80-Bus News


May–June 1983, Volume 2, Issue 3

Page 23 of 59


by Rory O’Farrell

If there is a standard printer in the microcomputer world, it is probably the EPSON MX80. While considering the purchase of one of these, I learned of the imminent arrival of a new model, the FX80. Its preliminary specification and the reputation of EPSON decided me to wait a few weeks and get one of these. à la David Hunt in INMC No. 7, I propose to review this printer, using it to print out its own review, which will be sent to the Editor as camera-ready copy. This will explain any departure from the high standard of typesetting in the 80BUS News.

The FX80 is approx twice the size of the IMP, measuring 17"w x 14"d x 4"h. As standard, it comes with a Centronics interface, but optional interface boards are readily available to give RS232 and IEEE 488; these may also provide bigger buffers. I purchased my printer with an RS232 8k buffer. The printer was delivered in a sturdy card carrying box, with foam inserts. To insert the 8k RS232 interface buffer, it was necessary to open the case by removing four Phillips-type screws. The 8k buffer plugged into a prefitted socket within, sitting on four plastic supports, for which screws were provided by the buffer manufacturers. Beinq designed for the MX80, the buffer was a tight squeeze, as a 40 way umbilical cheated it of about 1/16". By loosening the adjoining board, enough room was created. The buffer board is selectable for the usual parity and and stop bit options. These selections are made by sliding little (supplied) connectors down onto prepositioned lines of contacts. These are known as Berg connectors. No soldering is required. This complete, it only remained to set the power-on options of the FX80 and the Microbuffer, then refit the lid. A little panel over the Centronics connector removes to allow access to the DB25 connector for the RS232 interface. The options I set as follows:

Microbuffer Baud rate 1200

Microbuffer Link block S1

Microbuffer Link block S2
Pin BOpenPin SBJumped (1 stop bit)
Pin BJumped (in­ver­ted busy)Pin WLopen (8 bit word)
Fin XOpenPin EPopen (Not se­lec­ted)
Pin WJumped (Hrdwre H/shk)Pin PIOpen (Parity dis­abled}

FX80 DIP switch 1

FX80 DIP switch 2
SW1.1OffSe­lects80 column length on power upSW2.1OnPrin­ter per­ma­nent­ly se­lec­ted
SW1.2On "0 fontSW2.2OnBuz­zer on
SW1.3Off"paper end detectorSW2.3Off1" perf. skip off
SW1.4Off"buffer for prog. charsSW2.4OffAuto LF off
SW1.5Off"Normal print
SW1.7Off) Type font with £ char

This is an OCR’d version of the scanned page and likely contains recognition errors.

Page 23 of 59