2007-05-17

Mac USB Parallel printer adapters

Now I am able to use my old HP LaserJet printer like a champ with Mac OS X - by using a low cost USB parallel printer adapter and a little bit of magic software.

USB to Parallel adapters are inexpensive little adapters (generally under $20) that allow you to connect a printer using the old "parallel" connector standard over USB. There are generally two kinds of parallel interfaces on a printer: Either the 36-pin Centronics-style connector, or the 25-pin D-shaped printer connector. My HP used the bulkier 36-pin connector, so I bought an adapter with that style connector.

The low-cost USB-to-Parallel adapter I use with my Mac

But it all wasn't as easy as it should have been - even though I pluged it all together, my USB to Parallel adapter would either lock up after a single print job, or it wouldn't be detected by the Mac at all. I suffered with the situation for months, and even imagined purchasing a more modern printer. But perseverance paid off - I got it all to work by installing a simple printing package.

My solution to this problem was to install USBTB. This alternative printer backend for Mac OS X now lets me use my "USB to Parallel" adapter reliably, and with zero fuss. [And USBTB has worked wonderfully under many OS versions: Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard.]

USBTB detected my printer model right away. I just selected my
printer's driver
and within 30 seconds I was printing my thesis!

Those old Centronics connectors are no longer a reason to throw out an otherwise reliable workhorse printer. Owners of those solid older laser printers now have a reason to rejoice!

Update: 6-Feb-2010

Another great option is to use a low-cost Parallel to Ethernet "print server", as noted here.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this tip! After two maddeningly unsuccessful days of trying to get my MacBook Pro to recognize a LaserJet 4 connected via USB-Parallel cable, I downloaded and installed USBTB and: bingo! Success. So happy not to have to junk the LaserJet, which prints like a dream and is built like a tank.

Anonymous said...

Where did you buy your USB to parallel adapter? I bought one from Sabrent to connect my Mac to my HP LaserJet, but it doesn't work at all (even with USBTB). I'm thinking the difference must be in the cable.

LanceJ said...

Your best bet is to read the Amazon reviews. There are some pretty decent ones out there, but many others are junk. Don't spend more than $20, and make sure the return policy is decent!

Sara said...

Never thought i would find the solution! Contacted support but there was no use. Million thanks!
HP LaserJet p1102


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