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IEEE 1284 modes “ Centronics “ interface.

IEEE 1284 is a standard that defines bi-directional parallel communications between computers and other devices.

IEEE 1284 can operate in five modes:

 Compatibility Mode, also known as Centronics standard or SPP, is a uni-directional implementation with only a
few differences from the original Centronics design. This mode is almost exclusively used for printers. The only
signals that the printer can send back to the host are some fixed-meaning status lines that signal common error
conditions, such as the printer running out of paper.
 Nibble Mode is an interface that allows the device to transmit data four bits (a nibble) at a time, (re)using four of
the status lines of Compatibility Mode for data. This is the Bi-tronics mode introduced byHP and is generally
used for enhanced printer status. Although never officially supported with these, Nibble Mode works with most of
the pre-IEEE-1284 Centronics interfaces as well.
 Byte Mode, also known as "Bi-Directional" (although all modes except Compatibility Mode are in fact bi-
directional), is a half-duplex mode that allows the device to transmit eight bits at a time using the same data lines
that are used for the other direction. This mode is supported on a minority of pre-IEEE-1284 interfaces as well,
such as those built into the IBM PS/2 computers; because of this, it is sometimes unofficially called the PS/2
mode.
 Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) is a half-duplex bi-directional interface designed to allow devices like printers,
scanners, or storage devices to transmit large amounts of data while quickly being able to switch channel
direction. EPP can provide up to 2 MByte/s bandwidth, approximately 15 times the speed achieved with normal
parallel-port communication with far less CPU overhead.[1]
 Extended Capability Port (ECP) is a half-duplex bi-directional interface similar to EPP, except that PC
implementations use direct memory access (usually ISA DMA on channel 3) to provide even faster data transfer
than EPP by having the ISA DMA hardware and the parallel port interface hardware handle the work of
transferring the data instead of letting the CPU do this work. Many devices that interface using this mode
support RLE compression. ECP can provide up to 2.5 MByte/s of bandwidth, which is the natural limit of 8-bit
ISA DMA An ECP interface on a PC can improve transfers to pre-IEEE-1284 printers as well, by reducing the
CPU load during the transfer ; however, the transfer in that case is unidirectional.

There are two kinds of IEEE 1284 cables:

 IEEE 1284-I: uses IEEE 1284-A and IEEE 1284-B connectors.


 IEEE 1284-II: uses IEEE 1284-C connectors.

Three types of connectors are defined:

 Type A: DB-25 (25 pin, for the host connection).


 Type B: Centronics (officially called " Micro Ribbon") 36 pin, for the printer or device connection.
 Type C: Mini-Centronics (MDR36) 36 pin, a smaller alternative for the device connection not popular.
IEEE 1284 can send addresses, allowing individual components in a multifunction device (printer, scanner, fax, etc.)
to be addressed independently. Unlike the Centronics interface, the specifications of the cable are also defined in
IEEE 1284, providing a cable length up to 32 feet. A legacy interface today, IEEE 1284 has been superseded by USB
and network connections. See Centronics interface, DOT4 and USB.

EPP Mode

The Enhanced Parallel Port protocol was originally developed by Intel, Xircom and Zenith Data Systems, as a means
to provide a high performance parallel port link that would still be compatible with the standard parallel port. This
protocol capability was implemented by Intel in the 386SL chipset (82360 I/O chip). This was prior to the
establishment of the IEEE 1284 committee and the associated standards work.

The EPP protocol offered many advantages to parallel port peripheral manufactures and was quickly adopted by
many as an optional data transfer method. A loose association of around 80 interested manufacturers was formed to
develop and promote the EPP protocol. This association became the EPP Committee and was instrumental in
helping to get this protocol adopted as one of the IEEE 1284 advanced modes.

Since EPP capable parallel ports were available prior to the release of the 1284 standard, there is a small deviation
between the pre-1284 EPP ports and 1284 EPP protocol. This will be made clearer later.

The EPP protocol provides four types of data transfer cycles:

1. Data Write Cycle


2. Data Read Cycle
3. Address Write Cycle
4. Address Read Cycle

Data cycles are intended to be used to transfer data between the host and the peripheral. Address cycles may be
used to pass address, channel, or command and control information. These cycles can be viewed as just two
different data cycles. The developer may use and parse the address/data information in any method that makes
sense for a particular design.