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I have a bit of an interesting challenge :) I have a machine with a parallel printer output, i want it to be able to print instead to a printer in a different room and i know that parallel isnt great over big distances. i found this:

http://www.amazon.com/over-Cat5-Extension-Cable-Adapter/dp/B002WJ9S6Y%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAINHICTCYYZGJWT4Q%26tag%3Dusbprintercables.net-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB002WJ9S6Y

which will let me connect over cat5, but its usb to cat 5. my machine can only output on parallel (its not a computer) so what i was thinking of getting is a parallel(f) to usb and usb to parallel (M) for either side

i.e. machine -> parallel -> usb -> cat5 -> usb -> parallel ->printer

just seems a bit messy :) suggestions?

another thing i would like to try is to get rid of the old school parallel printer and instead use a network based multi function. would this be possible?

i.e. machine -> parallel ->usb -> cat5 -> ethernet print server - > network printer

this might be rougher because the machine cannot "know" that we are using a network printer. it can ONLY print to LPT1

Thanks!

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There is to the best of my knowledge, no such thing as USB > Parallel. Interesting problem though. –  Mark Henderson Jun 26 '11 at 9:08

3 Answers 3

Parallel to usb adapters do exists. Here is a picture of one from Belkin:

belkin_adapter

I'm not sure if the combination of extender+adapter would work, but given the price of both, the total cost of the experimentation would be around 20USD.

This is much cheaper than an arduino + ethernet shield, without the programming/electronic hassle.

Google Shopping link

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That's for plugging an LPT printer into USB, I'm not sure how you'll get the same usb-converted LPT back into standard LPT. (You could however definately try converting that USB into CAT5 using a converter and back again) –  Mark Henderson Jun 26 '11 at 10:11
    
well, I don't know why it wouldn't work, one just has to adapt the female db25 and the male centronics, but signals are the same... –  petrus Jun 26 '11 at 10:28

I don't know how good your electronics skill is, but parallel is a very simple protocol. It would not be inconcievable to use something like an Arduino to pick up the pin outputs, transfer them over ethernet to a 2nd Arduino that then outputs them at the destination device.

Paralell is two-way though, so I don't know how synchronising the send/receive would work, but with low enough latency (parallel is super slow, so I'm guessing ethernet latency might be OK) it should be possible to emulate a direct-attached device.

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The term you're looking for (as far as Google is concerned) is "parallel extender" or "parallel line extender". There's an ATEN one that runs around $40 currently, and claims to run over regular telephone cable.

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