Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

USB to Printer input?

We have some software that requires a hardware dongle, which connects to a standard printer port (25-pin DIN, female). Dongles are annoying enough, normally. But now we would like to occassionaly run this software on our new laptop. No, problem, just move the dongle over, right?

Nope. The new laptop doesn’t have a printer port. Just USB and Firewire. We found a USB/Printer adaptor, but it converts to a Centronics connector, not a 25-pin DIN, so no joy there.

Has anybody seen a way to add a standard, old-school printer port to a laptop via USB (or Firewire)? There’s probably a docking station available, but I’m sure that would be more expensive than we’re willing to deal with right now.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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10 Responses to USB to Printer input?

  1. Kafkaesquí says:

    Belkin has a USB-serial adapter box that comes with an optional 25-pin cable. I dug up a link.

  2. Les says:

    I wouldn’t necessarily expect any adaptor to work with a dongle. Those things are generally designed to talk to hardware in quite specific ways. If the software developer is still around, can you ask them if they can supply a USB dongle to replace the parallel port one? I’ve seen some applications that do just that…

  3. Daniel says:

    I used to have one – I can’t remember the name of the manufacturer, but it was specifically designed for the old Iomega zip drives – I might still have it lying around, if so I’ll let you know, but if it was for those Iomega drives, surely there are some floating around somewhere – if I can find mine you are more than welcome to have it, actually….

  4. sdf says:

    there’s a usb to din25 adapter available at (just type USB PARALLEL into the search box, first result). it’s 16 euro. should be available in the us, too somewhere. don’t know if dongles work, tho.

  5. Slider says:

    Your best bet is to get a replacement dongle from the software manufacture if available. I’ve still got a parallel dongle for my Lightwave 3D. I know that NewTek offers a replacement USB dongle for $30 or for free if you have them send it in conjunction with a software upgrade.

  6. Suze says:

    OK – I think I found one here. However, as mentioned above, even having the cable I don’t know if it will work with the dongle. We did consider trying to get a new USB dongle, but unfortunately the software is a very specific embroidery program, hence nitch market, hence very expensive for a new and/or additional dongle. Stooopid dongles!

  7. Hoover says:

    Darn dang dingle dongles

  8. AJ says:

    As has been said, it will likely not work, as the dongles use hardware interrupts going back to the old “COM1” “LPT” days.

  9. jlk says: We had to connect an HP printer that used to go to a laptop that had a printer port. We had to replace the laptop with a “new” one that did not have a printer port :|. We found an adapter at circuit city. It is made by keyspan. Hope this helps. I know it wasn’t super expensive or we probably wouldn’t have bought it 😀

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