Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

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stormy
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Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by stormy »

Hey guys,

I recently got hold of an Atari SLM804 in great condition with the laser interface unit. I don't ever see these discussed on forums so I'm wondering how useful they are. Of course it might be good for compatibility with legacy printing applications etc. I personally don't know whether to keep it or sell it, as I don't see myself printing much from my Ataris, and if I do I will try to use my modern laser with phprint.

Any thoughts on the SLM804?
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Atarieterno
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by Atarieterno »

It is a totally useless printer, so you must send it to me so that I can deliver it to a recycling center.
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by mikro »

It's nice for a developer who would, for instance, try to create an emulator (thinking CosmosEx here). But I see your dilema, it's a huge piece of hardware. :-)

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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by wongck »

Atarieterno wrote:It is a totally useless printer, so you must send it to me so that I can deliver it to a recycling center.
ha ha ha :lol:
and my guess that the recycling center in this case is right next to your STFM/TT. :lol:
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by alers »

It is a totally usefull printer for the 16-/32-BIT-Systems :-) But cleaning_before_using is a must, imho.

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christos
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by christos »

A more interesting question is if they are usable today. Can you get toners?

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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by Videl »

If you have a nice ST set-up it's still useful, Calamus or Pagestream are still great DTP products. SLM toners can still be purchased at B&C/Best Electronics and there are some compatible units you can use (can't remember the manufacturers of the SLM's at the top of my head right now though). I got a brand new boxed SLM605 and some spare toners - I'm going to keep it for a retro display or something in the future, but I always had grand plans to use it years ago. Life goes so fast!
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Atarieterno
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by Atarieterno »

wongck wrote:
Atarieterno wrote:It is a totally useless printer, so you must send it to me so that I can deliver it to a recycling center.
ha ha ha :lol:
and my guess that the recycling center in this case is right next to your STFM/TT. :lol:

How did you guess, mate? :mrgreen:
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by Miguel »

How you going to print up an ascii picture of your cat on a flyer if it goes missing?

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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by Greenious »

christos wrote:A more interesting question is if they are usable today. Can you get toners?
Actually, you can.

The hardware was OEM and used by quite a number of brands.

All the info you need to find what you need can be found here: http://wiki.newtosworld.de/index.php?title=SLM-804
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by simonsunnyboy »

A CosmosEX based emulation would be nice, emulate the SLM towards the ST and actually print to any CUPS printer on the network.
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by Atarieterno »

simonsunnyboy wrote:A CosmosEX based emulation would be nice, emulate the SLM towards the ST and actually print to any CUPS printer on the network.
+1
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by mjvans »

With the Heatseaker interface for the Falcon030 it was a very fast printer. Mine is at rest for 20 years. I can't just throw it away can I?
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by alexh »

simonsunnyboy wrote:emulate the SLM towards the ST and actually print to any CUPS printer on the network.
Shame it would be more difficult to emulate ST towards the SLM so you could use the SLM as a normal networked printer. But that would probably be a re-write of the FPGA/CPLD in the CosmosEx.

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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by stormy »

Thanks for all the info guys. I might give it a clean and test it out.
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by simonsunnyboy »

alexh wrote:
simonsunnyboy wrote:emulate the SLM towards the ST and actually print to any CUPS printer on the network.
Shame it would be more difficult to emulate ST towards the SLM so you could use the SLM as a normal networked printer. But that would probably be a re-write of the FPGA/CPLD in the CosmosEx.
I doubt it would be useful. Modern printers eat PCL or Postscript directly, why convert that to an inferior format just to be able to print?
This should make the ST print, the other way round does already work.

The SLM804 looks like a Windows style GDI printer to the late 90s to me, locked to a single OS and driver instea of implemennting a proper print language like PCL or PS.

So in the end, it is a curiosity to have these beasts from the past running with their intended platform, the ST. I don't see any use beyond.

This actually makes me think that an ESC P/2 emulator running on the CosmosEx printing to CUPS would make more sense. That would b way more compatible with existing ST software.
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by 1st1 »

christos wrote:A more interesting question is if they are usable today. Can you get toners?
That's a good point.

You might get toner. You might be able to take different toner and refill the toner box. There is for example from Xerox toner which comes in bottles for refilling. But it's a dirty task and a standard home vacuum cleaner will not do it's job well. It will suck the toner which you spread arround the printer, your desk and room, but it's filters are so 'big' that the toner particles mostly will fly trough it, and through the paper bag which normally catches all the dust in a vacuum cleaner, and then spread small toner particles all over in your room, in your mouth, mouth, lung, cancer, death.

The 2nd thing you need is developer. One reason you need is, because you vacuum cleaned your laser printer. So it has lost most of the developer, because you have let suck your cavuum cleaner on the wrong place. Devloper basically is very fine particles of iron powder. Normal toner has no developer inside. But these old lasers need it to transfer the toner to the drum kit. If you remove the toner cardridge you might see a magnetic roll over the full with of the paper in the oposite position of the drum kit. This must be full of that iron powder. Usually printers like the LSM 804 and 605 need a "starter toner kit" every 10-15 swaps of toner cardridge to enrich their amount of developer. That starter toner is a mixture of toner and iron powder. Modern lasers don't need that anymore. If you ask modern laser printer / copy machine technician about developer, he will asl with big big question marks in his eyes. Never heared about that...

The 3rd thing, and now it get's really hard, is to get a fresh drum kit. That is the large big green roll in the printer. This is a so called selene drum, a light sensible material, which is startic magnettic to the toner depending it has seen light or not. That light sensible surface looses it's function after so many years even if it doers not see (much) light over the years. Until now, and I am already searching for about 8 years since I got my first 804, I haven't found a single vendor who still refurbishs drum kits for the TEC LB 1301 printer, or produces new ones. It's a bit easier to get one for the SLM 605 which is based on the TEC LB 1305, and the list of printers using that mechanics is much much longer than the 1301. So in theory more chance to get something, but after 25++ years still allmost impossible, It also does not make much sense to buy "new old stock" 30 years old drum kits, because even if not used, still in orginal black bag, the selene losts it's function. I am experienced already with that disappointment.

I have three SLM 804, two SLM 605 plus an Olivetti PG 404 which is basically the same as the SLM 605, that means uses the same mechanics (TEC LB 1305), same toner kit, same drum kit, but has own powerfull 68020 CPU, some MB of RAM and a Centronics interface and is PCL/PostScript and Epson FX compatible. But I got for all some toner kits, but no working drum kit replacement, no printing with enough contrast to be able to read it.
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Re: Are Atari Laser printers useful today?

Post by dhedberg »

Wow. Lots of useful information in that post. Thank you. Seems like it is quite a challenge to keep these old printers happy indeed. Too bad.
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