Puter Prob-Tapping the knowledge base

Have an old Pentium-S ISA puter. Printer problems...
The BIOS has 12 combinations of port/config settings for the parallel
port. If the printer cable is disconnected from the printer on boot,
Bios configures the port properly(cable ok). If booted with the printer
connected, POST shows no parallel port active. tried all combinations of
BIOS configs for the port, all same result. The printer (dot
matrix)works ok on another puter. Reseated port ribbon on the MB.
Pulling what's left of my hair out. This puter has run several years
with no printer connected.
Dweller in the cellar
Reply to
JR North
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What differences do you see when the printer is connected, but powered off at boot time vs. being powered on at boot time?
Reply to
Try turning off Plug and Play in the bios.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
Did the cable work OK on another machine? Chased my tail several times because the cable died. Haul the printer into the shop, hook it up, no failure, haul it back, hook it up, doesn't work. Didn't take the cable back along with the printer.
On some MBs, the header has no polarization for those ribbon connectors, make sure you're putting it on the right way 'round. On some older MBs, that can burn out the port, sends power through the chip to a dead short. Also, did the parallel port cable come with the MB? There's no real standards for those header connections, another brand could, and usually did, use different pins for different signals. Later machines had the parallel port firmly bolted to the MB and soldered in, no possibility for mistakes.
Since it's a dot matrix, it probably doesn't do the bidirectional thing like much later lasers and inkjets. What you want to set the BIOS to is the original AT parallel port specs, you'll have to look those up, I really don't remember. And turn off any of the fancy stuff. You'll have a hex I/O address, an IRQ and a third parameter related to bidirectional stuff. That's the one that needs to be turned off or set to none or whatever your choice is. Usually the default setting is for the first printer, if you can discover what that is. Printer IRQs usually don't share too well, either
If the port is toast, you can probably find an ISA parallel card from a recycler or surplus joint for cheap. If you've got no slots, but DO have USB, there are USB->Printer cables available. I paid $10 for mine, works on all OSes I have that support USB. Was just plug and play, no fiddling around with IRQs or anything. Box saw the Laserjet, loaded drivers and away we went. I'd recommend that route instead of parallel ports, those printer cables run about $30 around here, the converter cable was way cheaper. Inland was the brand name, from Microcenter. Make sure the onboard port is disabled if you go that route, you don't want conflicts.
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