USB printer driver project

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby PeterS » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:26 am

My (broken) Canon was capable of 720dpi but the only driver I got working was 360dpi at 16M colours. It would be nice to get to 600dpi 16M on a laser.

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:34 pm

The Xerox 6022 will print 600dpi in black and white using the NVDI HP 6L driver. ImageCopy will print true color images (16M colors) at 300 dpi using its Deskjet driver. It's not photo quality however.

Later, I'll try to print directly JPEG, TIFF and PDF.

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby wongck » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:37 am

Perdrix24 wrote:The Xerox 6022 will print 600dpi in black and white using the NVDI HP 6L driver. ImageCopy will print true color images (16M colors) at 300 dpi using its Deskjet driver. It's not photo quality however.


Yes, Philippe (Faucon2001 here on AF) had done a lot of testing on various NVDI drivers on printers couple of year back.
IIRC, he did mention that the deskjet drivers can never get the good colour reproduction on colour laser because the of the driver optimise the way the ink is sprayed on the paper... my guess is it takes in to account the way ink spread over paper and model of device as well. Whereas toner does not need this and just coat the entire paper and let the laser/led fuse it into the paper.

But in general, you can use the NVDI PCL driver for any PCL aware printer as they are still backward compatible (read as almost all modern printers).
I have still to see PCL6 only devices in home consumer models market..... but I am no printer expert may be they are slowly coming.

Guess you can search for Philippe's findings here (at least I think it is documented somewhere on this site.).
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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:17 pm

wongck wrote:
But in general, you can use the NVDI PCL driver for any PCL aware printer as they are still backward compatible (read as almost all modern printers).

My own experience using four fairly recent laser printers showed that while black-and-white printing using a NVDI LaserJet (PCL5) driver works perfectly, color printing using a NVDI DeskJet (PCL3) driver is a shot in the dark. The Xerox was the first I had success with, and that was after trying different drivers and the 8-color option. The others (2 HP and a Brother) were printing black and white, with color streaks, or missing the top few lines. I guess it depends on the printer's PCL interpreter.

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby wongck » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:22 am

Yes, for colour printing most printers have moved to PCL5 but NVDI is still stuck at PCL3 ( or thereabouts).
While the black & white PCL stuff have remained pretty much constant, colour PCL commands have advanced in leaps and bounds and are so missing from NVDI drivers. That's why the low colour compatibility.
I too had problems wth it, look here viewtopic.php?t=32183&p=326190#p326086
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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:37 am

wongck wrote:Yes, for colour printing most printers have moved to PCL5 but NVDI is still stuck at PCL3 ( or thereabouts).
While the black & white PCL stuff have remained pretty much constant, colour PCL commands have advanced in leaps and bounds and are so missing from NVDI drivers. That's why the low colour compatibility.
I too had problems wth it, look here http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.ph ... 90#p326086

I looked at your post, and yes, it's the same issue I had, with 16M colors NVDI 5 HP1200C driver, the black doesn't print. However I was satisfied with the 8-color option. I'll have to do more tests, as my test included clip-art and logos, not photos. Also I'll try every single HP driver available.

Did you try NVDI 4?

What if we use PH PDF maker, and we send the resulting PDF to the printer directly?

What is your printer brand/model?

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby wongck » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:19 am

On colour, I tested on a home multi function 4185 deskjet and an commercial multi function Ricoh MPC4004.

For NVDI, I must have but I can't remember the results.

Nowadays, most new printers understand PDF and can print them out correctly.
But mainly still depends on the printer capability.
PHPDF does not embed the fonts, so if the printer does not include such fonts, it will be horrible looking.
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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby PeterS » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:31 pm

https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c00068221

It seems that PCL6 is more like a vector based format (sounds like AES :-) but it must still be able to print photos in some way.

How does linux/bsd handle the plethora of printers ? I am aware of cups and foomatic but not sure what their exact functions are. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foomatic is postscript dependent and I don't think NVDI has a PS option, maybe one could be created ?

I did find some ink based PCL printers: https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-offic ... 64a-b1h--1

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby PeterS » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:43 pm

This might be useful for anyone looking for suitable usb printers, some in the list are discontinued:

https://support.hp.com/gb-en/document/c04324001

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby PeterS » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:26 am

A thought crossed my mind.

I wonder how NVDI currently sends the output to parallel or serial printers ? It's configured from the cpx but presumably that just sets the destination port for the output. I wondered if the cpx could be modified to replace serial with usb ?

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:06 pm

Download now the USB printer driver (attached)!

The source code is at
https://github.com/freemint/freemint/tr ... dd/printer .
Make sure to read the README on that page. It contains important usage notes.

The driver must be sandwiched between USB.PRG and NETUSBEE.PRG, available at viewtopic.php?f=15&t=34355 (in the attachment of the first post), for NetUSBee users. It should also work for Lightning VME users.
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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby PeterS » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:21 am

On the Milan, I tried running the printer.prg after booting but it says "PRINTER failed to get _USB cookie".

I double-checked that the usb loader.prg had run at boot time. I had a look for the cookie but I can only see EUSB.

Am I doing something wrong ?

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby czietz » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:52 am

You're mixing the USB stacks for TOS and MiNT.
Using MiNT? Then use loader.prg and printer.udd. (loader.prg will load all .ucd and .udd files.)
Using TOS? Then don't use loader.prg but usb.prg, printer.prg and of course the actual driver for the USB hardware. (Is there even a TOS driver for the Milan USB?)

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby PeterS » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:12 am

Thanks. I only use TOS as a back-up for those occasions when I break the Mint set-up.

I am not expecting the printer to work because there are other issues with the Milan usb. It can open memsticks and view folders but when the files are opened it does not show the data correctly.

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:40 am

Today I did a test of the zView PCL export module, with a 16M color photo. I dropped the resulting PCL file on the printer icon in TOS 4. I was surprised to see a near-photo quality printout. With ImageCopy, the same photo is dithered, although still fairly nice.

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby lp » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:14 pm

Perdrix24 wrote:Today I did a test of the zView PCL export module, with a 16M color photo. I dropped the resulting PCL file on the printer icon in TOS 4. I was surprised to see a near-photo quality printout. With ImageCopy, the same photo is dithered, although still fairly nice.


Curious what video mode you used when creating the PCL file? It shouldn't be dithered if you are in a 24-bit video mode when you create the PCL file. There's no way to tell zView to skip the dithering stage if the video mode is of lesser quality than the image.

For maximum quality regardless of the video mode I could experiment with an img2pcl app which doesn't require zView if there's interest?

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:10 pm

lp wrote:
Perdrix24 wrote:Today I did a test of the zView PCL export module, with a 16M color photo. I dropped the resulting PCL file on the printer icon in TOS 4. I was surprised to see a near-photo quality printout. With ImageCopy, the same photo is dithered, although still fairly nice.


Curious what video mode you used when creating the PCL file? It shouldn't be dithered if you are in a 24-bit video mode when you create the PCL file. There's no way to tell zView to skip the dithering stage if the video mode is of lesser quality than the image.

For maximum quality regardless of the video mode I could experiment with an img2pcl app which doesn't require zView if there's interest?

I was in 24-bit video mode, and as you say, the image printed from the PCL file wasn't dithered.

An img2pcl converter that preserves the original quality and runs on lesser hardware(ST) would be really nice.

My USB printer supports JPG, so if I drop a JPG on the printer icon, it will be processed and printed. But not all printers support this and it's only for JPG (support added in my next version of driver).

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 1:55 am

The latest version of the printer driver can be found in the NETUSB04.ZIP archive at viewtopic.php?f=15&t=34355 .

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Eero Tamminen » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:28 pm

PeterS wrote:How does linux/bsd handle the plethora of printers ? I am aware of cups and foomatic but not sure what their exact functions are.


Printer manufacturers provide device driver programs for CUPS. Some are just binary blobs, some are semi-open source. Not very satisfactory at least for cheaper inkjets.

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby simonsunnyboy » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:50 pm

The rule is simple, buy something with PCL5 or PCL6 support and it should work even without a blob driver.

These should even work with older Atari applications with a Laserjet driver or something very similar.
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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:25 am

I wanted to print high quality color on my Xerox printer.

The NVDI 5 drivers are limited to 300 dpi and "simple color mode" which is a 8-color palette. The result is dithered images.

I made a Papryrus driver (attached and included in the archive), using the printer utility in Papyrus. It's 600 dpi, the maximum for PCL5c. Papyrus still outputs in simple color mode, but the quality of the images is much better, as the dithering is finer.

For printing photos, IMG2PCL (attached) by Lonny Pursell, converts an image to PCL, which you can then drop on the printer icon. It outputs in 24-bit color. It uses "PCL imaging mode" and provides the best quality. It can print portrait or landscape.

Finallly, JPG files can be dropped on the printer icon. In this case they are printed portrait, full width.

Currently, I'm working on a PRINT.TTP utility for desktops without a printer icon and to use with MagiC.
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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Perdrix24 » Sat May 18, 2019 1:27 am

Videos of printing a PDF from desktop, using the new print.ttp that I'm developing. This will give you an idea of the processing speed on the computer and on the printer.

TOS 4 and MiNT printer icons can do this already.

https://youtu.be/Txk_WVvnHps
https://youtu.be/CEhf-nOZTlI

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Re: USB printer driver project

Postby Atarieterno » Sat May 18, 2019 8:52 am

Awesome!
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