VIC 1525 poster printing

A project log for Silly software wishlist

Motivation to do some software projects by writing them down.

lion-mclionheadlion mclionhead 04/21/2024 at 02:020 Comments

The VIC 1525 has long been a fascination for lions.  It might be because it was 1 of the marvels which did the most with the least.  Just 1 motor & 1 solenoid fed the paper, moved the ribbon, & moved the head both ways through a clutch, spring, & gearbox.  Just 1 pin banged against a 7 position drum.  The hard rows on the drum were all plastic so those pixels started to get fat over the years.  It was also the smallest dot matrix printer.  In those days, the printer was still very much the primary output device as it was in maneframe days.  The final product of most software was a printout rather than a screen.

It was shocking to realize the VIC 1525 wasn't designed for the commodore 64 but dated back to the VIC 20.  Jack sure liked the word VIC.

The only thing it might be useful for now is creating posters by printing long strips of paper.  Quite difficult 40 years ago because it was real hard to get data into the computer.  Today, it could run off any serial port with the right glue logic & print photos.  The mane task would be converting an arbitrary bitmap source to the right serial codes.

It had a text mode & graphics mode.  The text font had only 7 rows & terrible lowercase.  It was not possible to print screenshots of any quality because there wasn't a modern frame buffer, just a realtime fusion of raster interrupts, bit maps, sprites, character maps, color maps.  Software did print out just the raw bitmap memory or just 1 sprite, but couldn't scale it to fill an entire page.  Bitmap printouts were just thumbnails.  The lion kingdom has actually only regained most of is commodore knowledge in the last 5 years.  Some bits of the memory map are still forgotten.

The tractor feed might allow multiple passes with different color ribbons.  4 printers with different ribbon colors could be daisychained to the same paper feed.  Tractor paper would be a lot easier to assemble into posters than separate sheets.  The ribbons might have been easier to recharge than toner & inkjet cartridges.  Low resolution isn't a problem for posters.

Lions wouldn't know where to store tractor paper now or where to put posters.  Maybe they could be replaced routinely.


Some leading posters are a large starship launch,  supermodels.  Some other directions involve getting the printer to print from the most ridiculous device, an FX-7700, a watch, making a cheap calculator print every line.