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Which printers work with an SE?

This is a common question in Mac mailing lists and UseNet newsgroups. Some of the answers it has attracted are reproduced here. Bear in mind that these assertions have not been tested - my ImageWriter II is doing just fine....

If you need Chooser-type software to run a printer on an old Mac, try The Mac Driver Museum, a repository for orphaned/classic drivers to maintain the usefulness of Classic Macs.


What printers will work on a Mac SE with System 7 and 4MB of ram? I am trying to find an old black and white printer for less than $150. Any ideas?
ANSWER 1: I have an HP DeskWriter 540 and a QMS 420 laser PostScript hooked up via LocalTalk to my Mac SE and a Performa 637. Both are working with the SE very well, although the PostScript printer is faster than the DeskWriter 540 with the SE.

ANSWER 2: Laser printers use their own processor, therefore don't need the SE's slow CPU and are faster than inkjets. SEs can use older DeskWriters and StyleWriters. You should be able to find an HP DeskWriter 540 for less than $150.

ANSWER 3: StyleWriter, StyleWriter II or some early Hewlett Packard printers work with SEs. They are getting hard to find.

ANSWER 4: You can use an Apple PostScript Laser Printer with an SE quite easily. This was the setup that supported the desktop printing revolution. A used LaserWriter IINT or Personal LaserWriter NT would serve you well, as would a LaserWriter IINTX or LaserWriter IIf or LaserWriter IIg. They wouldn't be too pricy. (See this site's links page for possible suppliers).

ANSWER 5: Like the Apple laser printers, other Mac compatible laser printers also work with the Mac SE. I have a Mac SE, Mac Plus, Mac IIsi and PowerCenter 150 Mac clone hooked up (via Appletalk) to an NEC Silentwriter 2 290 laser printer. I have used this same laser printer since I had it intially hooked to my first Mac Plus. Works with all Macs.

ANSWER 6: To use the StyleWriter II on 68000 Macs you need to download from Apple either the StyleWriter II software (a recent addition) or the "GrayShare Update" (in the networking folder if I remember). The 1500 software Apple recommends will not work. The StyleWriter II software in the Grayshare Update will also work with System 6.0.7 and 6.0.8.

ANSWER 7: The Apple Imagewriter, ImageWriter II and ImageWriter LQ, both serial and AppleTalk versions, all work with the SE. The Chooser extensions can be found on the System software disks.

ANSWER 8: The HP Deskwriter 600 Appletalk driver has been patched by Bob Jensen of The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, so it runs on 68000 Macs like the SE. Note that it only works with the Appletalk version of this printer. You can download it here, though obviously anyone using it does so at their own risk. The HP Background and Printmonitor utilities are included too. Someone who has used it tells me:

ANSWER 9: The Epson LQ 300 works well with the SE with System 7.0.1 or higher. The driver is downloadable from Epson's web site. Set the bit rate to 19200, because the printer is set at that by default and the SE can't change it.

ANSWER 10: I use an HP DeskWriter 520 to print from my Mac Plus. I'd guess that any of the DeskWriter (not DeskJet) 500 series printers and the original DeskWriter will work.

ANSWER 11: I have connected an old pre-Macintosh AppleScribe thermal printer and it works, but the output is nothing to write home about. To connect it to a Mac, you need the Imagewriter driver from the System software disk and an Imagewriter cable (the one with the old-style connector instead of the DIN-8). I found the best output is from Draft mode. The Letter-Quality button on the printer has no effect when used on a Mac. The output is very jagged, even more than an Imagewriter. I used it without a ribbon with fax paper to print drafts. It will work with any thermal paper without ribbon, and with the thermal ribbon it can use almost any paper.

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