Non-Rendezvous USB printers and Airport Extreme

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by JSB, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. JSB macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #1
    Airport Extreme, 2 FW G3 iBooks, 2 PB G4s, 1 G4 iMac DV+, HP OfficeJet g85xi USB all-in-one, 10.2.8 on everything, 3.1.1 Aiport on everything

    OK, so as you can imagine with this collection of machines, printing can be quite the pain in the backside (especially when the high school freshman daughter decides to start printing her homework from the iMac at 1130pm and needs to leave at 630am the next day for school...which of the umpteen bazillion print driver updates is installed on which machines?...thanks HP...). The laptops aren't such a problem but it would be nice if the iMac could print, instead of requiring us to email the print documents to one of the laptops for the sneakernet trip downstairs to the all-in-one...

    So along comes Airport Extreme and I get all excited. Except that apple.com says that only a short list of Rendezvous-enabled printers will work wirelessly via the Airport USB. Then I read in this forum that Apple Support has been telling people that any USB printer can be used wirelessly over Airport Extreme. But, I can't seem to find any useful tech note on apple.com covering the topic.

    Now I turn to this august group. In a perfect world, all the machines could access all the functions of the g85xi. (In a perfect world we also wouldn't have troops in the Middle East, and the only homeless people would be so by choice.) In an acceptable world, the iMac could print wirelessly to the HP. (It's not possible to put the iMac next to the HP, so no easy solution there. And Print Sharing is not an option as none of the machines can be a dedicated print server.) Any suggestions on how to get as close as possible to my perfect world?

    Best wishes to all for a safe and enjoyable New Year,
    jbrewer
     
  2. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    #2
    why cant one of the computer be a dedicated print server?

    iJon
     
  3. szark macrumors 68030

    szark

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Arid-Zone-A
    #3
    If you can use the USB printer on your computer (running Jaguar or Panther) then you should be able to use it with the USB port on the Airport Extreme Base Station.

    Problem is, you have to make sure the drivers are installed on the computers you wish to print from, which sometimes means you have to temporarily plug the printer in to the computer and install the printer and its drivers, then plug the printer in to the Base Station, then install the new Rendezvous printer on the computer. Rinse and repeat for each computer.

    After that minor headache, you should be able to print to the HP wirelessly from all of your computers.

    And if that doesn't work, there may be another way:

    http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20030915050404405
     
  4. Ramsos macrumors regular

    Ramsos

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Location:
    Oakland, California
    #4
    Any USB printer should work but as szark stated you will need to connect the printer via USB to each computer and install the drivers. After that if you connect it to your AE basestation it will have the ability to show up as a rendevous printer in the print center. I have a HP 920c attached to my AE basestation and it works great. One thing I should mention though is that the printer utility will not work wirelessly so if you want to check your ink level or clean the printer head you will have to connect via usb to do so. Good luck-RAM.:D
     
  5. JSB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    PB G4, 10.3.2, 1GB RAM

    Well, first off, thanks for the suggestions.

    It seems well-established that specifying the 9100 port of an Airport Extreme base station (the Raw LPR/JetDirect port) allows access to any USB printer connected to the AE's USB port.

    I downloaded the HPIJS/Foomatic and ESPGS software and installed it on the PB G4 running 10.3.2. The Printer Setup utility operated just as the postings claim it would (option key gives access to Advanced settings, etc.). The proper printer selection (OfficeJet G85) appeared in the list. Setup appeared to be without issue.

    However, attempting to print resulted in nothing. Essentially, I can see the AE showing incoming traffic from the laptop (short flashes of lights on AE on regular intervals), but the printer never responds. (I know the USB cable is good as I can use it to print from the PB directly.)

    So, lots of good progress but no result. Could be an issue with 10.3, so I'll retry on one of the laptops running 10.2.8 and see what the results look like.

    By the way, iJon, the kids and wife use the laptops and iMac upstairs while the printer is downstairs in my office. Trying to dedicate one of the machines as a print server would give the obvious result -- not connected to the printer when someone wants to print. Besides, this is about more than just printing, it's about being stubborn. I can see USB ports on the AE and the printer and I'm running a UNIX-based OS...there must be a solution out there somewhere.
     
  6. JSB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    An update on this...

    Tried the HPIJS/Foomatic and ESPGS installs on the PB G4 and iMac running 10.2.8 with no different results. Done a few resets of the AE as well to make sure we haven't confused it, and done numerous power off/ons of the g85xi as I have seen initialization issues with the USB communications in past versions of the HP drivers...

    Interesting problem...it appears that we are talking between the machines and the AE, but there is absolutely no communications going on between the AE and the printer. I've tried various other versions of HP drivers on the pulldown list with no different results. Direct connection of both the 10.2.8 and 10.3.2 machines to the printer give the proper result -- printing.

    jbrewer
     
  7. Ramsos macrumors regular

    Ramsos

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Location:
    Oakland, California
    #7
    This maybe a stupid question but in the print center did you select add printer and choose rendevous printer and wait to see if your showed up? this step hast to be done after you install the printer via usb when you do this you will be able to choose which printer you want to use even though its actually the same printer one is usb and the other is rendevous, thats how I got mine to work.
     
  8. JSB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    Ramsos, thanks for the reply. Yes, I've actually tried selecting the Rendezous option in the Add Printer function after setting up the printer using a USB connection. However, that's not likely to work on this printer as the printer (OfficeJet g85xi all-in-one) was released pre-Rendezvous. The necessary software is not built in, and there aren't any drivers from HP which can be installed allowing Rendezvous compatibility to be retrofitted into the unit. (I've already downloaded and installed the latest driver release from HP for this unit, version 4.7.6 -- gotta love those 30-40 MB print driver downloads from HP 3-4 times a year for this machine...)

    The link szark posted in his reply suggests installing two linux tools which can be integrated into the Printer utility and act as IP print spooler and print driver. In theory, this approach "replaces" Rendezvous functionality. These tools are used regularly by people operating Unix-based systems to print over a wide range of commonly available printers.

    The "hard part" here seems to be getting the g85xi to recognize a query from the Airport Extreme unit's USB port. I suspect this because I've been through a whole lot of issues with HP and OS X over the last year, most of them focused on what HP claims are "inconsistencies" in the implementations of USB by HP and Apple. Hence my comment earier about the huge driver file downloads posted on HP's driver page nearly once per quarter for a year, in which they attempted to improve the communications between the printer and OS X (laptop sleep mode was the primary cause of the issue).

    This is a pretty big issue for Airport Extreme sales, as I suspect a heck of a lot more people buy it for the USB port than for the 802.11g 54 Mbps data rate (which is pretty useless when being serviced by anything but a cable modem Internet connection...). I'll keep posting my learnings on this one.

    jbrewer
     
  9. Ramsos macrumors regular

    Ramsos

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Location:
    Oakland, California

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