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Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by Dingus, Dec 29, 2004.

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  1. Dingus

    Dingus Guest

    Anyone got ideas on this problem.....

    I want to be able to use a USB printer on a machine that has a Centronics
    printer output port.
    The printer port on the machine is not a 25 pin parallel socket, it is a
    Centronics socket.

    The machine provides the option to select types of printers, eg: Epson, B&W,
    Color, IBM etc.

    If anyone knows of a readily available piece of hardware, that would be
    great. Otherwise a circuit or circuit ideas.

    Thanks in advance,


    !!! HAPPY & PROSPEROUS 2005 TO ALL !!!
  2. Best hardware would be a new machine with a USB port. Alternately an
    old printer with a parallel ( Centronics ) port.

    You have not a hope of getting the existing hardware to match.


    Adrian Jansen adrianjansen at internode dot on dot net
    Design Engineer J & K Micro Systems
    Microcomputer solutions for industrial control
    Note reply address is invalid, convert address above to machine form.
  3. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    Jaycar have USB-Parallel (and serial) adaptors. May be of use.

  4. Rod

    Rod Guest

    Does it have a lan or wireless connection?
    If so, you could use a print server.
    I just purchased a Linksys/Cisco WPS54GU2, with 802.11G wireless and LAN in,
    with centronics and USB2 out. Actually it's surplus to requirements now, so
    if you are interested leave a message on the ng, and I will respond.

  5. Fred Ferd

    Fred Ferd Guest

    Ok, a circuit idea.

    Parallel ports are TTL based, so easy to interface to any TTL interface.

    Take a linux PC with two parallel ports and USB hardware..

    One parallel port has 4 available inputs, and 8 data outputs.

    So 4 data lines go to one printer port and 4 data lines go to the other.

    Then read the two lots of 4 bits and then send an ack back, to get the next
    byte of data..
    Then translate the printer language and send it to the usb printer.

    Use a PC with one parallel port . Interface between the two machines with
    a PAL.

    One output from the parallel port tells the PAL which 4 bits to let through
    to the inputs.

    Option: switch to a 8 bit (or 16bit) data acquisition hardware with
    interrupt support.

    Option: a PIC/atmel/basic stamp or other microcontroller with two lots of 8
    bit interfaces, and a PC.
    Basically use the PIC/atmel/basic stamp to interface between the machines.
    The data to the PC could flow by parallel port (4 bit wise) or serial port
    (which at least is 8 bit).

    option: uclinux simm - has 8 bit IO, RJ45 network ... move the PC with the
    usb printer off to
    some other room. should be easy to get going, hardware wise.
  6. Al Borowski

    Al Borowski Guest

    Not likely. These are meant for transforming a USB connection on the PC
    side into a serial/parallel port on the peripheral side. They don't work
    the other way around.

  7. Franc Zabkar

    Franc Zabkar Guest

    Agreed. The clincher is that Jaycar's converters are powered from the
    USB port and the plug is the host-side type.

    - Franc Zabkar
  8. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    Yup. Saw them in the flyer the other day so it triggered the old memory
    cells. Alas, didn't check the spec's.

  9. Fred Ferd

    Fred Ferd Guest

    No, they dont go that way.

    it would be possible, but the circuit used would need a CPU to drive a USB
    and a 'printto usb printer' algorithm,

    and maybe even a printer language convertor..

  10. Dingus

    Dingus Guest

    Thanks to all for input of this problem. Looks like there's no easy fix.
    The 'machine' is a great big piece of industrial machinery and does not
    have a hard drive, keyboard or Windows operating system - ie
    everything is embedded.

    I was hoping for a relatively simple low cost fix to satisfy the many
    customers out there with this problem. However after re-examining the
    problem, the solution in my mind is quite simple:


    The customers are requesting that they can use off the shelf cheap
    USB printers, when the machines they have purchased range from
    US$0.2M to US$0.5M apiece!!

    Sometimes I wonder??? The difference in cost between a cheapy
    printer and say an industrial HP parallel printer would amount to
    a few hundred bucks, if that.

    Even if one developed a suitable in-line interface (at great cost),
    then the price of the interface + USB printer would more than likely
    exceed the price of a decent industrial HP parallel port printer!

    Why do customers always want something for nothing - just the nature
    of the beasts I suppose!
  11. budgie

    budgie Guest


    Most parallel ports have been bidirectional for yonks, providing an 8-bit
    pathway and no need to fiddle with nibbles.
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