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Laserwriter Pro 630, Mountain Lion, and Macbook Pro

1566 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Aug 15, 2012 1:56 PM by John Galt RSS
Mark Nadell Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 14, 2012 8:56 AM

Hi,

 

I have a very old Laserwriter Pro 630 that I use for simple inexpensive proofing. On my old system (G4 Tower w/Leopard), it was connected via an ethernet hub.

 

I'm now the proud owner of a Macbook Pro Retina (with no ethernet port), and I can't figure out how (or if) I can use this printer. Can someone give me some advice on this?

 

Thanks,

 

Mark

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mountain Lion
  • Matt Broughton Level 5 Level 5 (4,905 points)

    The Apple Store description for your computer says --  "Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (sold separately)".

     

    Also, if your printer is connected to an Ethernet port on a router that has wireless capabilities, you could use the wi-fi connection of the rMBPro to access the printer.

  • Matt Broughton Level 5 Level 5 (4,905 points)

    Looking back to your original post.  If you were running OS X 10.5 before, it would have been discovered automatically with AppleTalk.  That is no longer available.  Were you using a straight Ethernet cable to the router or were you going through a LocalTalk to Ethernet bridge like the AsanteTalk?

  • Matt Broughton Level 5 Level 5 (4,905 points)

    Oops.  I stand corrected.  It looks like this will be a no go with Ethernet.  See this archived thread for options.  The parallel-to-USB adapter and the USB-to-serial adapter both involve some cash outlay with no absolute guarantee.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)

    If you dig through the archived thread Matt linked, you will find that I sucessfully used various parallel to Ethernet and parallel to wireless adapters with the LaserWriter Pro 630. It continues to work well with Mountain Lion. So you can even make your printer work wirelessly.

     

    You won't escape some cash outlay, but $30 for an adapter is a small investment for a printer that probably cost you several thousand dollars twenty years ago.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)

    Mark, a D-Link DP-G301 wireless print server just became available on eBay. Search for item number 170896099573. The seller has no feedback but eBay's policies strongly favor buyers these days.

     

    This is the same one I use. Used DP-G301s appear very rarely and I have never found a new one. I'd buy it before someone else does.

     

    D-Link included no instructions for OS X but Larry Macphee kindly posted a well-written guide here:

     

    http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~lrm22/technology/techstuff/wifi_printing/wifi_printing.h tm

     

    It was written for Tiger and a different printer, but the applicable details for Mountain Lion and the LaserWriter Pro will be the same.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, OS X Mountain Lion,  27 years Apple!
  • Matt Broughton Level 5 Level 5 (4,905 points)

    Thanks for the extra help John.  My initial thought was that it would be easy seeing an Ethernet connection and PostScript capabilities.  As I began to think about it some more, I came up with all sorts of possible obstacles and my eyes and mind glazed over.  I was trying to find the user manual etc to see if the printer needed an AAUI transceiver.  Also, while the track record is impressive with how much we can accomplish with parallel-to-USB adapters, there are also horror stories.  I didn't to tell someone who was reluctant to shell out money to just go pick one up.

     

    I am also thinking this might be a good candidate for use as a serial printer.  I haven't looked at the flow control or baud rate, but in theory it should work.  I have serial backends available on my website.  The cost of serial-to-USB adapters is generally much steeper than either a parallel-to-USB adapter or the print server you linked to.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)

    There are certainly potential obstacles, but the "lowest common denominator" approach of a parallel to Ethernet (or wireless) solution works for me. If using a print server, the goal is to create an IP address where this printer will reside on the network. Since the LW Pro 630 is a PostScript printer, the rest is easy.

     

    To summarize the results of the thread you linked, including the links within it, regarding this specific model LaserWriter, based on my own testing on OS X versions from Jaguar through Mountain Lion:

     

    IOGear GUC1284B parallel to USB adapter attached to a Mac's USB port: works

     

    The same IOGear adapter connected to an AirPort Extreme or Express USB port does not work with the LaserWriter Pro 630, though it works with other parallel printers. I was never able to determine the reason but am pretty confident I exhausted every possibility. Read my responses to Loroi near the end of this thread: USB to Parallel Cable for LW Select 360?

     

    D-Link DP-311P and D-Link DP-G301 parallel to wireless adapters: both work. Similar parallel to wireless or Ethernet adapters ought to work as well.

     

    Another possibility would be to use a USB to serial converter, such as the Keyspan (Tripp Lite) USA-28XG. I have not attempted this potential solution. The challenge would be to discover the LaserWriter's default serial port settings, but a good guess would be 9600-n-8-1.

     

    Configuring the Mac to use this alternative would require no small amount of tedium with which you are well familiar I suspect the LaserWriter used a configuration utility that requires OS 9 and AppleTalk to configure its serial port, and may also have been required for the AAUI transceiver which the OP probably doesn't have. The fact this particular LaserWriter has a parallel port that requires no configuration makes this an unattractive alternative.

     

    The disadvantage of any of the above solutions is that complete, bidirectional communication won't work, meaning the printer will not be able to inform the Mac that it's out of paper for example. If the printer is not ready the print job will patiently wait until it becomes ready. Communicating with the printer to determine details such as page count are also unavailable without Intel-coded utility software that does not exist in OS X.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, OS X Mountain Lion,  27 years Apple!
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,110 points)

    The IOGear adapter cable is ridiculously cheap on Amazon:

     

    http://www.amazon.com/IOGEAR-GUC1284B-USB-Parallel-Adapter/dp/B00018RT1E

     

    If you do not require a wireless connection it may be the cheapest solution. Beware that it will not work if connected to an Express or Extreme's USB port. I already tried.

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