USB to Parallel printer cable: printing problems

Posted on 2006-03-30
Last Modified: 2008-03-10
I am running XP Pro and have an HP LaserJet 5L printer.  The printer only has a parallel (centronix?) connector on it.  I just bought a USB to Parallel printer cable (

When I print a “test page”, it works fine.  When I try to print many pages (80), it seems the printer’s buffer fills and the printer goes into error mode.    I tried to print less pages (10 instead of 80) and the printer printed just ONE page – the 10 pages were all combined onto one page (it is as if the same paper was used to print pages 1 to 10 on the paper / all pages were superimposed on the same page).  It seems that the problem is that whatever character(s) would tell the printer to eject the page is being stripped out of the print stream and so if I print more than 10 pages, the buffer fills – and if I print less than 10 pages, they all print on top of each other onto one piece of paper.

Can anyone help me to get this working properly?
Question by:SAbboushi
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Hmm first check and make sure that in the printer properties, the port it is using is now a USB port (should be USB001 virtual printer port). Most likely by default it was sent to Parallel (LPT1).

    Another thing you can check is what printer processor your printer is set to. If the above didn't work, try switching between RAW and EMF and print some pages.

    Hope this helps!

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your post aseusainc

    It actually did set to a USB virtual printer port all on its own (even though the doc suggests checking it to make sure).  I also tried different settings for the Printer Processors available (there were 2 processors and I tried multiple "default data types" like RAW, TEXT, NT EMF 1.008... but did not see any difference in the printer's behavior...
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    I just did some researcha and have a better idea of your problem now. I wasn't aware how old the 5L actually is.

    First, were there any drivers included with the USB to Centronix cable? If not, continue reading...

    As far as I know, HP did not fully modify 5L drivers to work with XP since the printer is rather old.

    One thing you can try is using a different printer driver. I recommend trying an Epson LaserJet 1500 driver. If it's not a selectable choice try an Epson Action LaserJet 1500 driver.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your research aseusainc

    HP provided Microsoft with plug-and-play drivers for the 5L for Windows XP (confirmed by their website).
    The 5L has been working well with various XP machines for several years now using a parallel (centronix) cable.  It is only NOT functioning when connected via my new USB to Parallel cable (my laptop does not have a parallel port).

    Having said that, I tried the Epson ActionLaser 1500 driver as you suggested - and it worked!  Any idea how compatible this driver is with the 5L (I only tried a text printout)?  Why did you select this particular driver?

    Good work! Thanks-
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Sorry I didn't respond earlier Sam as I was out of the office since Thursday.

    Glad to hear it worked! :)

    The driver should be able to handle anything you do on your 5L. Granted I've never put it through rigorous testing but as far as I know for normal printing functions it should be fine.

    The drivers for the Epson actually have built in emulation for HP Laserjet III series which the 5L is based off of. It just seems Epson reworked their drivers to work a little better than HP. ;)

    It's just one of those things you pick up working for corporations too cheap to buy new technology. You would actually be surprised at how many printing issues can be resolved simply by choosing another manufacturers drivers.

    Anywho glad it's working! :)

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