Re-inking printer ribbons

Jules Richardson jules.richardson99 at
Sun Dec 13 17:05:22 CST 2015

On 12/13/2015 12:37 PM, Warner Losh wrote:
> One trick we used back in the day (I used it on my LA50 and also the
> decwriter at school someone misdirected a print job to) was to spray a bit
> of WD-40 into the ribbon spool.

Hmm, I'll give that a go and see what happens.

> Is the VIC 1525 a dot-matrix printer?

Well, it's an impact printer, I guess. AIUI, it just has a single pin 
(driven by a single solenoid) which hits the page through the ribbon, 
rather than a dot matrix which can do several lines per pass of the head  - 
it's quite delightfully crude in terms of construction, which is why I have 
this sudden urge to make it able to print :-)

> Is the ribbon the cloth type

Yes, cloth ribbon. There's no actual direct drive to the ribbon spools; 
instead there's a little clutch mechanism on the head and this snags the 
ribbon when the head is returning back to the left-hand margin and causes 
it to advance.

It doesn't look like there's direct drive to the head in the left-hand 
direction either, incidentally; the mechanism can advance the head to the 
right, and when it releases, spring tension pulls the head back to the 
left-hand margin. Like I said, delightfully crude. :)

> If it is printing fine, but the printing is super light, this might
 > help.

Well, it *sounds* like the head solenoid is operating - whether it's 
operating at 100% strength or travel is hard to tell. I'm wondering if I 
might not be able to hold a bit of sacrificial ribbon from something else 
in front of the head while it runs a self-test, just to make sure that the 
head is doing its job.  The ribbon certainly looks very faded, however, so 
I think it's done for either way.

> Good luck!



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