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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard Printers
Snow Leopard only hintWe are printing to Dot Matrix printers on Macs with Snow Leopard in our office, and the method used to make them work varies with the printer.

With an OKI Microline 1190 we connected it directly using a normal USB-2 cable and it works perfectly. Do not use a USB hub, or printing may be unreliable. Choose the 'Oki 24-Pin Series' printer driver in the Print & Fax » Add Printer Preference panel and it will work. [crarko adds: This driver appears to be installed by default in Snow Leopard.]

With an Epson LQ680 Pro we connectted it using a USB to IEEE 1284 parallel printer adapter and selected the printer driver 'Epson LQ680'. Again, use a direct cable connection with no hubs. [crarko adds: This driver did not appear in my Add Printer list, but an equivalent Gutenprint driver should be installed on demand when you connect the printer, according to Epson. You may need to download this Epson Printer Drivers update from Apple.]

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. There is also an earlier hint which talks about printing to serial and AppleTalk printers.]
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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard | 7 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard
Authored by: limbikity on May 25, '10 08:45:29AM

unrelated, but why use a dot matrix printer these days?

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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard
Authored by: astrosmash on May 25, '10 08:57:08AM

I presume they're much cheaper to operate if you're doing large volume printing, because dot matrix ink is so inexpensive and lasts for so long.

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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard
Authored by: marmoset on May 25, '10 08:57:26AM

Multipart forms / carbons.

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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard
Authored by: scotty321 on May 25, '10 09:28:09AM

For printing carbonless copies of forms, too.

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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard
Authored by: leamanc on May 25, '10 06:42:09PM

I would love to see the remaining dot matrix we have at my office go away, but there really is no suitable replacement for carbon-copy form printing...or heck, just form printing.

I sure wish somebody would come up with something. It is 2010, The Year We Make Contact, after all...

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10.6: Enable dot matrix printing in Snow Leopard
Authored by: operator207 on May 26, '10 06:58:18AM

I work for a publishing company (Newspapers) we use them at every location. For bundle tops (your paper thrower gets a bundle with a piece of paper on it telling him what it is and where to throw it) and for labels (some newspapers are hand delivered, ever see a sticker on the paper denoting where it was delivered to? Very common to see these in hotels)

They are a cheap way of making labels on a large scale quantity. Most magazines use them, look at the label on your magazines that are mailed to you.

We are starting to convert to laser printing, but as of right now, the paper to do that (sheets of labels instead of ribbons of labels) is still expensive. If we buy enough in bulk it breaks even, but you then run into the problem of storing it.

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Dot-matrix still has its applications
Authored by: blinkintosser on May 25, '10 06:31:43PM

Aside from multi-part forms, dot matrix printers are still very useful for live line-by-line logging — each line of text is immediately printed as it is received by the printer without having to eject an entire page. With a sheet-fed printer, like a common laser or inkjet, you will not see any output until you have either filled a page or cause the page to be printed only partially full. (On one of the Windows systems I maintain at work, we have three 80-column dot matrix printers keeping paper logs of all “signals” as they arrive for immediate review should anyone doubt the integrity of the automation system that interprets them.)

I do suspect, however, that this hint permits only sheet-fed behavior from a dot-matrix even when using continuous, tractor-fed paper. For line-by-line printing from OS X, you may have to use a printer with a serial or network interface as there does not appear to be a straightforward method for sending raw data out of a local parallel port from a shell script unless you are prepared to compile some C code for the task ( ).

For some development work I did recently with a label printer, I found it easier to connect the printer to the parallel port of a Windows box running the following batch file:

:: LPTserv.cmd
:: Ad-hoc parallel-port print server (raw/JetDirect-like)
:: Requires Netcat for win32 in %path%
NC.EXE -lp 9100 > LPT1:
GOTO :Wait4Job

One can then send data to it in any manner that one can interact with a TCP socket — e.g. echo anything >/dev/tcp/winpc-address/9100 — or even announce it over Bonjour/DNS service discovery to have it available in the OS X “Add Printer” dialog:

dns-sd -P "Eltron 2442" _pdl-datastream._tcp. . 9100 winpc-address \
  textvers=1 qtotal=1 ty="Zebra EPL2 Label Printer" product="(Eltron 2442)" \
  pdl=application/epl2 note="Ad-hoc Hosted on Windows" Transparent=T \
  Binary=T Color=F Copies=F Duplex=F PaperCustom=T Bind=F Collate=F Sort=F \
  Staple=F Punch=F &

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