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Apple II Csa2 FAQs: Printers, Part 18/25

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 - Part16 - Part17 - Part18 - Part19 - Part20 - Part21 - Part22 - Part23 - Part24 - Part25 )
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Archive-name: apple2/faq/part18
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 2009/12/01

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The comp.sys.apple2 Usenet newsgroup Apple II FAQs originate from
the II Computing Apple II site, 1997-2010. 

Csa2 FAQs file ref: Csa2PRINTER.txt  rev141 December 2009

Printers & Interfaces

 001- How do I do the ImageWriter II self-test?
 002- What are the DIP switch settings for IW-II and IW-LQ printers?
 003- How do I do the ImageWriter-LQ alignment test?
 004- Can I use a 'straight-through' cable to connect my IW-II?
 005- My Imagewriter II doesn't print! What's wrong?
 006- How can I keep paper from jamming in my Imagewriter II?
 007- The bottoms of letters don't get printed. How can I fix this?
 008- What is the 'trick' for restoring a printer ribbon?
 009- How do I connect a "Centronics interface" printer to my Apple?
 010- Where can I get a Grappler+ cable? What is the pinout?
 011- What are the DIP switches on my Grappler+ for?
 012- What printers will the Harmonie drivers work with on my GS?
 013- What's the best GS interface for connecting a parallel printer?
 014- How can I use my Epson Color Stylus 800 with my IIgs?
 015- Why aren't fonts found after being moved to a new GS volume?
 016- When I run Platinum Paint I get error $1301. What's wrong?
 017- Can I clean the nozzles on an Epson Stylus printer?
 018- What is the pinout for a GS to ImageWriter I cable?
 019- Where can I get Imagewriter II ribbons?
 020- How can I connect my Imagewriter II to a PC?

From: Mike McElfresh

001- How do I do the Imagewriter II self-test?

     With the printer OFF, hold the Form Feed button down while pressing down the ON switch. Release both buttons when the print head starts to move. To stop, turn the printer OFF.


From: Rubywand

002- I bought an ImageWriter II and an ImageWriter LQ. What are
     the DIP switch settings for these printers?

     While a number of settings are the same; there are some differences between IW-II and IW-II LQ in DIP switch settings as well as which DIP switches are present. Unless there is a note attached or a setting is labeled "IW-II" or "'LQ", the indicated setting applies to both printers. 

     IW-II DIP switches are located near the left front side, inside the printer. Lift the cover to get access. 'LQ DIP switches are located near the left rear of the printer under the rear cover. When changing switches, power should be OFF.

ImageWriter II & II LQ DIP Switch Settings

     In Imagewriter manuals, "SW-1" refers to DIP switch module 1. Each such module has several individually numbered switches. For example SW-1 #5 refers to switch #5 on the SW-1 module.

When a switch is UP (pointing toward the back of the printer)
it is open or OFF.

When a switch is DOWN (pointing toward the front of the printer)
it is closed or ON.

When a setting is labeled "usual" this refers to the usual setting
at the time a printer is shipped in the USA.

     The settings for SW-1 have to do with printout format. ImageWriter control codes can override these settings. The codes for a particular setup could be sent in a character string by your program or an application.

     On SW-1 all of the switches are normally open (UP) except #8 which is closed (DOWN). These settings work for printouts under Appleworks and several other programs which take care of page breaks. For tasks like listing a program, doing a hex dump in the monitor, etc. you may want SW-1 #5 to be DOWN for automatic skipping over perforations between pages.

Character Set
SW-1        #1  #2  #3

American     U   U   U  default
Italian      D   U   U
Danish       U   D   U
British      D   D   U
German       U   U   D
Swedish      D   U   D
French       U   D   D
Spanish      D   D   D

Form Length
SW-1      #4

11 inches  U  default
12 inches  D

Auto Perforation Skip
SW-1      #5

No         U  default
Yes        D

Character Pitch
SW-1      #6  #7

 10 cpi    U   U
 12 cpi    D   U  default
 17 cpi    U   D
160 dpi    D   D (proportional)

Line Feed with Carriage Return
SW-1      #8

No         U  CR only
Yes        D  CR plus LF

     The settings for SW-2 are concerned with hardware interfacing. #1 and #2 set the baud rate the printer will expect:

SW-2                   #1  #2

  300 (on IW-II)        U   U     
19200 (on IW-II LQ)     U   U  'LQ default
 1200                   D   U
 2400                   U   D
 9600                   D   D  IW-II default

You should set the switches to match the speed of your printer interface. For the IIgs serial Printer Port, the Port and the DIP switches would normally be set for the maximum speed the printer can handle (e.g. IIgs Port at 9600 baud and DIP switches set DOWN  DOWN  for the IW-II).

SW-2 #3 is usually set UP to enable DTR hardware handshaking. If your interface wants to use XON/XOFF handshaking, set #3 DOWN.

SW-2 #4: If you have the 32K Memory Option, LocalTalk card, etc. installed, SW-2 #4 should be set DOWN. Otherwise, it should be set UP (the usual setting).

IW-II: SW-2 #5-#6 on the IW-II are factory-set to optimize hammer firing and should be left alone by the use (On my IW-II #5 is DOWN and #6 is UP.)

'LQ: SW-2 #5-#7 (#7 is only on the 'LQ) on the IW-II LQ are used to set the number of cut sheet feeder bins attached to the printer.

'LQ SW-2                #5  #6  #7

1                        U   U   D
1 and 2                  D   U   D
1, 2, and 3              D   D   D
1 and envelope           U   U   U  default
1, 2, and envelope       D   U   U
1, 2, 3, and envelope    D   D   U

'LQ: SW-2 #8 (only on the 'LQ)  sets Auto Paper Load position.

To print line    U  default
To paper bail    D

'LQ: SW-3 #1-#5 (only on the 'LQ)  are factory-set to optimize printer operation and should be left alone by the user.

'LQ: SW-3 #6-#8 (only on the 'LQ)  control vertical alignment of dots in bidirectional printing mode. Set for best alignment.


003- How do I do the ImageWriter II LQ alignment test?

The 'LQ Alignment Test

     With printer OFF, press Select, Line Feed, Form Feed.  Hold them pressed, turn ON printer, and release buttons after printer head starts to move.

     The printout shows four possible switch settings with six lines of vertical bar printouts for each setting.

     Settings are indicated like this: 1  0  0  (which means  DOWN  UP  UP). An asterisk by a setting means it is the current setting.

     Set the switches to the setting which best lines up the vertical bars in the printout.


004- Will a 'straight-through' cable work for connecting an
     ImageWriter II to my GS?

     No. In the ImageWriter cable, Pins 1 & 2, 3 & 5, and 6 & 8 are supposed to be swapped from one end of the cable to the other.


005- My ImageWriter II doesn't print! The head moves, and I can hear
     the pins striking the paper, but I get nothing. What's wrong?

     Check ribbon positioning. If the ribbon is properly positioned, then, you may need to adjust the the print head - to - roller distance (sometimes called the "paper width" adjustment). There is a small lever near the lower right side of the roller. Click-position it in a notch or two.


006- How can I keep paper from jamming in my Imagewriter II?

     A surprising number of Imagewriter users go for years putting up with paper jams during long printouts. A nearly 100% cure is to just pop up the top rollers so that they do not press the paper against the roller.


007- I notice that the bottoms of letters on my ImageWriter II's
     printout are not showing up. How can I fix this?

     A likely explanation is that the printhead needs to be moved in (toward the big roller) a notch. This is a standard "Paper Thickness" adjustment on many printers. On IW, you do it with a lever to the right of the roller.

     Another possibility is that the printhead needs cleaning. Be careful what you use to clean a printhead because some solvents can dissolve the mask which lines up the pins. Light oils and gasoline seem to be especially bad. A fine bristle toothbrush plus some standard detergent in warm water or a household cleaner (like Fantastik, etc.) should remove most dust and gunk. Whatever you use, avoid soaking the printhead in anything very long-- i.e. get it reasonably clean and then blow/blot dry.

     Changing settings on the DIP with the factory settings which "users should leave alone" _may_ have some effect on firing of the bottom pins. I don't know. Probably, you would want to try everything else first.


008- What is the 'trick' for restoring a printer ribbon?

     For cartridge ribbons, such as the one in ImageWriter II, it is easy to 'restore' a ribbon to dark printing with a few spritzes of WD-40. Using a pocket knife, pry off the lid of the cartridge, and, as evenly as possible, lightly spritz the bunched-up ribbon. Restore the lid and roll the tape back and forth a few inches. Let the cartridge sit for several days in a plastic bag.

     The idea is that the WD-40 spreads unused ink into the ribbon's print area; so, it will not work for restoring multi-Color ribbons. Since you are adding no ink, this trick is good for only one or two 'restorations'.


009- Can anyone tell me how to connect a printer with a "Centronics
     interface" to my Apple II?

     The Centronics interface is the standard parallel interface for many printers. To connect such a printer to an Apple II, you need a printer interface card and cable. Since the cards were a popular item in the early 80's and were produced by several different companies you should be able to get a good one without too much trouble.

     The cards turn up fairly often at swap meets, should be easy to find on comp.sys.apple2.marketplace, and are still sold by regular A2 vendors. MC Price Breakers (360-837-3042 Mon-Fri 9:30am-5:30pm Pacific Time) offers a "Full Text & Graphic Interface" w/cable for Centronics type parallel printers for $29.95.


From: Mitchell Spector

010- I bought a Grappler+ printer interface card at a swap meet.
     Where can I get a cable? What is the pinout for the cable?

     The cable you need is the very common "Centronics cable". It is sold by several Apple II vendors. The pinout is shown below:

Grappler+ Pin Assignments
STB   1
D0    3
D1    5
D2    7
D3    9
D4    11
D5    13
D6    15
D7    17
ACK   19
BUSY  21
P.E.  23
SLCT  25
N/C   -
GND   all others


011- What are the DIP switches on my Grappler+ for?

     The DIP switches are used to configure your card for a series of different printers out there. I'll list those settings:

DIP switch settings:
DIP SWITCH POSITIONS                1    2     3    4

Epson Series and Star Gemini      OFF   ON    ON   ON
NEC 8023/C, Itoh 8510/DMP 85      OFF   ON    ON  OFF
Centronics 739-1                  OFF   ON   OFF   ON
Anadex Printers                   OFF   ON   OFF  OFF
Okidata 82A, 83A, 92, 93, 84      OFF  OFF    ON   ON
Okidata 84 w/o Step II Graphics   OFF  OFF   OFF   ON
Apple Dot Matrix                  OFF  OFF    ON  OFF
IDS Printers                      (Any position)

Notes: DIP switch ON = "+" side or set to right.
Switch 1 controls MSB, the 8th bit. Setting switch 1 to 'ON'
makes MSB _not_ transmitted...


From: Joe Kohn

The Harmonie printer drivers are available from Shareware Solutions II. As the publisher, the most frequently asked question I get is "Which Grappler+ dip switch setting should I use for an HP DeskJet?"

According to those who use a Grappler+ to connect a DeskJet, the dip switch settings are:

 1-ON  (up)
 2-OFF (down)
 3-OFF (down)
 4-ON  (up)


From: Beverly Cadieux 

Joe, I've checked hundreds of Apple II Mail Group messages, and every time Grappler+ dip switches are mentioned in connection with DeskJets, people say they use OFF ON ON ON-- i.e. - + + + 

Since you are calling ON "up," we are probably using about the same setting. We call ON "down," (pushed in, toward the +). So your ON is probably our OFF.

When switch 1 is ON the MSB is not transmitted to the printer. When the Switch 1 is OFF, MSB is under software control. AppleWorks requires that switch 1 be OFF to allow high ascii characters (enabled with a Control-I H in the interface code) to print. If it were ON, they would be prohibited.

Switch one doesn't matter unless you want to send a high bit through. If you don't care about printing high ASCII (language characters, legal and math symbols, box edges), then it can be set either way.


From: Scott G

012- What printers will the Harmonie drivers work with on my GS?

     The 4550 automatically senses Epson LQ code and turns on emulation. It is like if the DIP switch were set to automatic in older BJC models.


From: Jim Stafford

     My Canon BJ 600 works fine with the above driver. The only thing the driver doesn't do is color!!! Make sure you have the epson dip switch set on your printer(see the manual).


From: Joe Kohn

     I know for a fact that Harmonie supports HP LaserJets, DeskJets, and DeskWriters.

     Tony Diaz (of Alltech Electronics) brought home an Epson Stylus 600 and connected it to the IIGS. Of all things, the first thing he tried was Print Shop GS, and he said it printed out beautifully, in full living color. The margins were all correct, and everything else about it was right...using the PSGS Epson LQ driver.

     He was also able to output text at 360 x 360 from EgoEd, using Harmonie's Epson LQ4000 driver; and, he could dump text to the printer with a PR#1 from the Applesoft prompt. So, apparently these Epson Stylus printers do have internal fonts and can be used from ProDOS-8.

     Tony was able to print out a graphic from Platinum Paint at 360 dpi; but, only in grayscale. In Fact, so far, everyone reports that they can print in full glorious color from Print Shop GS, but that, when printing from GS/OS via Harmonie's EpsonLQ drivers, the printout is limited to grayscale.

See also Q&A 011 above.


From: Supertimer

013- I have recently acquired an Apple IIGS and I want to use my
     Panasonic PanaPrinter parallel dot matrix printer with it.
     What is the best parallel card to use with my IIGS?

     The best parallel card is no parallel card. The IIGS is has serial ports and the best way to use parallel printers is with a serial to parallel converter.

     Global Computer Supplies, , has a bi-directional model (TAC6180) that is excellent. It supports serial rates of 300-57600 bps, so using a fast serial driver on the GS can get you printing at 57600 bps. I doubt most printers go faster than this.


From: Michael Pender

     The later-model PanaPrinters included both serial and parallel ports. They shipped with an external parallel interface, but the interface is part of a parallel-to-serial daughterboard that plugs into an internal serial interface.

     It is not necessary to add a parallel card. Open the case, remove the daughterboard and plug the serial printer cable into the Dsub-25 serial connector on the main board.


From: Ronald Clark

014- How can I use my Epson Color Stylus 800 with my IIgs?

     I have an Epson 800 and it works with PrintShopGS and Proterm 3.1 with a Grappler+ card.


From: Supertimer

     You can also use the Epson 800 on the GS serial printer port. You need an ImageWriter II serial cable and the Epson LQ4000 driver from the Harmonie package of printer drivers sold by Shareware Solutions II.


From: Owen Aaland

015- I have a problem with getting fonts recognized. I copied the
     entire contents of one PRODOS Volume (named "AA") to another
     hard drive with a different volume name for use on another GS.
     When I launch AWGS or any other GS word processor on the second
     GS, I am told to "insert disk AA" when a font is requested. Is
     this a Pointless problem? A Typeset problem? Should I reinstall
     the fonts or what?

     Reinstalling them should make them work but an easier thing to try first is to go into the FONTS folder inside the SYSTEM folder and trash the 2 files called TrueType.List and Font.Lists. When you restart your computer it will search through your Fonts folder and rebuild these lists. This is the procedure to use if you install fonts by dragging to the folder instead of using an installer.


From: Joe Kohn

     If you are using Pointless, the problem is not a bug; it's a feature ;-)

     When you open the Pointless Control Panel and click on a font name, you'll notice that pathname information (where the font is stored) is displayed. So, you could always open the Pointless Control Open, click on a font, click the Remove button, and then click the Add button in order to let Pointless know where on your other system the fonts are located.


From: Jim Pittman

016- When I run Platinum Paint I get error $1301. What's wrong?

     Yes, I got the same error message when I tried to run Platinum Paint with Bernie ][ The Rescue on a G3 Power Mac. The error code refers to a missing driver, meaning, I assume, a printer driver. But even if the correct printer driver is present, what Platinum Paint really wants is for the D C Printer settings to be correct.

1) Be sure you have an appropriate printer driver in

2) Go to the Control Panel. Open D C Printer. Be sure the
   appropriate port or slot is checked, as well as the
   appropriate printer driver.

(If you have a cable connecting the printer port to the printer, then "Select a Port" would be "Printer" and "Select a Printer Type" would be "ImageWriter" or whatever you have. If you have a parallel card in Slot 1 then "Select a Port" would be "GrapplerPlus" or whatever, and "Select a Printer Type" would be "DeskJet560C.HAR" or whatever you have.)


From: Douglas Taylor

017- Can I clean the nozzles on an Epson Stylus printer?

     If you've got an Epson Stylus with clogged ink nozzles (anyone with a Stylus that sits idle for a couple of months), check out .

     Basically, Blake W. Patterson explains that you may be able to unclog the nozzles using isopropyl alcohol. Here is a snip from the article on WEENO:

"I simply removed the black print cartridge from the printer and dropped 7-10 drops of alcohol down in the ink-recepticle area where the ink cartridge normally sits (there should be a little hole down in there where the ink actually flows from the cartridge into the head), replaced the ink cartridge, and ran a few sessions of the printers head-cleaning routine. It took quite a few cleaning sessions (probably 15-20) with a few pages of text prints thrown in there just to try and move some ink, before it cle
ared up."

"It actually had to sit overnight, with the last few cleanings done the next morning, before all was well--but well it is. Everything works perfectly now, and I don't have to go out and buy a new printer."


From: David Empson

018- Can anyone tell me what the pin to pin throughput is on the
     GS to ImageWriter I cable?

Looking at the IIgs serial connector, the pins are numbered as follows:

  8   7   6

  5    4  3

    2   1

The signals on each pin are:

1  Handshake Out (DTR)
2  Handshake In (DSR)
3  Transmit Data minus
4  Signal Ground
5  Receive Data minus
6  Transmit Data plus
7  General purpose input (DCD)
8  Receive Data plus

Shield is frame ground.

The ImageWriter I or DeskJet 500 has a female DB-25 connector, arranged in the standard order for DTE (Data Terminal Equipment):

1  Frame Ground
2  Transmit Data
3  Receive Data
4  Request to Send (output from printer, probably not used)
5  Clear to Send (input to printer, probably not used)
6  Data Set Ready (input to printer)
7  Signal Ground
8  Carrier Detect (input to printer, probably not used)
20 Data Terminal Ready (output from printer)

The pinout of the cable is:

IIgs (Mini-Din-8 male)       Printer (DB-25 male)
1 (HShk Out)                 6  (DSR)
2 (HShk In)                  20 (DTR)
3 (TxD-)                     3  (RxD)
4 (Gnd)                      7  (Gnd)
5 (RxD-)                     2  (TxD)
6 (TxD+)  no connection
7 (DCD)   no connection
8 (RxD+)  must be conected to signal ground (IIgs pin 4, printer pin 7)

If you have a shielded cable, also connect the cable shield to the Mini-Din-8 plug's shielding, and to pin 1 and the shield of the DB-25.


From: Mike Ford, Sandra Warnken, michaelhint, Donald L Johnson

019- Where can I get Imagewriter II ribbons?

     Several common printers use this same ribbon: the NEC 8023, some Citoh, etc.. Office Depot sells the black ribbons-- Nu-kote brand, part# NK160-- for about $5 each. They also carry the Color ribbon. Sams Club may still sell them; or, you can order the ribbons through Staples and Hallmark stores.

     Another source is In a newsgroup posting he offers to supply black ribbons for about $.75 each plus shipping ($3.55 for up to around 10) and color ribbons for about $3.00 plus shipping.


From: Rubywand, M Kelsey, Mark, Glynne Tolar

020- How can I connect my Imagewriter II to a PC?

   You can do Text printouts from your PC to IW-II by selecting the C-Itoh 8510 as your printer in Windows 3.1 up through at least ME. (Just go to settings: printers: new and select the c-itoh 8510.) The connection from the IW-II must go to a serial port-- e.g. COM-1 or COM-2.

   The cabling information shown below is from the the Imagewriter II manual. It's the connection to an RS-232C port. Including pin 5 in the jumpered pins on the 25-pin side is an addition. I'm not sure how important it may be. Perhaps it is added to allow diagnostic testing.)

   If you make your own, you need an 8 pin mini-DIN circular male connector, a DB25 female connector, and 5-conductor shielded cable. Up to 20 meters should be OK. 

   Cable details as follows... 

   8 pin               25 pin 

   DTR 1 ---------   *- 5 CTS * 5,6,8 are jumpered 
                     *- 6 DSR   together at db25 end.
                     *- 8 DCD

   DSR 2 ---------     20 DTR

   TD- 3 ---------      3 RD

   SG  4 **-------      7 SG 
   RD+ 8 **
   ** 4 and 8 are
      at 8-pin end.

   RD- 5 ---------      2 TD

                        Connector SHIELD or pin 1 (PG)
                        connected to cable shield
                        on DB25 end. (Only one end of
                        the cable shield needs to be
                        connected to the connector shield.)

     One alternative is to use a IIe (SSC) to IW-II cable (part #590-0335) plus a standard NULL modem cable plus any gender changer connector (or 25 to 9 changer) necessary to connect to the PC COM port you want.

     The standard basic NULL modem 'cable' (or 'adapter')  is two Dsub 25-pin female sockets, call them "A" and "B",  wired back-to-back as follows (arrows indicate signal direction): 

      Socket-A            Socket-B 

       TXD   2    ->      3  RXD 
       RXD   3    <-      2  TXD 
       RTS   4    ->      5  CTS 
       CTS   5    <-      4  RTS 
 DSR & DCD  6&8   <-     20  DTR 
       GND   7    --      7  GND 
       DTR  20    ->     6&8 DSR & DCD 

     The two cables (plus gender/9-pin adapters as needed) give you the connection described in the IW-II manual.

     A CrossWorks cable (plus adapters as needed) is supposed to work, too.

     Either the homebrew cable or one of the combinations of existing cables mentioned should allow a hardware handshaking connection at 9600 baud.

     For the C-Itoh 8510 printer, go to "Properties" (in the Files menu). For Port settings, select the correct COM port. Data bits, parity, stop bits should be the usual 8-N-1. Speed or baud rate should be 9600. Flow control should be Hardware. On your IW-II, DIP switch 2-3 should be Up (open).

     Yet another alternative is to use a IIgs or Mac high-speed modem cable (e.g. part 950-0109)  connected to a NULL modem plus adapters as needed. This works fine; but, you will lose the hardware control lines and need to switch to Xon/Xoff handshaking. In "Properties", Flow control should be Xon/Xoff. On your IW-II, DIP switch 2-3 should be Down (closed).
ch to Xon/Xoff handshaking. In "Properties", Flow control should be Xon/Xoff. On your IW-II, DIP switch 2-3 should be Down (closed).

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM