After a short break and discussions with with various potential customers and case manufacturers, we have now finalised the v3 Retro-Printer PCB and have received our first few samples.
We have also left space on the board to allow for the possible future incorporation of a serial port for those who wish to capture serial data easily; using the same great functionality as is available with the centronics port version.
There are a few minor changes required to our printer capture code, to take account of the new switch and the programmable LEDs.
We are also talking with a couple of companies about the possibility of getting these manufactured in some sort of volume, as the amount of feedback, interest and suggestions has been, quite frankly, overwhelming.
As well as interest for using this with a wide range of equipment and computers, we have also been contacted by people wishing to capture all sorts of data intended for long-forgotten printers.
An example of this is one company who wanted to capture the data sent from medical equipment to a BPM 224L thermal printer made by Advanced Printing Services (APS). Oddly, APS did not even recognise the model number of the printer and could not find any information on the control language used; even after we pointed them to an information leaflet on the internet (the only reference we could find).
Even without this support, in just over 2 hours, we were able to create a routine (running on a Sinclair QL emulator – great for developing routines in SuperBASIC), which could interpret the data sent to the printer and re-create the original page on screen.
At last, a project which I first envisaged in 1997 is that bit closer to reaching the market; at an affordable cost which will suit home computer users and industry alike.