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Thread: Trying to test an ImageWriter 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Marietta, GA

    Default Trying to test an ImageWriter 1

    I recently acquired an Apple ImageWriter (the earlier model sometimes called "1"), and it is not cooperating.

    When I power it on, the carriage seeks the home position and the power light comes on. This tells me is is doing SOMETHING. Paper is loaded, but if it is not then the paper out light comes on. The Select light does not come on. If I press the Select button, there is a very brief flash of the light but otherwise it stays off. Pressing line feed advances by one line, and pressing form feed advances one page.

    Supposedly holding down the form feed button while powering on should print a test page. However, when I try this, nothing different happens.

    From what I have been able to gather, it should be possible to connect this printer to a PC using a null modem cable plus a gender changer. The dip switches indicate it is configured for 9600 baud and hardware flow control.

    However, when I try this using various programs, it just sits there and acts as if it is not "ready".

    I get the impression the "select" light is supposed to be on first, but pressing the button won't get it to stay on.

    I've probably just missed something obvious somewhere. What have I missed?

    On the other hand this printer was in kind of nasty condition. I had to clean a bunch of rust off of the lower bar that the head carriage travels on. I halfway expected the motors to be dead, but those seem to work. Now I just need to test the head and communications.

    This was used with an Apple IIc but I don't have that working and am missing the Apple printer cable anyway.

    Edit: Never mind. The lid has to be on before it will print a test page or do anything else. Of course, the moment I posted this it occurred to me I saw a switch for that while it was apart. And it now prints from DOS although I need to figure out a few things with flow control, but it looks like it works.

    Edit edit: One Windows 95 test page later and everything looks good. Since various Google searches were a bit vague: Printinig from an IBM PC to an Apple Imagewriter 1 only requires a serial port, a null modem or laplink serial cable, plus a gender changer since the Imagewriter has a female plug on the back.

    Standard serial communication settings appear to be 9600 baud, 8 bits, 1 stop bit, no parity and hardware flow control. Baud and flow control is adjustable via dip switches.

    Microsoft Windows supports this printer as the "C-Itoh 8510". The Apple ImageWriter is essentially an enhanced OEM version of this printer.
    Last edited by SomeGuy; September 3rd, 2018 at 05:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
    Blog Entries


    Holding down FF, then turning on the power, is supposed to start printing a test pattern. If that isn't working, there is no point in troubleshooting windows connectivity issues, etc.

    If it ever starts past the self-test, and you still have issues, I'd check the DIP switches ( for data rates and byte width (7 or 8 bits).
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  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    If it ever starts past the self-test, and you still have issues, I'd check the DIP switches ( for data rates and byte width (7 or 8 bits).
    The problem turned out to be the printer lid not being in place.


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