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Printing via Data switch

rcoldwell asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-12
Original setup-Dos pc printing to HP Laserjet 4plus via lpt1 to parallel port on printer. This works fine.

However I am trying to put a data switch so I can add a Windows 3.11 machine to print to the HP4plus as well.

I have setup the data switch and connected it to the parallel port on the printer and have data communication cables from the swith to LPT1 on both PCs.
However after I have done this neither PCs print and message comes up with printer not connected on both PCs.
I realise that switches do not support bidirectional printers, but what changes do I need to make to allow both PCs to print?
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Your config should work OK. Sounds like you have a bad cable between switch and printer. Don't use ribbon cables, they fail early and often. Normally the switches are just that, direct electrical switches, since there is no electronics in them they care not which way data flows. Most of them can also be used so that you can have two printers to one computer instead of two computers to one printer.


I have just checked the cable between the printer and switch-I have just put it back on to the dos machine(with dual boots with NT4)and have just setup the printer in NT4-this printer is fine via the cable. It is only when I add the switch that it does not work from either. I have tried changing cable and am still stuck with the same problem. Any further ideas?

Only thing left is switch is bad.


I have tried 2 different printer switches and an automatic switch-and all have same problem!
I am thinking that it is more of a parallel port setting or a setting on the printer but I don't know which?

Switch should be invisible to LPT port. How long are your cables?


All 3 cables are 2m long.

I think the HP LaserJet 4+ won't work with the data switch because it need to relay back information to the computer and with the data switch it has some sort of trouble doing so. How about trying to create a Print Server and connecting the two machines to it?

Is your switch an older model? I have attempted to hook up using an older switch only to find it does not work. When I have hooked it up straight to the parallel port (LPT1) on the computer, then it works.

It IS the printer driver that is doing this to you.  The drivers has/wanted to communicate to the printer at all times.  Two ways to correct this: Bi-directional AUTOMATIC switch box or use a uni-directional printer driver (ie. Standard HP4 or compatible).  As note, technically a maunal switch box used on printers other than dot matrix can cause damage to the printer itself.  The later suggestion would be the cheapest!  Let me know what you think.


The problem is now sorted out- MARK2150 had the right answer-the printer cables were bad-both of them-once these were changed it worked.
If Mark2150 posts an answer box again I will give him the points...
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