Back to the Mac stuff.
Imagewriter II condition varies with time in service
Imagewriter II's are good Mac printers, but over time they will wear out.
The "wear" is generally not mechanical - although print heads sometimes fail -
but some of the "chips" or transistors or drivers WILL fail over time.
The Imagewriter II printer produces a lot of internal heat. Components
that control the current (power) to the print head and to the motors produce
the most heat. Heat is the enemy of all semiconductors. Over time, excessive
heat will cause these components to fail. For the most part, it is hard
to estimate the time to failure, as it depends on how often the printer was
used, how long it ran during the day, and how hot (or cool) the room was where
the printer was used. We just don't have that information.
These printers support a "self-test" function that will print across the page,
over and over again, without a computer. We test Imagewriter II printers for
five minutes of this CONTINUOUS PRINTING operation, but we have found that
printers will self-distruct if left to run in this mode for terrribly much
longer. We then follow with five minutes of continuous carriage (head)
movement, another self-test; and then we check the printer for noise from
the power supply (a sign of possible problems) and print quality.
Although we make these efforts to eliminate printers that may have problems,
we cannot guarantee or warrent the printers we sell for any extended period
of time. Consequently, we have set the price of these printers with the
expectation they will perform adequately under occasional use.
If you want a printer that will be more likely to operate in a business
environment for regular use, powered up and printing for several hours a
day, we can try to accomodate you by picking printers that were built more
recently (i.e. have a higher serial number) and/or which appear to have
seen less use. We may charge extra for this service. Ask for details.
Imagewriter II printing setup and tests
It is important to set the printer's "switch settings" correctly for
proper operation of the printer. If you remove the top cover to expose
the print head area and (with the power off) gently move the print head
mechanism to the right (with the front of the printer closest to you),
you will see on the left a set of DIP switches. One of those switches
must be set to enable or disable the Appletalk feature. If you have
set up your Macintosh to operate the printer WITHOUT appletalk, and
Appletalk is enabled, or if your Mac expects Appletalk and the printer's
Appletalk option is DISABLED, you will not get correct printing: the
printer will print garbage and the head will move in large jumps, and
Appendix C of the Imagewriter II manual describes
these switch settings: only one switch is changed between Appletalk
and non-Appletalk mode. Or, you can use Chooser in your System Folder
to turn Appletalk on or off (provided there is no other Appletalk
device on your serial port) to see if that makes a difference. The
Appletalk option (or the 32K memory buffer option) is a small, long
circuit board that is installed underneath the front cover of the
printer, the cover that also contains the power and other buttons
on the front right of the printer.
The switch settings should be as follows:
_____SW 1____________SW 2____
O O O O O C O O | C C O ? X X
- O means "open", the switch top is toward the back of the printer.
- C means "closed", the switch top is toward the front of the printer.
- X means DO NOT TOUCH these settings.
- ? is for the options switch - Appletalk
- O means open, DISABLE Appletalk
- C means closed, ENABLE Appletalk
Imagewriter II self tests
Irrespective of the settings of the switches, you can test the printer
as follows. Install paper and the ribbon as normally, and plug the
printer AC line into the wall socket. Turn the printer OFF with
the power switch. PRESS AND HOLD the "form feed" button down, and
then press down the POWER switch. THEN and only then release the form
feed button, followed by releasing the POWER switch. This will put
the printer into a "test print" mode where it will print the alphabet
over and over again. IF you press and hold the "line feed" switch
instead as described above, it will put the printer into a "test
carriage" mode, and the print head will move back and forth across
the paper without printing or advancing the paper.
PLEASE NOTE the print test for continuous printing is a VERY AGRESSIVE
TEST and heats up all the components of the printer. These printers are
now several or more years old and well past their design lifetime.
The continuous printing test should not be run for more than a few minutes.
Excessive or prolonged operation can and will lead to damage of components
and the failure of the printer.
Copyright © 1998 Herb Johnson
Most recent revision May 24 1999