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I have a kindle 3 with a broken screen and an old EPSON stylus 1520. The kindle has a serial port with TX, RX, GND and 1.8v VCC (source). The printer has a mac compatible 8 pin Mini-DIN port.

Would it be possible to connect the kindle to the printer? I saw some pinouts for 8 pin mini DINs, and some of the pins were labeled something like "handshake", so I guess it's not as easy as connecting TX<->RX, RX<->TX.

I don't have a computer with a parallel port to connect to the printer. I haven't done this kind of thing before, so any advise and/or links is appreciated. I haven't found any material on how to connect them together, perhaps I'm missing the right keywords, or it can't be done.

Edit:

I have a computer with an round 4 pin port with an S next to it, that I think is for S-video, which uses the same physical port as ADB. Could I connect the printer's serial port to that one? I guess the S-video can't speak RS-232?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Even if you could, can you explain what connecting it to the printer would be for? \$\endgroup\$ – geometrikal May 17 '15 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to send ESC/P code to it. It's not really for printing, but for moving the axis, so it's simpler. \$\endgroup\$ – spelufo May 17 '15 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ The odds of being able to do what you want are nil. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young May 17 '15 at 14:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattYoung can you elaborate? \$\endgroup\$ – geometrikal May 17 '15 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MattYoung - that is inaccurate and misleading. The wiring and level translation is straightforward, and a few second's web search would show people run custom software on their kindles. It won't be a trivial project, it may well not be worthwhile but the only real hurdle is getting root access to the device, and that seems to be solved. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton May 17 '15 at 16:20
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Not without level shifting. The Kindle's serial port uses TTL serial at 1.8V, whereas the printer's serial port uses RS232 serial (i.e, ±12V). Attempting to connect them together directly is likely, at a minimum, to destroy the serial pins on the Kindle's SoC.

The Kindle's internal serial port is primarily intended for debugging. It's probably best to leave it alone here; if you want to connect the Kindle to an external serial device, a better approach will be to use its USB port in host mode with an external USB/serial adapter.

The 8-pin serial adapter on the printer side is standard RS232 serial using an unusual connector. If you search around, you should be able to find adapters from this connector to standard DB9. (You may have some trouble finding them, as the computers that used these have been obsolete since the late 90s, but there are undoubtedly some still sitting in a warehouse somewhere.)


In re. edit: A 4 pin Mini-DIN port is most likely either S-Video or ADB, as you have identified. Neither one would be usable as a serial port.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Once he gets a working physical interface, then he'll have to figure out sending what codes do what to the printer. There are a few "hack" videos out there, but they're mostly about hardware hacking Epson printers than learning it's control codes. \$\endgroup\$ – rdtsc May 17 '15 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rdtsc He's already got an official reference for that, linked in the comments: files.support.epson.com/pdf/general/escp2ref.pdf \$\endgroup\$ – duskwuff May 17 '15 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is this for level shifting on the kindle forums, but I'll follow your advice and leave the kindle's serial port alone. I've edited my question with another unlikely option :). \$\endgroup\$ – spelufo May 21 '15 at 15:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are adb to usb projects around the web. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby May 21 '15 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby For using ADB devices on a USB computer, yes. But not the other way around; it's infeasible (and quite likely impossible, given ADB's low speed) to adapt USB devices to ADB. \$\endgroup\$ – duskwuff May 21 '15 at 16:11

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