4.6) How can I use a Centronics or IBM parallel interface printer?

What is now known as IEEE 1284 originated as the "Parallel Interface
Specification for Centronics Printers," a unidirectional 8 bit host-to-printer
connection.  This interface was introduced by Centronics Data Computer
Corporation for a series of small serial-impact printers that began with
1970's Centronics Model 101.  Centronics defined the interface timing and
signals as well as the interface connector (at the printer), but not the host
connector (at the computer).  The Centronics parallel interface eventually
became the primary interface used between most small computers and associated
printers.

Even as Centronics themselves began utilizing alternative interface connectors
on some of their own printers, the market success of 1980's Epson MX-80 helped
the industry settle on Centronics' original choice of the 36-contact Amphenol
57-40360 (Micro-Ribbon brand) miniature-ribbon receptacle (female) as the
standard interface connector found on parallel interface printers.  The
corresponding cable connector is the 36-contact Amphenol 57-30360 (Micro-
Ribbon brand) miniature-ribbon plug (male).  36 contact miniature-ribbon
connectors became known popularly as "Centronics" connectors; these are now
known as the IEEE 1284-B Receptacle and Plug connectors.

IBM introduced the IBM PC in August 1981, with a Centronics-like Parallel
Interface (with DB-25S connector), along with a series of Centronics-like
parallel interface printers (with "Centronics" connector) starting with the
IBM PC Graphics Printer (model 5152, a slightly-modified Epson MX-80).  The
Parallel Interface as implemented by IBM was compatible with a functional
subset of the existing Centronics standard, but more complete implementations
of the IBM and Centronics interfaces were not signal-compatible, and a new
category of the "IBM" compatible printer was established.  Market success of
the IBM PC meant wide adoption of the IBM parallel interface standard.  This
included the DB-25S host connector, which is now also known as the IEEE 1284-A
Receptacle.

Industry implementations of the Centronics/IBM parallel interface continued to
vary until the 1994 publication and subsequent wide adoption of IEEE 1284,
"IEEE Standard Signaling Method for a Bidirectional Parallel Peripheral
Interface for Personal Computers."   The current version is IEEE 1284-2000.

The 8-bit Atari computer does not include a Centronics parallel output
interface, but one may be added to the system.  Atari provided the 850
Interface, and later the XEP80 Interface, for this purpose.  Many 3rd-party
interfaces and other devices provide compatible interfaces.

The following should be a complete list of devices for the Atari providing the
system with a Centronics parallel printer host interface.  Interfaces connect
to the Atari via SIO unless otherwise specified, and are compatible with the
Atari 850 Printer port unless otherwise specified.  The interface connector
type is given if known.

1050 Turbo (for Atari 1050), by Bernhard Engl for Gerald Engl Computertechnik
- Optional Centronics parallel printer interface cable (connector type????)
Amdek AMDC-II disk drive - DA-15S
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Ape-Face 48P, by Digital Devices - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- For the 400/800 (how is this????)
Ape-Face XLP, by Digital Devices - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- For 400/800/XL/XE except 1200XL (draws power from SIO)
Ape-Face 12XLP, by Digital Devices - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Especially for 1200XL (uses external power supply)
Ape-Face XLP-S, by Digital Devices - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- For 400/800/XL/XE except 1200XL (draws power from SIO)
- SIO port for daisy chain
Astra The "One" disk drive - DA-15S
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Astra 1001 disk drive - DA-15S
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Atari 850 Interface Module - DA-15S
- Detailed elsewhere in this FAQ list
Atari XEP80 Interface Module - DB-25S
- Detailed elsewhere in this FAQ list
- Supplied with replacement P: device handler
ATR8000 by SWP
- 16KiB or 64KiB RAM versions
- Printer port: 34 pin PCB edge
- Unit RAM can be used as a printer buffer
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Black Box, by Computer Software Services (CSS)
- XL OS Rev.1+ New Device, with connectors for both PBI and Cartridge+ECI
    - PBI Connector: 50 pin header; ribbon cable to PBI interface included
    - Cartridge+ECI connector: standard PCB edge
- Parallel Printer Port: 34 pin PCB edge
    - Definable as any of P1: - P8:
    - 64KiB Printer spooler using XE memory or optional BB memory
    - Text or Graphics printer dump of most screens
- Black Box Enhancer (upgrade for older units; included with newer units):
     - Enhanced screen dump function
Blackthorn Printer Interface - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- SIO port for daisy chain
CARD?/AT, by Cardco - SIO cable to 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
Centronics Interface II, by Klaus Peters - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Based on the Compy-Shop Centronics-Druckerinterface (?)
Compy-Shop Centronics-Druckerinterface - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
FCC Interface, by FCC Systems - SIO cable to 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
Flop VD 40 F disk drive - DB-25S
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Graphix AT, by Xetec - SIO cable to 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Prints Atari graphics characters
ICEPIC, by ICECo - joystick cable to 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Supplied with P: device handler, SIO simulator, and REBOOT program for
   software compatibility
Interfast-I, by Advanced Interface Devices (AID) - DA-15S
- Programmable, can translate ATASCII or any character set into graphics
KPI (K-Products Interface)
- XL OS Rev.1+ New Device, connects to PBI
- Printer port: 40 pin PCB edge
    - Supplied with printer port software utilities
Macrotronics Parallel Printer Interface (see Analog#2p29)
- Connects to controller jacks 3&4.  Six versions:
    - Trendcom 100 / 200    A4P-1 for 400, or A8P-1 for 800
    - Centronics 730 / 737  A4P-2 for 400, or A8P-2 for 800
    - Centronics 36 Pin     A4P-3 for 400, or A8P-3 for 800
- Does not use standard Atari OS P: device handler
Mega Speedy (for the Atari 1050), by Guus Assmann & Matthias Reichl, 2014
- Optional centronics interface, connector type same as 1050 Turbo
Micro MainFrame MF-1682 dual disk drives - printer port, 4KiB print buffer
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
- Option: printer buffer to 38KiB
MicroPrint, by Microbits Peripheral Products
- SIO cable to 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Later units produced by Supra
MPP-1100, by Microbits Peripheral Products - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Connects to joystick port #3, NTSC 400/800 only, supplied with required
   replacement OS ROM chip for Atari OS Rev.A/NTSC chip C012499
- Acknowledged software incompatibilities:
    - Monkey Wrench II from Eastern House Software
    - Zaxxon from DataSoft (early release versions)
- Sold separately:
    - MPP-1102 Adapter Cable (40-pin edge for Atari 825 or Centronics 737)
    - MPP-1104 Rev.B Upgrade ROM set (for 400/800 with Atari OS Rev.A/NTSC)
MPP-1150, by Microbits Peripheral Products - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- SIO port for daisy chain
- Not for 1200XL (draws power from SIO)
- Later units produced by Supra
MPP-1151, by Microbits Peripheral Products - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- SIO port for daisy chain
- Especially for 1200XL (uses external power supply)
- Later units produced by Supra
Multi I/O board (MIO) by ICD
- XL OS Rev.1+ New Device, connects to PBI
    - ICD adapter for Cartridge+ECI provides two pass-through cartridge ports
- 256KiB or 1MiB RAM versions
- Printer port: DA-15S
    - Accessed as P1: or P2: with or without auto line feed
    - Use any amount of unit RAM as a printer spooler
       - Pause/Resume, Repeat Copies, Clear
Multi I/O board (MIO) "new series" by Ken Jones / MEtalGuy66
- XL OS Rev.1+ New Device, connects to PBI
- 1MiB RAM
- Printer port: DB-25S
    - Accessed as P1: or P2: with or without auto line feed
    - Use any amount of unit RAM as a printer spooler
       - Pause/Resume, Repeat Copies, Clear
- Available: http://www.rasterline.com/
ParallAx-AT (AT-486), by Axiom - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
Percom AT88-S1PD disk drive - 34 pin header (2x17)
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Percom AT88-SPD disk drive - 34 pin header (2x17)
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Portprint, by Computer Support
- Connects to joystick ports of any XL/XE computer
- Replacement P: handler required
P:R: Connection, by ICD - DA-15S
- SIO port for daisy chain
Printer Connection, by ICD - SIO cable to 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
Printerface, by W.E. Electronics
- Connects to 1 joystick port on the Atari
- Shipped with P: driver on cassette
Rambit PPP - Parallel Printer Port - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Connects to the Atari via PBI (600XL/800XL)
Spider disk drive - DA-15S and DB-25S dual printer ports
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Supra Hard Disk Interface, by Supra
- XL OS Rev.1+ New Device, connects to PBI
    - Sold separately: Supra XE-XL Buss adapter for Cartridge+ECI
       - Adapter includes pass-through cartridge port
- Printer port: 40 pin PCB edge
    - Supplied with printer port software utilities
TOMS 720C disk drive - DB-25S
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
TOMS 720CR disk drive - DB-25S
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
Trak AT-1 disk drive
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
- Upgrade: 34 pin PCB edge printer port with 4KiB buffer
    - Upgradable to 16KiB
Trak AT-D1 disk drive - 34 pin PCB edge, 4KiB print buffer
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
- Upgrade: 16KiB print buffer
Trak AT-D2 disk drive - 34 pin PCB edge, 4KiB print buffer
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
- Upgrade: 16KiB print buffer
Trak AT-D4 disk drive - 34 pin PCB edge, 4KiB print buffer
- 2nd SIO port for daisy chain
- Upgrade: 16KiB print buffer
TurboPrint/A, by Telesys - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Page formatting independent of software
TurboPrint/GTA, by Telesys - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- Page formatting independent of software
- Prints Atari graphics characters
- Options: B16 16KiB TurboBuffer or B32 32KiB TurboBuffer
U-Print Model A, by Digial Devices - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- SIO port for daisy chain
- Upgrade: 16KiB buffer
U-Print Model A16, by Digial Devices - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- SIO port for daisy chain
- 16KiB buffer, Copy button, Reset (cancel) button
- Upgrade: to 32KiB
U-Print Model A64, by Digial Devices - 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug
- SIO port for daisy chain
- 64KiB buffer, Copy button, Reset (cancel) button
WW Interface 72000 - SIO cable to 36 contact miniature-ribbon plug

Some of the most common Centronics type parallel interface printers used with
the Atari included the Star Gemini 10X and SG-10, the C. Itoh ProWriter, and
the Epson RX-80, FX-80, and MX-80.
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