Running Multiple Printers in Windows 95

I am looking for a way to have 5 LPT ports in windows 95. I have tried several multi I/O cards but nobody seems to have a driver that works in win95, only dos and unix. The one driver I have found is from Sunix and I took 8min to transfer a 900K file. Please be specific in your answer please.
SoltuionsAsked:
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jrhelgesonCommented:
Check it out..
http://www2.southwind.net/~commtech/lpt.html

Why do you need so many parallel ports one a win95 mashine?
Printer sharing?  Why not use a remote printserver?
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SoltuionsAuthor Commented:
The printers we are using are not compatable with any of the print servers that we have tried.  The application requires 5 LPT ports on a single win95 machine.
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jrhelgesonCommented:
What kind of printers are they?
Why won't that work?
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SoltuionsAuthor Commented:
The printers are Sony UP-1500 Color Photo printers. When ever we have tried a print server the data either doesn't transfer or takes way too long. We have tried print servers by Intel and Linksys. I really don't want a print server. I am looking for a solution to get 5 LPT ports on a Win 95 machine. We have been working on this for a long time and this is the solution that will make our system work best
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EbenBrooksCommented:
This is the answer to a previous question that I posted some months ago:

There's two ways of doing this, one cheaper and more cumbersome and one more expensive and easier.

The cheap way is to get three twin-parallel I/O cards (3-Com and Rooster manufacture such) and install them in your computer, then hook up each printer to a different port.

The easy way is to order Part Number PI752A, the MultiPort Spooler 8 [12-port version], from Black Box (www.blackbox.com). This little device is a software driven port switcher that hooks your LPT1 port to as many as 11 printers at once. Switching between printers is handled at the software level, so you don't have to manually switch between them.

--EbenBrooks
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SoltuionsAuthor Commented:
Have you tried the card method? When I talked to 3 Com they said that they only support LPT 1 to 3 in Win 95. This is the problem that I have found with most of the ad on I/O cards. As far as the black box spooler, it is way too slow. The max speed is 38.3kbps but realistically it is much slower. I would like to find some one who has acctually done this not just read about it. I have put in alot of time trying to solve this problem and a print server WILL NOT WORK!!!!!! If you know how to get 5 ports running  under win95 answer this question.
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jrhelgesonCommented:
Tough question, I'm not sure if it was possible.
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billkoCommented:
Someone please correct me if I'm worng, but I believe that Win95 only supports 3 logical LPT ports.

Bill
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jrhelgesonCommented:
I think you are correct.  3 is the limit for Win95.
I think your answer is to run NT.
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SoltuionsAuthor Commented:
I know that three is the limit. That is why I was asking if someone has written a driver to get around this limitation. The limitation is with IBM computers. Windows NT 4.0 suports only LPT1, LPT2 to LPT8 are for mapped network printers.

If anyone has actually done this, not just think they know how to do this, please answer the question. Please quit guessing.
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jrhelgesonCommented:
My appologies,  Did you look into the site I gave to you earlier?
They have a Bios chip on the port card that enables you to use multiple parallel printer ports (up to 20 on 1 pc).

That's the closest I've been able to find.

Good Luck.
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datnCommented:
There are 1-4 parallel switches out there that allows you to connect four printers to one PC for about $80. There are also parallel port sharing devices that allows you to connect multiple devices to one parallel port for about $50. Both operate by a manual switch or by software. Basically, you can buy two 1-4 parallel switch and connect it to one parallel port sharing device and you can then connect up to 8 printers to one parallel port.  Call Global Hardware and Software at 1-800-8-Global (1-800-845-6225) for more details.
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tstaddonCommented:
Why not jerry rig up 3 serial ports on your PC and use serial/parallel converters?

I print on 8 totally different printers and this solved my problem which was that I tried the switch method and the bidirectional printers objected.

Of course, it's different if you want to print to all of them in one go.
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datnCommented:
You wouln't want to "jerry rig" all of your serial ports because you would then have used all of your serial and parallel ports. My suggested method uses only 1 parallel port.
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SoltuionsAuthor Commented:
The problem with the serial converters is speed. This system is used for production and the speed is a big issue. As for the switchers, all of the ones I've tried(4 different manufacturers) haven't been reliable. They work sometimes and not others.
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billkoCommented:
Why not set up a network so you can print to as many printers as you like?  One advantage would be that all the printers will have spools, and the data transfer should go very quickly.  Of course, another bonus is that everyone would be able to use the software, not only one workstation.  In fact, the software may be assuming that you are on a network, as I would think that the most common setup of this type *would* be on a network.

Bill
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luteijnCommented:
The problem with Win95 is that it was designed for home use, and
so are most IBM-clones these days, although you could put 5
parallel interfaces on one if you want: just make sure they all
have different io-ports, and, if you need them, different irqs.
The problem then still is that Win95('s drivers) aren't flexible
enough to handle all these ports, since they weren't meant to be
used in that way. You'd have to write your own driver, or pay someone to do that.
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jrhelgesonCommented:
Solutions,

Could you respond to my previous post? I know it wasn't necessarily posted as a question, but I really think it might work for you.  Could you check into it and let me know if it would work and if not, why not?

joel
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tstaddonCommented:
Speed isn't a problem, if you have Hurricane 98. It uses a RAM spooler, faster than the Windows 95 disk-based spooler, and if you have a good 64mb RAM you won't notice. Set the serial ports at maximum (ie 115200) and the time it takes to print should be minimised. a 900k file would take probably 10 seconds.

I have an HP Deskjet 870cxi, Epson Stylus Colour 600 and Canon BJC 620 running this way, and have even run a wide format Encad plotter to print 64MB photos in ISO A1 using the serial port. Even that only took about 4 minutes to process!

If you don't like the answers we have come up with, try upping the points. It seems we've exhausted any options that could be considered 'moderate'.

You could use software like WRQ Reflections to make the printer available to machines with other OSs (like Unix, VMS etc.)
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tstaddonCommented:
By the way- JR is a top bloke. Why not answer his question, he's obviously put in some time and he is, after all, the top expert.
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jrhelgesonCommented:
Your answer:

http://www2.southwind.net/~commtech/lpt.html

They have a Bios chip on the port card that enables you to use multiple parallel printer ports (up to 20 on 1 pc).
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