Printers and Types of Printers:
Printers produce hard-copy output, such as management reports, cash receipts, memos, payroll cheques, and program listings. Hundreds of printers are produced by dozens of manufactured to meet the hardcopy output requirements of any individual or company, and almost any combination of features can be obtained. You can specify its size, speed, quality of output, color requirements, flexibility requirements, and even noise level. PC printers sell for as little as a good pair of shoes.
To make an informed choice when buying a printer, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- What's the budget?
- Is color needed or will back and white do?
- What will be the volume of output (pages pr hour, day, or week)?
- How important is quality of the output?
- What special features are needed (ability to envelopes, on legal size paper, on multi-part forms, and so on)?
- If the printer is to be shared on a network, what do the other users want?
Types/Kinds of Printers:
Think about these questions as you read about various printer option. Keep in mind that you pay more for color, additional features, and each increment in speed and quality of output. Printer technology is ever changing.
Three Basic Technology Dominate the PC Printer Field:
(a). Dot-matrix Printers
(c). Ink jet
All PC printers have the capability of printing graphs and charts, and offer considerable flexibility in the size and style of print. All printers also can print in portrait or landscape format. Portrait and landscape refer to to the orientation of the print on the page. Portrait format is like the page of this book, the lines run parallel to the shorter sides of the page. In contrast, landscape output runs parallel to the longer sides of the pages. landscape is frequently the orientation of the choice for spreadsheets output with many columns.
The dot-matrix printer forms images one character at a time as the printer head moves across the paper. The dot-matrix printer is an impact printer, that is, it uses tiny pins to hit the ribbon and the paper, much as a typewriter does. The dot-matrix printer arranges printed dots to form characters and all kinds of images in much the same way as lights display time and temperature on roadside. Several vertical column pins are contained in a rectangular print head. Print head may have from 9 to 24 pins. The pins are activated independently to form a dotted character image as the print head moves horizontally across the paper. The quality of the printed output increases with the number of dots in the matrix (a rectangular arrangement of dots). The better dot-matrix printer form characters that appear solid, and they can be used for business letters as will as for draft output. Dot-matrix printers prints up to 200 cps (characters per seconds).
Most dot-matrix printers can accommodate both cut-sheet paper and fanfold paper. If you output is mostly single sheet (for example, letters and envelopes) you may need to purchase an automatic sheet feeder. The tractor-feed that handless fanfold paper is standard with most dot-matrix printers.
Dot-matrix lines printers are impact printers that print one, line of dots at a time. Pins are lined up across the width of the paper.
Can print multi-port forms
Can print on narrow and wide fanfold paper
High resolution output (up to 1200dpl)
Fast (4 to 32 page/minute text only)
Many choices (forms home to office models)
Low cost per page
High resolution output (but less than that of laser)
Many choices (from black &white to color)
Low resolution output
Slow (40 to 200cps)
Poor quality graphics output
Requires add-on to handle cut sheets and envelopes
limited font flexibility
Limited to cu sheet media
Slow for graphics output
Higher cost per page than laser
Slow than laser (1 to 3 pages/minute )
Special paper required for highest resolution output
Limited to cut sheet media
Color ribbons can be used for highlighting
Color page models produce high-resolutions color output
Color Ink-jet models may take over the low-end color market.
Dot-matrix technology is fading expect for situations that require printing on multipart forms.
High-speed, high quality page printers will remain the mainstay of office printing for the foreseeable future.
Ink-Jet offers low-cost, high quality output.
Home PC buyers with low volume output requirements may select color models in large numbers.
Like matrix printers with moving print heads, the characters are formed in rectangular dot configurations as the paper passes the line of print hammers. Line printers are used primarily in the mainframe processing environments as workhorses to generate large volumes of output.
As long as people have a need to print on multi-part forms, there will be a need for impact dot-matrix printers. Impact printers, as opposed to non-impact printers, strike the paper and can produce carbon copies along with the original. Another advantage of dot-matrix printers over the over types of printers is cost. However, this advantage is fading as the cost of high-speed, high-resolution page printers approaches that of dot-matrix printers. Those who do not print multi-part forms may select other types of printers in the future.
Non-impact Laser printers use laser, LED (Light Emitting Diode), LCS (Liquid Crystal Shutter), and other laser-like technology to achieve high-speed hard-copy output by printing a page at a time. Laser printers are also referenced simply as page printers. The majority of laser printers print shades of gray however, color laser printers are becoming increasingly popular as their price continues to drop.
Until the mid-1990s,virtually all printers configured with microcomputers where impact printers printing a character at a time. Now economical desktop page printers are becoming the standard for microcomputer system. These printers are capable of print speeds up to 32 pages per minute for text-only printing. Automatic sheet feeders, which hold from 100 to 400 blank pages, are standard equipment on desktop page printers. Most page printer print on a standard 8.5 by 11 inch paper; however, some models can print on paper to 17 by 22 inches.
All desktop page printers are capable of producing high-quality text and graphics output. The dpi qualifier refers to the number of dots that can be printed per linear inch, horizontally or vertically. That is, a 600 dpi printer is capable of printing 360,000 (600 times 600) dots per square inches. Commercial typesetting quality is a minimum of 1200 dpi and is usually in excess of 2000 dpi. Desktop page printers are also quiet (an important consideration in an office setting).
c. Ink-Jet printers:
To the naked eyes, there is little difference between the print quality of non-impact ink-jet printers and page printers. Although the output quality of ink-jet printers is more in line with page printers, their mechanical operation is more like that of the dot-matrix printer. The print head moves back and forth across the paper to write text and create the image. The resolution is much better for ink-jet than for dot-matrix printers. With a price tag about equal to a dot-matrix printer and a print quality close to that of a page printer, the ink-jet printer is emerging as the choice for budget-minded consumers. The high cost per page is not a deterrent for the low-volume output needs of the typical PC user.
Thermal printers are employ non-impact technique and are thus noiseless. This type of printers uses special heat sensitive paper. Such paper have a special heat sensitive coating. When the spot on the special paper is heated, it becomes dark. A character is printed with a matrix of dots in the same way as the dot-matrix does. To print a character the printing head is moved first to the correct character position, and than the heating elements for the desire character are turned on and these heated pins are touched to heat sensitive paper. After a short time they are turned off. Thereafter the print head is moved to the next character.
|Buying a printer for my home PC, what would you suggest, a laser, a dot-matrix, or an ink-jet?
The most important consideration in a home printer is flexibility. Speed and resolution are secondary considerations . Inexpensive color ink-jet printers have emerged as the printer of choice in the home. They offer near-laser-quality output with the added advantage of color.
e. Hydra Printer: All in one
Traditionally, business have purchased separate machines to handle these paper related tasks: computer based printing, fax, scanning, and copying. The considerable overlap in the technologies used in these machines has enabled manufacturers to create all-in-one multifunction printers called hydra printers. Hydra printers are relatively new, but they may well be the wave of the future. Watch for them.
The growing trend among printer consumers is to think (and possibly buy) color. You can purchase a color page printer or a color inkjet printer. Generally, the more you pay the better the output. Sophisticated and colorful hardcopies add a professional touch to any report.