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emmo
01-20-2007, 09:02 AM
Hi! I want to make a printing GPS. I have no problem getting the NMEA sentence, but I have hit a snag in that I can't find a label printer that doesn't assume and require a computer, printer drivers, and a Windows application.

I have been in touch with Dymo, Brother, and Avery and so far, none of them have docs on printer control codes or low level strings I can use. I really wanted to use a small, portable, battery powered label printer, but right now I'm stuck. How can I figure out what to send out from the Stamp to the printer??? Am I missing something here?? Can I do it like a Sniffer? Print to the printer from my PC, trap the byte stream, and decode it so I can reproduce it?

The real mobile printer guys that sell to Hertz and Avis totally support
this level, of course, but their printers start at $650.
Any ideas?

Robert Kubichek
01-20-2007, 09:30 AM
emmo said...
Hi! I want to make a printing GPS. I have no problem getting the NMEA sentence, but I have hit a snag in that I can't find a label printer that doesn't assume and require a computer, printer drivers, and a Windows application.


I have been in touch with Dymo, Brother, and Avery and so far, none of them have docs on printer control codes or low level strings I can use. I really wanted to use a small, portable, battery powered label printer, but right now I'm stuck. How can I figure out what to send out from the Stamp to the printer??? Am I missing something here?? Can I do it like a Sniffer? Print to the printer from my PC, trap the byte stream, and decode it so I can reproduce it?

The real mobile printer guys that sell to Hertz and Avis totally support
this level, of course, but their printers start at $650.


Any ideas?


Google for " serial printers ", you should get LOTS of hits.. http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/burger.gif

Bob http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/scool.gif

Franklin
01-20-2007, 10:08 AM
Bob, you don't need to quote the entire message. It's there for all of us to read for ourselves.

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- Stephen

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
01-20-2007, 10:25 AM
Citizen (http://www.citizen-systems.com) is another company that makes these kinds of printers. Maybe thay have something that will work.

-Phil

emmo
01-20-2007, 12:14 PM
Bob, you might not be clear on what I am looking for, but searching on serial printers isn't going to help me.

Here is an example:
To change the standard 10 cpi portrait to print italic on an Epson, one would make the following changes to the Std 10 cpi field:

~E~(8U~(s0p10.00h12.0v1s0b3T

To disable the italic type face:

~E~(10U~(s0p10.00h12.0v1s0b3T

These are also called escape codes, and each printer manufacturer often has their own, although sometimes they use those of another manufacturer, like Epson or IBM.

Phil - I have looked at Citizen's label printers, but the ones I saw were in the high end, more expensive group.

Still looking for help - has anyone ever sent output to a printer from a Stamp??

Robert Kubichek
01-20-2007, 12:29 PM
I know exactly now what you are looking for.....
I would look for an old epson serial printer....
There also has been thermal printers that are easily interfaced to a stamp at some of the surplus websites...
I will look and see, + will get back to you...

Bob

emmo
01-20-2007, 01:04 PM
Thanx Bob,

Ideally I would like to find a dot matrix label printer, but a thermal label printer would be fine as well.

I am going out in the field with this, so an Epson or other full size, AC powered printer won't work for me. A surplus POS receipt printer might work...

Appreciate the help!

kelvin james
01-20-2007, 01:26 PM
Parallax sells a serial inkjet printer head kit, that would solve the communication problem. All you have to do is figure out a way to make it move, or the media it is printing on.

www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=27949 (http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=27949)

kelvin

emmo
01-20-2007, 01:47 PM
I saw that Kevin, but frankly, I couldn't figure out what it could be used for. What can you do with a print head?

Gadgetman
01-20-2007, 10:35 PM
Maybe this is usable?

http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?R=MTP201-24B-Evirtualkey62800000virtualkey628-MTP201-24BE

It's a complete thermic printing mechanism. It just needs a driver and a few screw to mount it inside a project box.

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Don't visit my new website...

emmo
01-21-2007, 12:24 AM
Thanks for the pointer to this. While I am scared off by the interface, this did inspire me to look at Seiko, and I will se if they have any documented control codes.

I appreciate it!

Meanwhile, I have continued to look for information, and have a few avenues to pusue:

1) there are linux drivers for the Dymo label printer, and since these are open source, I might be able to get the escape codes out of them.

2) I found a site that recommends just sending known escape codes to the printer and see if they work - essentially assuming that the printer manufacturer must have emulated somebody elses and the task is to just figure out which set they chose.

3) I have put a number of low ball bids on used versions of the high end Eltron and Zebra printers on eBay, knowing that these guys do document their escape codes. The risk there is buying used, but I only need it to last for about 1000 labels, so this might work.

I am grateful for the help so far, and welcome any more input...

emmo
01-21-2007, 02:11 AM
OK, I have found the low level escape codes for the Seiko SLP 440 thermal label printers - the only issue is that they cost about $135 new, about twice the cost of the Brother.

This is a small problem, as I will just wait for an ebay used one to come along, and hey, what's $100 anyway?

Thermal is ok, but the ink fades in UV light, so this is ephemeral, that's all.

Thanks!

Gadgetman
01-21-2007, 02:47 AM
Some mechanisms, particularly in older calculators, use an inkjet head, and there are those which use a 'dot matrix' system and ink ribbons.

Label printers for industrial or commercial use ARE expensive. That's because they need to be 'rather more' rugged than equipment sold for home use.

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Don't visit my new website...

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
01-21-2007, 03:04 AM
emmo,

In mentioning Eltron and Zebra, it looks like you might be considering mains-powered printers, after all. If that's the case, I have a Dymo SE300 label printer with an ASCII RS232 interface. The user's manual, which explains the control codes is here (http://download.dymo.com/media/UserGuides/se300.pdf) (PDF file). I bought it several years ago to print ID labels for underwater video CD-Rs, but it never got deployed. I was planning to put it on eBay at some point, but maybe we can make a deal. PM me if you're interested.

-Phil

BTW, my workhorse label printer is an Eltron TLP3642. If you can find one of those (or the '2642) used, you'll have a reliable piece of equipment. Some models are capable of thermal transfer printing with a resin ribbon, which will answer your UV fading objections. Since they use an external power supply, they can likely be adapted to battery power as well.

Post Edited (Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)) : 1/20/2007 8:21:26 PM GMT

emmo
01-23-2007, 09:44 AM
Just to update this thread:

Seiko does document their escape codes and they are downloadable from their site. I am bidding on used ones on eBay to do my design work.

Brother has a particular unit that is serial, whereas all their others are USB, and they do document its escape codes. But it is very expensive.

I have about 6 months to complete this project, so for the actual deployment, I have decided to keep bidding on used Eltrons and Zebras, which are industrial, more easily made mobile, and are designed with internal template and dynamic variable capability.

I appreciate the help.

LSB
01-25-2007, 07:43 AM
How abot this?

http://www.cdadapter.com/smp.htm

From their website: This is the worlds smallest impact dot matrix printer, measuring only 2.88" (W) x 1.68" (D) x 0.50" (H). It can be operated from Ni-cad batteries and uses standard 1.75" cash register roll paper. The SMP-II easily connects to your Basic Stamp or any project with a serial interface. The serial mini printer can be used in numerous applications such as portable measuring instruments, taxi cab receipt printer, data loggers, statistical printout devices and BASIC Stamp projects.