Electric Imp Thermal Printer


If you’re the type of person that doesn’t mind having a pocket/purse full of crumpled receipts, then maybe you should check out this tutorial from [tombrew] on giving a thermal printer internet-connectivity.

For some of us, there’s something kind of cool about thermal printers, but it’s probably not the kind of project you’d want to burn a lot of calories on. As a developer over at Electric Imp, [tombrew] agrees with this statement, but since the Electric Imp contains both a WiFi module and processor built in, it makes it pretty easy to get your thermal printer printing off the daily weather, stock prices, news headlines, etc… In fact, the claim here is that you could have this project completed before you even finish your morning coffee… knock on wood!

From a hardware standpoint, the project is pretty straight forward; an Electric Imp with breakout board, thermal printer, and a power supply are pretty much all that’s needed. Local communication between the Electric Imp and the thermal printer is accomplished through a simple serial interface. With the roll-out of the new Electric Imp IDE a few months back, we were introduced to ‘Agents’. This is kind of a neat concept, and this tutorial breaks everything down, but basically the agent is server-side code that runs in the ‘ImpCloud’, thus giving your Electric Imp more power and capabilities to deal with complex APIs. Also, handling images (like something you want to print) can take up a ton of memory, so for this project, the agent is used to send down slices of the image you want to print one at a time. This project is just the beginning of what [tombrew] has planned, so we can’t wait to see more insanely detailed tutorials.

8 thoughts on “Electric Imp Thermal Printer

  1. will not develop anything based on a part that will not work without internet connection or is dependent on a third party server, hardware is expensive to design, assemble and deploy (and recall), it’s simply not worth the risk to go with these guys

    1. Such as checking stocks or the news to make a sort of personal, digest newspaper every morning?

      Look, I don’t like the idea of that as much as you do, but there’s a lot of things you wouldn’t be able to do without internet connectivity.

  2. I wish there was a hacked together alternative to the Electric Imp using modified Wifi-SD-cards and some IO expansion ICs. The concept is neat – having to hand the reins over to some unknown company is not.

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