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Old 12-16-2006, 11:51 PM   #1
narayanaras
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LPT1 port malfunctions after dual boot installation of SuSE SLED 10 with Windows XP


Hi!

I have Windows XP (SP-2) on my Pentium 4 (3 GHz, HT-enabled) PC. I have been using Lexmark Z11 printer on LPT1 for a year now.

But last fortnight I installed SuSE SLED 10 in dual boot mode. (When I start the PC now, GRUB offers me choice between Windows XP and Linux.)

Now my LPT1 port has stopped working. (I cannot print even a simple text file.)

I followed instructions in Windows troubleshooter, and deleted the port. Then I started Windows Control panel > Add Hardware. The Windows automatically detected the printer as "new hardware" and installed it again. But I am unable to use the printer even now.

The Device Manager in Windows shows that this port works properly.

What should I do now?
 
Old 12-17-2006, 12:21 PM   #2
charleykadet
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You can test your lpt port in linux with a voltmeter.. I can send you a little program for this but you need a developement platform (like gcc glibc and ....). I think the problem is more your printer than your LPT port. Check your computer on an other computer!
note:On newer computer there is no LPT port (Asus P5N32-SLI Premium) and newer printer cost under $100 (CAN).
 
Old 12-17-2006, 09:40 PM   #3
narayanaras
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You mean "check the PRINTER using another computer"? Yes, I'll do that.

Windows own troubleshooter for ports (accessible from Device Manager) says that "this device is working normally". I guess the method you are describing for Linux would have a similar conclusion; so IMHO it won't provide better clues about the printer's health.

Therefore, as you have suggested, it would be better for me to check the printer itself; with a known good set of PC+cable.

This printer has two buttons ("power ON" and "Page feed") and there are two LEDs next to these buttons.

When I turn on the printer, both LEDs keep blink randomly, regardless of-
(a) whether paper is there
(b) whether I have connected the printer cable and
(c) whether there is a print job.

So there is every chance that the printer itself is faulty.

But even if that's true, then this is a big coincidence between the failure and installation of SLED. (But the printer was NOT connected when I installed SLED.)

I opened up the printer and found nothing amiss physically. (e.g. loose cables, jammed paper, obstructions, dust, lint, etc.)
 
Old 12-17-2006, 10:38 PM   #4
charleykadet
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My test to the LPT port it's to send a command to the lpt port to enable a bit on the cable... after that you put a voltmeter on the selected pin and check if the lpt port execute the command. Windows does nothing of that.. it just checks if the drivers fail and if the device is here! Last year I did an ADC adapter on LPT... I can just modify the program and keep the protocol for your tests. I will put the code on my web page this week just go on charles.mx4crew.com later this week.
 
Old 12-17-2006, 10:42 PM   #5
xjlittle
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I've never experienced the following before with lpt ports but I have with nics. When dual booting between windows and linux you should power down the machine completely-not just do a reboot. For some reason either or both of the OS's will keep the firmware locked into the way they see the device.
 
Old 12-18-2006, 02:38 AM   #6
narayanaras
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charleykadet, thanks for the offer. However, I could test my cable with another PC and HP Laserjet printer; and it works perfectly. So I guess your program would not be needed now.

(BTW although your program can provide voltage on certain pins, it won't be able to check the return path! So if these wires are broken, your program would not be able to check that.)

Anyhow, now that the cable is confirmed to be OK, the printer seems to be faulty. I will connect it to a working PC and confirm. (A disturbing thought: Did SLED corrupt its firmware, either on its own or in conjunction with Windows??)

***
->xjlittle,

To switch between the OS's, I normally power the PC off and then turn it ON again, and then select the OS from the GRUB menu.

But I MAY have selected "Restart" option after installing some program in Windows (old habit!), without realizing that now GRUB would intercept when the PC restarts. (The default is SLED, so a restart from Windows actually lands me in SLED if I don't act fast). Would that affect the program state?

What is "reboot" method? I do not boot the SLED from DVD each time, if that's what you meant.
***
@both OS's locking the firmware:
I have observed something ELSE that makes me think that these OS's *do* interfere with each other: This weekend I tried out TVtime (a software for viewing/recording TV programs with a TV Tuner card). As a result, my Honestech PVR program (similar program, but in Windows) stopped working-- It lost all the saved channels, and would not even re-tune the card. Finally, I had to reinstall all drivers for the TV tuner card and also the entire PVR program. I have yet to see what it has done to the Linux program in turn!

This is relevant in this case, because a similar problem in printers cannot be rules out!
 
Old 12-18-2006, 04:48 AM   #7
Electro
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Try adding lp=reset at the boot loader line. In the BIOS, set the parallel port in EPP mode. This is actually the IEEE-1284 standard. Probably, you have it set to ECP with DMA which is ok for Windows.

For the printer, power it off and disconnect it from both the parallel port and AC for 24 hours. This should fix a memory problem. Use Windows to test. If it works, I suggest using VMware Server for printing.

In Linux, check the printer spool. Try delete any data in the spool, so the printer does not all sudden print tons of pages upon boot up.

http://www.linuxprinting.org/show_pr...um=Lexmark-Z11
 
Old 12-18-2006, 08:26 AM   #8
narayanaras
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro
Probably, you have it set to ECP with DMA which is ok for Windows.
Yes, the Windows port data shows that the port is ECP (Win XP set this automatically; I had no choice in this selection).

But then when I switch over to Linux, shouldn't Linux's own setting take effect?

Or is the port setting common between Windows and Linux?
(In other words, do we need to change the port setting such that the new setting is acceptable to both Windows and Linux?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro
Try adding lp=reset at the boot loader line. In the BIOS, set the parallel port in EPP mode. This is actually the IEEE-1284 standard.
Will do. Thanks.
But unfortunately I do not know how to do both:
(a) add lp=reset at the boot loader line
(b) set the parallel port in EPP mode in BIOS

Could you suggest some steps to follow? Thanks in advance!
Another thing: Wouldn't a change in BIOS affect Windows' setting for the printer? I need to use the printer for BOTH Windows and Linux!

***
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro
...I suggest using VMware Server for printing.
I was not aware of VMware; so checked Wikipedia. It seems to be a tool to run Windows and Linux on the same PC simultaneously (without having to shut down the PC to switch to the other OS).

BTW do you think "VMware Workstation" would be more appropriate for me, as compared to "VMWare server"? (I do not propose to use the PC remotely; just run Windows and Linux simultaneously).

Anyway, that's strictly for the future: Given my present lack of knowledge of Linux, any malfunction in VMWare (or hardware issues) will only add to my problems. Therefore, I better wait till I am good at Linux. Thanks for the tip!

Last edited by narayanaras; 12-18-2006 at 08:53 AM.
 
Old 12-20-2006, 04:06 AM   #9
narayanaras
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Electro,

Can you please help me with the details?

After my last post, I powered down the printer for 2 days and then tested it with another healthy PC running Windows XP.

It still has the same problem (both LEDs blink randomly).
 
Old 12-20-2006, 01:02 PM   #10
charleykadet
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Check if it isn't a firmware problem in the printer. The port should work if it's on ECP or EPP. The difference are in control register of the port like when you write a word to 37Ah you can set 378h bidirectionnal... but a printer doesn't need to send data to computer, and not all port support bidirectional! In the standard IEEE 1284, there is no specifications on bidirectionnal port. A printer can't use these functions if the standard doesn't talk about that... I just think that your printer use no-conventional bits over the port like in the control adress 37Ah.. Because you only have 5bits in 379h you can use 3 bits in 37Ah with a little tricky program.
 
Old 12-21-2006, 12:05 AM   #11
narayanaras
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Hi charleykadet/Electro,

I am not a programmer; and have dealt with firmware before only once (which consisted of downloading an executable and double-click on it, and wait till it finishes.)

I do not possess the background knowledge about PC architecture, ports, printer architecture, firmware, etc.

So terms such as 378h, 37Ah, 379h etc are completely incomprehensible for me.

Therefore, the overview that you have provided does not help me, unfortunately. Could you provide some steps "for dummies"? It will be ok if the steps are for Windows rather than for Linux.

I would like to be able to follow that troubleshooting steps without developing an in-depth understanding of the subject.

Thanks in advance!
 
Old 12-21-2006, 01:42 AM   #12
charleykadet
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sorry for that... In linux you can load http://charles.mx4crew.com/lptout.c and http://charles.mx4crew.com/Makefile . Put these files in a separate directory and run `make` everthing should compile 8-) and after run ./lptout as root... put a voltmeter on pines 2 to 9.. and output these bit in hex mode.. like 1 for pin 2, 2 for pin 3, 4 for pin 4, 8 for pin 5,....
 
Old 12-21-2006, 02:56 AM   #13
narayanaras
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But I guess my experiments with the cable and printer (with another known healthy PC) have confirmed that the printer is not working. Probably that means that the PC's port is not at fault. (I can confirm that part once the printer starts working with the healthy PC).

In other words, I would like to concentrate on the printer at the moment (e.g. reinstall its firmware, etc).

Can anyone help me there?

Thanks!
 
Old 12-21-2006, 12:43 PM   #14
charleykadet
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I know that you can change firmware of a device.. but a printer.. I never see anything about this. You may loose less time if you buy a new one.. it cost 45$ CAN
 
Old 12-22-2006, 09:27 AM   #15
narayanaras
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Cost of a new printer is not the issue: If Linux somehow killed my printer, won't it do again to my new printer?

That's why I must make certain what really happened.
 
  


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