The Model I Printer Interface Cable
Printer Interface Cable from 1979 Radio Shack catalog
The usual approach to adding a printer was to buy a Radio Shack Expansion Interface. In addition to providing extra memory and a floppy disk controller, the Expansion Interface also added a printer port. But a fully equipped Expansion Interface cost more than a Model I itself, and a unit with no memory still cost $299.00. Another option was a lighter-weight third-party Expansion Interface, such as the Microtek MT-32 or Exatron MM+. But this was still overkill if all you wanted was a printer.
The Printer Interface Cable, introduced by Radio Shack in 1979, was a special cable that allowed a cassette-based Model I to be connected directly to a printer. Each Printer Interface Cable was six feet long and attached between a printer and the bus connector of the Model I. No Expansion Interface was required (and in fact, it wouldn’t work with one).
Both versions of the Printer Interface Cable from a 1980 Radio Shack catalog
There were two versions of the Printer Interface Cable. They differed only in the printer connector used:
- Printer Interface Cable (catalog number 26-1411), also known as the Quick Printer Interface cable, was for printers that used a Centronics connector (which was most of them). At the time it was introduced, this included the Quick Printer (but not the Quick Printer II) and the Line Printer I.
- Line Printer II Interface Cable (catalog number 26-1416) was for the few Radio Shack printers that used a card edge connector rather than a Centronics connector. Radio Shack once identified those printers as the Line Printer II, Line Printer IV, Quick Printer I, and Screen Printer.
Each cable originally cost $79.00 when introduced in 1979. Those prices were reduced to $59.00 just a few months later.
In comparison, the equivalent printer cables which connected directly to the Expansion interface were less expensive:
- The Model I printer cable with a Centronics connector (catalog number 26-1401) cost $39.00.
- The Model I printer cable with card edge connector (catalog number 26-1415) cost $29.00.