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HP LASERJET 4ML to USB on Mac G3 or G4...how to get connectivity.

Posted on 2004-08-13
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Last Modified: 2013-11-24
Hello, I have not found an answer that resolves the following.  I would like to continuing
using my HP Laserjet 4ML (with either the parallel or Serial port) via a USB port...on
either the Beige G3 Desktop (running OS 8.6) which it is extremely slow in using via
the Localtalk serial port-to-Printer port connection when it comes to graphic-intensive
doc. processing.... OR....ideally...would prefer to MOVE it to another machine, a Dual Processor
Blue & White G4..and connect via USB port (only option) on that unit...to be used mainly
for text-only document printing.

The issue being.... The HP 4ML of course was designed, "pre-USB." but I've heard
scattered reports of it being able to be connected to a USB port on a Mac successfully but
there've been mixed reviews of this working without compatibility problems arising.

Bottom line question.  What is the most realistic, workable solution to keep an otherwise
perfectly good, "workhorse" printer and use it on a newer OS.  I don't know whether it
would make a difference, but i would be willing to upgrade the 'G3' to OS 9 if that might
make a difference in terms of compatibility or otherwise boost speed/performance be it
via the conventional printer-port Appletalk network or into the Adaptec USB slot card
that's installed on the G3.   Overall performance speed is poor on the current setup (the
beige g3) on which it's connected and overall system is virtually 'paralyzed' while it is
'processing' any docs that entail more than text....such as jobs with multiple fonts, graphics,
etc. in a layout).

I have not found a definitive answer in searching this or other sites for this issue but
hopefully someone may have some fresh perspective to help me salvage this printer.
Other than this connectivity matter, hardware-wise it's a great economical printer and
is a shame to abandon just because it can't be usb-connected.

Thank you for any and all advice and feel free to request more specifics
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Question by:mikes425
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idarmadi earned 250 total points
ID: 11798804
Mike,

LaserJet 4ML is one good printer. :)  It's ready for Mac (the M in 4ML).  It has two interface, AppleTalk serial and Parallel.

You want a faster print speed.  Part of the problem is the slow serial connection.  There are several option :

1. Get HP Jetdirect 300x that will work with LaserJet 4ML.  You might find one in ebay.  It will give you a 10BaseT connection to your printer, plus will turn your printer into a network printer. :)

2. Get a Paralel 2 USB converter to connect your Mac's USB to Paralel Port of the printer.  Paralel port has higher speed than serial.  

If you use OS9 and earlier, then you'll need a program called PowerPrint
http://www.strydent.com/strydent-software-products/powerprint-usb.html

If you use OSX, then you might just need to buy Parallel - USB converter :
http://www.keyspan.com/products/usb/up6c/

Remember that part of the problem with slow printing is that your printer's processor is slow compared to nowadays laserprinter.
Moving from serial interface to paralel interface or to ethernet interface will solve the speed in data transmitting wise.

Good luck!
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Expert Comment

by:idarmadi
ID: 11798819
Addition :

You might also want to check out  print server by Sercomm.

http://www.sercomm.com/PS.htm

Their product support AppleTalk protocol.

It is definitely a lot cheaper than JetDirect 300x.

Good luck.
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Author Comment

by:mikes425
ID: 11800797
thanks for your quick reply on this.. i know others will encourage to just 'buy a new printer' for the price of the
adapter...it's a difficult call but the 4ML will run forever.... if the speed boost is significant enough to warrant
keeping it (i don't need "LIGHTING" speed per se...i'm not a daily DTP operation or anything)... i hate to just
dump it... Still it looks like the Strydent one would be closest to my needs.  I note that it's not stocked by
any resellers anymore and appears available only direct thru the manufacturer's web-store at about $99.00
(parallel to USB) but it does claim to support what i want to do. ... i only wonder if the speed increase via
parallel to a USB add-in card on a beige G3 in OS 8.6 or 9...will  be extremely better vs. the Localtalk- Appletalk
serial printer cable connection now (woefully slow as mentioned) or just marginally so.  Hate to buy if there's
no return option on it.... ahh the dilemmas of Mac-dom....
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Author Comment

by:mikes425
ID: 11801790
Still need to find one to test of course but thanks for your thorough suggestions
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Expert Comment

by:idarmadi
ID: 11827679
Mike,

We have 4MV, III, IV, 4MP, that still running and pumping.. :)  And during these 2-3 years, we have several HP1100, 2100s, and 2200 that have been going back and forth for servicing. :)
I love the durabilities of those old laser printers...  I wish they were faster. :)

Beside PowerPrint by Strydent, you might want to check out the print server that I've mentioned.  It might be hard to find Sercomm's product in US (They are OEM), but you might want to call their US office to find out where you can find one.

OR dlink has a print server product that also support AppleTalk.
http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=167

Dlink will cost about as expensive as the PowerPrint, but a lot of online reseller are carrying it, so you might be able to return it if it doesn't work.

The only difference is that with Dlink you print via Ethernet, with PowerPrint you print via USB.  Speed wise, it's about the same.

Good luck.
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Author Comment

by:mikes425
ID: 11834375
Thanks!
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