Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 10, NO. 5 / MAY 1984 / PAGE 175

Print about printers. (New printers) John J. Anderson; William Puetz.

Print About Printers

What ho, readers. Welcome back to the world of print thimbles, daisywheels, and dot matrices. Here at the lab we've given up trying to get the ribbon ink off our fingertips. Might as well just let it wear off with time. And about the only reason we pick up a pencil anymore, except for the Times crossword, is to set printer DIP switches. Like, printers are my life, man.

Last month we promised a continuation of new products information, cut short because we lacked space. We'll begin with that this time around, then William Puetz will review the Juki 6100 daisywheel printer.

First, here is the late-breaking printer news.

New Products: Ricoh

Ricoh, a Japanese company that first broke into the U.S. market with small, high-quality copy machines, announced a substantial line of printer products. They range from low-cost thermal and serial printers to plotters and a tabletop laser printer. Ricoh voiced an ongoing commitment to microcomputer peripherals at winter Comdex.


Weighing in at less than 12 lbs., the TP-X accepts 10 wide roll paper that uniquely cuts sheets to any length on a 100" roll. It provides near letter quality at 50 cps. The printer uses either a thermal transfer on plain paper or thermal dot print method on thermal sensitive paper for improved economy. The thermal transfer employs a thermal ribbon on plain paper for high quality and a longer-lasting document.

Ricoh has also introduced three daisywheel printers, ranging in speed from 20 to 50 cps.


Each machine in this line features Ricoh's exclusive double-daisy print wheel for typeset print quality. Bidirectional printing, rapid tab/ carriage return speeds, and linefeed speeds are built-in timesavers. All of the printers accept optional forms tractor feeder, letter guide, and cut sheet feeder.


The unit accepts a variety of paper types, including 10 wide, perforated-roll paper, 8 1/2 X 11 cut paper, and 8 1/2 X 11 transparencies. Print resolution is typically 0.3 mm or less.


Laser technology, which replaces much of the internal mechanical movement found in conventional printers, and short paper path through the machine help maximize reliability.

The printer employs the Ricoh LP Controller 120, which has two internal 128-character fonts: Bold Face PS and Letter Gothic 15. The controller also permits easy changing of two additional 128-character fonts.

A variety of interfaces is available for connecting the LP 4120 to a wide range of office equipment including word and data processors, electronic mail devices, local area network systems, and personal computers.

Pricing on Ricoh printers was not available at press time.


Olympia has introduced four new printers, ranging in price from $500 to $1900 and covering nearly the entire range of micro printers.


The Olympia NP accepts fanfold or friction feed single sheets and has a noise output of under 65 dB. It has a print buffer of 2K and a self-test mode. It lists for $499.


The Compact RO has a 256-character buffer and a noise output of less than 65 dB.


The ESW 102 lists for $999 and sports serial and parallel interfaces standard. Tractor feed is available as an optional accessory.


A 4K buffer is standard, as are serial, parallel, and IEEE-488 interfaces. The ESW 3000 is designed for a heavy duty cycle and trouble-free high-speed performance. It has an optional forms tractor and cut-sheet feeder. List price for the unit is $1899.

Vivitar Cut-Sheet Feeder

Vivitar has introduced cut-sheet feeders for Transtar as well as other printers, at $399 retail. This is less expensive than any other single-sheet feeders we've seen.

Vivitar feeders attach in seconds; no tools or electrical connections required. They will feed up to 200 sheets of paper before requiring a refill. Ribbons and print-wheels can be changed without removal of the sheet feeder. Envelopes, checks, and special labels can also be fed.

There are four models, servicing the following printers: Transtar, Silver-Reed, Morrow, Sanyo, NEC, C. Itoh, Philips, Facidata, Toshiba, Televideo, Diablo, Hewlett Packard, AB Dick, Burroughs, and others.

About the time we received a Juki 6100 daisywheel printer for evaluation, we also received a thorough review from William Puetz, a micro consultant from Normal, IL. We largely agreed with Mr. Puetz's overview, and shall turn over the remainder of this month's column to his comments concerning the machine.

Photo: The Ricoh TP-X Thermal Printer.

Photo: The Ricoh GP-1 four-color ballpoint pen plotter.

Photo: The Ricoh LP4120 Tabletop Laser Printer.

Photo: The Olympia Electronic Compact NP.

Photo: The Olympia Electronic Compact RO.

Photo: The Olympia ESW 102.

Photo: The Olympia ESW 3000 letter quality printer.