NEC P5300 Printer

* The P5300 is the successor to the P5.
  The main difference between the P5 and the P5300 is that the P5300
  setup is done via software switches (instead of hardware switches).
  Setup is detailed in section 4 of the P5200/P5300 User's Guide.

* The P5300 emulates an EPSON LQ-800/1000

* The P5300 can be converted to colour with a colour option kit. This is
  simply a new ribbon carrier assy - the old one is removed and the colour
  one fitted.
  To print in colour, the P5300 has to be sent specific escape sequences
  (refer User's Guide page 8-48).
  Note that not much software supports colour printing on the P5300. With
  a P5300, Wordperfect 5.1 will print text in various colours but will not
  print colour graphics. Harvard Graphics will print graphics in colour on a
  P5300. Windows 3.0 won't print graphics in colour on a P5300, but
  Windows 3.1 will.

* The P5300 can be converted to serial by the addition of an optional circuit
  card which plugs into a slot at the rear of the printer.
  When the board has been fitted, the printer has to put into setup mode
  and option 4 of the 'interface settings' menu has to be changed.

* When the P5300 detects an error or fault condition, an error code is
  displayed on the PITCH indicator. These error codes are listed on page 6-2
  of the user's guide. Common error codes are:

  CO - Front cover open.
  PO - Out of paper or cut sheet feeder not sitting correctly.
  CE - Ribbon cartridge empty, replace ribbon cartridge.
  PH - Print head overheated, wait for printer to cool down.

  A breakdown of the interface,electronic and mechanism type errors is
  listed on page 2-1 of the P5200/P5300 Maintenance Guide.

* As well as the standard endless loop black fabric ribbon and the colour
  ribbon, there is available a high quality 'multistrike' plastic ribbon.
  NEC call it 'multistrike' which is misleading because the ribbon is in fact
  single-strike. The ribbon is not a loop and when it has been printed on
  once activates an 'end of ribbon' sensor in the ribbon carrier assy. This
  results in an error code of CE being displayed on the PITCH indicator.


* As with the P5/P5XL, a common problem with P5300's is that the plastic
  in the ribbon guard (NEC call it a 'card holder assy') tears. This results in
  paper being torn and/or ink smudge on the paper.

* NEC have admitted that in early P5300 printers, there is a design error in
  the software that controls the centering of the print head.
  The fault is such that problems only appear when a cut sheet feeder is
  fitted to the printer. Specifically, under certain printing conditions, one
  corner of the paper does not enter the cut sheet feeder's entry guide
  properly resulting in the paper jamming.

  NEC corrected the problem with release 13 of the firmware PROMs.
  To determine which version of the firmware is fitted, power on the printer
  whilst depressing the FEED button. The version will be printed as:

  FW REV. xx     (where 'xx' is the version)

  If you find a P5300 with firmware of a revision level less than 13, upgrade
  the firmware irrespective of whether or not the printer has a cut sheet
  feeder attached.

  Version 14 of the firmware was never released. Version 15 was the last
  version for the P5300. Version 15 firmware increases the line feed motor
  torque and corrects a problem where the 'Thai' font wasn't working
  Upgrading the firmware is simply done by replacing the two 27512 ROMs
  on the motherboard, 8D and 9D, with ROMs containing version 15
  software. If the old ROMs are EPROMs then simply erase them and
  reprogram them with version 15 software.

  ( Refer to the following section on the cut sheet feeder for information
  on other sources of paper jamming. )

* Many P5300 printers are known to double line space if powered up under
  one of the following conditions:

  - Powered up with no cable connected;
  - Powered up when connected to a manual printer switch box which is
    switched to an unused position;
  - Powered up when connected to an automatic printer switch box.

* Be careful when receiving new motherboards. The only difference
  between a P5200 (shorter version of P5300) and a P5300 motherboard is
  that an internal memory setting is different.
  Both boards have the same part number because, from the factory, they
  are all set for P5200 configuration. It is up to NEC or their distributors to
  reconfigure the board for a P5300 configuration.

* See the following 'Cut Sheet Feeder' section for problems associated with
  the cut sheet feeder.

* The carriage assembly slides on two rails. The main rail (the round one)
  requires lubrication periodically (refer to the Maintenance Manual).
  The P5300 has a reservoir for this oil. If the ribbon and the printhead are
  removed, a felt pad will be seen - this is where the oil is applied.


* When used with a cut sheet feeder, the cut sheet feeder is to be centered
  on the printer (as specified in the P5300 user's guide). Failure to center
  the sheet feeder will result in paper feeding problems.
  There are two methods of centering the feeder - each with its pros and cons:

  The first method is the normal method. This is done in the setup (see
  User's Guide page 4-1) by setting the cut sheet feeder option ('Horizontal
  Settings',option 5).
  The disadvantage of this method is that the right hand hopper guide can't
  be adjusted far enough to the right so that A4 paper can be fed in
  landscape orientation. To use A4 paper in landscape, both hopper guides
  need to be moved, and this of course affects the left margin on the paper.

  The second method is done in the setup (see User's Guide page 4-1) by
  setting the left hand margin to 30 ('Horizontal Settings',option 1).
  The disadvantage of this method is that when applications (such as
  Windows) print graphics, the graphics will be printed on the left side of the
  printer. This means that for each time that you wish to print graphics, the
  hopper will need to be moved from the center to the left. With the hopper
  on the left some sheet feeding problems will occur.
  It is recommended that this second method not be used if the printer will
  be used to print graphics.

  With a P5300, using the cut sheet feeder in a position other than centered
  can result in the corners of pages folding as well as occasional paper jams.

* As with all cut sheet feeders, the tray should not be overstocked with
  paper. One half of full capacity is a good amount of paper to use.
  Overstocking can lead to paper feeding problems.

* As with all cut sheet feeders, the left and right hand hopper guides should
  be positioned such that they are just against the edges of the paper.
  If too tight or too loose, paper feeding problems will result.

* When a P5300 is used with a cut sheet feeder, the bail rollers should be
  positioned at their default positions. The default positions can be found by
  moving the rollers along the bail until they 'hit' notches. If the default
  positions are not used, paper jamming will result.

* When a cut sheet feeder is fitted to a P5300 the two grey levers on the far
  right side of the machine are to be in the forward position before fitting
  the cut sheet feeder.

* The bail lever (the grey lever adjacent to the platen knob) controls whether
  or not the bail rests against the platen. In the forward position, the
  bail is away from the platen.
  The overall design of bail movement appears to be poor. The bail lever
  only controls the bail at the right hand side and relies on the stiffness of
  the bail to move the left hand side.
  There have been instances where the left hand side of the bail has not
  come out far enough from the platen resulting in paper jams. If this is the
  problem then the spring on the left hand side needs to be 'loosened'.

* A common fault on the P5300 cut sheet feeders is that the paper release
  lever (black lever on LHS) no longer locks back in the rear position. This is
  caused when part of the lever breaks off (inside the feeder).

* Refer to page D-4 of the P5300 User's Guide.
  When used with a cut sheet feeder, users should be aware that the printer
  is not designed to print on the outside borders of the paper (as shown on
  page D4). Whilst it is possible to print there, proper operation can't be

* A common problem with P5300 cut sheet feeders is that several sheets of
  paper are grabbed at once. This can be caused by:

  - Users not 'splaying' (fanning) the paper before it is put into the paper tray.
  - Use of thin paper (instead, use 70 or 80 GSM paper).
  - Overstocking of the paper tray.
  - Static holding pages together.

  This problem occurs in other types of printers which use the same paper
  pick up mechanism.

* A problem that has occurred with some P5300 cut sheet feeders is that
  they do not always feed a sheet of paper when they are supposed to. Here
  are some known causes in order of frequency:

  - Dirty paper pickup rollers. Clean the rollers with platen cleaner - allow
    1 hour for the cleaner to completely evaporate.
  - Deteriorated paper pickup rollers - replace rollers. A temporary fix is
    achieved by swapping the left roller with the right roller.
  - Springs in paper tray have lost their tension. This is extremely rare. If
    attempting to restore tension, do not overdo it as this will result in the
    feeder picking up 2 or more sheets at a time.


1. Fit the serial board by:

    a) Remove the rear serial board panel.
    b) Insert the serial I/F board.
    c) Replace the rear panel.
    d) Remove the plastic cover (part of the plastic chassis) that now covers the DB25 connector.

2. Enter the P5300 setup. Now that a serial board has been fitted, the
   INTERFACE SETTINGS menu will now have additional options (used to have 3 options - now has 11).
   Change option 4 (MODE) from 'parallel' to 'serial'.


Because both the computer (IBM) and the P5300 are DTE devices a standard
25pin to 25pin cable cannot be used to connect them - some sort of null
MODEM cable is required.

You could construct a null MODEM cable with just TXD,RXD and a return and
select the P5300 printer for XON/XOFF handshaking. This will work fine for
Wordperfect and other applications that support XON/XOFF however DOS and
other applications that do not support XON/XOFF will run into problems.
Specifically, when DOS and these other applications send large prints to the
P5300, the P5300's buffer will become full at some point and the P5300 will
send an XOFF character to tell the DOS/application to stop sending. DOS and
these applications won't recognise the XOFF character and will continue to
send data resulting in buffer overflow in the printer.

The best option is to construct the following cable. It uses hardware
handshaking allowing DOS and all applications to work. Ensure that the
following is done.

* Turn XON/XOFF off for all applications that use the printer.

* On the P5300, enter the setup mode.
    - The DC1/DC3 option (option 3) within the 'Interface Settings' menu must be set to 'disabled'.
    - The DCD,CTS,DSR SIGNALS option (option 8) within the 'Interface Settings' menu must be set to 'CHECKED'.
    - The READY/BUSY option (option 10) within the 'Interface Settings menu must be set to 'PIN 19/20'.


  COMPUTER (DTE)        P5300 (DTE)

  +-----------+         +---------+
  |           |  Data   |         |
  |   (Txd) 2 +-------->| 3 (Rxd) |
  |           |         |         |
  |           |  Data   |         |
  |   (Rxd) 3 |<--------+ 2 (Txd) |
  |           |         |         |
  |           |  Ready  |         |
  |   (CTS) 5 |<--+-----+ 20 (DTR)|
  |           |   |     |         |
  |   (DSR) 6 |<--+     |         |
  |           |         |         |
  |           | Return  |         |
  |         7 +---------+ 7       |
  +-----------+         +---------+