Model And Laser Printers

by Martin J. Rapoport, CPA

The equipment

This article is a pay-back for all the tips and help I have received from others in the past. My computer of choice is a Model 4/4P with 40-meg hard drive, hard drive boot, 3.5" 720 K and 5.25" 360K floppies. I have two Model 4Ps, one Model 4, one MS-DOS laptop and two MS-DOS 286s, one laser, three nine-pin, and one twenty-four pin printer. This article was written using Superscripsit on a Model 4P and a laser printer. All the articles telling us that it can't be done are wrong, although certain laser printers may not have the features necessary to work. I use a Kyocera F-800A, and have set my Superscripsit printer codes to use sixteen different fonts on the fly. My method, with some changes, can probably work with most laser printers. At this time, I deal with a known quantity. I have been using laser printers for four months and I have set one up for a friend writing a book. He knows next to nothing about how computers and printers work, and he has had no problems in two months.

The problem

Based on other articles I have read, the two primary problems apparently have been no driver and the fact that certain lasers re-set themselves during the Superscripsit startup. I have had no problem whatsoever with the startup or initializing the laser. The driver was supplied by Radio Shack and patched. The key to the startup may be that the country code is not subject to re-set in the same manner as a font style. Experimentation will be necessary with various models. There may be other drivers that can also be changed. I used the Legal-2 because that is what I had used previously with complete success.

The solution

My first letter quality printer was a Star Micronics Power-type daisy wheel, bough seven years ago. As a CPA I need double-underline capability. The Legal-2 wheel gave it to me. We used the DW2 printer driver and patched the program to print the Legal-2 double-underline character instead of the Radio Shack default double-underline. As you will see, this turned out to be a critical part of the laser setup. No nine-pin dot matrix or daisy wheel combination, other than the Legal-2, allows a double-underline. Some twenty-four pin dot matrix printers like the Epson LQ series will provide for double-underline or double-underscore. My printer of choice before the laser was an Epson LQ-1050. However, the laser printers I have seen emulate nine-pin printers, not twenty-four pin printers, so a daisy wheel configuration was the best bet.

My Kyocera allows for the Legal-2 as a country code, rather than a font style. This then enables me to use any font style any time using the "ascii" Legal-2 characters. Setting up the Legal-2 country code through Basic and a JCL file puts the laser in working order. My JCL also opens up Superscripsit at the same time. My default setting Is 63 lines per page. The driver must be patched again to replace the Star Micronics Power-type codes with the laser codes. I have included the patches below so you don't have to figure them out. The fonts are then entered as printer codes using the "ascii" codes sequences as specified in the manual. Because the instruction set requires two lines of printer codes, I use "clear-!" as the second line for all font codes. As you can see below, it works quite well. The only caveat is that you cannot end a font. The current font stays resident until it is changed. This has not been a problem for me. Other users will have to adapt accordingly.

The patches

The following patch to the Radio Shack DW2 driver was made for the laser printer. This allows the double-underline using the Radio Shack "clear = " at beginning and end of double-underline:

The following patch was made to the DW2 driver for the Star Micronics Power-type Legal-2 daisy wheel: PATCH DW2/CTL (X'BC74 = 1E7C)

Included in my DW2 driver are non-conflicting patches allowing for use of the Epson LQ-1050 double-underscore. The only difference is that " = " cannot be used. I use "(" and ")" for my printer code to double-underline with the LQ. For anyone interested, they are: PATCH DW2/CTL (X'BB91 =064D) PATCH DW2/CTL (X'BB97 = 0650) PATCH DW2/CTL (X'BE21 =3E54) PATCH DW2/CTL (X'BE32 = 3E54)

Be sure to rename the new driver! I make a copy of the original and change the copy because I have found that the longer you keep the computer and change printers, the more changes are required to be made to the driver.


I have used Radio Shack computers since 1984 with almost no problems. I have one of my MS-DOS machines apart monthly. I run an accounting office with the Model 4's, using them for everything but tax return preparation. The use of the laser printer alone adds several more years to their use, and with the other enhancements, I do not anticipate converting from the Radio Shacks for quite some time.

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