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Can I connect a printer to more than one computer using a USB splitter?

Posted on 2006-05-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01

We have a printer, desktop, and two laptops at home. We now have one USB cable coming out of the printer; who ever needs it just plugs it on their computer and use it. Once they are done, they unplug. I was wondering if I can have more than one USB cable coming out of the printer, so that one is permenantly connected to the desktop while the other can be used by anyone else. I can do that using a USB splitter such as this http://tinyurl.com/h4xe3 . We have a Samsung ML-17400.

So, is this possible?

Question by:msafi

Accepted Solution

thoffman earned 200 total points
ID: 16739420
That's a USB hub, which connects multiple USB devices to a single computer. It won't work for what you want.

You want a USB switch. Searching at the same site you used reveals these:

Specifically, something like this:
or this:

The first is USB 1.1 only. The second is USB 2.0. USB 2.0 is faster, but for printing, 1.1 might be fast enough, depending on the printer. However, if you have USB 2.0 on your computers, you might be better off with the second link, since you'll be able to use it for other devices in the future.

LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 16740602
if the printer does have an LPT and USB connection, you can use each one for a PC connection.

Expert Comment

ID: 16745173
You can find simple devices that alllow you to share USB devices (Such as printers, hard drives, etc), between computers.

Here is an example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817107349

you should be able to find a cheaper device from another manufacturer.

That being said, are you running a home network with either a wired or wireless router?
If so, the best, and cheapest, solution, would be to get a USB Print Server, and turn your printer into a network printer that can be used by all computers on your network.

This is pretty easy to do, and you can find such devices from companies like Belkin, Linksys, D-Link, Netgear, etc...
Here is a link to some: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?N=2050130387&Submit=ENE&Subcategory=387&Description=print+server&Ntk=all

Any store such as Best Buy, CompUSA, FRYs, OfficeMax, will carry these and be able to help you.
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Author Comment

ID: 16745988
I think nobus solution is the best one for my particular situation. Unfortunately, after I fished the parallel cable from the storage, I discovered that there is no port for it on the computer. I'm gonna have to look at the other solutions.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 16748939
or use a lpt pci card     http://www.usbgear.com/1x-LPT-PCI.html

Expert Comment

ID: 16755259
Keep in mind that there are some USB switches that allow you to connect four computers to a single device. I just realized that you have a desktop and two laptops, so a two computer switch won't help much, nor would connecting to both USB and LPT, since you'll still have a third computer that's not connected.

I'd say go for either a four computer switch or RyanG's suggestion of a print server, which is basically a USB to ethernet (or wireless) adapter. A print server might actually be a better idea, since you can use your laptops' wireless connection and wouldn't even have to be in the same room as the printer to print. Plus, it will support as many computers as you have on your network.


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