Talk:IBM Wheelwriter

Printer Option via Arduino

I am interested in helping out with this project. I bought a bare-bones[1] Wheelwriter 6 a few weeks ago and have reverse-engineered it to the point where I can print documents from my computer connected through an Arduino. It requires a very simple external circuit (one MOSFET transistor, one resistor, and some wires. I have a GitHub page (https://github.com/tofergregg/IBM-Wheelwriter-Hack) where I will be keeping all the code, circuits, etc. I'll be putting together a PCB design for the circuit, and I'll test the code on a few different types of Arduinos. Once the project is complete, it should be possible to get a working circuit for the cost of an Arduino and less than $10 worth of circuit parts (including a custom-built PCB that will need a tiny bit of soldering).

One thing I don't know at this point is how compatible my solution will be with non-Wheelwriter 6 typewriters. I would assume that it will work fine with any typewriter that uses a compatible Print Option card (I understand that there are two varieties of the card?), but I only have access to the one typewriter.

One additional fun part of the project is to get it to print raster graphics (very slowly), with the period character as the dot. This is possible because of the micro-up/micro-down and micro-backspace feature on the typewriter. I haven't yet figured out a micro-forward (there isn't a button, so I need to do some more probing).

  1. Actually, it came with the spell checker option, but I'm not using that. It does not have the printer option.