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GlamZ 10-06-2004 05:21 AM

Converting a parallel port input to a usb printer via a Linux box as a print server
Hi all, I'm hoping someone can tell me if this is possible.

I have an expensive piece of electronics kit that has the ability to print its ouput via PCL to a parallel port HP printer (or indeed most generic printers)

The printer I was using has died & until I can find an old parallel printer on ebay I only have a usb printer.

The question is surely it is quite simple to install some software (CUPS perhaps?) on my laptop & spool the input parallel signal into a file & then redirect it to the USB printer?? Using my laptop as a simple (all be it expensive) printer switch.

Any suggestions would be greatly received. Thanks in advance!

maroonbaboon 10-06-2004 10:18 AM

Interesting problem, but I have no idea how to do it. What sort of cable were you planning to use to connect your piece of kit to the laptop?

GlamZ 10-06-2004 11:17 AM

It would be a standard parallel cable, the equipment has a parallel (centronics) port & internal drivers to print to most standard parallel printers HP laserjet series, Epson's etc.

Trouble is it's an old bit of kit & would be approx 25,000 to buy a newer version (with ethernet) that would talk to a print server, I need to get some data off of it quite quickly, quicker than I can source a new parallel port printer. Given time I figure I could rewrite a patch for some OS software to do it, but was hoping someone had a better idea.

I was figuring that with a print server the print data is embedded into a TCP/IP packet sent to the server that then redirects that data to whatever printer is connected to that server, that either someone else had already done this in S/W or else it would be quite easy to do.

... I guess maybe I'm wrong, but I was figuring that it would involve possibly buffering it as a postscript file & then redirect it using two different apps. Guess I should look at the CUPS source to see how they transfer the data from Internet packets to the printer.

maroonbaboon 10-06-2004 11:26 PM

Have you tried reading the parallel port directly (e.g. cat /dev/parport0 > data.dat)? The source for the parport driver might suggest other things to do.

If you can capture the raw PCL like this then googling for pcl2ps gets a few hits, and practically all linux print setups can print postscript (using ghostscript) to any sort of printer.

I don't understand where TCP/IP gets into the picture.

Edit: about that cable - there are two sorts of parallel cable. One is a printer cable and the other is a 'parallel null' or 'laplink' cable, used for data transfer between two PCs.

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