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Which printer should I get?

Syntho

Well-known member
I’ve got a 2300dn right in front of me now, but... lots of issues. Paper jams and duplexing doesn’t seem to work, but I’ll get to that later. The main thing I’m concerned about is that in the I/O configuration area there is no setting showing up for networking. I’ve got the Ethernet cable plugged in but it’s acting as if there is no networking card in it.

 

Syntho

Well-known member
Looks like the seller pulled a switcheroo, after I noticed that the one I got was different from what was described. Returning it.

 

EvilCapitalist

Well-known member
If it's consistently jamming and the paper isn't the reason (high humidity and paper is a bad mix) it might need a maintenance kit which would be some mix of pads, rollers, and sometimes the fuser assembly.  Given that the JetDirect card isn't showing up / isn't detected and the duplexer isn't working right you're taking the smart approach by returning it.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Probably smart to budget for a maintenance kit anyway at this point. The LaserJet 2300 is getting closer and closer to twenty years old and any that hasn't had at least one or two by now is certainly due for one.

Bummer that the machine didn't arrive as-described. Was this one of those scenarios where one seller has a warehouse of things and they just make twelve listings for $THING with the same pictures and then you get whichever one happens to be on top? That's relatively common for high volume IT types of items, and, for better or worse it's not unlikely that more LaserJet 2300s were built that year than all Macintoshes across all product families.

Randomly, on the jetdirect: does the card light up? Are there lights on it? What if you turn the printer off, pull the jetdirect out (IIRC it's still an EIO slot on that model, so you should be able to unscrew it and pull lit out) and then put it back in?

 

Syntho

Well-known member
Yep, it was a business that inherited many printers at once and they had a duplicate. I contacted them and they said that I can just keep this one for parts and that they’ll send me the other one. Problem is though that I hope the other one I working fine. I asked that they test it beforehand, so we’ll see.

I’m not certain that any lights are coming on on the network card since it’s housed in a metal case. I looked on the inside through the holes in the housing and I don’t see any lights on, and I also pulled it out and reseated it but it’s not showing up.

I don’t want to spend too much time trying to fix everything but I read that baking the network card can help. I also have a heat gun. Don’t wanna try anything too drastic though since I’ve got another one on the way.

 
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Syntho

Well-known member
I can almost get the thing working, sans the network card. Seems to be jamming mostly in the cartridge area. I’m gonna tinker with this one until the other one is here.

 

NJRoadfan

Well-known member
If its a JetDirect 615n (looks like the card that came with these originally), it'll be a dud. They ALL fail. The one that came in my color Laserjet 3700dn crapped out after a few months. I baked it and it ran for another year. Finally crapped out for good and I replaced it with a JetDirect 635n.

 

Syntho

Well-known member
I’ll see about baking it and reviving it, but only after I diagnose and get the paper jam problem sorted. Right now it’s happening only inside the top part of the printer underneath the cartridge. Printing a single page is fine, but when it duplexes it has to go underneath that long metal plate that you can lift up. That’s where it gets stuck every time.

 

Syntho

Well-known member
I took it apart and I cleaned the solenoids and wrapped 2 layers of electrical tape on them. I think this may fix it. There is one problem however: a spring fell off of this part and I’m not sure where it was placed. I’m hoping that a service manual is available and it’ll show where it goes. Gonna fire it up in a bit and test. All it’ll need is a new network card then.

 

Syntho

Well-known member
Now it’s giving me an ‘install cartridge’ message after putting it back together. I wonder if that spring has something to do with it...

 

Syntho

Well-known member
Here’s what I think the problem is as far as the cartridge not being recognized. The 3 pieces on the left - the metal piece, the white plastic thing and the bigger spring seem to press against a piece of metal on the cartridge. The smaller spring on the right fell out randomly and I’m not sure where it goes, but I suspect it has to do with the cartridge detection. It fits inside the white thing but I’m not sure exactly how it’s supposed to be assembled.

When I take a screwdriver and press into the hole the white thing goes in, the cartridge is recognized. The service manual isn’t providing much help.

6616F27F-CC71-467B-B49D-C091A5DB8DAC.jpeg

 

Hopfenholz

Well-known member
Is there a way of running a software print server on a Mac that will offer AppleTalk based printing to the ethernet network? 

 

beachycove

Well-known member
Is there a way of running a software print server on a Mac that will offer AppleTalk based printing to the ethernet network? 
Yes, everything from Print66 to LaserWriter Bridge to AppleShare Server 3/ 4 to Appleshare IP 5 or 6 to Mac OSX Server (up to v X.5) will do what you want. There are also hardware devices, but we will leave it there for now.

It depends largely on what you want to do, though. If, say, you wanted to print to a lasewrWriter 4/600 (LocalTalk only), you’d need a hardware or software bridge from LocalTalk to EtherTalk, after which you need a bridge from AppleTalk to TCP/IP (assuming you want to use new hardware to print from). It can all be done, but note that in the case mentioned you would ordinarily need a Postscript printer, and you will likely need to add (manually or by software installation) the printer’s PPD to your OSX Library (where all you do is duplicate the structure or a printer PPD that is already there — old ones from MacOS7 or whatever still work, though a plain text file is necessary). 

To give a concrete instance, X.5 server can connect to an AppleTalk (EtherTalk or AppleTalk on Ethernet) printer without further bridging, or to a LocalTalk printer with some LocalTalk to EtherTalk bridge on the network. (Apple Internet Router will do the latter in an interesting way that will satisfy your urge to tinker, and put a machine to use.) Once X.5 has connected to your printer, it can than share said printer on the network via TCP/IP. For example, I print in this way from X.13 or whatever to my LW630 Pro and 4/600, and though it is not supposed to work it works absolutely fine. I have, however, had to add the relevant PPDs to OSX as indicated, but that is just a short plain text file that goes in the relevant Library.

 
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Hopfenholz

Well-known member
Thanks for that detailed explanation. Would those solutions work the other way around, allowing say a Mac SE running LaserWriter driver on system 6.0.8 to print to a modern laser printer emulating postscript on a TCP/IP Ethernet network? 

 

beachycove

Well-known member
The old System 6 Today website, I seem to recall, used to state that printing to a modern Postscript printer from a compact Mac was absolutely possible. You might try to find that info on ye olde waybackmachine. 

I have not worked in System 6 for many years, and I have only ever done things the other way around, printer-wise, so I am not 100% sure what would work and what would not (in fact, I am not 50% sure!). ASIP 6 might be worth a go, as it has a "multihoming" feature which means it can make its Appletalk services available on both printer and Ethernet ports simultaneously. If your printer  had an OS9 driver, the setup ought to work swimmingly, in the sense that a System 6 machine ought to be able to print to any postscript printer via a generic postscript driver in System 6.

I expect that there are other alternatives, but I have not personally done any printing tasks of this sort, so others better informed may wish to chime in.

 

beachycove

Well-known member
Addendum: Possibly an earlier version of OSX server (X.2, X.3?) can serve an IP printer up over Appletalk. Assuming you have a localtalk to ethertalk bridge, the System 6 machine might see it. Or, for all I know, you have Ethernet in your System 6 machine, in which case all you would need is the early X server.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
The old System 6 Today website, I seem to recall, used to state that printing to a modern Postscript printer from a compact Mac was absolutely possible


As a thought on this front: A lot of the stuff about macs that are vintage today was written 10-15 years ago. Fifteen years ago, most midrange workgroup laser printers still natively spoke AppleTalk. That seems to not be the case at this point, and, I'd need to do more detailed research on this, but it seems low-cost laser printers have moved toward host-based printing in general, and their host-based software is aimed toward newer OSes than 10.4.

It might be possible to double-rehost a printer to get it to talk to OS X, although you're getting into the realm where a better technology selection might be to use Linux/BSD to rehost the printer, which is definitely not an expertise area of mine.

As a note on 10.4 - it should talk to localtalk/appletalk-only machines for printing, but it did drop the AppleTalk file server, so it's TCP and 7.5.0+OT/AS for files. Though, 10.4 is nice if that meets your needs well enough because you can run it on cheap, unloved early Intel Mac minis that take big SATA disks and big USB disks.

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
As a thought on this front: A lot of the stuff about macs that are vintage today was written 10-15 years ago. Fifteen years ago, most midrange workgroup laser printers still natively spoke AppleTalk. That seems to not be the case at this point, and, I'd need to do more detailed research on this, but it seems low-cost laser printers have moved toward host-based printing in general, and their host-based software is aimed toward newer OSes than 10.4.

It might be possible to double-rehost a printer to get it to talk to OS X, although you're getting into the realm where a better technology selection might be to use Linux/BSD to rehost the printer, which is definitely not an expertise area of mine.

As a note on 10.4 - it should talk to localtalk/appletalk-only machines for printing, but it did drop the AppleTalk file server, so it's TCP and 7.5.0+OT/AS for files. Though, 10.4 is nice if that meets your needs well enough because you can run it on cheap, unloved early Intel Mac minis that take big SATA disks and big USB disks.
Totally on the mark here. I maintain an office of G5 Macs running HyperCard for various tasks and printing from Classic OS 9 using the LaserWriter driver. They need to use HP LaserJet printers from the 2005 era because modern ones just don’t work. None of them do. 
 

First is the driver issue. Most modern postscript printers process on the PC and send a job to the printer in its own native interpreter language. Old school postscript printers could be printed from an old Linux version. Modern printers almost exclusively require Windows for its drivers. 
 

Secondly, as you point out, the lack of support for AppleTalk essentially cuts off the ability to print to most printers even if they are native postscript. 
 

I have a storage unit with 5 spare HP LaserJet 4200 printers and G5 Macs all ready to go for when something fails. 
 

When I need to print something really big using HyperCard (like a government filing consisting of 2000+ printed pages) I print to .ps and use Preview to convert that to PDF. Once as a PDF anything can print it. 
 

If anyone can locate for me an enterprise quality (needing to print 500+ pages daily) printer, capable of native postscript, has AppleTalk, and doesn’t need a driver for Classic Mac OS 9 I’d love to hear it. 

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Ok, so I'll admit to not having looked in detail before posting, that's absolutely my fault.

Huh -- click on "PDF downloads" underneath the picture of the printer on this page: https://www.office.xerox.com/en-us/printers/phaser-3330 and then click on the detailed specs, then CTRL+F that PDF for "AppleTalk".

This is probably a tier down from whatever the modern version of the LJ4x00 series is, but any higher end Xerox should have this too.

TBH I bet LaserJets have this as well, but I bet primarily at even higher product tiers. That was the thing that happened in 2006 or so is the lowest-end LaserJets went from accepting PCL and PS from the network (and having every network protocol under the sun) to host-based printing.

HP's midrange printers do still support postscript, so you should be able to print from, say, a 400-series LaserJet from linux/bsd/whatever, and OS X 10.4 might even do it if you just go "It's a laserjet 4500, please believe me :)" (which is what I did with my xerox 6120 back in the day) but you're looking at a $500 printer instead of a $200 printer for that. (I'm too lazy to go look at the actual $80-200 laserjets at this exact moment but they might surprise me, who knows.)

So, some of it depends on the workflow you want. If you're fine outputting a PS file, moving it to your netatalk server and then just netcatting that PS output to 9100 on your printer's IP, then, any high-enough end printer that it accepts PS on 9100 (these laserjets, for example) should work.

So it might be more accurate to say that laser printer technology became available at deskjet prices and buying a printer like that has always involved something that's fairly tied to Windows and sometimes Macs.

 
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