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Diablo 630 printer conversie module.


A papermill recently made the following request:

"Our reporting sytem only support Xerox Diablo 630 compatible printers. Would it be possible to connect an ordinary ASCII printer to our system ?"
The printer is located in the process environment, and prone to wear. As Diablo 630 compatible printers are getting obsolete, a long term solution was sought after.

JWA Systems developed the "Page Rendering Module" a device that translates Diablo 630 codes into plain ASCII.


The module is seated between the computer and the printer. It fits in the palm of the hand and is powered by an ordinary 9V wall adaptor. The module features RS232 handshaking at both sender and printer end. A parallel (Centronics) version is available on request.

Schematic diagram of a typical installation.
RS-232 Signalflow


The module can interpret most of the special commands used with the 630. It sends out plain ASCII, without using absolute vertical / horizontal positioning of the head, which is used extensively with 630 applications. This reduces printer wear and speeds up the printing process. Data can be captured to a PC as well, rendering plain ascii text.

Technical brief

The heart of the module is an ATMEL 8515 RISC processor and 32Kb of SRAM. While data comes in, the 630 emulator prints data to SRAM as if it were a sheet of paper. After an FF (formfeed) character is received, the SRAM is dumped to the printer. Multi-strike printing is enabled by using 4 virual sheets of paper in SRAM.

This table lists all commands recongnized by the module:
BS08Back space
HT09Horizontal tab
LF0ALine feed
VT0BVertical tab
FF0CForm Feed
CR0DCarriage return
CR LF 10DCarriage control: double space
CR LF 20DCarriage control: formfeed
ESC HT(n)1B, 09, nAbsolute horizontal tab
ESC LF1B, 0ANegative linefeed
ESC VT(n)1B, 0B, nAbsolute vertical tab
ESC FF(n)1B, 0C, nSet number of lines per page
ESC M1B, 4DAuto Justify
ESC =1B, 3DCenter text
ESC 01B, 30Right margin set
With PCL5 printer:
ESC US HT1B, 1F, 1915 char / inch
ESC S1B, 5310 char / inch
ESC O1B, 4FEnable bold / double strike
ESC &1B, 26Disable bold and underline
ESC E1B, 45Enable underline
ESC R1B, 52Disable underline

Most applications are served by this emulation, but additions can be made quite easily. Please contact us for more information.

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This article was written by Arian van Dorsten jwasys@xs4all.nl
The most recent version can be found on: http://www.xs4all.nl/~jwasys