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Thread: Imagewriter Cable

  1. #1
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    Default Imagewriter Cable

    Part of the IIgs lot I obtained contained an Imagewriter II. It didn't come with a cable, so I bought one online. I got the cable and it is male on both ends and has opposite pointing arrows on the end. I found out that it does not work with the printer. I was wondering if anyone knows which cable I need to make the printer work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5160PC-Man View Post
    Part of the IIgs lot I obtained contained an Imagewriter II. It didn't come with a cable, so I bought one online. I got the cable and it is male on both ends and has opposite pointing arrows on the end. I found out that it does not work with the printer. I was wondering if anyone knows which cable I need to make the printer work.
    That sounds like the correct cable. It should be Male 8 pin mini-din on both sides. Is that what the cable you got looks like? Does it not plug in, or does it just not work?
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/GS/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/128/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, Timex Sinclair 1000, TRS-80 Color Computer 3/Model 4 GA

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    Yes that is exactly what the cable looks like. It plugs into the Mac SE I am using for testing. I have tried it in the modem port and printer port and chosen the correct port from chooser. It doesn’t respond to anything.

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    The Imagewriter II requires a cable wired in a "null modem" configuration (IE, send/receive and handshaking signals flipped); what you have is probably a cable intended for a modem. Unfortunately I don't think there's a reliable way to tell which is which by just looking at them; I have a vague recollection that at least some of the original Apple cables had a little printer logo molded into the end instead of the arrows, but pretty much every cable I've seen in the flesh just has those arrows regardless of whether it's straight-through or null modem.

    You could confirm which kind you have by checking continuity between the plugs. Worst case, assuming you do have the wrong cable, you *could* just cut it in half and splice it, but I think replacement cables are *reasonably* easy to find online. Just don't buy the one that appears on the top of an Amazon search, I know from experience that's straight-through.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    The Imagewriter II requires a cable wired in a "null modem" configuration (IE, send/receive and handshaking signals flipped); what you have is probably a cable intended for a modem. Unfortunately I don't think there's a reliable way to tell which is which by just looking at them; I have a vague recollection that at least some of the original Apple cables had a little printer logo molded into the end instead of the arrows, but pretty much every cable I've seen in the flesh just has those arrows regardless of whether it's straight-through or null modem.

    You could confirm which kind you have by checking continuity between the plugs. Worst case, assuming you do have the wrong cable, you *could* just cut it in half and splice it, but I think replacement cables are *reasonably* easy to find online. Just don't buy the one that appears on the top of an Amazon search, I know from experience that's straight-through.
    All the Mac modem type serial cables I ever saw had DB 25 on one end... the DIN8 to DIN8 cables were the 'printer cables.' Go in to chooser and pick the apple talk or serial port - while testing on each one- it won't matter which if you selected it in the Chooser. Then test each port. Either the port is dead or the IW2 is dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by massiverobot View Post
    All the Mac modem type serial cables I ever saw had DB 25 on one end... the DIN8 to DIN8 cables were the 'printer cables.' Go in to chooser and pick the apple talk or serial port - while testing on each one- it won't matter which if you selected it in the Chooser. Then test each port. Either the port is dead or the IW2 is dead.
    I have the cable that came with my ImageWriter II and it is straight-through. However some quick googling, I see that the IIGS does require different pinouts. Likely the cable everyone sells is for the Mac which must be different then the IIgs.

    Pin-out is listed here (section 4):

    http://apple2.org.za/gswv/a2zine/faq...INTER.html#002
    Last edited by ngtwolf; February 20th, 2020 at 02:20 PM.
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/GS/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/128/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, Timex Sinclair 1000, TRS-80 Color Computer 3/Model 4 GA

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    Quote Originally Posted by massiverobot View Post
    All the Mac modem type serial cables I ever saw had DB 25 on one end... the DIN8 to DIN8 cables were the 'printer cables.' Go in to chooser and pick the apple talk or serial port - while testing on each one- it won't matter which if you selected it in the Chooser. Then test each port. Either the port is dead or the IW2 is dead.
    I have seen modems with Apple DIN 8 serial ports on them, but I will grant they're rare. Nonetheless, for whatever reason some joker out there is making straight-through DIN8 serial cables and selling them on Amazon. Maybe it's the exception to the rule but I checked out the one I had that failed to work with my IIgs(*) and discovered straight-through wiring. (I subsequently cut up said cable to use half of it to make a PC-to-Imagewriter cable.)

    (* Edit: come to think of it, I think it's actually the LC III I tested on. Doesn't matter, the same cable should work.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ngtwolf View Post
    I have the cable that came with my ImageWriter II and it is straight-through.
    How sure are you about that? Here's the pinout from that link:

    Looking at the IIgs serial connector, the pins are numbered as follows:

    8 7 6

    5 4 3

    2 1

    The signals on each pin are:

    1 Handshake Out (DTR)
    2 Handshake In (DSR)
    3 Transmit Data minus
    4 Signal Ground
    5 Receive Data minus
    6 Transmit Data plus
    7 General purpose input (DCD)
    8 Receive Data plus
    This matches the pinout for an 8 pin DIN serial port on a Macintosh. So now that that's established here is a copy of the Imagewriter II manual. The pinout for the printer starts on page 204 of the PDF. Here are some screenshots:

    Screen Shot 2020-02-20 at 4.17.47 PM.pngScreen Shot 2020-02-20 at 4.17.31 PM.png

    Note that the pinout is identical to the computer end. Therefore Apple "Printer" cables must be wired for crossover.

    (And it makes perfect sense that they'd make the port on the Imagewriter II match the computer pinout when you consider that they sold a little module you could plug in internally that would add Appletalk capability to it; if it was backwards then you'd need a specific cable or adapter externally to add it to the network. Also note that you'll find multiple references to how you can create a simple 2-node Appletalk network by using an Apple "Printer" cable to directly connect two machines; that would not work if a standard printer cable wasn't rollover.)

    Maybe the OP *does* have the correct cable and there's some other reason it's not working, but I would swear that incorrect straight-through DIN8 cables are floating around out there.

    Anyway, if the OP has a continuity tester of some sort handy it's a simple problem to rule out.
    Last edited by Eudimorphodon; February 20th, 2020 at 03:52 PM.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

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    Addendum: I tracked down the "wrong" cable I had, here's the listing. And going through the comments it's confirmed that this one is indeed not right for an Imagewriter II hookup; apparently there's some AV equipment this *does* work on, but the description is pretty misleading. So, yeah, my bad for just searching for "Apple serial" and not reading through the fine print.

    There are other listings that show up if you specifically search for "Imagewriter II cable", if the OP has one of those I would hope it has the correct rollover config.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  9. #9
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    I went out with my nonexistent electric skills and used a multi meter. I believe that the cable is straight through.

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