Hari's Corner

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How to get an old dot matrix printer to work on your Linux laptop

Filed under: Tutorials and HOWTOs by Hari
Posted on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 14:54 IST (last updated: Sat, Mar 3, 2012 @ 14:22 IST)

I recently got my hands on an old dot matrix printer, TVSE MSP 155 printer, for my office purposes. I also have a HP Officejet printer, but for large documents, I prefer a printer that doesn't waste a lot of ink. So rather than buying a laser printer, I thought I would simply use an old dot matrix printer that my uncle was kind enough to give me.

To get this printer to work on a laptop, you require a USB-to-parallel port cable. This can be obtained in any computer hardware store. Connect your printer's parallel port to your laptop's USB port using the cable. Then with the usblp kernel module loaded (modprobe usblp as root), the printer's URI will be parallel:/dev/usb/lp0. Once you add this as the device URI in CUPS, choose the Epson 9-Pin Series as the printer driver. This generic driver works with most old dot matrix printers that use the Epson chipset. Now simply print a test page and see if your printer works. It should work properly. In case it spews out junk, check if your printer model uses a different chipset or driver.

I hope this piece of information might be useful to others as well. Note that not all old dot matrix printers may work with this driver, particularly 24-pin models. There are other drivers which you can test for such models. Tip: use old, cheap or discarded single-side printed papers for testing.

Note: Do not modify the default printer settings in CUPS for the above driver. If you do, it appears that the printer does not function properly.

2 comment(s)

  1. Far cooler DMP:
    http://makezine.com/25/laserpointer/ :-D

    Comment by Dominic (visitor) on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 @ 15:25 IST #
  2. Welcome back, Dominic. And thanks for that interesting link. 8-)

    Comment by Hari (blog owner) on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 @ 15:28 IST #

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