DEC LA-180 and PDP8e/LC8-E

From: Rick Bensene <>
Date: Mon Dec 6 12:38:22 1999

Hello, all,

I recently got my hands on a classic DEC LA-180 RO (receive
only) printer. It's a free-standing beast, with its own pedastal
that the electronics are in.

The electronics that make it work are all TTL, with a few
MOS ROMs for character generator, and two 2101 RAMs for
buffer storage.

There's a second board, that connects to the main electronics
board via a ribbon cable. This board has an old AY5-1013 UART
chip, and a bunch more TTL on it, and appears to be a serial
interface. The serial board appears to 'talk' to the rest of
the electronics via a basic 8-bit parallel port with strobe
and some status signals.

The serial card has a cable coming off of it that goes to a DB-25
connector that is affixed to the bottom panel of the pedastal.

I want to try to connect this up to my PDP8/e system as print device. I have
an M8329 LC8-E Decwriter Control board for the PDP8/e. The PDP8/e/f/m
External Bus Options Maintenance Manual
says that the LC8-E module is intended to connect up a DEC LA-30
decwriter. The LA-30 seems to be a printing terminal, with
a keyboard and printer. The LA-180 I have is a print-only
device, with no keyboard.

The LC8-E card has a Berg connector that is identical to the Berg
connector on the printer electronics board of the LA-180. I'm
wondering if the 'parallel' interface of the LA-180 is compatible
with the LC8-E card, and all I need to do is disconnect the
serial card from the main electronics in the LA-180, and
connect the printer up by stringing a ribbon cable between the
LA-180 and the LC8-E card. I don't have printsets for the
LC8-E card, so I don't know the pinout of the connector for the
printer, nor do I have any information at all on the LA-180 in
terms of the 'parallel' port interface of the printer.

Obviously, I'm not going to just plug it in and see what happens :-)

Anyone out there know if this will work? If so, is a special
cable needed, or will a 'straight through' cable work?

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Rick Bensene
The Old Calculators Web Museum
Received on Mon Dec 06 1999 - 12:38:22 GMT

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