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Plugging stuff in - parrallel cables to pc?

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Post Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:29 pm

Plugging stuff in - parrallel cables to pc?

Can anyone offer me a little advice on the following :-

I want to be able to attach 3 parrallel cables to my PC, but be able to automatically switch to one or the other of them quickly, without having to unplug anything to be able to do it. I've tried to plug in a manual switcher that has two ports, but the cables don't match up at all. I realise this may have been covered before, but I can't seem to find any reference to it on the boards. Is it even possible to attach 3 cables? (?)

Although again, they've only got two ports, I've been told that the auto-switch boxes I've seen are unreliable, though if they are, why are they sold? I was also told I could just shove extra parallel ports onto my PC, but how does that work and if its fairly straight forward, can I just keep adding them or is there some sort of limit to the amount I can add?

All this computer hardware stuff is making me a tad dizzy at the moment, I'm sure it'd be easier all round if I bought a 3rd PC. :-?

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:41 pm

http://www.videkonline.co.uk/home.asp?p ... apterID=34


try this company Dewi they really can help you out :P adding seperate parallel cards is a pricey way of doing it £70 + a card!! :o

even phone them in the morning very helpful!! :D


Nik
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Post Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:48 pm

Dewi,

I've heard that switch boxes can be a pain. Something like this might be more like it
http://www.lindy.com/uk/productfolder/0 ... /index.php
It's a USB to parallel converter.

Something else you could try, if you have a network, is a Ethernet print adapter like this:
http://www.linksys.com/products/product ... 2&prid=436

You can get wireless versions too.

Cheers,
Justin.
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Post Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:52 pm

Dewi,

you need a switcher box, I have a Belkin one with 4 connections.

Either manual or automatic, just have to remember to switch over the manual one.

there must be a parallel cable from your computer into the box then again a parallel cable from the box to your device.

The key here is that you need a switch box that goes from one computer to several devices not one for several computers to one device.

I had this problem when i first started using a switch box, they looked exactly the same but i had the wrong one, hence the cables not matching up
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Post Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:50 am

I had the same prob with 2 printers bought a manual box from Maplins £8 does the job brilliantly they also had auto switch ones and 4 connection ones as well if I remember correctly At that price worth a look anyway.

Goop.
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Post Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:39 am

Excellent, thank you :D I think I have the one Budone is talking about, it didn't matter how I laid out the cables, I ended up with only one connection, which puzzled me to why there were two ports.

I really like the parallel to USB thingy, that looks so cool! I've got a USB hub thing that you can plug your camera, card reader, web cam and virtually anything with a USB plug on the end of it, so I'll buy one of those and have a play, but the bi-directional thing Nik linked to looks like what I'm after.

Juzzer, only just managed a network connection at home, trying it at work could be dangerous when you see the mess I made of my home PCs, its like spaghetti junction under the desk :oops:

Again, thank you for the advice, very much appreciated. I don't feel quite so daft now about not being able to connect that manual box, although I do feel a tad daft for buying it in the first place :-?

Btw Gordon, I haven't heard of Maplins before, just done a google, it looks really cool! Thanks :D

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Mon Feb 07, 2005 9:37 am

Had a similar problem to you Dewi, rather than buy switches I plugged the printers/plotters into a networked computer and printed/cut to those devices via the network. Cutting was done by having Signlab's plot spooler on the remote computer, printer is plugged in and set up as normal. (you may be networking your work computers sooner rather than later-happy knotting)
Alan
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Post Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:16 am

Dewi

I'm going to assume you are trying to have the set up i have.

Plotter
PC60
Paper printer

I have the Plotter Camm1 on com port 3 (serial)
the PC60 on LPT 1 (parallel)
And the paper printer Lexmark on USB002 Virtual Printer Port

This is on Windows XP.

OK this is not a 3 parallel set up but it works and no extra kit is needed.

All the best.

Dan
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Post Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:31 am

Dewi, I run 3 parallel printers off my machine and more on the network as well as USB devices and serial devices.

The switch boxes work well, but there are problems with XP with some units. Not sure why, but even my wholesalers steer away from boxes other than Belkin and similar.

An lpt2/3 port should not be that expensive. They are easy to set up in the BIOS, and would be the simplest answer to the problem. Having said that, all the other suggestions here are good, but as I said, I'd go for the extra lpt before anything else. Of course, you have to have the available slots on your motherboard. Some motherboards boards with onboard lpts, need to be changed to lpt3, and then run the lpt card as lpt 1 & 2.

Cheers Mate

Shane
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Post Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:35 am

Pretty similar Dan, but I have 6 devices that all need parallel connections. Well, thats not strictly true :oops: There is an option to use a USB cable on the Graphtec, but I can't get it to work after hours of trying, so I gave up and plumped for the parallel connection :oops:

I can get rid of one of the devices in favour of a USB variety one, so that leaves me with 5, and one of the devices isn't in servicable use at the moment, so I can forget about that one til its up and running, leaving me with 4. Common sense would tell me to plug 2 devices into one PC and 2 devices into the other, but the fact I have little or no common sense, means I would prefer to do a 3 in one and 1 in the other :D There is logic in my madness, as I'm as keen on networking as I am at seeing 'The Annoying Thing' advert for the 20th time whilst attempting long division using my toes as a crude calculator! :o

Plus one system runs on Win98, whilst the other is on the dreaded XP and again, XP isn't my favourite animal, although it isn't overly fond of me either. It constantly reminds me of things that I'd rather not be reminded of and when I use a USB device with it, it spits at me! :evil:

I'm ordering the bi-directional thingy and the parallel to USB thingy, see how I go with those. Should be fun at the very least, but don't be surprised when you spot me at SignUK with huge chunks of hair missing from around my scalp and a copy of "What the f*%$ do I do now" magazine casually sticking out of my jeans pocket! :-?

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:36 am

DSI is right in as much 3 lpt ports is the ideal and although this set up worked very well on previous computers the card clashed with something in the new one (modem I think) therefore the network fix.
Alan
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Post Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:47 am

Dewi scoot along to Blackvipers web site and he tells you hows to switch off all the "thingies" that are a right royal pain in the £%$

Goop
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:22 pm

Thank you for everyones help, finally managed to get it :D Plugged 3 devices in, and they all work okay in manual mode, not brilliantly in auto unfortunately. Not overly worried as I've mounted the boxy thing in front of me, so I just whack the button and manually switch to the machine I'm using. Easy enough and miles better than unplugging and plugging things in every five minutes.

Image

Thanks again!

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:14 pm

Graphtec ce3000

Hi Dewi,

You can run the Graphtec serial, we don't really like recommending switch boxes, they can make the ports go bang, if the switch box goes faulty.
It's about £25 for a Graphtec 5m serial cable.
The USB should be ok its best kept plugged into one port otherwise windows keeps adding extra printers!!

cheers

Jeff
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:56 pm

Thanks Jeff :D Do you make a cable thats any longer than 5m though? My current parallel cable is 10m, as the cable goes up, through the suspended ceiling and down the other side of the office to the plotter (There's a doorway inbetween the pc and the plotter)

I've tried the USB connection, but for some reason my system doesn't recognise it as a valid connection. :-? I thought initially it was down to the USB port, but I run a card reader and a few bits and bobs from the USB, and they all work fine.

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:07 pm

Serial cable

Hi Dewi,

We can make you one up at 10m , recently made one at 15m,

The usb connection problem was that that under windows XP or 98?

cheers

Jeff
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:08 pm

Could be the distance the USB is going mate. I am not sure where I saw it, but I thought there was a disdtance limitation with USB (and serial) unless you use specific cables meant for the long distance, and shielded from RF. Could be wrong and got this screwed up, but that is how I understood it at the time.

I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong :oops:

Cheers
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:34 pm

Its on 98SE Jeff, most things seem to work okay in it, but the odd thing I have to put on the XP machine. I still can't get used to XP though. I followed Goops advice, managed to switch off lots of the auto-notice things, but I still find it a pain.

How do I go about ordering the serial thingy Jeff? Do you sell them direct or through an agent or??

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 4:54 pm

serial cable

Hi Dewi,

You can ring on 01978 666700 or fax on 01978 666710 ask for Steve or me £28.50 for 10m +vat ,p&p.

I sound like a sales man :) if you ask for the length you require and your method of payment , address, etc its called a serial at cable. Just make sure you have a serial com port on your pc should be a 9 pin.
port settings will be 9600,8,none ,1 , hardware. Also always turn the power off to your CE3 before removing cables.


For usb 5m is the max for the Graphtecs, I've not tried the usb drivers under 98 only xp , I'll try an find a pc with 98se on and usb ports.

cheers

Jeff
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Post Mon Feb 21, 2005 4:56 pm

Excellent :D Thanks very much Jeff, I'll ring now :D

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Tue Feb 22, 2005 12:55 am

Some devices don't seem to workthrough a hub they need a port in the PC Dunno why just is.

I make sure all the machines are swithched off when I switch ports dunno if it will make a difference just feel happier this way.
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Post Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:56 pm

Sorry its took so long to thank you Jeff, cable arrived and fitted, works brilliantly. Its surprising how much more work I can do now I've freed up the parallel dooberry thingy ma jig :D Much appreciated though :D

Cheers, Dewi

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