PC to printer wireless communication

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by nikhilclement, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. nikhilclement

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 17, 2013
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    I want to establish wireless communication between PC and a laser printer using ZigBee. But, first I need to know if it's possible to interface a microcontroller to the laser printer for serial to parallel conversion of data. Can anybody tell me if it's possible in real time?
     
  2. 3v0

    Member

    Mar 26, 2009
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    Zigbee is a mesh network with several profiles which define everything from light switches to power meters. You may want to look at a X-Bee point to point setup.

    I should be possible.
     
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  3. Mike2545

    Active Member

    Mar 26, 2009
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    Should be possible for x-bee with a serial printer. You would need to do the serial to parallel conversion if you have a parallel printer.
     
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  4. t06afre

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    May 11, 2009
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    What kind of input ports do you have on your printer?
     
  5. blueroomelectronics

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    Why not just buy a WiFi printer?
     
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  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Because you can do it a lot cheaper than buying a whole laser printer.

    You can buy some little dongle looking things that plug into the computers USB port and the printers USB port, and they do the communication.

    (Lazy people like things that cost less than $20 and avoid hours of work.)
     
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  7. nikhilclement

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 17, 2013
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    Thank you all for the response. I am doing a project on "PC to printer wireless communication". So I just wanted to use anything else apart from Wi-Fi to execute it, because Wi-Fi printers are currently in the trend. I'm using HP laserjet 1010 printer. So serial to parallel conversion has to be done by the microcontroller. This is the main purpose of interfacing MCU to the printer. I'll go with Xbee as you guys advised. Which microcontroller would you suggest? Avr, arm, pic or any other?
     
  8. t06afre

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    This sounds like academic project;). I did a check at HP. And it looks like the 1015 version comes with a parallel port (IEEE 1284) And this makes a lot more easy for you. Then it comes to selecting a microcontroller. It does not matter much. Select the brand that your school support and use in education. Read the parallel port specification and then select a controller with enough IO pins. It is no reason to skimp on IO in this case. So if you select a 40 pin critter. You will not worry about running out of IO
     
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  9. 3v0

    Member

    Mar 26, 2009
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    This sounds like a nice project.

    I agree with t06afre in that you should use the processor used by your school or what you have already learned. Start by getting the pin/signal definitions for the printer port which is centronics according to service manual. I would have been surprised if it was something else.

    It may be easier to do a centronics to serial at the printer and serial to centronics at the computer. Rather then getting a serial driver to work with your hardware at the computer.

    EDIT: Low cost laser printers do the page formatting on the PC and send the formatted paged ready to print to the printer. So you are limited to using drivers specific to this print engine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
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  10. nikhilclement

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 17, 2013
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    Yes, it's my academic project. I'm a beginner and it's really getting tough for me to understand lot of things. Theoretically, this project looks easy. But practically, I'm facing lot of problems. I learnt that to interface a microcontroller to a laser printer, the microcontroller must be written with the printer's driver in it's memory, so that it can understand the commands given by the printer. Is this true? If yes then how should I write the drivers in MCU's memory? Should I interface a separate memory to MCU, since it has limited memory?
     
  11. t06afre

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    What kind of Zigbee unit do you use on the PC side. Is some sort of USB dongle? Those often mount as a virtual serial port. It could be that you can link the printer driver to the latter port directly. Then your task will more or less be to receive the data stream from the Zigbee unit. And emulate a parallel port with your MCU.
     
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  12. nikhilclement

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    Sep 17, 2013
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    I'm planning to use xbee pro module. I haven't purchased anything yet. I'm gathering info so that I buy the correct product. Is this suitable?
     
  13. t06afre

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    Can you post any link?
     
  14. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    Not necessarily, the Driver on the PC does the conversion to printer commands. What it seems you want to do is replace a cable with wireless, the cable just transmits data, it doesn't change the data.
     
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  15. t06afre

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    You should also ask your teacher to very specific on which PC port this shall work on. Shall it be a USB solution or PC parallel port setup.
     
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  16. nikhilclement

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    Sep 17, 2013
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    http://www.digi.com/pdf/ds_xbeezbmodules.pdf
    Ok, I'll ask my guide.
    PS: It's the xbee module that I'm thinking of using. Will there be any problem of data rate? Laser printer has an input data rate of 3Mbps, while ZigBee/Xbee has 250kbps data rate. Will this affect in getting a printout of multiple pages?
     
  17. nikhilclement

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    Sep 17, 2013
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    I agree:). But, what if there are no pages in the printer and it wants to indicate this to the PC? Would the microcontroller still not require the printer's drivers to process this command from printer and transmit it to PC?
     
  18. sirch2

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    Jan 21, 2013
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    Same thing really, whatever the printer sends back as an "out of paper" or "out of toner" your module just sends it back to the PC, then the driver on the PC interprets it. Like I said, think of your project as a cable replacement, it just passes whatever comes out of the PC to the Printer and whatever comes out of the Printer to the PC.
     
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  19. nikhilclement

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 17, 2013
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    What about the mismatch in data rate? Will there be any problem of data rate? Laser printer has an input data rate of 3Mbps, while ZigBee/Xbee has 250kbps data rate. Will this affect in getting a printout of multiple pages?
     
  20. t06afre

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    No i do not think so, as the centronics interface have defined pins for controlling the dataflow. Like pin 11 the busy signal (on PC side). This signal will tell the PC that the printer can not take more data.
     
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