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Epson FX-870

Product Controls: EPSON FX-870

Printer's Self-Test - PAPER FEED/EJECT + Power-On

Hex Dump Mode - PAUSE/TEAR OFF + Power-On

Default Setting Mode - ALT/FONT + Power-On (Group 1), ALT/FONT + PAUSE/TEAR OFF + Power-On (Group 2), PAUSE/TEAR OFF + PAPER FEED/EJECT + Power-On (Group 3)


Microfeed Forward - Hold down ALT/FONT and press PAUSE/TEAR OFF when paper is loaded in the printer, then press PAUSE/TEAR OFF to move the paper forward

Microfeed Backward - Hold down ALT/FONT and press PAUSE/TEAR OFF when paper is loaded in the printer, then press PAPER FEED/EJECT to move the paper backward

What is SmartPark?

SmartPark is an advanced paper handling feature. SmartPark allows consecutive use of continuous paper and single sheets without having to remove the continuous tractor paper. It parks the current paper choice out of the way, while positioning another for printing. The SmartPark feature is not available when using the printer in pull tractor position.

What is paper parking?

Paper parking allows the use of a single sheet or a cut-sheet feeder without having to remove the continuous forms. This feature is selected via the printer's control panel buttons.

What is short form tear-off for?

The short form tear-off feature automatically feeds the perforation of continuous paper to the tear-off position of the top cover when printing is complete. When printing, the paper feeds back to the top-of-form loading position.

What are the differences between the FX-870 and the FX-1170?

The FX-870 has a narrow carriage (8 inches) while the FX-1170 has a wide carriage (14.5 inches). All other features of these two printers are the same.

Why isn't there an online/offline switch on the FX-870?

The FX-870 was designed to be easy to use. The online/offline button has been replaced with a PAUSE/TEAR OFF button. Users wishing to "pause" their print job can now simply press the PAUSE/TEAR OFF button.

Does the FX-870 use the same ribbon as the FX-850?

Yes, it does. The FX-870 uses the #8750 fabric ribbon.

Can the FX-870 print on envelopes?

Yes, envelopes can be inserted one at a time through the front manual feed slot. Up to 25 envelopes can be fed automatically when using the optional high-capacity cut-sheet and envelope feeder.

Can the FX-870 print on multi-part forms?

Yes, it can take up to 4-part (original plus three) continuous, carbonless forms using the rear, front, or bottom paper feed slots. Multi-part single sheet forms can also be fed through the front manual feed slot.

Can the FX-870 print on continuous labels?

Yes, the FX-870 can print on continuous labels at normal temperature and humidity levels. Load the labels using either the front push tractor or the pull tractor (front or bottom). CAUTION: Never feed labels in a reverse direction. They may peel off the backing and cause a paper jam. To remove labels without causing a jam, tear the labels off at the input source and then feed them through the printer in a forward direction.

Does the FX-870 come with one or two tractor units?

The FX-870 is shipped with one convertible tractor unit. This tractor can be used in the rear push, front push, or top pull positions. The customer can purchase an additional second tractor unit from EPSON Accessories.

What driver should I use if the FX-870 is not listed?

In EPSON mode: FX-850, EX-800, FX-86e, FX-80+, FX-80; For IBM emulation: Proprinter II or X, IBM Graphics printer.

Why does my printer beep three times?

This means that you have chosen single sheets on the paper release lever, but no paper is present. Load paper and try printing.

Why does the printer beep continuously?

Either the paper release lever is in the wrong position or the Microfeed adjustment has reached its limits. If you are using the Microfeed option, this is as far as the printer will allow you to adjust the paper. If you are not using the Microfeed feature, turn the printer OFF. Move the paper release lever on the right hand side of the printer forward, then backwards. Move the lever forward and backwards five times, then turn the printer back ON. If the problem still occurs, repeat the adjustment steps again. If the problems persists, have the printer taken in to be serviced.

Why won't my printer print bidirectional in Windows?

Since Windows is a graphic environment, the drivers are set to print unidirectional for better print quality. Some printer drivers may have access to bidirectional printing. Choose one of the emulation printer drivers and try printing to see if you are able to print bidirectional.

Do I use dip switches to change the settings on my printer?

No, the printer has built-in default settings that can be changed by using the front panel buttons. The printer has three default settings groups. Group 1 (FONT + Power-On) includes Printer mode (ESC/P or IBM emulation), Character pitch, Page length, Skip-over-perforation, Shape of zero, Tear off, and Auto line feed features. Group 2 (FONT + PAUSE + Power-On) contains the Character table feature. Group 3 (PAUSE + PAPER FEED + Power-On) features the Input buffer, Draft print speed, and Auto carriage return options. For more information on default settings, please see Chapter 3 page 5 of your User's Guide.

The FX-870 comes standard with a parallel interface. Can a serial interface be added?

Yes, the FX-870 accepts a Type-B interface. Optional buffered serial, parallel, Twinax, and Coax interface cards are available when needed for special installations. These can be purchased through EPSON Accessories.

I'm replacing my FX-850 with the FX-870. Can I use the same serial interface that I used on the FX-850, with the FX-870?

No, they cannot be interchanged. The FX-850 uses a Type-A interface and the FX-870 uses a Type-B interface. You can purchase an additional serial interface from EPSON Accessories.

Can I connect this printer to IBM mainframe (IBM 3270) and IBM minicomputer (AS/400 or System 3X) environments?

Yes, you can. For IBM mainframe environments, you can purchase an optional Type-B Coax interface card (C823141) which allows direct connectivity and emulates IBM printer models: 3287, 3268, 4214-1, and 4224 (non IPDS). For direct connectivity to IBM minicomputer environments emulating IBM printer models: 4210, 4214, 5225, 5224, 5256, 5219, and 3812, you will need the optional Type-B Twinax interface card (C823151).

Does the FX-870 support Apple EtherTalk?

Yes, with the optional Ethernet/EtherTalk interface card available through EPSON Accessories.

The printer beeps (five sets of four beeps) and will not load paper. Why won't it load paper?

If the printer does five sets of four beeps (with a pause in between each set), continuous paper has been selected, but there is no paper loaded on the tractor. Install the paper onto the tractor unit and try printing again.

Why does my printer print much slower in Windows?

Since Windows is a graphic environment, the drivers are set to print unidirectional for better print quality. If you must print bidirectional, you can experiment with different FX series drivers to see if one will allow you to print bidirectional.

Will this printer emulate an IBM Proprinter?

Yes, the printer has an IBM emulation, selectable through the Default Settings mode.

Can I switch between tractors using escape codes?

No, you cannot switch between tractors using escape codes. However, if you have installed an optional high-capacity cut-sheet feeder and the optional Second Bin cut-sheet feeder, you can switch between Bin 1 and Bin 2 via escape codes.

Can I connect this to an Apple Macintosh computer?

You may be able to connect the parallel port of the printer to an Apple Macintosh using a "Grappler" or "PowerPrint." Grappler is manufactured by Orange Micro, Inc. PowerPrint is manufactured by GDT Softworks, Inc.

What is micro-adjustment used for?

The micro-adjustment feature allows you to make fine top-of-form adjustments and short form tear-off position adjustments in increments of 1/180th of an inch. The printer remembers adjustments made to continuous paper, even after the printer is turned off. When micro-adjust reaches the minimum or maximum adjustment point, the printer will begin to beep continuously.

Can I print on checks that are 3-inches in length?

Yes, you can print on special sized papers. If you are using Windows, you will need to setup the printer options for a User Defined Page Size in the Control Panel. If you are using an MS-DOS application, you will either need to send an ESC code or the application would have to be capable of sending a User Defined Page Size code to the printer. The dip switches on the front of the printer cannot be used to change the page size, the command must come from the application program you are sending the print job from.

Why does my printer print garbage from MS-DOS and Windows?

When a printer prints garbage, it usually indicates a faulty cable or a loose connection. Power OFF your printer and computer. Disconnect and reconnect the cable on the printer and computer. Once the cable has been reconnected, power the printer and computer back ON. Try printing from MS-DOS. If you are still getting garbage, change the cable. We recommend getting a fully shielded cable, preferably 6 feet or less in length. If you are still experiencing problems after changing your cable, you may have a computer or printer port issue. If you take the cable and printer to another computer and it works fine, have your computer's port checked by an authorized dealer. If it still gives you garbage from another computer, have the printer taken in to be serviced.

Why won't the printer print serially from my PC?

If you are using a straight through modem cable, change the cable to a null modem cable (pins 2 and 3 are reversed). If you are already using a null modem cable, ensure that the Default Settings for the serial port on the printer match the settings on your computer. There is always the possibility of a loose connection or a bad cable. Disconnect and reconnect the cable on the PC and the printer and try printing again. If you are still experiencing difficulty, try a different cable or take the printer to another computer to see if the computer's port is malfunctioning.

My printer prints fine from MS-DOS. Why am I getting garbage only in Windows?

If you have already reconnected the cable on the computer and the printer, changed to another cable, and are positive you are using a fully-shielded parallel cable, chances are that you are having a conflict in Windows. The Print Manager or the printer driver usually causes the conflict in Windows. Save your work, then exit Windows (this will clear the Print Manager of any pending print jobs). Go back into Windows and verify the printer driver that has been selected is correct. To verify the driver in Windows 3.x, go to the Control Panel and choose Printers. For Windows 95 or 98, click on Start, go to Settings, choose Printers. Make sure that the driver you have selected as your default printer is compatible. You should have one of the drivers listed in Chapter 1 of your User's Guide. If you are using an IBM Proprinter driver, make sure that the default setting on the printer is in IBM mode. Try printing again. If you are still getting garbage, disable the Windows Print Manager. In Windows 3.x, go to the Control Panel, choose Printers, and remove the "x" from the box in front of Use Print Manager, then click Close. For Windows 95 or 98, click Start, go to Settings, choose Printers, point to the default printer then right click once on your mouse. Select Properties, go to the Details tab, click on the Spool Settings button, and choose the option "Print directly to the printer," click OK to exit the Properties window. Click OK again to save the new setting, exit the Printers window, then restart Windows 95 or 98. Try printing again. If this does not resolve your problem, take the cable and printer to another computer to determine if the problem is hardware related. If the printer prints fine from another computer, have your computer's port tested.

What is the recommended duty cycle for the printer?

The specification recommended is 25 percent. Epson's definition of a 25 percent duty cycle stands for the printer printing (not idle) for two hours per day based on an eight hour day at 22 days per month.

Why does the printer stop or pause in the middle of a print job?

The printer has a built-in sensor that monitors the temperature of the print head. When the print head begins to get too hot, the printer may pause or slow down the speed of the print head unit to ensure that the print head does not overheat. If the print head begins to overheat, the thermistor will stop the print head completely until it has cooled down. Once the print head has sufficiently cooled down, the printer will resume the print job. Another reason for the printer to pause or stop can be that the printer is waiting for more data or is in the middle of processing data already received.

What are the most commonly used escape codes?

Some commonly used escape codes include (in decimal values) - Reset (27, 64); Set page length in lines (27, 67, n - where n is a number from 1 to 127); Carriage return (13); Line feed (10); Form feed (12); Select 1/8-inch line spacing (27, 48); 10 cpi (27, 80); 12 cpi (27, 77); Select bold font (27, 69); Cancel bold font (27, 70); Select italic font (27, 52); Cancel italic font (27, 53); Turn underline on/off (27, 45, n - where n equals 49=ON or 48=OFF); Select condensed print (15); Cancel condensed print (18). For more escape codes, please refer to the Command Summary of your User's Manual.

The printer is not starting printing at the right position on the paper. How can I change the top-of-form setting?

You can change the starting print position by using the MICROFEED feature on the printer's control panel. Load your paper and wait until it stops feeding. Once it has stops press the TOF button to enter top-of-form mode. Then use the MICROFEED UP arrow or MICROFEED DOWN arrow to adjust the top-of-form position. The printer will beep continuously and will not move anymore when it has reached the maximum adjustment point. Once you have the paper where you want it, press the TOF button again.

When printing a multiple page document on single sheets, the first page prints correctly, but the pages after start printing too low.

The difference in print position is usually caused by the page length setting in the software application program. Most applications have a default page length of 66 lines per page when using 11" continuous paper. When using single sheets, the printer automatically provides a small top and bottom margin. Since the top and bottom margins are non-printable areas, the maximum number of lines per page is reduced from 66 to 61 lines per page. Many applications have an option to change the number of lines per page. You should change the number of lines per page to 61. If the program offers a selection for "cut-sheet feeder," change the paper type to cut-sheet feeder.

When printing from MS-DOS applications, I'm getting italic characters instead of lines.

To print lines instead of characters, the printer needs to be in graphics mode. Select a graphics character table (PC437). To switch to PC437, enter your Default Settings mode and select character table PC437.

I'm printing serial, my baud rate is at 9600, and intermittently the printer will lose data. What can I do to correct this?

If you are using a non-buffered serial interface board and XON/XOFF is enabled, the XOFF signal may not reach the printer in time to delay data transmission that would result in an overflow and loss of data. If you can use a DTR setting, change XON/XOFF to DTR. If you must use XON/XOFF, try decreasing the baud rate. Another option would be to purchase a 32KB buffered serial interface card (C823071). The buffered serial interface has a flag reset timing, which sets aside additional buffer space to "catch" the data overflow. The flag reset timing feature settings are selectable through dip switches on the serial interface card.

I was printing labels and one of the labels peeled off. Now my paper won't feed. Can I remove the platen to get the label out?

No, you cannot remove the platen from the printer. If you press the LF/FF button and the label does not appear on the platen for you to remove, you will need to take the printer in to be serviced. When printing labels, it is recommended that you only print with a pull tractor. Labels have a tendency to curl and peel off underneath the platen when being fed through the rear push tractor.

What is the difference between the FX-850 and the FX-870?

The FX-870 replaced the FX-850. The FX-870 is a complete redesign of the FX line. The new, major features are increased printing speed (average of 30 percent increase), five paper paths for improved form handling, including two push tractor positions, and an improved easy-to-use control panel.