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Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

Recently bought this Samsung laser printer.  I was unhappy to find that its CD contained no technical documentation beyond how to install a Windows driver. (Actually, by "unahppy", I mean that the totality of curse words in the English language is inadequate to express how I feel about this fine company.)

Right now, I can print out CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, and not a lot more.

I want to print from an old DOS word processor, and thus need to write a simple driver.  The sort of commands I need to give it are:
i) select a font;
ii) switch fixed-width <-> proportional.
iii) bold/italic/superscript/subscript;

Can I assume that there is a selection of fonts already stored in the printer?

The printer box says PCL6 _emulation_.  What does "emulation" mean here?  That if it doesn't work, it's because it's only "emulation", or something?

Will there be some sort of initialisation command required to bring the printer into PCL6 mode?

Assuming that Samsung's "help" department isn't going to help (that's the way it's looking so far), is there technical documentation available for downloading, and if so where do I start searching?  (I've tried searching for "PCL" and "PCL6" with various additional qualifiers like "spec", but the only useful site I found amongst thousands of adverts was this one.)

The quickest of quick questions, whose answer might help me get started: What is the PCL6 code to switch the printer's newline code from the DOS convention (CR+LF) to the UNIX (LF) and back again?

Thanks in advance for any and all help!

Alan Mackenzie (Munich, Germany)

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?


PCL6 is NOT interpreted like PCL5, so it's not just a matter of inserting a code at an opportune moment in the data stream. I would doubt there is any way to make PCL6 work from DOS. Someone correct me if that is wrong.

Does the printer support PCL5? If so, then there is plenty of documentation around.

Jim Asman

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

Alan, because HP own PCL so to speak, any other printer's implementation thereof must be "Emulation" by definition, unless HP wrote the code and sold or licensed it to the mfr.

In the PS world, many printers have genuine Adobe interpreters; those printers are thus not PS emulators. the advantage is, as you suspect, that a genuine interpreter from the language's inventor will work correctly whereas the emulator writer might have overlooked something.

Jim A, I didn't know PCL6 worked differently from PCL5 in that it's not interpreted... what exactly does that mean? I'm intrigued!

Jim Brown,
South Africa.
My time is GMT+2

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

Alan, JB,

Thinking this through, if you are able to print a directory listing from DOS, then THAT is not PCL6. The term PCL6 EMULATION suggests that the printer knows nothing of PCL6 and the printer driver converts PCL6 code into a raster file that the printer prints. That is good news.

So the printer has internally either a PCL3 or PCL5 interpreter built in. Alan, is there any instructions for printing out a typeface listing of the internal fonts?
Here are a few print codes.

<esc>(s3B       Bold
<esc>(s0B       Medium
<esc>(s1S       Italic
<esc>(s0S       Upright
<esc>(s1P       Proportional
<esc>(s0P       Fixed pitch

The <esc> represents the real single escape character,
chr 27. You should be able to find a wealth of material on PCL5. (PCL3 is a subset of PCL5)

Jim, PCL6 is more akin to a source code such as an assembly language that is ultimately compiled into object code that is actually sent to the printer as compared to an interpreted language such as basic where the code is acted on immediately.

Jim Asman

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?


If you send a text file to just about any printer, be it pcl or ps, or epson fx type or whatever, the file is almost certain to print.

In the absence of any controls, and that's certainly what you get when you dump autoexec.bat to a printer thru dos, the printer will almost certainly just print out the plain ascii text. It doesn't follow that the printer knows pcl3/5 just because it printed some ascii text.

Jim, I disagree about your definition of emulation: I take it to mean that the printer DOES know pcl6. It just has to be called emulation if anyone other than the owner of pcl6- ie hp- wrote it. If hp had provided the code via a licence to Samsung, then that wouldn't be emulation, it would be genuine.

Alan's hassle is simply the fact that in dos, print drivers belong to the application, whereas in windows the driver's in the os. In spite of what he says about the (lack of) help he's getting from his vendor, they're not being obstructive. If a machine is bought knowing it emulates something - pcl6 here- then it's up to the user to have the wherewithall to throw the right stuff at the printer; especially since with pcl6 being current and dos being dead the vendor would reasonably only provide a Windows driver.

Can't help but wonder Alan, why you're still in dos for this anyway...... :)

Jim Brown,
South Africa.
My time is GMT+2

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?


We can agree to disagree!

There are plenty of printers out there that cannot print straight text. Typically labeled as "windows only" these printers are only capable of printing a raster image. The driver forms the characters and delivers the raster image.

"HP Compatible" is typically the term I see, but I must admit the HP calls the Postscript in my LJ5000 an emulation.

Jim Asman

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

Hi, everybody!

Thank you _very_ much for the answers, which have been most helpful.

Jim A.:  I tried sending <esc>(s3B down to the printer in advance of my AUTOEXEC.BAT file.  [Just to be totally unambiguous, that is 0x19 followed by the four printable ascii characters "(s3B".]  Rather than causing the following to be printed bold, this sequence was simply printed as its five constituent characters, the <esc> appearing as a down-arrow.  The text of the file then followed, in boring fixed width, normal weight font.  

Jim B.: When I said that Samsung wasn't being helpful, I meant they hadn't answered the request "please tell me where to download or buy documentation on how to drive your printer.".  They still haven't.  I don't think that is an unreasonable question to expect answered.  The last time I bought an Epson 24-pin printer, the entire command set ("ESC/P2") was summarised in twelve pages of the printed manual.  Samsung's CD has over 200Mb of unused space which could have contained this info.  The absence of this information reduces what is electronically a printer to what is in practice merely a winprinter.

Why do I still want to drive this from DOS?  Quite simply, I have been using a DOS word-processor for many years, and have several hundred files in its format which I sometimes need to print out.  The said WP has an efficient file format, a user-friendly (as opposed to Microsoft-CUA-WYSIAYG style) mode of operation, and a lean-and-mean set of features which is just right for writing letters, etc.

Thanks also for the elucidation of the term "emulation".

The printer is now, evidently, useless to me.  It would seem my best move now is to sell it off second hand as "nearly new", and hopefully only drop about 50 Euros (~ US$50) on the deal.

As a replacement, I'm kind of looking at the HP 1200se which promises "HP PCL 6, HP PCL 5e, PostScript® Level 2 emulation", and also has a parallel port (which is essential).  
What I'm hoping is that it will be drivable by the PCL 5 protocol (whose description I downloaded from the site in Austria which was cited a wee while ago in this forum), and will do so without fuss.  It's a tad more expensive, but my time is also valuable.

Again, any tips or comments here would be most appreciated.

Thanks to all who answered me.

Alan Mackenzie (Munich, Germany)

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

But the 'escape' character is 0x1b (decimal 27), not 0x19.
I don't know this printer, but most 'PCL6' printers do also support PCL5.

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?


As DansDadUK pointed, it doesn't sound as though you got the <esc> entered properly. It is 0x1B in Hex or 27 in decimal notation. Usually it will display on the screen as a left arrow, assuming PC8 characters on your monitor.

If the printer is connected to LPT1:, why don't you create a text file that says...

<esc>(s0BMedium text<esc>(s3BBold text<esc>E


copy /b  filename  LPT1:

This would eliminate any outside agents acting on your file. I am not a DOS person, so if there is anything wrong with the copy command that showed, please step in.

Jim Asman

RE: Samsung ML-1450: "PCL6 Emulation", but has no docs. How do I drive it?

Epson will always give info on the programming language for their printers, because it's their own langauge.

And yes, the <esc> character is hex 1b not 19.

One other thing re pcl printers. Some makes and models are able to print both pcl and postscript- there're many Xerox models that do, for instance. If you send pcl to it and it's not expecting pcl- perhaps in a default ps or ascii mode- then the pcl codes will print in that case too because the printer thinks they're ps/ascii text. You might need to force a move to pcl by sending the <esc>E which is a reset.

Jim Brown,
South Africa.
My time is GMT+2

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