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Thread: IBM 5201 Quietwriter

  1. #1

    Default IBM 5201 Quietwriter

    I got one my aunt was going to sell at a yard sale. It was my grandpa's, probably bought along with his PC , which is now (a few years ago), unfortunately, gone, off to goodwill or something... Anyway, I got it to print out "Hi!", and it came out VERY dark, like it was brand new, but now all it does it beep and flash the light next to "Ribbon." I would think this means I need a new ink ribbon, but as I said before, it's printing out very dark when it does print.

  2. #2

    Default

    Well this takes me back! The quietwriter was quite special because it was QUIET! A pleasant change compared with the rest of IBM's printers at the time.

    it used an Electro Thermal ribbon.

    The secure rule of thumb for printers applies here more than ever:

    a) Printer manufacturers make most of their money on consumables rather than the printers themselves

    b) Multiply that by a factor of ALOT if you are trying to find an old printer ribbon.

    I did a not so quick google search for ribbons and could not get a price. So I'd take it to your printer recycling depot unless you'd just like to keep it for posterity.

    regards marcus.

  3. #3

    Default

    If you're not too bothered about print quality, you can rewind the ribbons (I think on the 5201, the two fingers of plastic on the bottom of the ribbon case are the ratchet, but it could (also) have a metal spring), but it's a fiddly job.

    If the ribbon isn't completely used up, try reseating the head & ensure the ribbon is inserted & tensioned properly.

    Unlike the 5202, the 5201 didn't have a print quality setting, (the very dark print is normal) as the ribbon advance is mechanical, so look out for ribbons where you can.

    Unfortunately it was an expensive printer to run in the 1980s.
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nige the hippy View Post
    If the ribbon isn't completely used up, try reseating the head & ensure the ribbon is inserted & tensioned properly.
    Well, considering I know just about nothing about this printer, I have no idea how to do that All I've figured out so far is that I can use the blue thing to make the printer let go of the ribbon. I'm asuming that has something to do with it...

    edit: Can I use typewriter ribbons such as these?
    Last edited by im_an_alien; June 9th, 2008 at 06:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Toronto ON Canada
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    Default

    I don't think you can rewind QW ribbons; they're one-time use.

    Seems odd that it would run out right after printing HI; are you sure the ribbon is finished? There's a slot in the top that lets you see how much ribbon is left (it gets wound up in the bottom half).

    Maybe it's just not properly inserted (or, worse, there's a problem with the QW).

    FWIW, I've still got at least one partially used ribbon somewhere if anyone's desperate (although it looks like they're still around on eBay; yup, those should be the right ones). They're not ink ribbons and don't dry out, so it's no surprise that the print is still black.

    m

  6. #6

    Default

    I can't see any ribbon in the slot in the top, but there is definately a little bit of ribbon left...

    Btw, since nobody answered my question about using typewriter ribbons, I figured it out myself. I think I might get the ribbons I linked to...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Toronto ON Canada
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by im_an_alien View Post
    <snip>
    Btw, since nobody answered my question about using typewriter ribbons, I figured it out myself. I think I might get the ribbons I linked to...
    ---
    Well, the listing says they're Quietwriter ribbons and presumably the picture looks like your ribbon, so I don't know why you asked or what you "figured out."

    Nevertheless, I did say "yup, those should be the right ones;" what more did you expect?

    m

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
    Nevertheless, I did say "yup, those should be the right ones;" what more did you expect?
    Sorry, I missed that part...

    I figured out that the number is the same.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
    I don't think you can rewind QW ribbons; they're one-time use.
    You're not supposed to rewind them, but I used to repair QWs and soak tests would have pushed the price of the repair up higher than anyone would be prepared to pay.

    Yep those look like 5201 ribbons, be careful the 5202 ribbons look quite similar.

    to remove the head, remove the ribbon, then unclip the metal clip holding the head in place. Heads can get a bit cruddy on the edge. if it is cleanish leave it alone, otherwise CAREFULLY!!!!! wipe away the crud (never wipe into the edge it's super fragile) clip the head in, and re-tension the ribbon with the knob on the top. put it back in place & operate the lever.

    usual business for test prints, press a button (???) whilst powering on,

    also if there's a font cartridge in there, check it's in place (I'm not sure if the 5201 has a default font)
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,139

    Default

    (I'm not sure if the 5201 has a default font)
    Not according to an earlier thread on the 5201: http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcfo...ead.php?t=8535

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