Jaap's Psion II Page

Paralink Manual

This is the manual for the Paralink. There is also a French Paralink Manual available.


Parallel Printer Link
Câble pour imprimante parallèle
Paralelle Druckerschnittstelle
Dispositivo para impresora en paralelo
Interfaccia per una stampante paralella



1 Installing and Using Paralink 2 Printing the Main Database Files or Diary 3 Setting Printing Options 4 Using Paralink With Other Hardware and Software 5 Using Paralink from OPL 6 Problems? Index

All rights reserved. The Paralink software and manual are copyrighted works. Reproducing, copying, adapting or publishing, in whole or part, without express written permission is prohibited.

This product is designed by Silvertree Engineering Ltd and is manufactured and marketed exclusively by Widget Software Ltd.

Software © Silvertree Engineering Limited 1989, 1990 Manual and packaging © Widget Software Ltd 1990

Manufacturer's Warranty and Limitation of Liability

If within 12 months of purchase this equipment can be shown to be faulty and not in function substantially as described in the manual, Widget Software Ltd will replace the goods or refund the purchase price at the option of the purchaser.

Apart from this warranty, Widget Software Ltd and Silvertree Engineering will not in any event be liable for any loss, consequential or otherwise, caused by any error, defect or failure of the equipment or howsoever otherwise arising, including but not limited to loss of use, loss of stored data, loss of profit or loss of contracts, other than liability for death or personal injury.


Paralink is a registered trademark of Widget Software Ltd. Psion Organiser II and
Datapak are registered trademarks of Psion plc.
Typeset by PHA Computer Aided Design, Letchworth, Herts.
Printed by Triographics, Knebworth, Herts.

1. Installing and Using Paralink

Paralink is a communications interface which connects the Psion Organiser II directly to a parallel (Centronics) printer. It consists of a cable with a case containing a circuit board on one end and a Centronics plug on the other.

Fitting Paralink to your Organiser

One end of Paralink fits into the top slot of the Psion Organiser II, located ABOVE the screen. Slide the cover plate open to reveal the connection port, and simply insert the Paralink adaptor into the slot until it clicks.

If you want to use your Organiser on mains power, it is recommended that you connect the Mains Adaptor to the mains socket on Paralink AFTER you have fitted Paralink to your Organiser.

Connect the plug at the other end of the Paralink adaptor to the corresponding socket on your printer.

To load the Paralink software into your Organiser:

The Paralink software uses about 1k of the memory in your Organiser RAM, but it will use the special area of the memory which is reserved for devices. Unless you are already using another program (such as the spreadsheet) which occupies this area of RAM, Paralink will not reduce the amount of RAM available for drive A: or the Diary.

Paralink can be removed by pressing the small lug on the top and pulling the unit from the Organiser at the same time. To remove me Paralink software from memory, press the [ON] key twice after removing Paralink.

Using Paralink

Testing the Unit

If the screen goes blank and nothing happens when you try to print, there is probably something not connected or the printer is out of paper. Pressing the [ON] key will return to normal, so that you can try again. If printing occurs but other strange things are happening, see section 3 about SETUP.

2. Printing the Main Database Files or Diary

These facilities are mainly of interest to CM and XP owners. The Organiser models LZ and LZ64 have database and diary printing functions built in to their own operating system.

Select ZPLINK from the Organiser's top level menu (the one which begins FIND SAVE etc) to give the print menu:

***** PARALINK ***** Mainfile Diary   Setup Test   Quit Version
Print menu (LZ and LZ64)

Press [M] for MainFile.

PRINT MAIN FILE:   A:Internal-Memory   B:Datapak-Slot   C:Datapak-Slot
Print menu (LZ and LZ64)

The next menu asks you whether you wish to print the main database in internal memory (A:MAIN) or that in one of the packs in the side slots (B:MAIN or C:MAIN).

Next you can choose whether to print out the various 'fields' at your database separated by spaces, commas or newlines.

PRINT FORMAT REQD?   Spaces Commas   Newlines  
Choosing the print format

The three formats are, for example,

Fred & Sarah 23 Cherry St Goodtown XZ5 7JJ


Fred & Sarah, 23 Cherry St, Goodtown, XZ5 7JJ


Fred & Sarah 23 Cherry St Goodtown XZ5 7JJ

Next you can choose whether to print out either the whole file, or just a selection in which case you will be asked to Print, Skip, or Quit altogether as the first line of each database entry is displayed on the screen.

Pressing the [ON] key will escape the printing process, but remember that some printers may still have a few characters to print (stored in their own memory) before they will stop printing.

Printing the Diary

To print the contents of the Diary, simply press [D] from the printer menu. Again you can stop the printing with [ON]. Entries marked with an asterisk (*) on the printout have alarms set.

3. Setting Printing Options

Choose ZPLINK from the Organisers top level menu to give the print menu:

***** PARALINK ***** Mainfile Diary   Setup Test   Quit Version
Print menu (LZ and LZ64)
and now press [S] for SETUP which gives a further menu.

PARALINK SETUP:   Linefeeds Width   Delay Translate  Reset Quit
Setup Menu
This menu allows you to change the line spacing, the width of the text on the paper, and the length of time for which the Paralink will wait if it is not getting the right signals back from the printer.

You can also exchange one character for another through the translate option.

Line Spacing

One non-standard thing about parallel printers is that some provide a line feed at the end of every line automatically, and some do not. Most printers can actually be adjusted to do either, but this is often a difficult exercise.

If you find that your printed output leaves an extra (blank) line between the printed lines of the test strings you will need to change a printer setting.

If you press [L] for Linefeeds, you can then press either [L] to add linefeeds to the printer setup, or [N] to remove them. To go back to the main menu, just press [ON].


WIDTH enables printing to a specified width on the set to zero (the default), the printer will provide a new line whenever it reaches the end of the paper width. Setting WIDTH to 50, for example, will force a new line whenever 50 characters have been printed. A width at zero (the default) will use whatever width the printer is set to, i.e.. the maximum number of characters it can print per line.


DELAY, often referred to as 'timeout', affects the length of time for which Paralink will wait before giving up if there is a printer fault, such as being out of paper or jammed.

Setting DELAY to zero will cause the software to wait forever, or until you press the [ON] key which will escape the printing process. Setting it to a higher number (e.g.. 10) will cause Paralink to wait that number of seconds before giving up.

If your printer takes a long time to load new sheets of paper, for example, you may need to increase this from the default of 5 seconds.

If there are no faults, DELAY does not cause any delay before printing.

Translation of Characters

TRANSLATE will enable one specific character to be converted to another character before printing it. Characters are entered as the ASCII codes, to enable non-keyboard characters to be printed easily. For example translating from ASCII 37 to ASCII 63 will convert "%" into "?". A full list of ASCII codes is given in most printer manuals. This function usually only needs to be used in specialised applications, and can be ignored for most purposes. More details appear in section 5.

All of the settings made by SETUP will remain in your Organiser until you change them again, or until you use the RESET option (by pressing [R]) which will set all the parameters back to the original settings.


On Organiser models CM and XP there is an option to change the language used by Paralink.

4. Using Paralink With Other Hardware and Software

Psion Comms Link (RS232 Link)

If you wish to use the Psion RS232 link, to drive a serial printer or a computer, just fit the RS232 adaptor in place of the Paralink adaptor and 'boot' it into memory by pressing [ON] while in the main menu.

The Comms Link will remove the Paralink software from the memory of the Organiser but the 'Setup' parameters (width, delay, etc.) set for Paralink will be transferred to the Comms Link software, and vice-versa.


Like the Comms Link and the Mains Adaptor, Paralink allows your Organiser to be connected to mains power. Surges from mains power can sometimes cause a Rampak to lose its memory.

It you want to plug in Paralink and connect to the mains while you have a Rampak in your Organiser, Psion recommend the following steps:

  1. Switch off the Organiser.
  2. Remove the Rampak.
  3. Insert Paralink in the top of the Organiser.
  4. Insert the Mains plug into Paralink.
  5. Switch on the Organiser; this dissipates any power surge.
  6. Switch off the Organiser.
  7. Insert the Rampak.

5. Using Paralink from OPL

With the Paralink software and hardware installed, you can write OPL programs which send data to a printer. If you have already written such programs (to work with the Comms Link), the same programs should run with Paralink.

Most of the OPL extensions provided with the Comms Link (e.g. INPUT$, TRIG$) are used only for communications with other computers and these are not recognised by Paralink which is for printers only. The relevant communications commands for printers are just LPRINT and LSET.

The LPRINT Command

LPRINT is used just like PRINT and is described in the Organiser handbook in the section on OPL commands.

The LSET Procedure

LSET is used like an OPL procedure and is used to set up the printing parameters from OPL rather than from the 'Setup' menu as described in these instructions. Parameters that can be set by the LSET procedure from Paralink are WIDTH DELAY LINEFEEDS TRANSLATE

The purposes of these parameters are described in section 3. To maintain compatibility with the Comms Link programming methods, the LSET procedure takes up to 15 parameters. Most of these are not used by Paralink, but they must be catered for if the same software is to be used to drive both Paralink and the Comms Link.

The full parameter syntax for LSET is:


Only four of these are used by Paralink. Just use value -1 as shown for the most of the parameters. We are only interested here in width%, delay%, teol$ ("Transmit End-Of-Line string", which gives the linefeed conversion) and ttrn$ ("Transmit Translate string", which gives the 'Translate' conversion). A typical usage for Paralink would be


which sets the width to 50 characters, teol$ to CHR$(13)+CHR$(10) (see below), translates all occurrences of "$" into "&" and sets the delay to 5 seconds. All the other parameters are unused by Paralink so putting other values to them will have no effect (you may wish do to this to maintain compatibility with the Comms Link).

If you only wish to adjust the translate string (ttrn$), then


would change occurrences of "/" to "\" but leave all the other settings unchanged. You don't need to specify all the parameters after the one that needs changing. For example


would change the WIDTH to 80 characters and leave everything else unchanged.

End-of-Line Sequences

TEOL$ stands for "Transmit end-of-line string" and is a string of zero, one or two characters which the printer will 'print' whenever it receives the end-of-line character (ASCII 13).

In the example above, the teol$ of CHR$(13)+CHR$(10) will print a linefeed (ASCII 10) as well as a new line.

This corresponds to a LINEFEEDS? YES command from the 'Setup' menu). Alternatively, you could set teol$ to


which would print an extra full stop at the end of every line. Note that teol$ should be at most TWO characters long.

Translation of Characters

TTRN$ translates the first character to the second. Setting ttrn$ to "XY" would convert all X's to be printed as Y's, if you should wish it.

If you use a single character for ttrn$, that character will be deleted. So, for example, with ttrn$ set to "A", the string "BANANAS" would be printed as "BNNS".

If you wish no translation of characters to take place, set the ttrn$ to a null string (i.e. ""). This can also be accomplished from the SETUP menu by setting both the 'from' and 'to' characters to ASCII 0.

It is not usually possible to use this function to change a hash (#) into pound sign (£), because they have the same ASCII code!

However, some printers support a different character set which gives these characters different codes, usually by printing the dollar sign ($) (ASCII 36) as a pound sign. See your printer manual for details.

Error Codes

The Paralink LPRINT routine can return three different errors which can be tested with ON ERROR, ERR, etc:

Testing for Paralink

The following OPL subroutine will test whether Paralink is connected. The subroutine returns value "1" if Paralink is connected, "0" if not.


6. Problems?

If Paralink refuses to print, or gives a 'DEVICE WRITE ERROR', check that:

If Paralink prints but the data is garbled, check using SETUP that the TRANSLATE characters are set to zero. Use RESET to set all the parameters back to their standard format.

it is possible that you may have some other problems. If, for example, Paralink won't print even after trying the suggested checks above, please contact your dealer, or write to: Widget Software Limited, 121 London Road, Knebworth, Herts. SG3 6EX.


Centronics Comms Link CM Delay Devices DEVICE WRITE ERROR Diary End-of-Line Error Fields INPUT$ Language Line Spacing LPRINT LSET LZ LZ64 Mains Adaptor (2) MainFile OPL Print format Printing menu RAM Rampaks RS232 SETUP (2) Test Timeout Top level menu Translation (2) TRIG$ Width XP ZPLINK (2) (3)

Widget Software Ltd, 121 London Rd, Knebworth, Herts SG3 6EX, U.K.