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USB to Parallel port

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Syd Rumpo, Nov 26, 2013.

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  1. Syd Rumpo

    Syd Rumpo Guest


    I have an ICE Technology Micromaster LV parallel port programmer which I
    use for some (old!) legacy devices. This runs fine on an elderly XP box
    with some drivers I found, however I'd like to run it from a newer PC,
    which of course doesn't have a parallel port.

    Anyone know of a USB to parallel converter which is likely to work? ICE
    Technology (or their successors) don't.

  2. Den tirsdag den 26. november 2013 23.54.43 UTC+1 skrev Syd Rumpo:
    most likely none, the timing on USB is totally different so for anything but moving bulk data for something like a printer the USB to parallel converters
    don't work

  3. hamilton

    hamilton Guest

    The legacy software will most likley address the port pins directly.

    So, no there is NO way a USB device can replace a legacy PPort.

    Now, writing a custom driver that simulates that parallel port and sends
    those signals out the USB device may work.

    But, (AFAIK) no one has done it yet.

    Also, you can't sell a new widget by fixing the old stuff.
  4. asdf

    asdf Guest

    If the pc isn't a laptop a parallel PCI or PCI-E card would solve your
    problem. I've succesfully tested a CNC machine thanks to one of
    those cards on a modern PC without parallel port.

    Searching for pci+parallel or pcie+parallel yelds some inexpensive cards
    at online shops.
  5. sms

    sms Guest

    Highly unlikely. When you install such a device you won't get a
    simulated standard parallel port you'll get "USB Printing Support." No
    LPT number, no IRQ, no I/O address.

    I just ran into this yesterday, using an ExpressCard parallel port
    adapter on Windows 7 (which appears to be an ExpressCard to USB adapter
    and a USB to parallel adapter combined together). I also tried running
    XP under a virtual machine but this didn't help. Now if you had a
    CardBus adapter it would likely work but no new laptops have a Cardbus slot.

    If it's desktop then you could buy a parallel port PCIe card, i.e.

    Bottom line is that those parallel adapters will work for printing but
    probably not for other stuff.
  6. In my experience USB to parallel converters do pretty well for ordinary
    parallel printers but not for other devices. Most of the times there are
    timing problems. Especially USB-1 is way too slow and often quits without
    any warning. That's why I still have an archaic XT to run those prehistoric

    If your computer has an extension slot you can look for a PCI-e parallel
    printer port card (and hope the drivers will work on the new engine).

    petrus bitbyter
  7. hamilton

    hamilton Guest

    What devices are you programming ?
  8. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    You may have a problem with that adapter; if the software has LPT1:
    or LPT2: "hardwired" in the program, then you are stuck using legacy
  9. Martin Brown

    Martin Brown Guest

    I think your only option is to retain legacy kit for this purpose or
    find one of the handful of real parallel printer port cards that are
    still made and hang onto it until your programmer finally expires.

    The thing almost certainly relies on peeky pokey operations directly on
    hardware registers to function and that is decidedly non-portable.
    I doubt if any will even with a very smart virtual driver. Your best
    chance is if the OEM offer support for Win7 operation of their old kit.

    And you may run into interesting problems with race conditions in old
    drivers for ancient legacy hardware on fast pipelined multicore machines.
  10. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    expresscard is USB*, no adaptor needed.

    (*) actually expresscard is USB + PCIe
  11. Syd Rumpo

    Syd Rumpo Guest

    Thanks for all the replies, I sort of thought that would be the case,
    but you never know.

    I think the best suggestion is to buy an old laptop with parallel port.
    A desktop card is good, but I'd then have to swap it when I get a new
    PC, or hang on to a bulky item for very occasional use.

    Ebay here I come.

    The devices are old ICT PEELs, 32KB UV EPROMS and pre-flash PICs. The
    Micromaster LV does the lot.

  12. That's what I do for my old LV. As an added bonus you get that wave of
    nostalgia as the clunky W95 desktop appears.
  13. sms

    sms Guest

    If the laptop has a _working_ PCMCIA/CardBus/PC Card slot that will also
    work (with XP and perhaps Windows 7).

    However I just discovered that my old Dell D630 with a PCMCIA slot
    actually doesn't work with any cards. The laptop freezes when you insert
    a card. This is a well known problem with the D630, at least with older
    ones. Yet my old D610 with a PCMCIA slot works just fine with a Koutech
    Cardbus to Parallel Port adapter (but it's not needed because the laptop
    already has a parallel port) <>.

    Dell D series Latitudes also can use a Dell dock which has a real
    parallel port if the laptop itself doesn't have one, but it's kind of a
    pain to carry that around.

    I have some stepper motors that need to be programmed via SPI using the
    manufacturer's utility and their parallel port to SPI cable. It would
    cost me $163 for their USB to SPI cable with the proper connector that
    works with their utility. I was disappointed that the ExpressCard to
    Parallel Port adapter didn't work. It's essentially two chips in that
    card, a PCIe to USB and a USB to parallel.

    However, you can thank me or blame me (partially) for the fact that
    parallel ports didn't disappear even longer ago. I attended a meeting in
    South Dakota many years ago that Gateway called to discuss Microsoft's
    PC98 initiative which would have _forbidden_ legacy ports. If a
    manufacturer included the forbidden ports then they would have lost
    lucrative discounts on OS purchases. There was push back from computer
    and semiconductor manufacturers and Microsoft backed down.
  14. sms

    sms Guest

    Apparently there is one ExpressCard to Parallel adapter that people have
    had some success with but it's not sold in the U.S..
  15. sms

    sms Guest

    For those that just need a parallel port for programming embedded
    devices it's probably a better deal to buy an old laptop on Craigslist
    for $100 or so. The thing is that often you need a system that's more
    portable than a desktop system. I.e.

    But if you want a modern laptop with a parallel port the only real
    option is to buy a laptop with an Expresscard slot (such as many
    Thinkpads) and then carefully buy an Expresscard card that uses the PCIe
    interface on the Expresscard interface, not an Expresscard card that
    uses the USB interface on the Expresscard interface. This will work as
    long as the application uses the logical port (LPT1, LPT2, or LPT3) and
    doesn't try to write directly to the I/O address of these ports 0x3BC,
    0x378, 0x278) and doesn't require an ISA IRQ. It would have to be a
    really old DOS app that wrote directly to the I/O address.
  16. sms

    sms Guest

    If the program just requires that you specify a LPT port and then lets
    the OS worry about the resources that the BIOS assigns then the driver
    doesn't need to know the resources. Windows 7 or 8 will even let an
    application write directly to I/O addresses. So if the "newer PC" runs
    Windows 7 or 8 some really old devices and applications won't be usable
    (though running Windows XP as a virtual machine under Windows 7
    professional may work but probably not).
  17. sms

    sms Guest

    I did buy an ExpressCard to Parallel Port adapter that works for my
    legacy application. It just arrived today. This is a PCIe to parallel
    device as opposed to some other ExpressCard to Parallel Port adapters
    that area a USB to parallel device (avoid these).

    It's this one

    The Shentech 33006 or 33014 would probably have also worked but I didn't
    find it until after I ordered the other one

    The one I bought shows up as LPT3. Here's how it looks in Device
    Manager: <>.

    I think that the only way to use a laptop and get a "real" parallel port
    is through one of these cards. Of course very few new laptops have
    ExpressCard slots anymore, but some do so choose carefully. Look at

    For a modern desktop use something like

    If the application tries to write directly to the parallel port hardware
    I/O address then these probably won't work, but if they just need an LPT
    port number then they probably will work.
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