Solved

Parallel Port Setup Problem

Posted on 1998-08-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I was previously running an P-133 in my machine with an HP 600Cse printer off of LPT1.  I recently upgraded to a K6-233, and got a new motherboard to support it.  With the change came the demise of LPT-1.  When trying to load printer drivers, an error occurs in establishing communications, and the printer spits out a page with one line of meaningless text.  When trying to install drivers for my parallel-interface Zip drive, the setup program cannot see it either.  I've tried all of the port modes in the BIOS setup (Bi-directional, ECP, etc...), with the same or similar response.  Suspecting a hardware problem, I exchanged the motherboard for a new one, which does the same thing as the first.
Offhand, I cannot remember the brand of the motherboard.
The serial port works fine with my mouse.
And, yes, the red stripe is at pin 1!
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Question by:anopanen
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Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1123383
Red Stripe = ribbon cable

have you changed the cable? Those ribbons often develop random opens when removed.

De-configure zip drive, etc. to minimize configuration.

Test at the DOS prompt a simple:

DIR > PRN

should produce immediate printing. If this does not work it's essentially certain that you have a hardware problem with the cable and/or printer, most likely the cable.

If you get printing with "spelling errors" this indicates one of the data lines has opened and  you're getting garbage.

If this works, then fire off windows and use a *SIMPLE* app like NOTEPAD and attempt to print. Install a "Generic Text Only" printer and see if *THAT* works. If the printer prints correctly under "Generic Text Only" then you've got a bad driver. If "Generic Text Only" doesn't print then check the control panel hardware settings. If they look ok, then re-install windows as you have a real low level problem.

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Author Comment

by:anopanen
ID: 1123384
- Tried the old ribbon cable, tried the new ribbon cable...neither worked, but, come to think of it, the response might have been different.  I'll try to do a continuity test on it, or get another one...
 - Win95 was deleted from the system and completely re-installed when the HW was changed, due to a virus that had been lurking for awhile beforehand.
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Author Comment

by:anopanen
ID: 1123386
- Tried the old ribbon cable, tried the new ribbon cable...neither worked, but, come to think of it, the response might have been different.  I'll try to do a continuity test on it, or get another one...
 - Win95 was deleted from the system and completely re-installed when the HW was changed, due to a virus that had been lurking for awhile beforehand.
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Expert Comment

by:mbertl
ID: 1123387
is this a mainboard which supports ECP? if yes, try to turn off ECP in the BIOS

regards
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Expert Comment

by:jbrugman
ID: 1123388
Not all flat (ribbon)cables work on all boards. Make sure the one you installed came with your motherboard. The pin connections may vary a bit from board to board. Make sure you have the proper printer cable, it has to be able to support Bi-directional working as well. HP printers should work with the ECP printer port.
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Expert Comment

by:avtronics
ID: 1123389
Check to make sure that all cables are bi-directional. Then check that your motherboard has no jumpers to switch between ECP and normal printing. If so check your bois setting and make sure they match to the motherboard. Also try the generic text only driver and print with that.
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Expert Comment

by:joopv
ID: 1123390
do you have an exeptionally long printer cable ?  Change it for a short one.  It could be that your new mb can't drive the long cable correctly.

Are the printer and the pc powered from the same power outlet.  Is everything earthed ?

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Author Comment

by:anopanen
ID: 1123391
The printer cable is of pretty average length.  A second cable has been tried.  Also, the Zip drive could not be found hanging off of its very short cable.
Everything is in the same power strip and is grounded.  This problem has occured in two seperate places several hundred miles away from each other, so I doubt that it is caused by external factors.
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Expert Comment

by:wendyl
ID: 1123392
also, try going into printer properties and under details and spool settings switch between RAW and EMF printing. you can also download the latest printer drivers for the printer from the companies software support/drivers section on their web page. good luck.
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Accepted Solution

by:
duckers earned 200 total points
ID: 1123393
Some machines parrallel ports are prone to signal bounce down shielded cables. Also some printers are more tolerant than others. Forgive me if you have tried this but have you tried a ribbon printer cable ( sounded like the ribbon cables you refered to were internal). Alternatively one can get a modified printer cable with extra capacitance which may solve the problem.
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