Sunday, 8 January 2012

Linux, A Laptop & A Laser Printer

I don't own a USB printer other than a fairly poor quality Lexmark which is an ink jet printer. I really dislike using it, and it won't run under Linux which is my preferred operating system on my laptop. So when I need something printed in good quality, up to now I've been emailing the document to my business partner who then prints it off on her printer.

However, I do own a huge Tektronix Phasar 560 laser printer which, except for its size, I like. It is very fast and does a nice job for my needs. But, it uses a parallel port which my laptop does not have.

I have managed to get it working though! I need to print a large number of documents over the next several days so I was looking for a solution and discovered that I could purchase a parallel usb converter cable. I did not know that such a thing existed, but they do. After purchasing the cable, and with a bit of research, I managed to get the laptop with the Linux operating system to print to the Phasar.

In case anyone else has a similar issue, I am providing the solution here. First, I needed to download the driver for the printer. My version of CUPS did not have it, but I found it here.With the print configure tool in OpenSuse 11.2, I installed the driver, but that was not enough to get the laptop to recognize the printer. The operating system did detected that there was a printer but it was in an "unknown location."

So my next stop was to manually enter the device uri location like this:

parallel:/dev/usb/lp0

After doing that, the laptop was able to communicate with the printer, and I can now print!

For some reason though, the operating system changed the device uri location to:

usb://Tektronix/Phaser%20560P which I don't understand, but I don't really care as long as it works.

I was thinking that I might try to sell the Phasar as I thought it was going to be useless to me with my laptop.  However, I also have several ink cartridges for it, and they are very expensive but last a long long time.

So, if anyone else has a laser printer with the parallel port, you can still keep it and make it work with your laptop's USB port.

 

 

 

 

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