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Commodore MPS 801
Type: Dot-Matrix Printer
Producer: Commodore
Price: ?
Released: 1984
Discontinued: 199?
Info: Follower: MPS-802

The Commodore MPS-801 is a matrix printer (stylus printer) from Commodore released in 1984. MPS stands for Matrix Printer System, an acronym forming the first part of the name of a series of printers from Commodore.

Description[edit | edit source]

The Commodore MPS-801 was one of the first printers offered by Commodore for its home computers. The printer used fanfold paper via a paper tractor. The print resolution was a 6x7 Matrix at 10 chars/inch. The printing speed was about 50 chars per second.

Because of its 7-pin print head, character descenders couldn't be created with the MPS 801. This was later made possible through some software tricks. The printer only supports unidirectional printing (i.e. it is only printing when the print head moves from left to right). On the way back to the left, the print head was inactive, which made the printer very slow compared to later models. The interface to the computer was a serial IEEE-488 serial bus.

The printer was not developed or produced by Commodore. It was produced by the Japanese company Seikosha, a subsidiary of the clock manufacturer Seiko (the same model there was named Seikosha GP 500 VC). At the time, Seikosha was one of the largest printer manufacturers in the world and also manufactured printers for Atari, such as the Atari 1029.

Apart from the complete ASCII-charset, the 801 could also print all Commodore graphic characters and reverse characters were possible. In addition to text and special glyphs the printer was capable of printing graphics.

For manual paper-handling there was a mechanical handwheel on the right side of the printer. Additionally a membrane key was provided for incremental linefeed.

Unihammer system[edit | edit source]

The Unihammer system from Seikosha was used for printing. There are no more needles in the print head, but behind the paper a track with lamellas (formed into a grid) is located behind the paper which create a dot when pressed on the paper. However, the use of this method made the printer quite noisy.

Technical Data[edit | edit source]

MPS-801 ink ribbon from Commodore
  • Print method: Matrix print (unihammer-system)
  • Dot matrix: 6x7 Dots
  • Character height: 2.82 mm
  • Row length: Max. 80 Columns
  • Row distance: 6 Z/inch in char mode, 9 Z/inch in graphics mode (1 inch = 2.54 cm)
  • Print speed: 50 chars/sec.
  • Print method: Unidirectional print
  • Paper transport: Tractor
  • Ink-ribbon type: 2-parts cassette with exchangeable ink reservoir
  • Paper width: 4.5 to 8 inch
  • Copies/carbon copies: Original + 2 carbon copies
  • Graphics: Dot matrix, 7 vertical dots/column
  • Weight: Approx. 4.8 kg
  • Price: Approx. 795 DM (year 1984)

Links[edit | edit source]