Although we do not currently have a proposed release date, we have been working on various different Retro-Printer projects following feedback, queries and our own continued testing.
We will soon be releasing the v2 Retro-Printer software, which represents a more modular approach – giving the following modules so far:
- Data Capture Module – In order to assure that all data sent to the centronics port is captured, this software module has the main priority and captures all incoming data converting it into packets to be processed by the required Conversion Module
- Raw Conversion Module – This interprets the captured data and simply appends it to the single raw file on either the SD card or USB memory stick. No conversion is undertaken, except for line feeds which can be converted to Unix, Mac or Windows line endings.
- PCL Conversion Module – Currently, this is similar to the Raw Conversion Module, but stores the incoming data as a PCL file where it can either be read over the network, or you can install and use GhostPCL to automatically convert the data to PDF and output it to a printer. Line feeds are not converted.
- ESC/P2 Conversion Module – This interprets all incoming ESC/P2 data and can either strip the plain ASCII text strings from the data (for your own processing and interpretation), or it can create a PDF of the incoming data (replicating a physical Epson ESC/P2 printer) and then output that to any modern printer connected to either a USB or network port. Line feeds are converted to Unix, Mac or Windows line endings if you use the strip ESC/P2 mode.
The benefit of this modular approach, is that we can easily add new conversion routines as they are written (for example, we have been asked for conversion routines which can handle the data sent by medical equipment to receipt printers, and laboratory equipment which currently only has an on-screen display unit). It also means that the conversion routines can run as background tasks freeing up essential processing power for the Data Capture Module.
We have also released details of how the LEDs on the Retro-Printer module can now be controlled by your own software instead of the default operation.
Finally, we are also working with a leading Raspberry Pi case manufacturer to produce an injection moulded case specifically for the Retro-Printer module