Parallel Iomega Printer Problems

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by stuart, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. stuart

    stuart Guest

    Pentium 300 on win 98

    For many years I have run the above system with a Printer that runs through
    the zip drive. without any problems

    Have recently bought a new printer that does not seem to like the zip drive,
    When attached through the Zip drive It works fine most of the time but
    occasionally prints rubbish. When NOT connected through the Zip drive it
    works fine all the time!

    It is my understanding that the modern printer needs a bidirectional
    interface and the Zip Drive is interferring with this!

    Can anyone suggest a simple "work a round" here, I cannot get a usb port to
    work on this machine and I am not wishing to upgrade, the machine is fine
    for running Excel on it and that is all I ned it for!

    If I wired up a cable so that the parallel cable split into two and then
    connected the Zip and Printer directly to the computer, what would happen,
    would both devices work properly?
    stuart, Oct 4, 2005
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  2. stuart

    Evan Platt Guest

    You can't. You'd need to get another parallel port on the computer,
    and put each on its own port.

    Yes, that would work fine.
    Evan Platt, Oct 4, 2005
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  3. stuart

    Trax Guest

    |>It is my understanding that the modern printer needs a bidirectional
    |>interface and the Zip Drive is interferring with this!

    Check your printer properties and see if you can turn off
    bidirectional printing.
    Trax, Oct 5, 2005
  4. stuart

    PC Guest

    On a PC that old you should be able to put in a second ISA Pinter port card.
    Look for someone who has wrecked an old XT or 286 computers and you can
    probably get one for free.

    Alternatively install an "A or B" switch box.

    Curious to know how you would implement your idea to split the parallel
    cable in two?

    PC, Oct 5, 2005
  5. stuart

    stuart Guest

    I have one but not sure where to plug it in!
    This means having to remember to set the switch to Zip when I fire up the
    computer, then having to keep switch back to the printer
    I have an A B switch box, simply permanently join together the wires
    invovlede in the switch, hence the switch box becomes a "Y" junction

    Providing I never used trhe ZIP and the Printer at the same time, why
    wouldn't it work ??
    stuart, Oct 5, 2005
  6. stuart

    PC Guest

    If it is an ISA card it should plug in the long black sockets on the
    The only 'setting' to do is to set it to an 'address' and 'Interupt'
    different to your present printer port so your PC can call it LPT2.
    The 'address' & 'interupt' is most likely set with little black jumpers over
    A list of printer port address's here:
    And a more indepth look at the printer port here:
    As a extra plug in card there is a good chance it is already set to LPT2,
    plug it in and see.

    If the thought of opening the box frightens you then I respectfully suggest
    you get a 'tech' to do it.
    Not that I think you can't do it but because what is obvious to a tech is
    not obvious to a novice and I have seen/heard many 'destructive' stories
    with the themes ' but I thought that was where it went' or 'there was this
    plug that was disconnected and I thought it should go somewhere"

    If the card you have is a 'PCI' one it goes into the 'White' sockets on the
    Setting the address & interupt on these though can quite often require a
    driver CD, i.e. they are 'soft' set.

    I thought you might be thinking along those lines.
    i.e. join both a&b ouput tags of each switch line?
    Which is the equivalent of connecting the printer port to both the devices
    at once, correct?

    The small but significant problem with that theory is that a pass through
    connection like on the back of your Zip dive does exactly that already vis:
    Pin 1 of the printer port is connected via the first cable to pin 1 of the
    zip input,
    Pin 1 of the Zip input is connected to both the electronic interface of the
    Zip dive AND pin 1 of the Zip output port.
    Pin 1 of the Zip output port is connected via the second cable to pin1 of
    the pinter input port
    (not strictly correct as the printer has a Centronic port and is wired
    differently but will do for illustrative purposes)
    Pin 2 of the printer port is connected via the first cable to pin 2 of the
    Zip input,
    Pin 2 of the Zip input is connected to both the electronic interface of the
    Zip drive AND pin2 of the Zip output port
    Pin 2 of the Zip output is ........................etc for all 25 pins.

    So whereas an A - B switch will switch the lines of the printer port on the
    computer to the device it's pointed at it will at the same time isolate the
    other device that it is not pointed at.

    The problems you are having is the very reason these 'pass throught'
    connections died out.
    The printer port was never designed to have more than one device attached to
    Sure the functionality of the printer port was improved with ECP and EPP,
    but all that was designed to do was allow two way communication. A plain
    (non ECP,EPP) port is an output only device only, that is apart from the
    'busy' and 'paper out' lines it sends data only and assumes the device at
    the other end can keep up unless it raises the 'busy' line.

    As a last thought, If you want to find out more about how PC's are
    built/configured the best detailed book that I know of is Scott Meullers
    'Upgrading and Repairing PC's'
    Try your local library for a copy, large, heavy, dry, archane but very
    detailed and full of 'explanations'

    PC, Oct 5, 2005
  7. stuart

    Willy Guest

    Quote from my iomega manual
    Some printers require exclusive use ot the parallel port and will not
    work correctly when connected to the pass through connector.
    Disable bi-directional printing which stops the zip drive and printer
    from talking to the system at the same time
    Some printers will not operate correctly it bi-directional is turned
    off, the only option then is to install another parallel port

    hope this helps
    Willy, Oct 5, 2005
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