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'[PICLIST] Driving a regular inkjet printer from a '
2000\12\22@162458 by Carlos Tassara

Hi folks,

I need some help here.

I want to drive a regular inkjet printer (Epson or Cannon) with a PIC micro.

I have made some progress loading the character I want to print in the data pins and lowering
the strobe pin for 50 uS, but the results are not as good as I want.  
Does anybody have proved routines that do this?  Can I dream to address the printer in
graphics mode, so I can, for instance, replace a pen and chart recorder with an inexpensive
printer + PIC + temperature sensors, and use 4 different colors for each sensor?

Any ideas will be welcome, and for the time bein I will keep on watching my scope trying
to figure out how to do this.

I will appreciate any feedback.


Carlos Tassara

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2000\12\22@165241 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Carlos, you also have to check the /BUSY and ACK pins to make sure
the printer is ready for your next byte of data.

And yes, what you want to do is quite possible. I did it twenty years
ago for a dot matrix printer using a Z80 (8 channel chart recorder).

You'll have to get the low level driver information for the
printer you choose from the manufacturer or on the web so that
you can send the printer EXACTLY what it needs for command and data
bytes. One screwed up byte and you'll just get gibberish out (if
anything at all).

Take a look at Linux print drivers sources since they are readily

I believe most printers understand the 'Epson' graphics command set
since that became something of a standard on PC's.


Carlos Tassara wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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'[PIC]: Driving a regular inkjet printer from a PIC'
2000\12\22@173125 by jamesnewton

face picon face
You need to know what PDL (Page Description Language) the printer speaks. If
its a "winprinter" it only understands bit map images. It its an HP it
probably does PCL3 and some of the Epsons so also... older ones anyway. PCL3
is a subset of PCL5 which I have pretty complete docs for at:

I don't have information on the "winprinter" data formats.

You need to find out what the printer speaks.

I think a chart recorder would be doable in PCL5 using line drawing commands
rather than bit mapped graphics... interesting idea.

James Newton (PICList Admin #3) 1-619-652-0593
PIC/PICList FAQ: or .org

{Original Message removed}

2000\12\23@063233 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
Look up the PCL printer control language. This is what is usually used to
send graphical data directly to a printer. Your printer's manuals will
likely not tell you, so you need to search information from the
manufacturers and on the web. Also perhaps look into an open source PCL
driver, like ghostscript from Aladdin Enterprises.

Usually once you have the specs for PCL and for entering PCL mode in your
printer it is a question of minutes until you generate graphics. The
problem is, you will need to invent a way to store at least a bit of
bitmap graphics in your small controller. Doing a chart recorder with up
to 4 traces and simple tick scale is possible on 16Cxx . Beyond that, hard
work expects you ;-)


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