This is a thermal printer like you would find on a cash register or adding machine. It will print simple strings passed to it via TTL serial, bitmap images (poorly) and it can generate several different formats of barcodes. This model can even print QR Codes!
The thermal printer takes 2.25" (57mm) wide thermal paper with a max roll diameter of 1.5" (39mm). Thermal paper is inexpensive and commonly found in most office supply stores in 85ft lengths. You may have to remove some paper from these rolls in order for it to fit into the printer. But, you can always use the excess paper in the printer, since you don't need to have a 'core' in the paper for it to work.
The back panel has 2 3-pin connectors; one for power and one for serial communications. The thermal printer ships with default 19200bps baud rate. If you're using this printer in conjunction with an Arduino, you're going to need to connect it to the "Vin" pin and attach an external power supply, as the printer will draw more current than USB is capable of delivering. We've found that these printers can draw about 1.5A because they need to generate heat, the best supply for the job is our laptop-style power supply (see related products below)
The print head has a rated life of 50km! That means this printer can handle a marathon's distance (~30 miles) of printing before the head hits its rated limit.
Use this printer in any project where you need a hard-copy of the output, or in an art project where you want to keep the output to stick on your fridge, or to build a DIY cash register for your lemonade stand!
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Finally got it to work by buying an Arduino and installing the library for it. But could never get it to work straight from a terminal emulation. works fine with the Arduino however. Thanks!
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DEAD LINK @sparkfun the tonixstuff link in the documents should be replaced with http://tronixstuff.blogspot.com/2011/07/tutorial-arduino-and-thermal-printer.html
I am unable to find any information on printing QR codes. From the documentation provided I have been able to print 2D bar codes and text - I haven't yet tried a bitmap. Is there a native command set for QR code generation or is the expectation that I create my own QR as a bitmap and use the image commands?