It can use standard 38mm paper and interfaces with the Gameboy through the Link port.
It is operated by an embedded 8bit microcontroller which has its own 8KiB of RAM to buffer incoming graphics data. Those 8KiB allow a maximum bitmap area of 160*200 (8192/160*4) pixels between prints.
The Gameboy Printer doesn't use the full-duplex capability of the Link port. It accepts variable length data packets and then answers back its status after two $00 writes.
The packets all follow this format:
|Description||Magic bytes||Command||Compression flag||Length of data||Command-specific data||Checksum||Alive indicator||Status|
|Size||2 bytes||1 byte||1 byte||2 bytes||Variable||2 bytes||1 byte||1 byte|
|GB to Printer||$88||$33||See below||0/1||LSB||MSB||See below||LSB||MSB||$00||$00|
|Printer to GB||0x00||0x00||0x00||0x00||0x00||0x00||0x00||0x00||0x00||0x81||See below|
Warning: There is a 250ms timeout. If no byte is received during this period, the link and graphics buffers are reset.
The checksum is simply a sum of every byte sent except the magic bytes and obviously, the checksum itself.
Send these 9 bytes: $88,$33,$0F,$00,$00,$00,$0F,$00 (Command $0F, no data).
Send $00 and read input, if the byte is $81, then the printer is there. Send a last $00, just for good measure. Input can be ignored.
Command 1: Initialize
This clears the printer's buffer RAM.
No data required. The normal status replied should be $00.
Command 2: Start printing
Data length: 4 bytes
- Byte 1: $01 (what is this ?)
- Byte 2: Margins, high nibble is the feed before printing, low nibble is after printing. GB Camera sends $13 by default.
- Byte 3: Palette, typically $E4 (0b11100100)
- Byte 4: 7 bits exposure value, sets the burning time for the print head. GB Camera sends $40 by default.
Command 4: Fill buffer
Data length: max $280 (160*16 pixels in 2BPP) To transfer more than $280 bytes, multiple "command 4 packets" have to be sent.
Warning: the graphics are organized in lines, not in tiles ! Also, and empty command 4 packet needs to be sent right before sending command 2 !
Command $F: Read status
No data required, this is a "nop" command used only to read the Status byte.
A nonzero value for the higher nibble indicates something went wrong.
|Bit 7||Too hot/too cold||Set when the measured temperature in the case is above or below threshold (°C's ?)|
|Bit 6||Paper jam||Set when the encoder gives no pulses when the motor is powered|
|Bit 5||Timeout occured||Not sure, manual says "link cable not properly inserted"|
|Bit 4||Battery voltage too low||Set when the (regulated ?) voltage is under threshold|
|Bit 3||Ready to print||Set when at least $280 bytes if graphics were received|
|Bit 2||Printing requested||Set when printing starts, stays set until command 1 is received|
|Bit 1||Currently printing||Set as long as the printer's burnin' paper|
|Bit 0||Checksum error||Set when the calculated checksum doesn't match the recevied one|
- Send command 1, the answer should be $81, $00
- Send command 4 with $280 of your graphics, the answer should still be $81, $00
- Ask for status with command $F, the answer should now be $81, $08 (ready to print)
- Send an empty command 4 packet, the answer should still be $81, $08
- Send command 2 with your arguments (margins, palette, exposure), the answer should still be $81, $08
- Ask for status with command $F until it changes to $81, $06 (printing !)
- Ask for status with command $F until it changes to $81, $04 (printing done)
- Optionnally send 16 zero bytes to clear the printer's receive buffer (GB Camera does it)
Some sort of RLE ? The GB Camera doesn't use it.
(Details and pictures, need to be copied here)