Me And My Printer

By Richard Dimond

Originally published in EUG #06

I saw this printer in a local department store and was attracted to it as it looked neat and easy to use and above all was cheap at £116 plus the cost of the cable. Unfortunately, the store only had one printer cable which would not fit my Rombox as it had a metal shield on the computer end. However, I obtained a suitable one from Maplin (Cat. No. FG30H). I was pleased to find that the printer had a 13amp fused plug already fitted so that I could get going quickly. It has a self test facility which gave me an idea of its working.

After studying the manual, which is fairly comprehensive and easy to follow, I have found it easy to use though I have not had a chance to explore all its facilities.

It has DIP switches for setting International Characters, Epson/IBM mode, Character Sets, Page length, etc. These are a little inconveniently placed under the ribbon cartridge but are not too difficult to set.

The paper feed, NLQ/Draft and ON/OFF line are controlled from the front panel by four membrane keys. There are four LEDs to indicate the status - On line, Paper empty, NLQ and Power on. The keys can also be used to select Pitch and set Margins. It will take paper up to 10.5ins wide, cut sheet or continuous, friction or tractor feed.

Under software control it will provide all Epson and IBM facilities including the expanded character sets and graphics capabilities. I have tried both Ian Brown's printer driver and Julie Boswell's version and found that both can be used easily. I have a small suggestion with regard to the latter. It is all too easy to make a mistake when setting it up and this can cause an error report. You then have to start all over again. I have added the following lines:-

      685PRINT'"Correct? (Y/N)"
      686IF INSTR("Nn",GET$) GOTO 650
This enables you to confirm an entry before going on.

I have used the screen dump programs from Electron User June 1986, but found that I had to modify the programs for UDUMP and SDUMP in order to get the 640 and 512 dot width as at first I only got a 480 dot width and thus only three quarters of the screen. This was done by using ESC* and changing to graphics mode 4. I also changed the data lines as the colours were reversed. This has given some quite good screen dumps. These are about 8" x 7", unfortunately just too large for an A4 sheet.

To sum up, I think this is a great little printer for a first buy and is excellent value for the price.

Richard Dimond, EUG #6