. Seems like a lot of work to go that way for not much reward getting a 2225A to work.

Plus you will need an HP 51604A ink cartridge or equivalent. If you buy a new old stock HP one they will have expired years ago.

August 14th, 2017, 05:40 PM
Cheap isn't always easy, but implementing GPIB with even a relatively old MCU is simple. Projects abound on the web. Google "AVR USB to GPIB" or "PIC USB to GPIB" or "Arduino USB to GPIB".

A very long time ago (1985?) I shared a project that drove a GPIB plotter from the parallel port of an XT clone. It was little more than software and a cable. USB is only slightly more difficult, as it involves some construction.

A GPIB cable can be constructed with ribbon cable and two 24-pin "Centronics" IDC connectors. As you're only talking to a single device, you can bypass the fancy stuff.

August 14th, 2017, 06:56 PM
RS232 to GPIB converters are all over ebay, for peanuts.

August 14th, 2017, 07:11 PM
Find me a parallel version to buy and trade you for the GPIB one.

August 16th, 2017, 11:06 PM
I have three thinkjets and some ink cartridges in a box around here somewhere. I know the parallel one did work, it was GPIB but I swapped a parallel board into it. I think the third is serial. Let me know if you want me to dig them out.