We have now received the latest PCB for the Retro-Printer module, which forms v2 (the release candidate) of the hardware. Once assembled, it integrates several new features, in preparation for the latest version of the Retro-Printer software.
- The module is designed to fit the Raspberry Pi better providing a neater finish.
- A switch has been incorporated to allow you to turn the Retro-Printer offline (as you could do with an original dot matrix printer).
- Three LEDs have been added near to the switch – provided indication of online status, busy status (ie data is being received) and power to the module.
As you can see from the pictures, once the Retro-Printer is connected to the Raspberry Pi, it can fit into a standard Raspberry Pi case (although without a cover).
We will be looking at ways at producing a suitable cover for the case, so that the LEDs are visible and the switch can be mounted to the cover – this will probably be 3D printed and available at a later date.
The new software also incorporates additional features and has now been tested successfully with printing from a Sinclair QL home computer using a serial to parallel convertor. This was impossible with the previous version of the hardware as the serial to parallel convertor did not pass a handshake signal back to the QL and so printing never started.
The v1.3 software incorporates the following new features:
a) Support for 80% of the Epson ESC/P2 printer command set, including ESC.2 and ESC.3 compressed graphics printing.
b) Support for 180dpi, 360dpi, 720dpi and 1440dpi printing.
c) Ability to specify the page size being used as well as set the paper margins.
d) Support for 7 colour printing (and merging of colours such as provided on the Epson Stylus Colour 850 printer by over-printing).
We are continuing to make some final tests and will then send the initial batch of v2 hardware out to interested parties for testing across a wide range of hardware and applications.