Plug 2 printers on LPT1 with a switch box

Posted on 1997-07-14
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I want to plug 2 printers on LPT1 with a switch box: a laser on A and a dot matrix on B.  I added the 2 printers in WIN95, so that when I click on "settings" and "printers", I see the 2 printers icons.  So I tested.
I put the switch on A, right clicked on the laser printer icon and clicked on "set by default":  the printing is ok.

I then put the switch on B, right clicked on the dot matrix printer and clicked on "set by default"... I has printed garbage....

It was working on my old computer running Win95 (I didn"t set it myself)... I just had to switch from A to B and it was ok.

What am I doing wrong?
Question by:Jocelyne
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Expert Comment

ID: 1749493
1.  Try updating the printer drivers.
2.  Only set one printer as default.
3.  If updating the driver did not work try uninstalling the printer and reinstalling it.
4.. Make sure your switch box is functioning by switching the working printer to B

Expert Comment

ID: 1749494
you must quit you'r application after changing default printer

Expert Comment

ID: 1749495
Windows 3.1x and Win95 are strange in that when you launch an applications (Word, Excel, etc.), they take a "snap shot" of what the defaulted system printer is.  As the applications load, this information is combined with their own initialization files to match the "default printer".  If you change the default printer in the Printer folder, you muust go into File|Print Setup of what ever application you are in and change to the new "default printer" as the system will not automatically update if for you. Pretty frustrating, I know, but this is what I have to do also (I have a very similar setup to you).  One bit of advice:  If you know someone who is good with C++ or VB programming, try and have them write a small API that will automatically do this for would then be able to set this on your Start Menu or any of the context sensative Menu that you can edit.  I am in the process of having a friend of mine write this for me.  Best of luck.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1749496
The only thing i have seen was a case with a switch that wasnt "break before make" on a satifactory level. Ie: When throwing the switch, you put a garbage character or two in the buffer wchich spooks the print. Try flipping the switch and then make a hard reset of the matrix printer.

Author Comment

ID: 1749497
Thanks guys for all your suggestions, but I still doesnt work...I tried everything (switch the printers, reinstall it, update the printers drivers, quit the application after changing default printer, change the default printer manually, plug the printer directly in LPT1, hard reset, etc) but without success...

The printer self test correctly...I am desesperate...

Expert Comment

ID: 1749498
Most laser printers do not tolerate being shared through an AB switch. Some manufacturers will void your warranty in such a situation. You can share the port, but you must use one of the electronic sharing switches, which will poll both ports sequentially. I have a few of these in my closet, which I acquired at low cost from a consignment store. If you are unable to obtain one at reasonable cost, consider installing a second bi-directional port for your laser printer.

Author Comment

ID: 1749499
Avery, Thanks for your hint about my laser printer, but my dot matrix printer still doesnt work...
LVL 29

Accepted Solution

TeRReF earned 130 total points
ID: 1749500
Perhaps your tabs configuration is'nt right.
I had the same problem with our Laserjet 5. It printed garbage as well...
If you look at the properties of your dot matrix, try to find some kind of tabs configuration. (Hope the is one !) if 'expand tabs to 8' or some sentence of that kind, is enabled; disable it...



Expert Comment

ID: 1749502
My first concern was that you do not jeopardize your Laser Printer's warranty by running it through an A/B mechanical switch. I could not guarantee that the Dot Matrix printer would function properly on an electronic print sharing device. I have several, but have never tried that combination. Due to the vast functional differences between impact and other types of printers, I would not be likely to attempt it. I do run an HP DeskJet 694c and an Okidata OL600e led laser on my machine. I have them on seperate bi-directional ports, LPT1 and LPT2 respectively. The second port is on a seperate card, and was quite inexpensive. Please reconsider this option, as it offers a reliable and workable arrangement. You do need to have an open slot available on your motherboard for the i/o card, however.
Regards, Avery
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 1749501
ThAnX !!

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