Thursday, 15 December 2011

OHO! There may be life in the old dog yet!

So, my desktop PC died a few months back, when the primary hard disk - the boot drive - catastrophically failed. Well, it was, I'll admit, only a matter of time, and I'd been half expecting something like that to happen, so had (wisely) been doing what I tell others to do: I'd quietly been backing most of the data on it to one of my external USB hard drives, so (queue the bugler in the background, sounding the last Post) RIP (Rust in Pieces) desktop XP machine, you served your user well over the last five years *sniff*.

For the rest of the stuff on the three remaining EIDE drives inside the old XP machine, I'll just need to lay my mitts on a drive reader, a small piece of hardware that you physically put an old hard drive into, which allows you to plug it into a USB port - such as the ones on my Acer One D255 netbook (that's running Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit), so no real problems there: The devices are available from Amazon easily enough, and are on my wish list for Christmas *hint to relatives looking for a pressie for me, lol*.

However, this still left me with an excellent and practically bomb-proof laser printer that was still turning out crisply printed pages from the old PC like there was no tomorrow: An HP LaserJet 6P. The problem with it is that I cannot directly plug it into my netbook, as the damn thing only uses the old Centronics 64-pin plug, not the more modern USB system.

So, there I was, idly surfing the net at oh-my-God-o'clock this morning (I couldn't sleep. Seems I'm a part-time insomniac. *shrug* It happens from time to time), and found myself meandering down the HTC Sensation Forums, and noticed a thread that mentioned that converters from MiniUSB to MicroUSB plugs were available. Interesting. Like many people, I've got a shedload of old miniUSB plugs for my old phone, and as my new HTC Sensation uses the new, smaller MicroUSB socket, they're somewhat useless for it - so the converted plugs will breath new life into the old kit.

And that's when the two-watt Toc-H lamp illuminated above my head, as my eyes wandered across to the LaserJet 6P on my desk, now gathering dust following the demise of the XP desktop machine... if they can make converter plugs and sockets for USB connectors, what about Centronics to USB converters?

Well, it seems that they do. The problem, however, is not purely a hardware issue - there's a firmware, or driver, issue as well. There are conflicting reports (Google search link) as to whether you can make a centronics printer like the LJ6P series actually work with a PC running Windows 7. Seems that HP have previously said that while some of the LJ6 series may be made to work, the LJ6P series may not, and as a result, they apparently haven't updated their drivers for them. Then, on one of their other links, apparently they *have* got updated drivers for the LJ6P series. Confusing isn't the word. Frustrating is rather more accurate.

And then I blundered across this: So, here's hoping. I'm ordering a converter cable later, and then I'll download the driver. I'll let you know how I get on

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