DEC LA-180 and PDP8e/LC8-E

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Mon Dec 6 16:14:54 1999

--- Rick Bensene <> wrote:
> Hello, all,
> I recently got my hands on a classic DEC LA-180 RO (receive
> only) printer.

> 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.

Ah. This paragraph wasn't copied in the other message I just replied to...

I've never seen this option, but, with something like this in place, that
explains the questions about serial.

> I want to try to connect this up to my PDP8/e system as print device.

> The LC8-E card has a Berg connector that is identical to the Berg
> connector on the printer electronics board of the LA-180.

Check which pins are in use. DEC used the 40-pin Berg connector in just about

> I'm wondering if the 'parallel' interface of the LA-180 is compatible
> with the LC8-E card...

It's a pretty simple interface. According to the 1978 Microcomputer Handbook,
the parallel out on the DKC8AA can be used to drive an LA180 with two caveats:
the data is inverted, and the IOP instructions are different. Electrically,
though, they are compatible. It's little more than 8-bits, a couple of
handshake lines and a couple of status lines.

> ...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.

I don't have any prints on my ONMIBUS LA180 parallel card, but I do have
prints for the LA180 (and the DKC8AA)

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

If all is TTL, nothing *bad* should happen, but your caution is reasonable.
> Anyone out there know if this will work? If so, is a special
> cable needed, or will a 'straight through' cable work?

*If* the LC8-E is the LA180 parallel interface, a straight cable is what
you want. I'd check the handle number of my own card, but I can't do that
until tomorrow night.


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Received on Mon Dec 06 1999 - 16:14:54 GMT

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