I am new to arduino (and electronics for that matter) and need help with an art project I am currently working on. I want to hook up a microphone sensor module to an arduino uno and print the sound information it reads using a dot-matrix printer. The printed image does not have to make pictures or words or sense - it just has to print data that is generated by noise - kind of like a seismograph picking up vibrations. The dot-matrix printer I am using is the Epson LX-300+II and it has a USB, SERIAL and PARALLEL port. Is it possible to bypass the epson print commands and send information straight from the arduino to the printer through one of these ports or do I have to use a computer with the printer driver? I feel like this is too simple to actually be possible and I am missing something through my lack of experience and knowledge. Any help would be appreciated!
Do you specifically want to use an Arduino for this? A PC with an audio input and USB printer attached would make this relatively easy to do on the PC in whatever language you want.
What you could relatively easy do is to make a volume seismogram (Or whatever it is called).
You need to connect the microphone to the analogport of the Arduino.
Connect the printer to serial.
Set the baudrate
Send a ESC-P sequence to the printer to set it in graphical mode.
sample the analogport as fast as
you the Arduino can.
map this on 0..8
print a graphical character that is 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 dots above each other (see manual how to do this)
If the printer can do 24 pixels at once you can even make a "hi-res variation"
The dot-matrix printer I am using is the Epson LX-300+II and it has a USB, SERIAL and PARALLEL port. Is it possible to bypass the epson print commands and send information straight from the arduino to the printer through one of these ports or do I have to use a computer with the printer driver?
You probably don't need a driver (if you use the serial or parallel port). There is a clue in the specs since it lists a couple of different character sets. In the old days (before Windows) the printer's user manual would com with an [u]ASCII chart[/u] and a list of "escape codes" for switching-on bold, underline, using graphics etc.
Since all that stuff is now normally taken care of by the driver, and basically hidden from the user, and no longer needed he programmer, it might be hard to find. The good news is that Epson standardized the codes to work on most of their printers. (Sending ASCII text is simple, but I don't remember how to "directly" print graphics.)
google on ESC P -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESC/P - a 6 part manual with all codes
or - http://webpages.charter.net/dperr/links/esc_p2.htm - a quick list -> search for bitmap images