[Coco] Serial to usb printers

Frank Swygert farna at amc-mag.com
Wed Jun 13 07:17:23 EDT 2012

The HP 540 is "modern" compared to a CoCo, but you can't get them new any more. Nice to know that it is one of the inkjets that have a "brain" and are usable with a CoCo though. Much nicer than an old dot matrix. There are no new inkjets that will work that I know of though, nor will most laser printers. Some of the older laser printers would work as well, but nothing since 2000. The HP 540 was introduced in 1994 according to the HP support site. I do believe it was discontinued by 2000.

Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 20:28:48 -0500
From: Chad H<chadbh74 at hotmail.com>

Umm "-- the only practical way to print at a reasonable speed with a modern
inkjet printer from a CoCo." ???

Not necessarily, depending on what is 'reasonable speed' in your perception
and not if your fortunate enough to have a serial-to-parallel converter and
a inkjet printer that has the 'brains' to accept ASCII text&  codes like you
say.   I have such a converter and use it routinely to print from my CoCo 2
to a HP DeskJet 540 printer.  The converter and CoCo are configured for 9600
baud communication...plenty for my uses.

-----Original Message-----
From: Frank Swygert
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 7:50 AM

Won't work with a modern USB printer. Modern PC printers use the driver on
the PC to do all the data work. The printer itself has no "brains". The CoCo
needs a printer that translates the data to printed characters. You'd have
to write a driver for a modern inkjet printer. No brains is why they are so
cheap! Anything that can store or use raw data with a minimal driver should
work, even a keyboard.

A printer driver would be a lot of overhead for a CoCo. The only way I'd
attempt something like that would be to write a print utility that would run
by itself. In other words, save your writing to a file then run the program
to print the file. That way the print driver/program can have 100% use of
the CPU -- the only practical way to print at a reasonable speed with a
modern inkjet printer from a CoCo.

Frank Swygert
Editor - American Motors Cars Magazine

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