My wife wanted to do some printing using a daisy wheel printer. I purchased a KX-WD55 Daisywheel Printer from ebay.
I got ready to connect it up, only to realise that it was specifically designed to work with the KX-WL55 Word Processor Laptop and has a special proprietary connector I did not recognise.
It is definitely just a serial printer so my intention was to simply hack together an adaptor to a normal serial able and try to get it working with a PC.
However I found a WL55 laptop on ebay for £30. It was untested but I thought it was worth a punt.
I think the machine was made in the early 90’s maybe 1992 / 3.
I managed to find an original user manual online. wl55-userguide.pdf
When my machine arrived it had no power supply and there was a very corroded battery in the back.
I was now less optimistic it would work.
I have a bench power supply so I thought I would try mains power.
I saw on the side it needed a 13v supply and the image also shows the polarity of the connector. (bit hard to see in the photo)
I knocked up a little test rig on a breadboard and checked the voltage / polarity.
Then I was ready to try it on the device. That is the connector plugged in to the machine on the right.
and Bingo it works 🙂
Next to see if the printer works.
This just worked first time. Plugged it in, typed some test comments.
follow the onscreen instructions.
Nice. The print is really crisp and clear as well.
7 thoughts on “Panasonic WL55 (KX-WL55)”
I have the same KX-WL 55 with German ROM. i baught it 1991 ,the bill shows me.
It came with a german Manual.And an original disk…
And until i baught i used it until 1996 in my truck, with 12 volt car adapter.
After 1996 i put on the top rooftop.
Do you happen to know of any compatible power sources or battery packs currently available for the KX-WL55?
Did you ever figure out the protocol between the laptop and the printer? Is it just RS-232, or is it something more interesting like the serial (RS-485?) that Commodore used? Is it TTL or standard RS-232 levels? Just curious, because I saw one of these printers sitting around in a thift store (been there for weeks) but no associated laptop for it. It would be cool to print to it from an Arduino or something.
The typewriter is made around 1985 (there is a guy selling-it on the internet here: https://www.olx.ro/oferta/laptop-panasonic-wl-55-ms-dos-vintage-1985-colectie-IDcuB7a.html#4542df2693 ) claiming that is since 1985 and “mint condition ( with the folios on the screen);
Thanks for the Blog very helpful. If you look at the Photo of where the Mains power goes into the WL55, I was concerned that the conductor below the central pin was slightly rust Coloured on the one I purchased. Works fine though and now thanks to you I have the Instruction Manual FAB.
Just remember never leave Antique Electronics on when you’re not using them, if you’re out or asleep(possible Fire Hazard) you can’t be too careful..
The floppy drives fail on these because of a bad electrolytic capacitor on the main board. It is faily easy to replace with a suitable 4.7uf 25V and does not require stripping down the whole drive. The floppy drives are also belt-less and driven by a rotator. The WL55 is very similar in design to the Amstrad NC200 and maybe the ROM can be swapped out with an MS-DOS ROM.
The supplied DC power is 13V but 12V works too. The polarity is also reversed so center pin is negative on the DC barrel jack.