Jumat, 24 Januari 2014

Review Generic 5890 thermal receipt printer

If you ever shopped ebay or amazon for a cheap thermal receipt printer, you must have seen this one offered by an array of sellers.

Some of them come in slightly different enclosure, but from the specification and placement of buttons etc, you can tell it is the same machine.

My theory is that, this model 5890 (T-5890, 5890G, FT-5890, etc.) is manufactured by several different manufacturers in China.  They must be based on the same ODM scheme. Another thing in common is that they all comes in brown box and no marking of manufacturers address or so.  (generic - no brand)


As usual, I take it apart and see whats inside.
Very easy to disassemble.

In case you cant see the marking on IC, it is using:
- NUVOTON nuc501adnarm
This is the controller, ARM-M0

- A3906
I think this is the motor driver.

- Winbound 25016BVSIG

* NUVOTON / Winbound is the same company.

To be fair, this solution isnt bad.  The choice of ARM-M0 and 16mbit ROM is capable of many things.  However, the problem is in the manufacturing part
  • For this particular unit I got, there are components look like scrapped off used electronics and soldering job isnt great.  
  • The power supply which comes with the printer feels flimsy.
  • Compatibility under windows. (Ill get to this below)

The printer head (JRP-2RA1) has manufacturers sticker.  Its website states that this printer head is electronically compatible with Fujitsu FTP-628MCL101, which is a popular model used in many thermal receipt printers.

Software  -  Linux

Connecting it to a linux machine through USB, it shows up as /dev/usb/lp0.  Since it does not supply Linux driver with the machine, I can not use CUPS.  Just plain old serial connection.

[root@alarmpi ~]# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 0416:5011 Winbond Electronics Corp. Virtual Com Port
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 046d:c52b Logitech, Inc. Unifying Receiver
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
cat test.txt > /dev/usb/lp0

#For this to work, I have to disable CUPS

The printer comes with ESC/POS manual on a CD. It appears to be compatible with Epson TM-T88, with some exceptions. However, as I tested the unit, some compatible ESC/POS command are only partially supported.
  • ESC ! n     This shorthand setting works, but does not take mixed setting well.  Stick with individual command for safe.
  • Underline does not show in some cases involving line wrapping.
  • Other small differences from EPSON ESC/POS.

Here is the sample print out:

Software - Windows 7  (it does not work)

I can not get it to work on win7.  The device shows up and driver installed without complaint, it just does not print anything.  Anything submitted to the printer shows as error.

I have tried the following:
  • change printer port USB - LPT - COM
  • re-install printer driver
  • unplug / plug in again
It shows on my device list. But does not print anything.

I have only windows 7 at home, therefore can not vote for XP/Vista/8.  If any reader has success with this printer on windows machine, please share your method.


This is a cheap thermal receipt printer with partial ESC/POS support.  The general concern with these printers are the printer head is not durable.  If working continuously, overheating might reduce printer heads useful life quickly.

What it does:
  • Print out English/European/Chinese characters, symbols.
  • Basic formatting such as double height, double width, underline.
  • Easy to work on Linux.

What it doesnt do:
  • Work under Windows 7.
  • Drop-in replace your Epson TM-T20.

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