Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 4 / APRIL 1985 / PAGE 46

C.Itoh 7500EP; a happy marriage of form and function. Owen W. Linzmayer.

In the world of printers, the marriage of form and function is not always a happy one. Often one trait is compromised for another; leaving you with either a beautifully inoperative machine or an unsightly beast of burden. Such is not the case with the 7500EP dot matrix printer from C. Itoh. Recently reduced in price to a competitive $289, the 7500EP is one dot matrix printer that combines sleek good looks with uncompromised features.

Casting a critical eye upon the C. Itoh 7500EP, we see that it measures 14.9" wide, 4.4" high, and a foot deep. The 13.1 pound unit has a body that gently slopes down to a front control panel upon which several lights and switches are located. There are three lights that signal the status of the power, paper, and printer (on-line or deselected). Also found on his front panel are the linefeed (LF) and top of form (TOF) switches. Above this panel is the hinged cover of the printer that opens to reveal the printhead and paper loading mechanisms.

The 7500EP uses a precision 9-wire print head and a large multi-strike ribbon cartridge to produce text characters on a 9 x 11 matrix. Graphics are also available at up to 240 dots per inch. The position of the printhead itself can be adjusted in relation to the platen so that the 7500EP can accpet forms up to three parts thick. Both friction and sprocket feed mechanisms come standard on the 7500EP, though my experience is that loading a single sheet of paper is a troublesome task. However, unlike many other low-cost printers, the 7500EP does not suffer the common problems of tearing fan fold paper and "eating" its own output.

The back of the 7500EP sports the power cable, two banks of DIP switches, and the parallel interface connector. (Note: the 7500AR is the RS-232C serial equivalent of the 7500EP, and at $329, costs a bit more. I know not why). Options available via DIP switch settings include carriage return followed by linefeed, from length (11" or 12"), line spacing, perforation skip, uni- or bidirectional printing, and line buffer size. As shipped from the factory, the 7500EP comes equipped with a 2K print buffer, and can be expanded.

The folks at C. Itoh claim that the 7500EP is fully compatible with the Epson RX-80 dot matrix printer, with the exception that the 7500EP is slightly faster (105 cps in normal mode) and somewhat cheaper. The 7500EP sports six different character pitches: normal, double width, compressed, double width-compressed, sub- and superscript. It also has double strike and emphasized modes (see sample printout).

In addition to enjoying the variety of text modes. I've had little difficulty obtaining beautiful screen dumps using grapics programs configured to think the printer is an RX-80. For the most part I have found the Epson compatibility claim to be substantiated.

The printer self-test is accomplished by turning the power on while holding down the top of from (TOF) button. The 7500EP reacts by printing its entire character set over and over, until the printer is shut off. When the power is turned on while the linefeed (LF) switch is depressed, all data received from the host computer is printed out in hexadecimal form. This function facilitates troubleshooting of hardware and software problems. Two other self-explanatory amenities are the emergency print halt and the paper empty over-ride.

Though the 40-page user's manual that comes with the 750EP could use a little revision to make it more comprehensible to the neophyte, it does an adquate job. The many illustrations and charts help you get the most out of this inexpensive dot matrix printer. The printer itself is a well-designed unit with a nice array of features and very attractive lines. Not only is the 7500EP easy on the eyes, its low price makes it easy on the budget.

Products: C. Itoh 7500EP (computer printer)