There are two ports on the side of the printer. One is a parallel (male) connector.
I then have a parallel to USB connector to my PC.
The driver is set up in Windows XP but the printer will not print a test page.
Am i using the correct connectors?
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There are USUALLY only 2 types of cable that have been used for printers.
Older printers used the Parallel Port to connect to the printer, this used the DB25M connector to the PC and the CN36M
(centronics) connector to the Printer. Information and pictures here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_port
The cable you need depends on the unit. I am not aware of a C171a model from Epson. I have seen it listed as a version of the RX500. In that case you need a USB cable with A/B male ends.
Otherwise, most printers (from about 1997 on) will use a USB cable. This has two male ends - a square end goes into the printer and a rectangular end that goes to the computer (called A/B). For older printers (there may be multiple ports or just one), you may see a parallel port (the cable has a wide rectangular plug on both sides with 36 pins) or serial port (the cable may have DB9 (9 pin), DB25 (25 pin) or both). Often it is called a RS-232 port. For a parallel port connection, you would need one that is designed for scanners and bi-directional communication (USB to parallel adapters are available to connect this to a new computer but you still need the bi-directional version). Similarly, USB to serial adapters are available.
Generally you can tell what cable you need by looking at the back of the unit where the ports are. (Although some all-in ones have the USB cables in other places - routed through the side of the unit but the plug is near where the ink cartridges go.) Then the size and pin counts for parallel or serial tell you what cable to get. There is usually a symbol indicating the cable type as well near each port. USB cables are usually indicated by a tree like symbol with curved branches.
This printer has three standard ports: bi-directional parallel, USB, and ethernet (RJ-45). Most likely your previous computer had a parallel port. The simplest solution is to get a USB cable (Male type A to Male type B - 6' or less in length is recommended.) Install the software on the computer then connect the cable to the port on the back of the printer and to the computer (the square end goes to the printer and the rectangle fits the computer). The USB port is in the same area on the left side of the back of the
printer as the parallel port.
Alternatively you could get a network switch and connect the printer as a networked printer. The ethernet port is near the middle of the back of the printer.
You can't have a double hook up to it,When the parallel port is used the usb port is disabled and when you use the usb port the parallel port is disable.This is done to prevent damage to the printer.You can network the laptop with the pc and print that way though
What connector/interface does your PC has
9-pin or 25-pin connector
If it has 9-pin connector: use the following: DB-9 RS-232 Serial Connection or DB-25 RS-232 Serial Connection
If it has 25-pin connector: use the following: DB-25 Serial Connection or
DB-25 RS-232 Serial Connection
If you are configuring the computer to use an RS-422A serial port, you need a special cable. Contact the computer or printer network manufacturer to see if an RS-422A cable is available. If no cable is available, contact your computer manufacturer for your computer pin assignments and have a cable constructed.
The default configuration for the serial port on the printer is for RS-232C serial communication. To set the printer to use RS-422A serial communication, change the control panel Serial Menu’s SERIAL setting to SERIAL=RS-422.
It is either a usb "A" connector which is the squarish side of the usb cable and the flatter "B" connector is the side that goes into your computer's usb jack. Some printers, like yours also still use a parallel port which is a Centronics big, wide rectangular connector that connects to the printer side and the other end is a DB25 parallel connector than goes to the parallel DB25 printer jack on your computer. You must have at least one of those cables but you only use one or the other. The usb will be configured to a usb local printer port or the parallel will use the LPT1 port. HP.com will provide you with a quick install brochure with pictures for you to see. post back if you need more help! Steve Medley