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xy's picture
xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7
Non Mac HP LaserJet 4L on a Mac

Someone gave me an old HP LaserJet 4L which is still working. However, the Macintosh version of this printer was HP LaserJet 4ML: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_LaserJet_4. HP only made Macintosh drivers for the ML version which are still available for download. So my questions are:

1. Are there alternative drivers which enable non Mac LaserJets on a Mac, i.e. Mac OS 9.2.2 native on a Powerbook G3 Lombard?

2. The printer is an SCSI 300 dpi printer only. No USB. I plugged the printer into my Lombard through an HDI-SCSI dock (http://pc-sonderposten.eu/print_product_info.php/products_id/3294) but the Lombard refuses to boot with this. Is this because because of the non Macintosh L version, or are there other reasons for this?

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bicostp's picture
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Joined: 2009 Aug 17

I'm 99% sure it's got a parallel port, not SCSI. They both use similar connectors (and the computer end of the cable is exactly the same) but they're incompatible and not interchangeable. I've seen SCSI scanners for PCs, but never printers.

You have a few options:

- A PowerPrint cable, which is essentially a USB to Parallel port adapter. It should let you print to any generic parallel printer. If you can find one on eBay, this will be the easiest solution, and it doesn't require your PowerBook to be on the network.

- Network sharing. Connect it to a PC with a parallel port (or through a parallel-to-USB adapter) and share it over the network. Either the desktop or the PowerBook will need additional software to let the two sides talk to each other this way. If you have a machine running Windows Home Server, NT 4.0 Server, or Server 2003, you have the Networks Services for Macintosh software, which lets the PC work with AppleTalk and AppleShare.

- An HP JetDirect print server. Basically it's a small box that puts a parallel port printer on the network, instead of relying on a desktop PC to accomplish that task. This is probably your best bet, since older 10/100 Ethernet models should be fairly easy to come by on eBay, and they should work with AppleTalk right out of the box. The benefit to this is every computer in your house will be able to print to the LaserJet as well.

I recommend looking for a JetDirect first, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one on eBay. You need an external box, since the 4L doesn't have a slot for an internal card like the later and bigger models do. Make sure whatever model you pick up can handle AppleTalk, I think the 300x can.

bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

Yeah, it'll be a parallel port, and the only change for the Mac version of the printer was probably the inclusion of an AppleTalk / LocalTalk port. Not sure that there are suitable adapters to be had today, but it should work on the LaserWriter 8 driver, and even more so on the Mac LaserJet driver you found.

xy's picture
xy
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Joined: 2009 Aug 7

Thanks folks! That was very helpful. Stupid me did not know that there was a difference between SCSI and parallel. I have always worked with ADB and later with USB printers. Since my Mac is not connected to a network the cheapest solution seems to be a parallel to USB port adapter. The LaserJet 4L seems to be very solid work horse. Not fast but running and running. I once had a LaserJet 1200 which was not so well crafted, especially the paper tray.