Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Strangest Collectables

Of all the things in my collection, printers and monitors are the strangest.  They serve very narrow purposes and tend to all do their tasks in about the same way.  Of the two, printers are the strangest. Monitors can often be justified due to the non-standard video output of some computers, especially the RGBI of the C128, the Chroma/Lumina of the C64, and the 15khz signal from the Amigas.

Printers, however, just print.  They take paper with tiny holes along the side, onto which they deposit letters by pressing a shape against a piece of cloth coated with ink.  And they are all either IEEE-488, IEC, or GPIB (Parallel).

This is a Commodore 4022P IEEE-488 printer.  It has enough processing power and memory to handle the IEEE-488 communication with the computer, and it prints.  It does not scan. It does not fax.  It has no lasers or jets of ink.

Instead it takes, as I mentioned earlier, a piece of cloth dipped in ink and rolled up in a continuous loop inside this plastic casing.  Much like the printers of today, every printer takes a slightly differently shaped ribbon cartridge, allowing the manufacturers to sell the printers at a loss and make it up on all the ribbon sales.

This particular model was made for the European market, having an AC 220V power input.  Inside is a step-down transformer and some sort of rectifier circuit to provide the DC current needed by the chips and paper motor inside.  The data port is, as mentioned earlier, IEEE-488, meaning it was meant for either the Commodore PET, CBM or CBM-II line of computers.