Wednesday, April 14, 2010

USB to Parallel Converter - TrendNet TU-P1284 on Ubuntu using HP Series II Printer

I own an aging, but trusted workhorse of a printer - HP Series II.  My printer was built in 1987 and to the surprise of many the toner cartridges are still available from mass retailers.  The crux of getting old in the printer world is my Series II only has an LPT port and most new computers (even desktops) no longer have LPT ports.  This was the issue for me in the recent years where I only had one computer (a Shuttle mini-box) with an LPT port.  This was fine until our recent move and I now longer want to have my Shuttle system setup to just for my occational printing needs.

Enter the TrendNet TU-P1284 USB to Parallel Convert which I just got off Amazon for a cool $14.  I'm using Ubuntu and CrunchBang as my operating systems.  As any Linux user knows, having a manufacturer listing Linux support is pretty rare for the little items like a converter (although I am noticing it more and more).  So the cable arrived today and I hurried unpacked it. I plugged it in and a big fat... nothing.  CUPS would not even recognize a new printer connected.

After a whole bunch of Googling and a few thoughts of returning the cable to Amazon, I found a bug from a few years about about foomatic not recognizing printers connected via usb to parallel converters. So instead of editing CUPS configuration files I decided to check if I could find in "/dev/usb" if Ubuntu actually saw the usb converter plugged in and Ubuntu did at "/dev/usb/lp0". I was right! It was mirrored at /dev/usblp0.  So I tried adding a printer again in CUPS by using this device URI "usb:/dev/usblp0" (yes, a zero - "0") and the test page did not work.  I reviewed that bug report again and noticed his HP printer only worked when using the device URI of "parallel:/dev/usblp0".  That worked and I was able to select the printer driver for HP II (there are three available) and had a successful test page printed.

So I'm posting this for two reasons:

  1. Google did not come up with any immediate results that helped me.

  2. I will forget how I set this up by tomorrow and next time I switch computers around in my office I will up a wall trying to figure this out again.

Hope this helps somebody else out there.


  1. I can't tell you how glad I am that I found this. I needed to use an older printer I had for my Ubuntu machine and got the adapter.

    THANK YOU!!!

  2. Thank you.
    This helped me to connect two old Epson dot-matrix printers.
    the usb://dev/usblpX url's is what worked in my case.
    Thank You!!

  3. This saved me a boatload of time, thanks!

  4. This tip works even on a POS parallel printer, I was looking this solution for ages! Thank you!

  5. with parallel is ok for me.
    im using Epson LX 300


  6. I am also thankful.

  7. Well done. Thanks.