In the old PC mags, there were often printouts of code from Commodore PETs. How were these done? Even though the PET had a GPIB interface, it didn't have a print command.

The method that we used in 1978 was a little machine code program to show one line at a time on the top of the screen and then screen scrape it and send each character to the GPIB. This worked but was quite slow.

Was there a better technique for achieving printouts?

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    For me, with pen and paper. Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 13:34
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    In June 1978, the TX-80 (TP-80), an eighty-column dot matrix printer, was released to the market and was mainly used as a system printer for the Commodore PET computer. Personally My own printer a few years later was the MX-80 and I could use that with my tethered Hand Held Brick (Psion Organiser) or use that to Drive HP Plotters or plot to a flatbed plotter or another brick with a motorised arm and a pen in its hand as faster than using stencils on AO drawings. but before that we used punch cards and punched tape for printing.
    – K J
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 17:06
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    We used a Dolphin BD80. Problem was the paper. Sometimes it was letter, sometimes it was A4. Working out how many linefeeds for invoices was a bit tedious depending on paper type. Sometimes the printouts italicised themselves. Never found out the reason for that.
    – cup
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


I used to:

OPEN 4,4:
CMD 4:

CMD redirected the $FFD2 output routine to the specified file.

Of course, you needed a printer that understood the PET special characters. The CBM 2022 and 2023 did.

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    There were as well GPIB->Centronics or Serial interfaces. Also, people were taking literal pictures. Much the same way as magazines took screen-shots with more professional setup available using film or Polaroid.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 10:29
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    I didn't know about this one. Looks really simple compared to what we used to do.
    – cup
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 17:29
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    @cup See page 78/79 of the PET User Manual or p.80/81 of the original PET Users Handbook](zimmers.net/anonftp/pub/cbm/manuals/pet/…).
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 17:47
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    I don't think the Commodore 2001s we had had any manuals. The handbook looks familiar but that came out a lot later. I just worked out what to do by experimentation and looking at the supplied programs and magazine articles. Typing out stuff on the calculator style keyboard was really painful.
    – cup
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 18:32

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