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is there a splitter (aka A-B switch) for using two printers with one computer?

Posted on 2010-11-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Any such animal out there in computer-printer land?
I have a old printer for misc. printing and a newer one for better quality and would like to use both with the flip of a switch.
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Question by:nickg5
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by:moon_blue69
ID: 34223489
What are the ports? all USB?

You dont need a switch. Connect both to the computer and choose it from the print program. if its parallel port you can find a parallel to usb converter.

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theras2000 earned 480 total points
ID: 34223495
Yep seems to be called a printer switch box or parallel printer switch.  See http://www.kenable.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=3038
You might also consider a couple of parallel print servers like this http://www.google.co.uk/products/catalog?q=printer+server+parallel&hl=en&cid=2590272990460148425&ei=G5TxTP79L8mS-Aa4mJiBDQ&sa=title&ved=0CAcQ8wIwADgA#p as then anyone on your LAN could use them.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 34223496
Yes. May I add that you need to always use the same USB port so as not to confuse the print drivers. This can be an issue on a laptop. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:nickg5
ID: 34223498
I've got a desktop and the cords from both printers are not USB.

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by:John Hurst
ID: 34223514
In that case, a couple of small print servers (also noted above) may be the best idea. Parallel Port printer servers are cheap on eBay. Get one for each printer and put them on your network. This post is in general agreement with the post by theras2000  ... Thinkpads_User
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by:nickg5
ID: 34223529
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by:John Hurst
ID: 34223536
Most probably. The price can't be beat even if, in the end, it does not suit your needs. I have seen those a long time ago. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 300 total points
ID: 34223906
I think you would be better off installing a second parallel port to avoid driver problems.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 440 total points
ID: 34223921
It should work either way. With the port switch, only one printer is active and one uses the driver for that printer. With a second parallel port, you still have to select the appropriate printer. So it comes out the same at the end.
... Thinkpads_User
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by:garycase
garycase earned 420 total points
ID: 34224254
For parallel port printers a switch such as you found on e-bay will work fine.    I used a very similar switch for years to switch between a laser & a dot matrix ... it works just fine.    You DO, of course, have to be sure you've selected the appropriate printer in to print to ... otherwise you'll be sending the commands for one printer to the other printer -- with strange (and definitely wrong) results :-)
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by:garycase
ID: 34224262
... a better choice -- if your PC has a spare PCI slot -- is to simply add a 2nd parallel port.    This inexpensive card actually has two parallel ports:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815104231&cm_re=pci_parallel_port-_-15-104-231-_-Product

With that configuration, you don't need to remember to switch to the appropriate printer, as both printers will be available all the time.
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by:theras2000
ID: 34224488
nick, have u considered just buying 2 cheap USB printers instead?  Or heck, 1 laser printer.  The stuff is so cheap these days.  Might be worth it once you factor in the (a) ink, (b) cost of repair/replacement on such old devices, (c) time cost of fiddling with old stuff.
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by:hdhondt
ID: 34224876
"I've got a desktop and the cords from both printers are not USB."

Are they even the same on both printers? If they're both parallel you can (still) buy parallel A-B switches. Or you can buy a parallel port PCI card.

If one port is serial and the other parallel, you can forget about it - but in that case the PC probably has both ports anyway.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 360 total points
ID: 34225053
More of a suggestion than anything else but the expansion card with a separate parallel port is worth considering.  Switching manually using a box like that works well but if you forget to switch then the print spooler will get messed up trying to send in one format to a printer that doesn't understand & will print gibberish or worse. Also if you get a printer error or job is spooled because it's complex or the PC resumes will be in printer A's format but if you've since switched to printer B for another task ...

As long as you take care the physical switch is a perfectly acceptable and cheap fix.
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by:nickg5
ID: 34225653
both printers are parallel. I've got maybe 3 black and 3 color, new cartridges for both, so want to alternate back and forth, maybe once every couple weeks to keep from having to throw out the printers and the new ink. The deskjet 1220 may be old but is is like new, only used a few hours.
I use the 710C for misc. printing, stuff that will be thrown out at some point.

Both printers are in my control panel, so the drivers are here.
The only issue I found when using the 1220 at my father's house, was that you had to manually turn it on, and it would not turn on by itself once you clicked OK to a print job. My 710 C turns on automatically.

When I was given the computer and the 1220 printer, I hooked up my 710C because I like the auto turn on, feature.
I asked a question on EE about the 1220 not turning on auto, and never got any real solutions. Asked that many months ago.
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by:nickg5
ID: 34226665
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-Port-25-Pin-DB-25-Parallel-Printer-Sharing-Switch-Box-/140444459879?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20b3246367

the one above says for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/2003.

O/S should not matter should it?
I have Vista.
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by:garycase
ID: 34226673
OS doesn't matter.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 34226675
A mechanical print sharing switch is a somewhat older design (given that networks and print servers are now commonplace). But they are hardware devices, so it should not really matter what OS you use.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:hdhondt
ID: 34226871
That switch box on ebay should work fine. Itis totally independent of the OS and requires no software at all.
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by:nickg5
ID: 34227091
closing this question and Theras2000 was the first to provide a link to a switch.
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Author Closing Comment

by:nickg5
ID: 34227105
thanks....a few extra points for multiple comments of help.
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by:nickg5
ID: 34234200
garycase:
so this item:
http://cgi.ebay.com/SYBA-PCI-Parallel-2-Port-I-O-Controller-Card-SD-PCI-P-/190454257992?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c57f55948

would work, and I'd select one printer, or the other, in my "printer" preferences?

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by:theras2000
ID: 34234257
yep and yep
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by:garycase
ID: 34245597
As noted above, Yes the SYBA card will work fine -- and you could simply select the printer to use whenever you printed something.     You could also set either printer as the "default" to use when you didn't change it in the printer preferences.
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by:nickg5
ID: 34248035
ok thanks.
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