To connect a printer you need a serial or parallel interface that allows your computer to talk to the printer. Refer to article Serial and Parallel Interface Cards
The most common interface is the RS232 card in the PEB. It has a PIO port and a TI printer cable has a connector on one end for it and a centronics connnector for the printer on the other end.
There are other ways to connect a printer. There were external RS232 devices that plugged into the right hand side of the console and functioned just like the PEB card. Axiom and other manufacturers made a printer interface that plugged into the side of the console and then went directly into the printer.
Last but not least, there were certain cartridges that had interface connections built into them. The printer would then plug right into the cartridge.
TI sold two printers with their name on for the TI99/4a.
- TI Solid State Thermal Printer
- TI-99/4 Impact Printer.
The TI Thermal Printer is a small thermal printer that prints on 3.5" wide thermal paper rolls. It prints at an average speed of 30cps and each character is 5x7 matrix. Its casing matches the silver/black consoles and it is a little bit larger than the Speech Synthesiser. It would print 32 characters per line and was capable of printing a screen dump. Unfortunately the thermal paper would fade or blacken with age and supplies after the initial purchase were very difficult to obtain as the printer was not on sale for long.
TI-99/4 Impact printer
OEMed from Epson and equivalent to an MX-80 printer. It is a 9-pin dot matrix printer that has both a serial and parallel port. The Epson FX-80 was broadly equivalent.
You can purchase an Epson MX-80 equivalent for the printer and these are available at most office supply stores. Epson made some of the most durable and long lasting impact printers and they are still in heavy use today
Third party printers
Look for a printer that is compatible/comparible to the Epson MX-80. The MX-80 supported 96 ascii characters plus 64 block graphic characters. Also, the printer should have either a serial or parallel (centronics) port.
For printers that do not use the Epson escape sequences you may be limited to printing standard text only- equivalent to using a line printer.
Editor Assembler Quirk
Run, Print and List options - The Editor/Assembler module REQUIRES a full stop after the first part of the device name. To print to a parallel printer PIO will not work but PIO. will work. (This was a bug in an Ed/As disk file which was later fixed after TI exited the market, many disks in use retain the error).