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  • FIRST POST
    • fifeken
    • By fifeken 13th Jan 19, 6:33 AM
    • 2,309Posts
    • 1,196Thanks
    fifeken
    USB to Printer Cable
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 19, 6:33 AM
    USB to Printer Cable 13th Jan 19 at 6:33 AM
    I'm trying to bring back to life an old printer with what I call a Centronics/IEEE connection only and looking to connect to it from a laptop with USB output.
    I have found a conversion cable here which sounds right, but does not support Windows 10.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/USB2-0-to-Parallel-IEEE-1284-36-Pin-Printer-Adapter-Cable-PC-Connector-Cord-XP-J/292754785487

    Can anyone point me in the direction of one that does?


    Also, the connector looks unusual to me as I don't recall Centronics/IEEE connectors having what looks like 2 rows of female connections up the middle but more the external connections just visible outside these. Am I mixing up connector types or can someone help me with a better description of what I need?
Page 1
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 13th Jan 19, 7:25 AM
    • 8,676 Posts
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    esuhl
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 19, 7:25 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 19, 7:25 AM
    I think it just looks like those are IDE-drive-type female connectors.

    The connector you're referring to is what I'd call a Centronics RS232 interface. If you look at other photos of these cables, they look very similar to the one in your link.

    https://www.blackbox.com/en-us/store/Detail.aspx/Async-RS-232-to-Parallel-Converter---DB9-to-36-pin-Centronics-Interface-Powered/PI045A

    So yeah... Not 100% sure, but I think you have the right cable and those aren't really female connectors.
    • Neil Jones
    • By Neil Jones 13th Jan 19, 8:47 AM
    • 1,880 Posts
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    Neil Jones
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 19, 8:47 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 19, 8:47 AM
    You need a USB to parallel converter which is a multi pin connector for older printers. Typically 25 pins, not usually 36 but 36 pins was an even older connection style before 25.

    An RS232 as mentioned by esuhl is a nine pin serial port, its much smaller than a printer connector.

    As to the supportability of Windows 10, its just going to be a USB device, I'd be very surprised if it didn't work. You need really to check whether the printer itself is Windows 10 compatible.
    Last edited by Neil Jones; 13-01-2019 at 8:50 AM.
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 13th Jan 19, 10:19 AM
    • 2,503 Posts
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    Inner Zone
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:19 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:19 AM
    I think it just looks like those are IDE-drive-type female connectors.

    The connector you're referring to is what I'd call a Centronics RS232 interface. If you look at other photos of these cables, they look very similar to the one in your link.

    https://www.blackbox.com/en-us/store/Detail.aspx/Async-RS-232-to-Parallel-Converter---DB9-to-36-pin-Centronics-Interface-Powered/PI045A

    So yeah... Not 100% sure, but I think you have the right cable and those aren't really female connectors.
    Originally posted by esuhl

    Centronics (parallel) and Serial (RS232) interfaces are completely different.
    Last edited by Inner Zone; 13-01-2019 at 10:27 AM.
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 13th Jan 19, 10:22 AM
    • 2,503 Posts
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    Inner Zone
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:22 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:22 AM
    You need a USB to parallel converter which is a multi pin connector for older printers. Typically 25 pins, not usually 36 but 36 pins was an even older connection style before 25.

    An RS232 as mentioned by esuhl is a nine pin serial port, its much smaller than a printer connector.

    As to the supportability of Windows 10, its just going to be a USB device, I'd be very surprised if it didn't work. You need really to check whether the printer itself is Windows 10 compatible.
    Originally posted by Neil Jones

    Centronics interfaces were / are 36 pin.


    RS232 is serial interface standard, not a plug. However 9, 15 HD and 25W D plugs socket are usually used for RS232 connections
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 13th Jan 19, 10:27 AM
    • 2,503 Posts
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    Inner Zone
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:27 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:27 AM
    OP this may work, not a recommendation just a suggestion as I have tried different cable in the past and they did not work:


    https://www.lindy.co.uk/usb-firewire-c4/usb-converters-c213/usb-to-parallel-adapter-36-way-centronics-1-5m-p480/s622?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=usb-to-parallel-adapter-36-way-centronics-1-5m&utm_campaign=product%2Blisting%2Bads&gclid=CjwK CAiA4OvhBRAjEiwAU2FoJcChlU3zYhQihtPzBOx4Aj9CZJhUr0 B-AZuhv4sjHKqU3yaQ012JgBoCVysQAvD_BwE
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 13th Jan 19, 10:32 AM
    • 3,596 Posts
    • 4,798 Thanks
    unforeseen
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:32 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:32 AM
    For a parallel printer the 25 way D connector was on the computer and the printer end was a Centronics 36 way connector


    Not to be confused with the 50 way Centronics plug/socket used for SCSI 1
    Last edited by unforeseen; 13-01-2019 at 10:35 AM.
    • fifeken
    • By fifeken 13th Jan 19, 3:43 PM
    • 2,309 Posts
    • 1,196 Thanks
    fifeken
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 19, 3:43 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 19, 3:43 PM
    Thanks all.

    esuhl - the Centronix end of the one in your link looks like what I was expecting and no holes in the middle as shown on the one I linked to.

    Neil Jones - my recollection is the same as Inner Zone describes in that a 25 way D Type would typically be a RS232 serial connector, or as unforeseen says on the PC end of parallel printer link. The printer end is usually 36 way Centronix. I don't understand your comment on the printer to be Win10 compatible. Surely it'll print whatever gets sent to it as long as it can interpret it, and that would be a function of the laptop, software and cable being used to send the data?

    Inner Zone - that looks identical to the one I saw, and it mentions Windows 10 so looks good. It does however have those "connections" up the middle which look unusual to me, and don't appear on the one in esuhl's link or other Centronix ones I've got, which still makes me nervous. Any idea what they are for?
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 13th Jan 19, 5:30 PM
    • 9,255 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    • #9
    • 13th Jan 19, 5:30 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jan 19, 5:30 PM
    I think the little holes in the centre bar are just the way it's manufactured; some male and female connectors have them and some don't. They aren't actually connections.

    The 'parallel' end of the USB-parallel converter will vary depending on whether it connects directly to the printer or expects you to use a printer cable as well as the converter.

    In terms of W10/software, some printers (especially cheap lasers) were/are 'Winprinters' which use the operating system to render the output, and one of those may not have suitable drivers for later versions of Windows. That's a separate problem to the converter itself, which needs to tell Windows there's a parallel-port-over-USB.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
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