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Telegram-Enabled Thermal Printer w/ Arduino

Via Telegram, control thermal printers remotely to print out notes, shopping lists, URLs, payments, barcodes, and episode release dates.

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Even though we do not need handwriting or typing nowadays for taking notes or setting appointment reminders thanks to umpteen web and mobile applications, I am still fond of writing down my records on paper like in the old days :) Thus, I decided to create this project, which allows me to benefit from the advantages of an application while taking my notes and reminders on paper.

Instead of programming a web and mobile application from scratch to send commands to my thermal printer, I wanted to use Telegram, a cross-platform cloud-based messaging service compatible with iOS and Android. In Telegram, it is effortless to create bots with a command list unalike any other messaging applications, which are special accounts that do not require an additional phone number to set up. IoT Thermal Printer, Telegram bot I created for this project, let me print records in six different categories I need frequently:

  • Notes (Appointments)
  • Shopping Lists
  • URLs
  • Payments
  • Product Barcodes (Manufacturer Product Numbers)
  • Series (New Episode Release Dates)

To fetch commands transferred by IoT Thermal Printer, I developed an outgoing webhook for the Telegram bot, which interprets and replies commands or texts when updated by the Telegram Bot API.

Then, to receive commands from the webhook and print out records with graphics (bitmaps) for each category mentioned above, I used an Arduino Nano 33 IoT and a tiny (embedded) thermal printer.

Huge thanks to DFRobot for sponsoring this project.

Sponsored products by DFRobot:

⭐ Embedded Thermal Printer - USB - TTL Serial | Inspect

Step 1: Building a bot for Telegram with BotFather

BotFather is a Telegram bot that lets us create and manage bots on Telegram without any coding required.

⭐ First of all, open BotFather on Telegram and enter /start to view the available command list and manuals.

⭐ Use the /newbot command to create a new bot. Enter the name of your bot when BotFather asks you for a name. It is displayed in contact details and elsewhere.

thermal printer

⭐ Then, enter the username of your bot. Usernames are 5-32 characters long and are case insensitive, but may only include Latin characters, numbers, and underscores. They must end in 'bot', e.g. 'tetris_bot' or 'TetrisBot'.

thermal_printer_bot

⭐ After these steps, BotFather generates an authorization token for your new bot. The authorization token is a string along the lines of 123456:ABC-DEF1234ghIkl-zyx57W2v1u123ew11 that is required to authorize the bot and send requests to the Telegram Bot API. Keep your token secure and store it safely.

⭐ If you want, you can change your bot's name afterward by using the /setname command, as did I.

IoT Thermal Printer

⭐ Also, you can change your bot's profile picture by using the /setuserpic command.

⭐ Finally, enter the /setcommands command to create the list of commands supported by your bot. Users will see these commands as suggestions when they type / in the chat with your bot.

⭐ The command list I created for my Telegram bot (IoT Thermal Printer):

  • /print_home - print all available functions
  • /print_notes - send and print a note
  • /print_shopping_list - create and print a shopping list
  • /print_url - send and print URLs
  • /print_payments - define and print payments
  • /print_product_barcode - define and print product barcodes
  • /print_series - enter and print a new episode date
  • /cover - display the given cover picture
  • /arduino - display Nano 33 IoT schematics
  • /help - functions and instructions

Step 2: Developing a webhook to get updates from the Telegram Bot API in PHP

I developed this webhook, named Telegram_Thermal_Printer_Bot, in PHP to get updates from my bot (IoT Thermal Printer) via the Telegram Bot API. You can download it below - Telegram_Thermal_Printer_Bot.zip.

The webhook has two parts:

  • index.php - gets updates from the bot and send replies
  • results.php - prints the data from the bot saved in the database

I will talk about the results.php in the following steps.

First of all, I created a class named thermal_printer to define the database settings and functions to send texts and pictures as replies to the Telegram bot when the webhook receives...

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  • 1 × Arduino Nano 33 IoT
  • 1 × DFRobot Tiny (Embedded) Thermal Printer - TTL Serial
  • 1 × MB102 Power Supply Module
  • 1 × 12V External Battery
  • 1 × Mini Breadboard

View all 6 components

  • 1
    connections

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Discussions

marazm wrote 01/08/2021 at 14:06 point

is any anti flood security module?

  Are you sure? yes | no

kutluhan_aktar wrote 01/08/2021 at 19:38 point

There are some built-in methods provided by Telegram Bot API in that regard:

https://core.telegram.org/methods

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ido wrote 01/08/2021 at 07:41 point

This is very cool!
I'm trying to find the Zip file for the code but I can't...
Did I miss it?

  Are you sure? yes | no

kutluhan_aktar wrote 01/08/2021 at 10:35 point

Thanks for your comment :)

You can download the Zip file from the link I added to the project page (Code Files) or from here directly:

https://www.hackster.io/kutluhan-aktar/telegram-enabled-thermal-printer-w-arduino-nano-33-iot-74fa3f#cad

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ido wrote 01/08/2021 at 11:39 point

Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

kutluhan_aktar wrote 12/30/2020 at 22:02 point

Please feel free to leave a comment here if you have any questions or concerns regarding this project 😃

  Are you sure? yes | no

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