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Brother PT-E300 Industrial Label Machine Teardown

Tape Installed
Tape Installed

Here a tape is installed in the printer. This unit can handle tape widths up to 18mm. The pinch rollers are operated by the white lever at the top of the image, which engages with the back cover.

Li-Ion Battery
Li-Ion Battery

This printer is supplied with a rechargeable battery pack, but AA cells can be used as well. Some of the AA battery terminals can be seen above the battery.

Battery Specs
Battery Specs

Pretty standard fare for a 2-cell lithium pack. The charging circuitry doesn’t appear to charge it to full voltage though, most likely to get the most life from the pack.

Cartridge Slot
Cartridge Slot

With the cartridge removed, the printer components can be seen. As these cartridges have in effect two rolls, one fro the ribbon & one for the actual label, there are two drive points.

Pinch Rollers & Print Head
Pinch Rollers & Print Head

The thermal print head is hidden on the other side of the steel heatsink, while the pinch rollers are on the top right. The plastic piece above the print head heatsink has a matrix of switches that engage with holes in the top of the label cartridge, this is how the machine knows what size of ribbon is fitted.

Mainboard
Mainboard

Most of the internal space is taken up by the main board, with the microprocessor & it’s program flash ROM top & centre.

Charger Input
Charger Input

The charger input is located on the keyboard PCB just under the mainboard, which is centre negative, as opposed to 99% of other devices using centre positive, the bastards.

LCD Module
LCD Module

The dot-matrix LCD is attached to the mainboard with a short flex cable, and from the few connections, this is probably SPI or I²C.

Print Mech Drive
Print Mech Drive

The printer itself is driven by a simple DC motor, speed is regulated by a pair of photo-interrupters forming an encoder on the second gear in the train.

Battery Holder Connections
Battery Holder Connections

The back case has the battery connections for both the lithium pack & the AA cells, the lithium pack has a 3rd connection, probably for temperature sensing.

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Nanoptix “Spill-Proof” Thermal Receipt Printer

Nanoptix Spill-Proof Thermal Printer
Nanoptix Spill-Proof Thermal Printer

I have yet another receipt printer, this one appears to be brand new. It’s possibly the smallest thermal 80mm printer I have at the moment, and has both USB & Serial interfaces.

Controller PCB
Controller PCB

There’s not much to these printers at all. Removing a single screw allows the case halves to separate, showing the guts. The controller is based around a Texas Instruments TMS320VC5509AFixed-Point DSP. It’s associated Flash ROM & RAM are to the right.
Power supply is dealt with in the top right of the PCB, with the interface ports further left.

Print Head
Print Head

Here’s the thermal mechanism itself, with the large print head. The stepper motor to drive the paper through the printer is just peeking out at top right. The paper present sensor is just under the left hand side of the print head.

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Evolis Dualys3 Card Printer Teardown

I recently dug out my other card printer to fit it with a 12v regulator, (it’s 24v at the moment), and figured I’d do a teardown post while I had the thing in bits.

This is a less industrial unit than my Zebra P330i, but unlike the Zebra, it has automatic duplexing, it doesn’t have Ethernet connectivity though.

Unlike domestic printers, which are built down to a price, these machines are very much built up to a spec, and feature some very high quality components.

Naked Printer
Naked Printer

Here’s the mechanism with the cowling removed. This is the main drive side of the printer, with the main drive stepper at left, ribbon take-up spool motor lower right, and the duplex module stepper motors at far right.

Main Motor Drive
Main Motor Drive

The main drive motor runs the various rollers in the card path through a pair of synchronous belts, shown here.

Main Stepper
Main Stepper

The stepper itself is a quality ball-bearing Sanyo Denki bipolar motor.

Main Stepper Driver
Main Stepper Driver

Electrical drive is provided to the stepper with a L6258EX DMOS universal motor driver. This chip can also drive DC motors as well as steppers.

Ribbon Supply Spool
Ribbon Supply Spool

Here is the encoder geared onto the ribbon supply spool. This is used to monitor the speed the ribbon is moving relative to the card.

Printer Top
Printer Top

Here’s a top view through the printer, the blue roller on the left cleans the card as it’s pulled from the feeder, the gold coloured spool to it’s right is the ribbon supply reel. The cooling fan on the right serves to stop the print head overheating during heavy use.

Spool Take Up Motor
Spool Take Up Motor

The spool take-up reel is powered by another very high quality motor, a Buhler DC gearmotor. These printers are very heavily over engineered!
This motor drives the spool through an O-Ring belt, before the gear above. This allows the drive to slip in the event the ribbon jams, preventing it from breaking.

Duplex Unit Stepper Drivers
Duplex Unit Stepper Drivers

The pair of steppers that operate the duplexing unit are driven by a separate board, with a pair of L6219DS bipolar stepper driver ICs. There are also a couple of opto-sensors on this board for the output hopper.

 

Main Control PCB
Main Control PCB

All the mechanisms of the printer are controlled from this main PCB, which handles all logic & power supply functions. Sections on the board are unpopulated, these would be for the Ethernet interface, smart card programming & magstripe programming.

Main CPU
Main CPU

The brains of the operation is this ColdFire MCF5208CVM166 32-bit microprocessor. It features 16KB of RAM, 8KB of cache, DMA controller, 3 UARTs, SPI, 10/100M Ethernet and low power management. This is a fairly powerful processor, running at 166MHz.
It’s paired with an external 128Mbit SDRAM from Samsung, and a Spansion 8Mbit boot sector flash, for firmware storage.

USB Interface & Power Input
USB Interface & Power Input

Here the USB interface IC is located. It’s a USBN9604 from Texas Instruments, this interfaces with the main CPU via serial.