Can Anyone Answer These Questions - MW100 Printer

General Chit Chat about Sinclair Computers and their Clones
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Can Anyone Answer These Questions - MW100 Printer

Post by Scottie »

Several weeks ago, whilst searching for something in my attic, I came across my old Sinclair ZX81 computer and Sinclair printer. It brought me back to my schooldays, when many like me first dabbled in home computers, the Sinclair being the first really inexpensive introduction to home computers for hobbyists like myself here in the UK.
After completing my school homework, I could then spend the rest of my evening in my bedroom on my Sinclair home computer. where I taught myself how to use 'basic' and wrote a few simple programs in the ZX81's 1k memory, printing out my listings on that 'dreadful' Sinclair printer, which used special Aluminium coated paper and created severe electrical interference as well as giving off acrid smelling smoke whenever it was printing.
Unfortunately here in the UK we only ever had the Sinclair printer, but I gather from reading some of the posts on this website, that you lucky guy's in the USA and in Canada had the choice of an alternative printer - The MW100.
I did some further internet searching on the MW100 and discovered that it was manufactured in the USA and used plain paper, but never hearing of this printer until now, I wonder how popular and reliable it was, and how many of these printers were sold in the USA and Canada, and why it was never sold or advertised here in the UK...
I also discovered that Sinclair sold 500,000 Z81's in the USA and that Timex sold 600.000 T1000's in the USA and that this resulted in them achieving a combined 26% share in the USA home computer market. Wow !!!!!
I also discovered that the Sinclair printer was unable to get FCC approval due to its electromagnetic interference and the worrying health concerns (toxic fumes) that it produced when printing, something that I myself had first encountered way back in 1982.
.Please can anyone out there help answer these questions. If the Sinclair printer wasn't approved for use in the USA then how many MW100's (which had FCC approval) were subsequently sold in the USA and in Canada, and were they any good?

Kind regards to all who read this
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Re: Can Anyone Answer These Questions - MW100 Printer

Post by dr beep »

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Re: Can Anyone Answer These Questions - MW100 Printer

Post by 1024MAK »

The Sinclair ZX Printer actually used electrical sparks to burn the metal coating of the paper.

In America, a thermal printer was produced, it is called the TS 2040 Printer. It was made by Alphacom.
Later on, they sold the same printer, but marketed as the Alphacom 32 in Europe.

All the above printers would work on ZX81, TS1000, TS1500 and ZX Spectrum computers (they also worked on any compatible clones).

The TS 2040 Printer / Alphacom 32 use thermal paper, just like a lot of shops use in their tills to print your receipt. The Alphacom 32 was popular in the U.K., and I got one in the 1980s. Originally I had a rubber key ZX Spectrum and I used my Alphacom 32 a lot with it.

Here’s one link to more information about the TS 2040 Printer. I’m sure you will find more if you search.

As for the MW100 Printer, back in the 1980s, I was unaware of this printer. Maybe others know more?

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Re: Can Anyone Answer These Questions - MW100 Printer

Post by Moggy »

Cannot answer anything about the MM100 other than it used 1" 3/4 width paper as I used the Alphacom 32 printer (4" paper width as near as ) which unlike the Sinclair electrostatic printer is a thermal device with paper still readily available especially in bulk. I always thought that Sinclair's effort was a piece of unusable dreck which, as far as I'm aware gave off ozone due to its mode of operation (possibly the stink you could smell), hence mine and many others preference for the Alphacom, both of mine still going from new.

Alphacoms still pop up from time to time on the usual auction sites.

Almost forgot.

Various interfaces were available so the 81 could use a full size dot matrix printer, Memotech made one, which I still possess, which whilst it worked well enough couldn't print the Sinclair graphics characters.
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Re: Can Anyone Answer These Questions - MW100 Printer

Post by stefano »

I think it is worth to mention also the Seikosha GP50S. It was another one fully compatible with the zx printer
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Re: Can Anyone Answer These Questions - MW100 Printer

Post by jdfan1000 »


American here who actually saw an MW100 in a university store in the early 80s. I had a TS1000 and any printer was out of reach, so I spent a lot of time looking at stuff in stores.

The MW100 is a receipt printer modified to work with the Sinclair. It prints 16 chars across, so you have to tape two listings together.

Even then it seemed like a cruel joke of a printer.

Here’s some more info:

And a contemporary review: ... ew=theater

My collection, containing many Timex/Sinclair related publications., my website about Sinclair computers in the US.
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