80-Bus News


May–June 1983 · Volume 2 · Issue 3

Page 23 of 59


A review

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


Microbuffer Link block S1
Pin BOpen
Pin BJumped (inverted busy)
Fin XOpen
Pin WJumped (Hrdwre H/shk)

Microbuffer Link block S2
Pin SBJumped (1 stop bit)
Pin WLopen (8 bit word)
Pin EPopen (Not selected)
Pin PIOpen (Parity disabled}

FX80 DIP switch 1
SW1.1OffSelects80 column length on power up
SW1.2On "0 font
SW1.3Off"paper end detector
SW1.4Off"buffer for prog. chars
SW1.5Off"Normal print
SW1.7Off) Type font with £ char

FX80 DIP switch 2
SW2.1OnPrinter permanently selected
SW2.2OnBuzzer on
SW2.3Off1″ perf. skip off
SW2.4OffAuto LF off
Page 23 of 59