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    The Basics of Printers

    Ev er y t hingYou Want ed t o Know

    About Pr int er s

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    To t he ReaderIn the past few years, the number of printer users has climbed rapidly as a result ofthe spread of the personal computer. Printers come in all sorts of types and models

    from simple family printers to the high resolution printers used by designers oreditors. Internally, they are all different and so are their printing capabilities.This book attempts to explain the basics of printers and their relationship with

    computers in a way that should make it easy for beginners to understand. Ofcourse, not everything to do with printers is covered herein, but knowing the basicsof how printers work and printing in general should help towards solving newquestions and problems.

    How This Book is Or ganizedThis book is divided into Basics and Technical Information. As the title suggests,Basics provides general information about printers. On the other hand, TechnicalInformation explains in greater detail the technical matters and terminologypresented in the first part of the book. The book has been organized this way sothat reading through it all will help the printer student to progressively build up his

    understanding of printers. Technical matters have also been addressed individuallyto enable quick reference on anything the reader wants to know or is having troubleunderstanding.

    Copyr igh ts Microsoft, MS, MS-DOS and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft

    Corporation in the US. Macintosh, KanjiTalk, AppleTalk, LaserWriter, LocalTalk, QuickDraw and TrueType

    are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. in the US. IBM is a registered trademark of IBM Corporation in the US. PC-98 is a trademark of NEC Corporation.

    Pentium is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation in the US. Other names of companies, hardware and software used in this publication are

    the trademarks, registered trademarks or registered product names of their

    respective companies.

    Standard symbols and are not used in this book.

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    Table o f Cont ent sBasics

    Chapter 1 What is a Printer?......................................... 3

    Chapter 2 Types of Printers ..........................................7

    Printers by Their Mechanical Features....................7

    Printers by Printed Color .......................................15

    Printers by Printer Language ................................16

    Printers by How They Are Used ............................20

    Chapter 3 Printer Construction ..................................25Ink Jet Printer ........................................................25

    Laser Printer ..........................................................28

    Chapter 4 Printing Process......................................... 31

    Data Processing ....................................................32

    Processing on Computer .......................................33

    Sending Print Data ................................................39

    Technical Infor mat ion1. PDL and GDI .................................................................51

    PDL .......................................................................51

    GDI ........................................................................ 58

    2. Text and Fonts..............................................................61

    Character Set ........................................................61Typeface ................................................................62

    Typestyle ...............................................................62

    Size .......................................................................63

    Orientation .............................................................64

    3. Graphics ....................................................................... 65

    Bitmapped Graphics ..............................................65

    Vector Graphics .....................................................65

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    Gradation Processing ............................................66

    4. Printer Controller .........................................................73

    Spooling ................................................................ 74Buffering ................................................................75

    Rasterizing ............................................................75

    5. Printer Interface ...........................................................77

    Parallel Interface ................................................... 77

    Serial Interface ......................................................81

    AppendixGlossary ...........................................................................87

    Index ................................................................................. 93

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    W h at is a p r i nt e r ?

    Basics

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    Chapter 1

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    W h at is a p r i nt e r ?

    Chapter 1 What is a Pr int er ?

    A printer is a machine that prints out data processed on a com-

    puter. When the graphics and text processed on the computer aresent to the printer, the printer translates the data and prints it out.

    Language

    Commands

    Images

    Post cardsName Cards

    In-house/Neighborhood flyersTransparency film

    Printed matter

    Most of the time, data is printed on plain paper, but printing can be

    done on labels, transparency film and other media, too. Printouts

    can of cause be in black-and-white though a recent popular trendis the full color printer which renders a near-photographic picture

    quality. Also, with all the computer networking going on these days,

    it is no longer rare to see an office setup with multiple computersconnected to a single printer.

    Printers today are being widely used for everything from printing

    postcards and personal documents to commercial uses such as

    DTP (desk top publishing).

    W h at is a p r i nt e r ?

    DTP See p. 88.

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    Chapter 1

    Printers are used in all sorts of environments such as the home and office.

    Depending on the objective at hand, one computer can be connected to one

    printer or multiple computers can share a single printer. Printers are selectedand used according to the specific environment and objectives.

    When used by just one person

    In this configuration, one computer is connected to one printer. Generally, the

    connection is made with a Centronics cable between the printer port on the

    computer and the interface port on the printer. However, the type of cable and

    the configuration of the connectors will differ according to the computer and

    printer. (Centronics See p. 78.)

    When connected to the printer port of the computer in the above configuration,

    the printer is referred to as a local printer.

    * The interface generally complies with IEEE 1284 and, when not, IEEE 1394 or

    some other standard. (IEEE 1284 See p. 79. IEEE 1394 See p. 82.)

    When used by many persons in a network

    In this configuration, a single printer is used with multiple computers which

    themselves are connected to a network. Generally, this is the kind of

    configuration used in offices and schools. Using one printer for multiple

    computers is called sharing (the printer). And, a printer which is used via a

    network is called a network printer. Printers can be shared in one of two basic

    ways: one is to use the local printer of a computer connected to a network as a

    network printer, while the other is to directly connect the printer to the network.

    Printer Environment

    Centronics (parallel interface)* cable, etc.

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    W h at is a p r i nt e r ?

    When a local printer is used as a network printer

    In general, a Centronics cable is used to connect a computer to the printer. The

    computer connected to the printer must also be connected to the network. The

    computer is set up for sharing the printer. In this way, a local printer can be

    used as a network printer.

    When a printer is connected directly to a network

    A network cable* is used to connect the printer to the network. The printer must

    be network compatible, that is to say, equipped with a network port such as a

    10BASE-2 or 10BASE-T port. (10BASE-2 and 10BASE-T See p. 87.)

    * In an Ethernet LAN, a 10BASE coaxial cable is generally used for the network

    connection. This 10BASE coaxial cable is of simple construction and is tough

    against noise. It is used in LANs where the transmission speed is between 10

    kbps and several Mbps. However, the cables must be kept short because

    signals weaken considerably over long distances.

    It is also possible to connect multiple printers to multiple computers and, from

    within this configuration, select a printer according to a specific purpose.

    * There are also 10BASE-5, 10BASE-2 and other standards. (10BASE-5 See

    p. 87.)

    Hub(Centralconnecting

    device)

    10BASE-TCable*, etc.

    Centronics (parallel interface) cable, etc.

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