Dinsen > Anders Dinsen > My QMS-PS 810 printer

My QMS-PS 810 printer

I am the happy owner of a QMS-PS 810 printer, which is based on a Canon SX print engine as used by among others, the Canon LBP 8 II and HP LaserJet 2 printers. This page is a collection of links and information about that printer. I have owned my PS 810 since 1995. The printer seems to be from 1989. As per april 1998 it has printed about 77000 pages.

Please choose:

If you have comments or additions to this page, please mail me on anders@dinsen.net.

Picture of a QMS-PS 810 printer


I have had some questions from readers about finding a driver for the QMS-PS 810 for their operating system.

The good news for those that can't find a driver, is that there are many drivers that are compatible with the PS 810.

First: For any of this to work, make sure that the dial on the back of the printer is on the PostScript setting. See below for details.

Here are some driver names that you may find in your operating system:

  • "Generic PostScript printer"
  • "Apple LaserWriter" (this should be in all versions of Windows)
If any one has packages with a driver (the files necessary) for a specific operating system, I will be happy to host it here and place a link to it.

On Unix (including Linux, Solaris, *BSD...), you should treat this printer as a PostScript printer. That means that you do not need GhostScript or similar utilities to print PostScript documents. If you want to print text files you do, however, need a converter that will format the file to PostScript. E.g.: a2ps or enscript.

Tips on using the QMS-PS 810

Emulations and interfaces (the dial on the back)

The PS 810 can run HP-LJ emulation as well as postscript. It has three interface connectors: Centronics, RS232C and AppleTelk. The dial on the back selects the interface and selected emulation. Here are some popular settings:
Setting Interface Emulation
0 RS232C, 1200 baud, parity ignored, XON/XOFF PostScript
1 RS232C, 9600 baud, parity ignored, XON/XOFF PostScript
3 AppleTalk PostScript
4 Centronics PostScript
6 Centronics HP LaserJet+
According to QMS it is not possible to use the RS232 and AppleTalk interfaces at the same time. But the Centronics and RS232 interfaces may be connected to one host each using the dial to select the interface you want. Set the dial back to setting 0 before selecting anything new, QMS instructs. I have'nt verifyed this however.

(Source for the above information was QMS FAQ Database Search article 7007. But it's no longer available.)

Disabling the start page

The start page is handy if you don't turn your printer on and off very often, but it's not if you use it at home and turns it off after every use. It's possible to disable the page by sending this little peice of PostScript to the printer:
serverdict begin 0 exitserver
statusdict begin
false setdostartpage
I assume that you just change 'false' to 'true' to reenable the start page.

How to do this:

On Windows:
Open Notepad. Enter the above code (e.g. by copy+paste from your web browser), and save it in a file, e.g. "C:\DISABLESTART.PS".

Open a command window (DOS-box) and type: COPY C:\DISABLESTART.PS LPT1: (assuming that your printer is connected to LPT1).

On Unix:
On the shell command line type:
$ cat | lpr
serverdict begin 0 exitserver
statusdict begin
false setdostartpage
If your printer is not on the default printer queue ('lp'), then add a "-Pqueue-name" to the lpr command above.

(Source for the above information was a QMS FAQ Database Search article 7015. But it's no longer available.)


The problem with the PS 810 from a DIY-addict's point of view is that it does'nt have a display to show error messages. It has four LEDs on the front panel, and that seems to be all the information one can get from it. You can find out a little more if you connect a terminal to the RS232C port and set the interface dial to 1. You can try send a document to the printer this way and see what it responds. Unfortunately, the response is usually limited to a postscript message indicating that the printer needs service.

The problems I have experienced with my printer is:

Here's a DejaNews link to the thread with my comp.periphs.printers posting in 1998 following my problems (interesting to see how long this link stays active?).

For other diagrams, try SX Assembly Location Diagrams at The Printer Works.

Spare parts

Spare parts are easy to find. On the Internet try The Printer Works - SX Parts Catalog. The part numbers they use are the official Canon part numbers, so you can use them too if you order from your local Canon representative or laser printer repair company.


The Printer Works - Laser Printers

    "The Source of Sources for or HP LaserJet and other Canon engine-based printers". I don't know if they are right, but it's true that they have everything for repairing your QMS-PS 810. And they even sell refurbished ones if you want one.

    PS 810 and PS 820 - information by The Printer Works on the PS 810.
    TPW - SX Parts Catalog - Welcome - print engine spare parts catalog. Select the QMS-PS 810 in the Model-box and click the search button.

QMS FAQ Database Search
    QMS does'nt support the PS 810 any more, but they have a FAQ database with answers to a few questions regarding this printer. Try entering "PS 810" in the search box and see what it comes up with. I find articles 7007 (about the dial on the back that selects the different emulations and interfaces) and 7015 (about disabling the startup page) particularly interesting. But that's about the height, there's no technical manuals.

An apparantly complete transcript of the manual.

Pilchuk Laser Printer Repair FAQ Page

    Pilchuks FAQ page can help solve some of the problems you may encounter with a Canon based printer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

These are questions actually asked by readers of this page. Feel free to provide both questions and answers.
What toner's can be used?
Toner for HP LJ II and IID can be used. Here are some part numbers from different suppliers:
  • Xerox C92295A
  • HP 92295A
I just got the printer plugged up and connected to the PC. I'm using a Paralle Centronics Cable. When I print, I get crap...like for a 1 page output...I end up getting 7 or 8 pages of stuff. I have the printer set to #6 which is HP emulation mode.
It's probably because you are using a post script printer driver to print with, like the QMS PS-810 driver on Windows. If you set the dial to HP emulation, then you must use a HP driver. Set the dial to #4 instead (see table above).
What is the life expectancy and/or duty cycle that this printer is capable of?
The SX engines are very sturdy, sources I have been in contact with indicate that it can run many hundred thousand pages.
Why does the printer wait for some time between printing pages?
It is because the PostScript processor in the printer is slow (compared to modern ones). It depends on the contents of the page how long time it takes for the processor to format it. Word documents with no images usually print quite quickly (about 2 or 3 pages a minute). A full page image (e.g. a full page scan) takes about 10-15 minutes. You'll have to live with it :-)
Where do I find drivers for it?
See above
How do I disable the start page
See above


In January 2002, Scott McDade wrote:
Thank you for the informational page on the PS810. The printer has served me faithfully for over 10 years, but I was thinking of replacing it until I read over your page and realized what an old treasure it really is. I'm going to try eliminating the start page with your directions.

Thanks again!

Scott McDade
... somewhere north of Seattle, Washington, USA

In november 2000, Salli wrote:

Hi Anders! What a blast ... that was absolutely my FAVOURITE printer of all time - the PS810. Solidly built, honest and reliable. So glad yours is still going well.

I sold mine when I got a QMS 1660 A3 which isn't of the same calibre but is still better than HP or others available.


How's yours still going?

Keep it as long as you can. It's a little like the original IBM computers which were built solidly ... or a washing machine that has metal and not plastic!!!
Loved seeing this web page ....

Many regards,

Salli (in Western Australia)

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Page updated: 2006-02-13 19:39:56