3M "WhisperPrinter" (Trendcom 100) docs?

Josh Dersch derschjo at gmail.com
Tue Dec 2 23:15:42 CST 2014

On 12/1/2014 9:02 AM, Chris Elmquist wrote:
> On Sunday (11/30/2014 at 12:28PM -0800), Josh Dersch wrote:
>> Picked this up for nearly nothing at a local recycler, it was too cute to
>> pass up.  It's a 3M "WhisperPrinter" (model 1904AA), and it's a small (40
>> column, 4.5" wide) thermal printer with a serial interface.  It appears to
>> work (runs a self-test if you hold the line feed button while powering on)
>> but I don't know what the pinout for the interface on the rear is (it's a
>> 20-pin header).
>> This looks to be a rebadged Trendcom 100 (which I can also find very little
>> technical info about) used on a number of early home computers (Atari,
>> TRS-80, PET).  Anyone happen to have a manual for this?
> I'm not sure if you included an image or link to one.  Didn't get
> one here.
> I am familiar with a 3M Whisper Writer, which was a complete portable
> terminal system including a printer as you describe, a keyboard unit
> and an acoustic coupled modem.
> Is it like this?
> http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102638269

Yes, it looks very much like that, only not as wide -- only about 7" or so.

> And these are the other pieces,
> http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102638268
> http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102638267
> 3M built these themselves.

Interesting.  I didn't see those parts at the recycler or I definitely 
would have grabbed them.

> I had one as a kid.  My dad worked for 3M and this ensured an endless
> supply of thermal paper and is also why I still have half a dozen TI
> Silent 700 terminals as well ;-)
> Nowdays, you can buy "thermal fax" paper at office supply stores and
> it will work in the TI printers.  Unfortunately, it's 8.5" wide so you
> would need to modify the roll for the Whisper Writer.  Maybe there is
> a version of thermal cash register paper that will fit??

It came with a roll of paper so that's not an immediate problem, but I'm 
sure I can track something down (or hack up a larger roll to fit).  
Looks like I may have to work out the interface manually, though, to get 
it to talk to anything.

- Josh

> Chris

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