Parallel port malfunctioning


I have a problem with my parallel port. My printer (non-USB) is not detected by the OS but it worked fine in another computer. So, it’s my belief that the parallel port is somehow messed up.
My questions would be:

  1. how to check this? Try connecting the printer to the serial port?
  2. Working with the serial port means slower printer performance?
  3. Is there anyway to repair a malfunctioning parallel port or must I change the whole motherboard?

Thanks for the support.


Pilgrim: I doubt your printer can be connected to a standard serial port (RS232 interface). The only serial port that is quite common for using on a printer is a USB port.
If you really want to check your parallel port, you need a loopback device (connects the port to itsself). But… checking all your settings (both in your BIOS and in Windows) could perhals reveal the problem.

If your LPT port turns out to be defect, you can simply place an addon card with an parallel interface on your mainboard. Such a card isn’t really expensive and should do the trick!

I will double check my BIOS settings, but I did it yesterday (no, it was more like today…2 AM!).
This add-on card you talk about is a pci card, right?


Yes…they are normally PCI, but you can also get ISA if your mainboard is that old. Are you sure that all of your cables are snug and the power is on to the printer? Try installing the printer through “Add Printer” in the Control Panel manually, and then try to print to it. Let us know how it is going/

Yesterday I tried several things: add new hardware, add printer, I even tried to use the Deskjet 550C driver (read in a web site that this is a universal driver), tried ECP setting, tried ECP+EPP setting…
What made me go “down” was that as soon as I connected my printer to another pc it was detected right away, installed and working fine…:confused:
Don’t know…
I’m afraid that it might be a damaged parallel port. So, that leaves me with 3 options: get a new mobo, get a usb printer, get a pci parallel port card (by the way, speed wise what’s the difference between the ISA and the PCI card?).
Am I thinking right?


As far as I know, the clock speed for ISA slots was between 7MHz and 8MHz. On the other hand, PCI is 33MHz. That said, I don’t think that you will see a huge difference in printing performance. I would still get a PCI interface though because they are 1- easier to find and 2- probably cheaper.

I dont know that I would go as far as replacing the Mainboard, unless you were looking to upgrade anyway. I am assuming, since you said that USB is an option, that you have USB on your PC?

Yes. My mobo is a Soltek SL-65FVB. It has 2 USB ports, the problem is that they are both being used by my digital camera and scanner…
Upgrading was not in my plans at the moment (my mony is already allocated :wink: ).
Maybe the pci adapter will do the trick. No the problem is where to find it where I live = Portugal!
Do you know a good, trustable european web site that can quickly put that adapter here (in case I can’t find it in my country?)?


I’m sorry, but I am from the the US and I am unsure of any European sites that you could get that from.


Originally posted by pilgrim
It has 2 USB ports, the problem is that they are both being used by my digital camera and scanner…

get a usb hub. they are cheap, and allow 1 slot to become 4-whatever you need, generally :stuck_out_tongue: