Principle of Dot Matrix Printers

What types of printers are there. Their advantages and disadvantages

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Printers have long become the main devices for printing documents, photographs, advertising posters and in general everything that is associated with drawing an image on a flat surface. than 60 years have passed since the first printer appeared, during which time the world has seen many models with different printing technologies and fields of application. And today we will talk about the main types of printers, touch on the principles of their operation, and also shed a little light on the key advantages and disadvantages of each. Go.

Dot matrix printers

Let’s start with dot matrix printers. The printing technology in them is quite simple. electromagnets set in motion the print head, which is based on a matrix consisting of needles. The head walks by the timing, and the needles hit the paper through a special ink ribbon. In total, an imprint remains on the surface. The more needles in the matrix, the better the final picture. The first printers created and available to the mass consumer were precisely dot matrix.

There are many disadvantages in dot matrix printers, making these units more like typewriters than with modern printing devices. This is not the most impressive print speed, and its poor quality, and quite noisy operation. Therefore, it is not surprising that this type of printer quickly became obsolete and was almost completely replaced by more advanced models. However, dot matrix printers are still used in some places. For example, when printing cash register receipts.

These printers also have other subtle advantages. They are undemanding to conditions and cope equally well with different paper sizes. Plus, dot matrix documents are much more difficult to counterfeit.

Inkjet printers

One of the most common modern types of printer is inkjet. Their principle of operation is somewhat similar to the matrix one: the picture is also built from dots, only instead of needles hitting the paper, there is a head with liquid paint. Design options assume that the printhead can be located either in the device itself or integrated into the ink cartridge.

There are many models of inkjet printers, which differ in the field of application. So, advertising billboards are printed on large-format inkjet printers, stands and posters are made with the help of interior ones, and photo printers are better than others at printing photographs on special paper. But most often there are office “inkjet” for everyday printing on standard paper sizes.

Inkjet printers print only slightly faster than dot matrix printers, but the image quality and color rendering are much higher than that of their outdated counterparts. This is especially noticeable when using specially coated paper.

The results of an inkjet printer do not survive mechanical stress and moisture. Because of their design and liquid ink, inkjet printers are quite moody. They have to be used regularly so that the paint does not dry out on the head. Despite the not the greatest cost of the most inkjet printers, they cannot be called economical, because ink is consumed quickly, and cartridges eventually deteriorate.

Although the problem of replacing cartridges is solved by devices with a continuous ink supply system or simply CISS. With its help, the paint is fed through special tubes in automatic mode. You just buy paint and add it to the containers. This not only saves money, but also improves print quality.

Laser printers

Another very popular type of printer is laser. The principle of operation of a laser printer is reduced to a drum, capable of retaining an electric charge on its surface for each individual point, and a laser beam that moves along this drum. Meeting the points on the surface, the beam removes the charge from them. The coloring takes place by means of a powdery ink. toner. which hits the drum and is attracted only to the charged points. From the dots painted over with toner, the final image is obtained, which subsequently falls on the paper, where it literally melts into it under the influence of high temperatures and pressure.

Laser printers are characterized by high printing speed. this is one of their main advantages. Even the simplest models can easily produce around 20 printed pages per minute. The quality of the print itself is high, the toner fits well on the paper, and does not smudge when rubbed and is quite resistant to moisture. Laser printers work well on any paper quality.

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Unfortunately, these devices have one major drawback. they are expensive. Although the maintenance of a laser printer is likely to cost you less than an inkjet printer. In laser printers, there are also small problems with color reproduction, but this is NOT a critical drawback, if we are not talking about printing large, bright and photorealistic images.

Led printers

LED printers have become a kind of offshoot of the laser line. It is based on the same technology, and all the differences come down to different light sources. One single beam of laser printers in LEDs replaces a whole battery of LEDs. Unlike a laser beam, it is not necessary to move them at all. each point on one line has its own LED.

And now about the advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, the less mechanics in the device, the lower the probability of its breakdown and the smaller its dimensions. The print speed of the LED printer is also faster, with a minimum of about forty printed pages per minute. Due to the absence of edge distortions inherent in some laser printers, the print quality of LEDs is also higher on average. It is easy to guess that the purchase of an LED printer will be quite expensive, which is their key disadvantage.

Other types of printers

We have listed the most common types of printers, but there are others. They use other printing technologies, which either did not become widespread and eventually fell out of use, or are used in SEPARATE, very narrow areas of activity. Let’s briefly talk about some of them.

  • Sublimation printers are printers with extremely high print quality and color rendering. At the same time, they did not become a full-fledged alternative to inkjet printers, but they took root in the printing industry.
  • Drum. at the heart of THESE printers was a drum on which the imprints of letters and numbers were located, it rotated, and a special drummer left images of the necessary symbols on the paper. Drum printers were the fastest of all existing, but their fate was determined by one single drawback. when printing the letters “danced” and located at different levels, like in typewriters.
  • Petal is another “extinct” species. Such printers were printed using a floppy disk, on which petals were located, in the process, touching the ink ribbon, and then writing paper, leaving marks.

What other types are there? You’ve probably heard that printers are also divided into office and home printers. This is a purely nominal difference. After all, it’s not a difference in printing technology, but only in its volumes. Home printers mean they won’t be used very often when office printers are designed for regular use. In other words, printers belonging to the office category can withstand heavy loads and, as a rule, have an increased print speed. But this does NOT mean that in offices they NEVER use printers from the home category. It’s just that for an organization with large volumes of printing, the use of such printers is not very profitable. As well as expensive and fast models in the house, where they print a dozen pieces of paper a couple of times a week.

This concludes a small excursion into the world of printing devices. As a result, it can be noted once again that the most popular types of printers are laser and inkjet. Among them there are models of different price categories for solving various tasks: black and white and color, fast and NOT too much, devices for printing photographs or huge billboards. And choosing the right model for your own needs among inkjet and laser will NOT be difficult.

Dot matrix printers: principle of operation, advantages and disadvantages

The spread of laser printing technology marked a new stage in the development of printing equipment. Against this background, dot matrix printers lost their former weight in the market and gradually began to leave entire industries. Especially in everyday life, the advantages of mechanical printing have lost their importance, giving way to more efficient laser methods. Despite this, dot matrix printers continue to solve a number of problems. The principle of operation of such equipment most often involves the use of shock dot matrix technique, which gives its unique advantages. The manufacturers themselves support the demand for this segment, improving equipment in different directions.

Dot Matrix Printer Device

The main functional component is the Printhead. It consists of levers, a solenoid and a set of needles with springs, which apply dots of paint to the surface of the paper. Applying a pulse to the solenoid generates a magnetic field, as a result of which a movable core extends, striking a lever with hinges. Further, the action is transmitted by needles with a diameter of about 0.3 mm. Depending on the model, the number of sets with needles may vary. on average, from 9 to 24 units. The head of the dot matrix printer and related accessories are driven by a microprocessor control system. The same complex regulates the functions of mechanisms for moving paper, rollers and hinge elements. In modern models, sensors are also provided that give signals about the presence of ink in cartridges, the position of the paper carrier, etc.

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Power rig function

A stepper motor is usually present in the design. With its help, the movement of the carriage with the head is realized, and the rotor itself can occupy several discrete positions. Applying an impulse to the rotor winding makes it rotate a few degrees, but at specified intervals. steps. The amount of this interval is determined by the type of the printer itself and the size of paper with which it can work. The control system, in turn, fixes the position of the carriage and determines how many steps and revolutions have been taken before. We have already mentioned the sensors with which dot matrix printers are supplied. The principle of operation of the device assumes that one of the sensors will also control the behavior of the carriage in situations of collision with foreign objects. If a foreign object enters the head movement zone, the motor automatically brakes it. This also increases the consumption of current supplied to the motor. The protection of the printer structure from accidental damage due to such collisions also depends on the belt drives, which does not allow the carriages to go out along the boundaries of the normal travel.

How a programmed dot matrix printer works?

Traditional dot matrix printers work in accordance with the specified modes and, as a rule, are oriented towards printing texts. Software control allows you to perform a wider range of tasks, including displaying graphic information on paper. The user has the ability to set individual print characteristics via a computer. Today there are several modes in which programmable matrix printers work. The principle of operation of the device in LQ mode, for example, uses at least 24 needles and allows you to obtain typographic quality. 9-needle models support the NLQ format and are of lower quality. There are also specialized printers designed for printing large-format graphic materials.

New technologies

Manufacturers of dot matrix printers are primarily focused on increasing print speed and reliability of technology. In particular, a new mode was introduced with the HSD system, which allows printing large amounts of data at a speed of 480 cps. PSE accelerated printing technology is designed specifically for corporate equipment use. Thus, the Epson printer in the LQ-2190 modification supports this innovative solution by eliminating the need to use raster images. This means that the gaps between the columns of the print lines are automatically reduced, while the quality is preserved.


In operation, the matrix mechanisms demonstrate a high degree of reliability. The resource of the working tooling allows printing without repair support for about 8 million terms. The Printhead itself provides about 30 million characters without the need for updating. At the same time, the release of one page is inexpensive when compared with the same laser printing. In addition, paper for a dot matrix printer can be continuous, which allows the use of equipment in large printing enterprises. Another advantage of this printing is the possibility of using copying materials. Again, this expands the range of uses for matrix aggregates.


The principal operational difference between dot matrix printers and laser printers is low speed. For this reason, equipment manufacturers are introducing new technological solutions that increase this indicator. Also, the mechanical principle of applying paint does not provide a quality that meets modern requirements. But this does NOT interfere with the use of such models in organizations that mass-produce tickets, labels, tags, etc. In the process of operation, mechanical equipment and copying tape for a dot matrix printer can make a lot of noise. This is another disadvantage of the technique. Insulation and noise suppression systems in the structure do not always help to minimize the unpleasant acoustic effect, but there are successes in this direction of development.

Dot matrix printer manufacturers

The leaders in the segment are Lexmark, HP, Kyocera, Panasonic, Samsung and the Aforementioned Epson firm. over, some manufacturers are striving to reach a specific niche. Thus, Kyocera focuses on the discerning consumer, offering elite models designed for durable operation. Samsung and Epson can be classified as universal manufacturers, but they also have their own unique manufacturing concepts. For example, the Epson printer actively absorbs wireless communication technologies and modern solutions in terms of the implementation of control systems. Therefore, these products are appreciated by ordinary consumers, noting their high ergonomics and functionality.

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Dot matrix technology is one of the oldest in the printer segment. During its existence, engineers have revised it more than once and made many changes, but the basic mechanics have remained the same. It also provided the advantages that distinguish dot matrix printers from the general range. The principle of operation based on needle printing is one of the most reliable and economical. But on the other hand, it limits the technique in terms of the speed of operations and in some cases does not allow the use of multicolor printing. But the cost of such printers covers many disadvantages. On the market, high-quality models of this type for office use can be purchased for 15-20 thousand rubles.

Describe how the dot matrix printer works

The image is formed by the print head, which consists of a set of needles (needle matrix) driven by electromagnets. The head moves line by line along the sheet, with the needles striking the paper through the ink ribbon, forming a dot pattern. This type of printer is called SIDM (eng. Serial Impact Dot Matrix. Serial Impact Matrix Printers). Printers were produced with 9, 12, 14, 18 and 24 needles in the head. The main distribution is received by 9 and 24 needle printers. Print quality and graphic print speed depend on the number of needles: more needles, more dots. Printers with 24 pins are called LQ (eng. Letter quality. quality of typewriters). There are monochrome 5 color dot matrix printers that use 4 color CMYK ribbon. The color change is made by moving the ribbon up and down along the printheads. Dot matrix printers print speed is measured in CPS (eng. Characters per second. characters per second).

The principle of operation of a conventional dot matrix printer, which uses sequential impact dot matrix technology, is as follows: during operation, the print head moves along the carriage and the image is formed by the dots produced on the paper by the needle touching the ink ribbon. There is another principle of operation, used in line matrix printers, which are popular in large organizations.

The main body of a line matrix printer. This is a construction consisting of a bed having a printing width, on which printing hammers are installed horizontally along the entire length, combined into modules. Frets. During operation, the bed, driven by the crank mechanism, reciprocates with a high frequency and amplitude equal to the distance between adjacent hammers. The speed changes depending on the number of hammers in the fret. Then printers with more hammers in the fret have higher speed.

When the shuttle moves from one dead center to another, the hammers, in those places where required, apply the images on the paper by striking the ink ribbon, forming a complete horizontal line of the given image in each pass. After that, the paper moves one step forward, and the shuttle returns in the opposite direction, forming an image line by line. The print speed of a printer using this technology is measured in terms per minute when printing text, or in inches per minute. When printing graphics. The belt is fixed at an angle to the base, which makes it possible to wear fairly evenly. When printing, it moves either in one direction, or in the other direction, rewinding from reel to reels. With this method of printing, if you print on paper with a small width (A4 size), the ribbon will not wear evenly. Only one half of the belt is worn out. If there is a justified need for such printing, it is recommended to turn the bobbins from time to time in order to make one or the other half of the ink ribbon work alternately.

Information output devices for printing: printers, plotters

Classification of printers by printing technology, format, color printing availability, network support capabilities. Dot matrix printers and their characteristics. Principle of operation of inkjet printers, color inkjet printers (Most common models), their main characteristics. Black-and-white and color laser printers, their principle of operation, main manufacturers, technical characteristics of the most common models. LED printers. Criteria for selecting a printer model for various tasks. Plotters: division into classes and types. Pen, inkjet and laser plotters: principles of operation, scope. Comparative analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of different types of plotters.