Bill's StyleWriter II Easter Egg Page

http://www.oocities.org/MotorCity/1760/stylewriter.html





Accessing The StyleWriter II's Hidden Test Modes
by Bill Underwood
Apple Computer, Inc.
Imaging Continuation Engineering
1993

 




There are a variety of test modes hidden away in the StyleWriter II's ROM. I say "hidden" because Canon, who made the engine, never told Apple about them. One pattern, the maze, was discovered accidentally by a customer in Australia after production started.

So, I embarked on a quest to discover what other secrets the StyleWriter II ROMs contained. Accessing these built-in tests involves a specific (and unlikely) sequence of actions, described below. I do not discount the possibility that there could be other, presently undiscovered, methods of getting into these, or perhaps additional, test modes. Depending on the version of ROM, there are different test modes present.


To determine the ROM version, print the StyleWriter II's Test Page:

1. Press and hold down the power button. The amber error lamp will come on and stay lighted for five seconds.
2. When the error lamp goes out, release the button.

A picture of the StyleWriter II, the ROM version, and a diagonal "nozzle test" line will print. An unbroken diagonal line indicates that all 127 nozzles in the print cartridge are firing normally. Gaps or light segments in this line indicates the print head should be cleaned (or purged) as described in the manual.

ROM Version 1.0 & 1.01: Incorporates two basic types of test modes. One is a "Print Pattern Mode," and yields nine different print patterns, including a maze. The other mode is more of a mechanical life test or "Mechanism Exercise Mode." It yields two print patterns, and three tests that exercise different mechanical parts of the printer, ad-infinitum.

ROM Version 1.02: Not released to production in the StyleWriter II. Was immediately replaced with 1.03 right after sample submission to Continuation Engineering.

ROM Version 1.03: Only incorporates the exercise mode.

Important: Once you have enabled the "Print Pattern Mode" (ROM revisions 1.0 & 1.01 only) you must cancel it for the Macintosh to recognize the printer again. To cancel the test mode state, unplug and replug the AC cord (or turn power strip off, then on) while NOT holding the power button down.

You do not need to cancel the "Mechanism Exercise Mode" for revision 1.0, 1.01 or 1.03 ROMs. Print Pattern Mode (ROM revisions 1.0 & 1.01 Only). Each of the nine print patterns will print continously until you run out of paper, or turn the power off. In this mode, after the error lamp first lights, it will begin to flash one to eight times. Releasing the power button after different numbers of flashes determines which printed pattern you get.

Most interesting is the series of mazes that can be printed. Each maze is different, each has an entry and exit point, and are solvable. Releasing the power button quickly or slowly after flash #8 gives two different patterns, one being the maze. A serial cable may or may not be plugged in; this does not appear to matter.




PROCEDURE -- HIDDEN TEST PRINT PATTERNS:

With paper loaded and the power cord disconnected or power strip off:
1. Hold the power button down and then plug in the AC power cord, or turn power strip on.
2. Release the power button. The printer will be off.
3. Turn the printer on by pressing the power button once. The amber error lamp will briefly light up and the printer begins to initialize.
4. When the amber lamp goes out, immediately turn the printer off by pressing the power button, and hold the button down until the green power lamp goes out.
5. Turn the printer back on by pressing the power button and holding it down. The amber error lamp will come on for one full second and then begin to flash. Releasing the power button after a certain number of flashes determines what kind of pattern will print.
6. Special note if you count to the eighth flash: Releasing the power button quickly after #8 produces a mirror image vertical line pattern. Releasing one second or longer after the eighth flash produces the maze.


Number of flashes and the resulting print pattern:

1: Side by side, full page, vertical grey rectangles.
2: Full page grid, 15 squares wide by 21 tall. Bottom line does not print on letter size paper.
3: Four horizontal, single jet lines followed by alternating densities of horizontal rectangles.
4: Looks like a full page grey, bit-mapped "A."
5: One single-jet horizontal line followed by six small, 100% black density rectangles.
6: One single-jet horizontal line followed by horizontal grey and black rectangles.
7: Phased vertical lines and full width black rectangles with gaps. First page prints the rectangles at 100% black, but following pages print lighter.
8: Two possibilities: half page mirror image with vertical lines or mazes. Determined by how quickly the power buttons is released after the eighth flash (see above.)




PROCEDURE -- MECHANISM EXERCISE MODE
(Printer ROM revisions 1.0, 1.01 and 1.03)

This mode allows access to mechanism "life test" type activites and two print patterns. The activation sequence is almost the same as the one for getting the various print patterns, with slight modification. A serial cable may or may not be plugged in; this does not appear to matter.

With paper loaded and the power cord disconnected or power strip off:

1. Hold the power button down and then plug in the AC power cord, or turn power strip on.
2. Release the power button. The printer will be off.
3. Turn the printer on by pressing the power button once. The amber error lamp will briefly light up, and the printer begins to initialize.
4. Turn the printer off by pressing once and releasing. Do not hold the power button down.
5. Turn the printer back on by pressing the power button and holding it down. The amber error lamp lamp will flash once very briefly &endash; just a blip &endash; indicating you have entered the exercise mode. Subsequent flashes are longer, and these flashes are the ones to count. Releasing the power button after a certain number of flashes determines what happens. The lamp will flash one to five times, each yielding either a print pattern or starting an exercise.



Number of flashes and the resulting pattern or action:

1: Prints horizontal and vertical single-jet lines, a nozzle test line, grey and black rectangles.
2: Prints a horizontal single-jet line with short verticals at ends.
3: Maintenence station exercise. Performs a continous series of cleaning purges and wipes in quick succession.
4: Long stroke (full width) carriage mechanism test.
5: Immediate release after flash #5 performs long stroke carriage mechanism test. Releasing one second after flash #5 results in a short stroke (about 90 mm) test. The latter results in a higher operating duty cycle for the carriage and paper motion mechanisms.

Note that paper may or may not be present while running the mechanism tests. Although the paper feed mechanism is operating, the back tray is not activated to press the paper into the feed rollers, so there is no actual paper feeding in these modes.


Back to
Bill's Porsche 944 Page.