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Clueless Newbie needs PIC program help

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beetle_slayer

New Member
OK, first my experience. I am an auto tech and I have basic knowledge and good thinking skills. I grew up watching my brother take apart and put together electronic projects.
At my job, I save a text document from a scan tool on a USB thumb drive and plug it into a computer to open and print. The problem is that the computer is usually tied up. If I could design and build a device to where I could plug in the USB drive, push a button and the printer prints it--all without a computer.
Three components are needed: USB drive, printer, and some interface to make the printer print the text document.
I would assume a power supply, pic and some basic hardware is needed. Any ideas on how to write a PIC program to do this? I just want to push a button and make it print.
 

evandude

New Member
that is going to be a very complicated project.
not only is interfacing with USB a challenge in the first place, it would be very hard to read files from the drive with the specific partition format, and file format of the drive, plus the interfacing software to actually talk to the drive in the first place; then you have to write all the software to actually send the file to the printer, which would also be a hassle. You would probably be better off buying a second computer to use for this purpose; a cheap old one would probably be a good solution... but its not going to be a compact solution like i would imagine you want...
 

beetle_slayer

New Member
HMMMM......I wouldn't have guessed it would be that complex. I have a HP photosmart 7350 printer that is a POS and it reads flash cards and prints from them directly. Maybe some donor parts? Small and compact is what I was wanting.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
beetle_slayer said:
HMMMM......I wouldn't have guessed it would be that complex. I have a HP photosmart 7350 printer that is a POS and it reads flash cards and prints from them directly. Maybe some donor parts? Small and compact is what I was wanting.
A modern printer like that is actually a complete computer, probably considerably more powerful than early PC's? - so it's got the space and power to implement reading and printing the pictures.

As already suggested, it's not a trivial problem, you have to read from the USB interface (which is quite complicated), make sense of the file (which may, or may not, be a plain text file), then print it - which, depending on the printer, could be very complicated. Older printers just took ASCII text and printed it (so are easy to use, you just need to duplicate the interface), but many modern ones are fairly dumb - the hard work is done in the computer.
 

beetle_slayer

New Member
Thanks for the input....I think the Palm would be the smallest, cheapest and easiest route to take. Maybe I'll have a vision in my sleep and find the solution to my problem.
 
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