Is it possible to use an old HP LaserJet 5 with a modern Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by PowerMac G4 MDD, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

    Jul 13, 2014
    At the intersection of Conch and Coral.
    I'd like to use my gold ol' HP LaserJet 5 on a modern Mac, but, the last time I checked, I couldn't find the drivers on their site. Are there old LaserJet drivers that happen to work in modern OSX—as late as Mojave? (Then, there's the issue of physically adapting the connector.)

    If it's possible, I'll do my research and figure it out. If it's not, I probably won't bother wasting time on it. I just thought I'd try, in case the printer can work on a modern computer. It's a fantastic printer! Worst-case, I connect it to an old PC and transfer to that PC any documents I'm trying to print.
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    My first thought was "Connect it to a print server". The first thing I thought to use as a print server is a Raspberry Pi.

    So putting those together, a quick bit of googling finds me this article, from 2018:

    That's not a LaserJet 5 (unless I missed it), but the principle should be the same. Not sure whether it's worthwhile or not, kinda depends on whether you think hooking up a Pi as a print server sounds like a fun weekend or not.

    There are probably many other examples of other computers being used as print servers for LaserJets. A little searching should find them.
  3. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    HP doesn't provide drivers OS X drivers directly, but Apple did at one point via Software Update in modern-ish versions of Mac OS. Unclear what will happen now—a quick search didn't reveal any recent posts or articles.

    Presuming your printer doesn't have a JetDirect card installed, I would recommend buying a compatible card, which appear to be available for ~$20 US. In this way, you can just plug the printer into your network. I suspect this is about the same price as a parallel to USB adaptor. Thankfully, the 5 supports PS, so even if a specific driver isn't available, a generic PS driver should give you basic functionality.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I've had a lot of luck with old printers using Gutenprint. It uses CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) for printing. It's been a while since I've needed it but it worked well. The HP Laserjet 5 is on the list of supported printers.
  5. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Well, according to macOS supplies a driver for the HP Laserjet 5M (along with a variety of Laserjet 4 and 6 models). This will most likely work for the 5 as well. The only other trick is the connection. WiFi would be easiest, if the printer has a Jetdirect card. Or you can find an old, generic wifi printer hub with an RS232 serial printer port and/or IEEE 1284 (traditional, PC-style parallel printer). You can also find both RS232-to-USB and serial-to-USB cables.

    So no, it doesn't seem possible at all. ;)
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I reckon that phairphan has "the answer" in reply 3 above.

    Then, it's a matter of finding the proper print driver.

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5 June 7, 2019