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I have an old HP printer which I had connected to my old PC. The printer has a 36 pin connecter and I used a cable to connect that to a 25 pin parallel port on my old PC.

The 36 pin port on the printer looks like this:

enter image description here

I would now like to connect the printer to my newer laptop which doesn't have a 25 pin parallel port. I bought a USB to 36 pin cable.

However, the 36 pin connector on the cable from Amazon is the right shape and has the right number of pins but is about 2x as large as the port on my printer (old cable on top, USB cable on bottom).

cable comparison

Is it possible to buy a USB cable which will connect to my old HP printer? What is this smaller version of the 36 pin port called?

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Please read our FAQ next time, moving to SU. –  Chopper3 Jul 17 '11 at 15:15
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migrated from serverfault.com Jul 17 '11 at 15:16

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Buy a Centronics To Mini Centronics Adapter. http://www.amazon.com/Centronics-To-Mini-Adapter/dp/B001JYVEW4

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Another option, if you're using an expandable PC, is to get a PCI(e) Parallel port card.

PCIe Parallel adapter

May be a bit more expensive than cables and/or converters, but less unwieldy and I find that they work considerably better than Centronix to USB adapters for properly supporting bi-directional printer drivers.

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So I've done some research now and it turns out the 36 pin connector is a Centronics connector. HP use a variant called Mini-Centronics. It seems that no one sells a single cable to connect Mini-Centronics to USB but you can buy Mini-Centronics to Centronics adapters.

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