Computing Archaeology: Printing Like It’s 1985
I have an ancient dot matrix printer and a large supply of tractor feed paper (some of you may need to look up the meanings of these phrases). The model here is Epson EP-1500 Super 5. I have an adapter to let me plug a parallel cable into a USB port, but there is no modern driver for the printer and I want to connect it to a Windows 7 Netbook, just to print out some ‘in draft’ manuscripts for revision.
Well, I googled and there was no answer as such, or none my google skills could find me and which worked on my combination of hardware and software (cheap netbook running Win7, ancient printer). But a post somewhere mentioned the dip switches down the bottom of the inside of the unit:
There were some hints http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?9206-Request-For-Printer-Driver-Super-5-EP-1500.
And basically by trial and error if I turned the first two switches to ‘on’ and installed the ‘Generic IBM Graphics 1 for 9 pin printers’ driver that ships with Win7, it worked a treat. Somewhere some instructions said that it was an on/off combination, that gave IBM mode, but that was not what I found. It also seemed it is a copy of the Panasonic KX P-1091, but perhaps not exactly (http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/dip-switch-panasonic-dot-matrix-printer-t2362504.html).
Anyway, I just post this here for anyone else looking for the solution; a similar one may well work for a whole range of old printers. It always seems to me that a lot of old gear goes into landfill or has to be recycled, when it could just be used for longer in a well-chosen specialist role. I’ll use up the ribbons and the paper, and get some useful work out of resources that would otherwise almost certainly be thrown away. Hardly saving the planet, but useful nonetheless. Now, where’s my Fujitsu DL-1150? That’s still supported, and is a King amongst dot matrix — it even does colour!