Canon Cat HP printer driver
dkelvey at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 1 10:55:42 CDT 2007
I've been able to create a driver to output to a HP printer running PCL.
One needs to be able to enter the Forth mode. There were a few application
softwares for the Cat that have locked out the Forth access. I've not gotten
to these yet to look at how to re-enable the Forth mode. Still, most only
have the normal Cat without anything extra. This code should be fine there.
There is quite a bit that one can do with the Cat and just the ROM that came
Normally the Cat only had drivers for Canon printers and the FX80 type
( that were copied by several dot printers of the time ). Since the printer
formatted printing, it required a driver specific to the printer.
Since I didn't have a Canon printer and was happy with my HP, I was
interrested in adding code that would drive my HP.
The Cat has an interesting feature in that it copies the entire RAM to disk.
This means that any code entered can be made to come back on each
boot without any additional operations.
The Cat is programmed in Forth. I figured that I could make the needed
modification my self. That was several years ago when I first got the Cat.
What I didn't realize was that I had no idea how to decompile the current
code or what the various escape sequences meant to the Canon printers.
The first big break was finding a couple of manuals at the Stanford Special
collections library, left by Jef Rasken before he died. These gave me the
needed information on both the Forth and quite a bit on the printer drivers.
Understanding a few other bits and pieces came from one of the developers
of the Cat ( Charlie Springer ). I never did find anything other than a
document on the LIPS codes used for the Canon Laser Beam printers.
I did fine some for the FX80 and the Canon Bubble Jet.
With this information I've been able to determine quite a bit about writing
the driver for the HP. I realize that most people would never use any of
the printer escape sequences but Canon should make them a little more
Back on subject. I've created a driver that one can type in. I've not setup
propotional spacing yet but it does handle most of the needed operations.
I've not looked at any of the foreign character printing yet but as long
as one stays with regular the character set, it should be fine.
One can use it for its intended purpose ( editor, mail list, speadsheet or
or one can put their Forth code in and print is all out on a HP with my
I hope to get it posted on Bruce's DigiBarn Canon Cat page but until then,
if anyone is interested, send an email to me.
dkelvey at hot mail dot com
I just saw another Cat on ebay. That make three I've seen in the last year
Exercise your brain! Try Flexicon.
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