Parallel Port

I have two computers connected to an ieee 1284 compliant belkin auto-switcher, using ieee 1284 parallel cables.(there is a 9v power pack connected to the auto switcher to boost performance) The switcher is then connected to a manual 4 device belkin ieee 1284 switch box. There are three devices connected to the manual switcher, a quickcam, hp 722c printer and an avecII e330 scanner. Both computers can use the camera and printer with full bi-directional function. However the scanner only functions correctly from time to time. If I plug the scanner directly into either computers parallel port it functions perfectly every time. I do not have a spare ISA slot for a second parallel port card and don't want to invest in a true network setup. Do they make pci parallel port cards? Or is there some other trick to get this setup to work correctly with the scanner?
jdklein111898Asked:
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tstaddonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you have a PC with USB, you can get a USB to Parallel adaptor from Belkin, as speed_54 suggested. I have one and it rocks! Put the scanner on it and you should solve the problem. Check first though that the scanner would support being on a USB port.

Otherwise, how about using a USB-USB connector between the 2 PCs, removing the autoswitch and network the 2 PCs together. You can then put the scanner on 1 PC and the four way manual switch on the other. Using file and print sharing in Windows would then give you full functionality between all devices.
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jdklein111898Author Commented:
Edited text of question
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rmarottaCommented:
Does the scanner have a "pass-thru"?
If so, try connecting it between the two switchers.
Ralph
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jdklein111898Author Commented:
Yes the scanner has a pass-thru port however it is not a bi-directional pass-thru port. Thus anything connected to the scanners port will cease to have bi-directional support.
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ryansCommented:
"Do they make pci parallel port cards?"
Yes they do exist, I bought a few for about $35.00(Can) a piece.


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jdklein111898Author Commented:
I haven't seen one but I'm sure they do exist Ryans. I've been looking long and hard. Where can these pci parallel ports be obtained?
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OttaCommented:
Can you "create" a free ISA slot,
i.e., preferably by installing a PCI-slot video-card,
and removing the ISA-slot video-card,
and then putting another serial-card into the ISA slot?

How many ISA slots do you have?
How many PCI slots do you have?
What's installed in each slot?
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jdklein111898Author Commented:
I have 3 ISA slots, 4 PCI slots and 1 AGP video slot. I have a USrobotics modem, Creative labs mpeg2 decoder card and a sound blaster sound card in the ISA slots. I have an ATI video card in the AGP slot. All of the PCI slots are open.
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jdklein111898Author Commented:
Oops my mistake, the mpeg2 decoder card is in a PCI slot and there is an ATI TV tuner daughter card in the other ISA. This leaves a total of 3 open PCI slots and no open ISA slots.
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ryansCommented:
"Where can these pci parallel ports be obtained?"
I got my PCI Parallel ports from a wholesale distributor I used to work at. They sell lots of them. Almost any computer shop should be able to obtain these cards.
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ryansCommented:
To add to my previous comment, I just did a LYCOS search on PCI PARALLEL PORT and received a whole mess of hits from port specs to cards for sale.  Check it out if you are still interested.
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jdklein111898Author Commented:
But I will still have the problem of freeing up IRQ's for a second parallel port even if I find one. IRQ 7 is for Lpt1 and IRQ 5 is being used by the sound card.
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ryansCommented:
I was not limited to those two IRQs for my cards.  I was able to assign any free IRQ to them with in Win95/98.  As a matter of fact they used the "Automatic Settings" from within Windows.
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rmarottaCommented:
IRQs can be shared on the PCI bus.
What operating system are you using.
Ralph
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jdklein111898Author Commented:
I am using Win98(oem) with plus98 package. I have an ISA parallel card that I tried just for kicks. I can't use it permanently since I have no free slots available. When I tried this card it simply took the place of my onboard parallel port and thus defeated the purpose. I have been told that I must be careful to find an Lpt2 card or rather a card that is called a 2nd parallel port card. Is this a fact or are all parallel cards esentially the same?
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rmarottaCommented:
Simply re-configure your on-board parallel port as LPT2.
The add-on card will be LPT1.
ralph
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OttaCommented:
> IRQ 7 is for Lpt1 and IRQ 5 is being used by the sound card.

It should be possible to reconfigure the sound-card
to a different IRQ (10? 11? 12?), thus "freeing" IRQ #5.
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speed_54Commented:
by connecting the scanner to a pci lpt port, doesn't this defeat the purpose of sharing all the devices between the 2 pc's? another option you may not have considered might be to try and find a USB adaptor (or maybe trade your parallel port scanner for a USB one...)
:-)
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jdklein111898Author Commented:
A USB to Parallel adapter!  A wonderful solution, however on one of my machines I will have to add a USB port. This shouldn't be a problem since it has a flash bios. That is if someone makes a USB adon card......hehe
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