an HP deskjet printer to work with an older Mac via a network
(and thus allowing
newer printers to be used with older Macs that lack USB capability but have
To obtain a late-model low-cost inkjet printing solution that works with
older Macintoshes that lack USB capability but have network capability.
Summary of method:
We purchase an hp deskjet printer which includes a parallel interface (e.g.
hp deskjet 3820) and use a pocket-size low-cost network print server which
includes support for the AppleTalk PAP protocol, and create a two-device LAN
between the Mac and the print server.
What you will need:
A PowerPC-based Mac with a 10-baseT network port (obviously
we're doing this with an older Mac, a Performa 6200, but newer Macs could
benefit from this as well, because the printer becomes available on the
local area network to which it and the Mac are connected).
An HP deskjet printer which includes a parallel (IEEE-1284)
interface. I purchased the deskjet 3820, but others will also work just
- A network print server with the following capabilities: a parallel interface
for connection to the printer, a 10-baseT interface for connection to the
network, AppleTalk PAP protocol support. You can buy one of HP's overpriced
JetDirect servers to do this, or you can be less of a mug and shop around.
I purchased a "LanReady
CP-710" from AVready.com for
US$43. The CP-710 is an OEM part manufactured by a Taiwanese outfit called
CellVision, product specs are here.The
CP710 includes a handy web-based admin interface too.
- A local-area network. In the simplest case this could just be an ethernet
cross-over cable connecting the Mac directly to the print server. In more
complex cases it could be a few devices connected together by a hub. (The
instructions below will assume one of these cases. However, if your Mac is
on a large campus LAN, it will work fine too, but some of the configuration
detailed below will differ. If you can't figure it out, I suggest you go with
the back-to-back via crossover cable-method until its all working.)
- latest HP's deskjet drivers. These should come on a CD with the printer,
but as I found out the version on the CD from a brand new printer box was
already out-of-date so I downloaded them from HP's
website. These drivers are network capable (Mac OS classic drivers version
5.1 and up and Mac OS X drivers version 2.0f and later. Earlier versions of
the Mac OS X drivers are not network capable. Of course you could always connect
the printer via USB to your MacOS X capable Mac, but then you wouldn't be
reading this would ya?) The network capablity is a fact that hp seems reluctant
to divulge anywhere on their extensive websites, perhaps to make you think
you have to buy their overpriced JetDirect server to do what we are doing
much much more cheaply.
- A web-browser. Any one should do.
How to do it:
- Set up the printer. Make sure its working OK by printing a test page. (You
don't need it connected to the computer jet: try holding down the paper-feed
button for 5 seconds.)
- Turn the printer off and plug the print server into the printer's parallel
port. Don't connect the power to the print server yet.
- Connect the Mac and the printer server via your network. If you're just
using a back-to-back method via a single crossover cable, good on ya, just
plug em in.
- Power up the Mac, then power up the print server. If you using a back-to-back
connection via a crossover cable and 're lucky, you'll see the "Link"
light on the print server come on. If you're using a hub, it should definitely
- When the Mac has booted, we're going to make a (possibly temporary) TCPIP
configuration so we can use the web-browser to configure the print server
(via TCP). Later we can revert to our regular TCPIP config, because the printing
will go via AppleTalk. So if your network access is via modem (dialup,cable
or DSL), you will eventually be able to use the printer and the modem at the
- Go to the TCPIP control panel, choose 'Configurations…' from the
- Click on the "Duplicate…" button, and give it a name
like 'Local' or something.
- Select the configuration you just created and click on 'Make Active'.
- Back in the main TCPIP control panel, configure thus:
Connect via: Ethernet
IP Address: 192.168.0.2
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
- Finally click on 'Options…', and make sure that TCPIP is active
and 'Load only when needed' is unticked. Close the control panel.
By this stage, the link light on the back of the print server should be
on. If its not, you may need to power-cycle the print server, and/or the
Mac until its going. You can also turn on the printer now.
- Fire up your web browser, and open the URL: http://192.168.0.1
With any luck you'll see the web interface for the print server. If not, something
went wrong in previous steps. See if you can get someone to help you figure
- Have a browse through the print server settings. Most of the settings can
be left alone. We need to change two.
- The first is the port name (on the TCPIP config page), since this determines
the printer name that will appear in the chooser. (As the port name is
also the queue name for lpr printing (not covered in this tutorial) and
lpr doesn't like spaces in queue names, I suggest you don'u use spaces,
e.g. hpdeskjet3820. Use underscores if you really want a gap in the name,
- The second setting to change is the AppleTalk device identification
(on the AppleTalk config page). This setting is the box that comes pre-filled
with the value 'LaserWriter'. This latter setting is the secret to getting
the hp software to recognise the print server. You need to type 'DeskWriter'
into that box instead of LaserWriter. That's right, DeskWriter. Capitalise
it correctly, big D, big W. Now, aren't you glad I spent many many many
hours figuring that out for you!!
Also on the AppleTalk config page is a setting that says 'PJL printer yes/no'.
According to HP's website the deksjet 3820 is not a PJL printer, so leave
that on no unless you're sure yours is. You can close the web browser now.
- Go to the AppleTalk control panel, and make sure the 'Connect via:' menu
reads 'Ethernet' and that AppleTalk is actve. Close the control panel.
- Install the HP drivers (also installes the hp inkjet utility in your Applications->Utilities
folder). You will have to reboot after this step.
- Everything should now be setup for it to work. Go to the Chooser, select
the 'hp dekjet 5.1' icon, and after a second or two you should see the name
you entered in the first part of step 7 above listed there. Click on it, choose
setup, and correctly identify your printer model. If you're using desktop
printing, it should then build a desktop printer for you.
- Try printing something!!! At this stage, you should also now be able to
use the hp inkjet utility which was installed along with the drivers at step
9 to print a test page, clean the printer, etc. etc.
- Does it all work? If it does, don't forget to your regular TCPIP config
which we changed in step 5.
Did this save you some time and/or money? Donations gratefully accepted!