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Commodore MPS-1200

I recently purchased a Commodore MPS-1200 dot matrix printer. I have wanted one since I was just getting starting on my Amiga 2000. However, they are rare and even more rare in decent condition.

Really, I wanted the MPS-1250, but the MPS-1200 and MPS-1250 are practically the same printer. The major difference between the two is which interface card was included. The MPS-1200’s default interface card only supports the Commodore Serial Bus, whereas the MPS-1250 supports the standard PC-type parallel port and CSB. This means the MPS-1250 could be connected to Commodore’s full line of computers (8-Bit, Amiga, and ill-fated PC lines).

I was lucky enough to find just the interface card of the MPS-1250 for sale, and after a quick swap out, I was able to connect the printer up to one of my Linux machines.

There are no drivers for the MPS-1250, but the interface card support emulating Epson and IBM like printers. As mine came, it was setup emulating IBM printer which is supported by the Foomatic/ibmpro driver. The following is the CUPS Setup instructions:

With the lpinfo -v command, I can see the Parallel port device:


# lpinfo -v
network https
network lpd
network ipps
network socket
network http
network ipp
serial serial:/dev/ttyS0?baud=115200
network beh
direct parallel:/dev/lp0 <----------Parallel Port

lpinfo -m can be used to find the name of the driver:


# lpinfo -m | grep IBM-Compatible_Dot_Matrix
foomatic:Generic-IBM-Compatible_Dot_Matrix_Printer-ibmpro.ppd Generic IBM-Compatible Dot Matrix Printer Foomatic/ibmpro

We can tie this all together and setup the printer using the lpadmin command:


lpadmin -p mps1200 -m foomatic:Generic-IBM-Compatible_Dot_Matrix_Printer-ibmpro.ppd -v parallel:/dev/lp0 -E

This setup works fairly well, and I can even print more complex PDF documents. However, the font quality doesn't seem to match that of regular text mode. I can send both graphics and text to this printer, and I suspect that the ibmpro driver is converting everything to graphics. The pure text mode will probably look better, but I'm not immediately sure how to do this with CUPS. This is a project for another day.