interfacing parallel port printer to microcontroller

hi friends,

i would like to interface parallelport printer to my embedded system. can any body suggest me how to proceed and which ic's to be used to buffer the data into the printer.



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This topic comes up in this, and other similar, newsgroups with amazing regularity and a search via Google Groups would yield plenty of information which would definitely answer your question.

Paul E. Bennett ....................
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Paul E. Bennett

You'll typically need: - 8 data output lines (bidirectional is nicer) - 1 strobe output line (bit-bashed is fine) - 4 status input lines (/ACK, BUSY, PAPEROUT, SELECT)

That's for a basic Centronics port. (Incidentally, that's a good Google term.)


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Steve at fivetrees

I have some old bare boards going out at half price that may suit you if you wish to experiment.

DT004 is ideal as an end User platform for any project that requires a Parallel printer port and a power supply.


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Don McKenzie
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Don McKenzie ha scritto:


if you are developing on WindowsXp or Vista, forget the old functions:

outp( ), inp( )

used to access the registers of the LPT ports.

On WindowsXP and Vista you access LPT ports by a device driver. To start, I would suggest you to use Thesycon's device driver for LPT ports. The evaluation version lasts one hour, but if you reboot the PC, it'll work again (as stated in the documentation).

We started with Thesycon but then purchased an USB I/O expander produced by National Instruments. It costs 90 Euros and have 24 input/ output lines. It's very easy to use with Microsoft Visual C and comes with many examples.


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What you need is I/O permission for the ports. At least on XP, drivers such as GiveIO.sys (google for it) can open all ports. This avoids having to rewrite legacy apps that use the CPU IN and OUT instructions. There are plenty of drivers that can do this, but I have not tested them under Vista.


Stephen Pelc,
MicroProcessor Engineering Ltd - More Real, Less Time
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Stephen Pelc

Hi !

Try this chip, it's a complete paralel port (device or host): sn74lvce161284


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There are basically 2 issues:

(1) You probably want a printer that will actually accept ASCII codes and print the characters, rather than expecting elaborate graphic codes from the computer. All older parallel port printers are OK, but some newer lasers and inkjets expect the computer to work out all their pixels for them, as I understand it. If in doubt, do some experimenting using a PC. I think Windows has a printer driver called "plain text printer" or something like that which you can try.

(2) The Centronics interface is described in Horowitz and Hill, The Art of Electronics. It is very similar to the bus of an 8-bit microprocessor. So the buffering should be simple; lots of chips would work. You can wire the printer directly to ports on the microcontroller if you want.

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