Parallel 1284-C to usb

June 19, 2009 at 07:04:21
Specs: Windows XP, celeron 256mb
I am trying to find out if anyone knows of a way how i can connect a HP PSC 500 printer ( with a parallel 1284-c port to a USB port in my laptop. I have seen many adaptors for the larger parallel 1284-a ports but none for the smaller type. Do any exist and could you point me in the right direction.

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June 19, 2009 at 07:47:16
What you've been finding will work, if you've been looking for the right thing - they're meant for a IEEE1284-C connection, the same as your printer and most if not all parallel connected printers or multifunction printer/scanner etc. devices have.

A standard USB to parallel printer adapter cable (which has circuits that convert a USB connection to a parallel connection and visa versa as well as wiring) will work fine with your printer.

There's no such thing as an adapter without circuits that will work - e.g. a simple gender adapter.

You do not connect to the parallel port (25 pin D-sub female) on the computer.

You do not a standard parallel cable (36 "pin" centronics male to 25 pin D-sub male) along with the USB to parallel adapter cable - if you need more lengh than the adapter cable provides for, use a USB 2.0 extension cable - type A Male to Female.

The port on the printer is 36 "pin" Centronics female - the connector on the end of the adapter cable's cord is 36 "pin" Centronics male. Not all of those are connected - hence, with a regular parallel printer cable, the other end, 25 pin D-sub male has a max 25 connections.
Centronics connections don't have actual pins that stick out on the male side like other male connections for many other connectors for computers do.

male and female centronics

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June 19, 2009 at 12:30:12
Thanks for the reply. I have already tried the cable you are suggesting. I port at the back of the printer is a smaller version of the standard parallel prinetr port setup. This line near the bottom of the wiki entry explains what i think is at the back of the printer.

Mini-Centronics (type C, MDR36) 36 pin, a smaller alternative for the device connection that has not proven popular.

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June 20, 2009 at 10:39:39
By the way

- 1284-A is the 25 pin D-sub connector.

- these USB to parallel printer adapters are meant to be connected to printers, NOT to multi-function devices (all-in-ones - printer/scanner, etc.) or other devices with a parallel port (e.g. older scanners). The printer functions of your all-in-one may work fine, or they may NOT, but the other functions of the all-in-one likely WILL NOT WORK because the circuits for the adapter likely don't support other than use with printers.
If you want all of the functions of the all-in-one or another device other than a printer to work for sure, you need to connect to a standard enhanced parallel port (capable of and set to EPP, ECP, or EPP/ECP mode).
E.g. if you have a desktop computer, if it has a parallel port connect the device to that. If you don't have a parallel port available, get yourself a PCI parallel port card and connect the all-in-one or other device to that.
(There is no speed advantage to connecting via USB - a USB connected parallel printer can't run any faster than it does max when connected to a parallel port.)

Why didn't you mention you already had tried a typical USB to parallel printer adapter in the first post?
It was NOT obvious in the document you linked to above that the centronics connector on the printer is smaller.

I tool another look.
In the support for the PSC 500 all-in-one's (it's incorrect to call it a printer) I found:
Oddball connector.....

"The connector is smaller and allows smaller printed circuit board designs (thereby allowing smaller printer designs)"

"The downside to selecting this cable type was that it is not readily available in the retail supply chain at this time.

Other names for cables of this type include:
IEEE 1284C
IEEE 1284 A-C"

That's typical of HP to sometimes use something that isn't widely supported.

Apparent there are two types of 1284-C.
The Centronics connector on your all-in-one is Centronics MICRO - the normal used one is called Centronics MINI, or just Centronics.
They're both 36 "pin", and they look identical except for their size.

HP doesn't have any pictures that I could find of the parallel cables for them but apparently it must have the connectors the same as on this one:
Computer Cable, 6-ft. IEEE 1284 AC Parallel Cable DB25M to MicroCen36M

SO - what you do is search for:
USB to centronics micro adapter
USB to centronics micro printer adapter
or similar
or - if you already have a typical standard USB to printer adapter (to centronics or centronics MINI).....
centronics mini to centronics micro adapter
centronics mini to micro adapter
or similar


USB Micro Centronics Conversion Kit
USB to micro centronics
(circuits within the adapter; cable used is USB)

Cable - USB to Micro Centronics printer adapter, but out of stock:

Regular USB to printer (Mini C) adapter
Optional Mini-C/Micro C Adapter Available

"This 6-foot USB to Parallel IEEE 1284 Centronics 36 adapter allows you to connect your parallel printer to a USB port on your computer. The parallel end fits directly into the centronics connecter on your printer (36-pin).
This adapter WILL NOT WORK with your all-in-one printer."

Just the adapter:
Incorrect labelling - should be to Micro - looks like the same thing

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