We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

DB25 Printer Port to Network Printer?

We have some lab instrumentation that only has DB25 printer ports available and they only seem to be able to print to "Epson/IBM Compatible" printer. Is there such a thing as what I envision to be a "Reverse Print Server" where it acts like a PC and allows the instrument to print to a network printer? We have tried simple parallel to USB adapters and hooked up newer printers, but without success. Any thoughts or guidance would be great!
Watch Question

You might be looking for a network print server.

They usually cost 80-100+ dollars and are available with DB25 ports and network connectivity. The support for different models varies but usually you can get basic print functionality out of them.


Here is an example of a netgear print server that connects directly to a parallel port on a printer.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Many newer printers require Windows print drivers to operate.  The OKI 320 http://www.okidata.com/mkt/html/nf/SIDM.php?sku=ML320TSeries has a parallel and USB ports and Epson/IBM emulation.  And Epson still makes some impact printers http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/ProductCategory.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=-8185 .   Old LaserJets used to have a compatibility mode but I don't see that on new ones.



The solution we would need would be the "Opposite" of the one you describe. Basically a device that attaches to the DB25 port on the instrument and from there converts to Ethernet. The Netgear print server you reference looks like it is intended to plug into the printer (36 pin Centronics port) and provide a network jack to connect it to a switch on the network.


Basically we are trying to use the described setup to eliminate the need for older printer support and to utilize our existing network attached printers. Another acceptable solution would be to use a non networked printer, such as a USB based printer, but I believe this would also require a device similar to what I described.
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Those printers I linked are current production from both OKI and Epson.  They are not older printers except that their technology has been around forever and show no signs of ever going away.  The OKI 320 printer seems to last forever anyway.  One or both printers have USB ports also.

One of the limits is that you can't use one of the 'host based' USB printers that are common these days.  They use a printer driver in Windows or Mac that essentially provides a video stream to the printer.  They do not and will not accept character input.
If you use a parallel-to-USB adapter, you need to also use a printer that understands Epson or IBM commands. Many of the "newer" printers, especially the lower cost ones that use GDI or some other form of host-based processing, will not work because the lab instrument has no driver for them.

There are still some printers with a parallel port, but finding one that also supports Epson commands is harder. The Epson Stylus C41SX may do the trick though as it supports ESC/P commands (which is what is almost certainly meant by "Epson commands").
I am well aware the example I posted is a 36 pin, hence my referring to it as an "example".

If you are trying to connect a DB25 jack straight to  network printer there isn't going to be a solution that doesn't involve a computer inbetween it that I am aware of. Maybe someone else can help...

Maybe the manufacturer has some suggestions on a solution or perhaps you can purchase an older printer?
Oops, I just realised I've been barking up the wrong tree. Normal USB to parallel adapters are designed to connect a PC to a parallel printer - the opposite of what you want to do. These people claim to have one:


The data sheet says you will need a 5V to 12V 150mA power adapter.

It may be simpler to use JRaasumaa's suggestion and buy a 2nd-hand printer.