Different types of parallel port cables

Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

I have a relative who owns a Epson C60 inkjet printer. It is about four
years old and is connected to a desktop PC running Windows 2000. Previous
to that the printer was connected to a desktop PC running Windows 98SE.

With both of these computers, the Epson printer was connected via a
parallel port cable, which it shares with a flatbed scanner. In fact, the
parallel port cable came with the scanner. The print quality with the Epson
C60 has never been very good, especially with color images.

I've noticed that retail stores sell different types of parallel port
cables, some with gold plated connectors. Is it possible that buying a more
expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality? I realize the
problem could be 500 other things. I'm just wondering if the type of
parallel cable has an impact on print quality. The one that came with the
scanner appears to be a basic one.
9 answers Last reply
More about different types parallel port cables
  1. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    History Fan wrote:
    > I have a relative who owns a Epson C60 inkjet printer. It is about four
    > years old and is connected to a desktop PC running Windows 2000. Previous
    > to that the printer was connected to a desktop PC running Windows 98SE.
    >
    > With both of these computers, the Epson printer was connected via a
    > parallel port cable, which it shares with a flatbed scanner. In fact, the
    > parallel port cable came with the scanner. The print quality with the Epson
    > C60 has never been very good, especially with color images.
    >
    > I've noticed that retail stores sell different types of parallel port
    > cables, some with gold plated connectors. Is it possible that buying a more
    > expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality? I realize the
    > problem could be 500 other things. I'm just wondering if the type of
    > parallel cable has an impact on print quality. The one that came with the
    > scanner appears to be a basic one.
    >
    >
    Buying a more expensive cable won't do a thing for you in terms of
    quality, or speed for that mater. The newer parallel cables were
    certified for bi-directional communication where as the older ones were
    not. In reality, most shorter pre bi-directional cables worked fine for
    bi-directional tasks such as ink level reporting. Save your money and
    put it towards a replacement printer, preferably one without chipped
    cartridges.
  2. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    Leaving the cable question aside for the moment.
    What kind of paper is used? Regular economy copy paper does not allow high
    quality on most printers.
    Epson's and other makes of printers have changed quite a bit in the last few
    years. The size of the ink drop has decreased to about half of what it was.
    one to two peculators seems to be the current range for photo printers. The
    number of ink colors has increased on many printers to a total of six or
    even eight. Besides this, the ability to precisely position the ink dot has
    improved.

    A good high quality parallel cable isn't exactly cheap. The common parallel
    port printer modes are SPP (old slower reliable) ECP (Now very common) and
    EPP. A scanner- printer daisy chain may use any of the modes. Some of the
    drivers actually tested the parallel port data link to see which mode
    worked, and selected the best to use.

    In short, a better parallel cable is more likely to speed up printing
    slightly than to change printing quality. I'm also assuming that the
    parallel cable is six feet or less.

    Based on past experience with printers such as HP's high end business
    quality color printers, and several Cannon printer models, I'd say that an
    acceptable photo can be made with the older color printers with some effort.
    The newer printers can produce a higher quality result with much less
    effort, although optimizing a new printer involves the same sort of "tweak
    and tune" process that was used with the older printers.

    Software and inks have also improved. Most of the newer drivers do a better
    job of matching the sRGB color gamut to a printer's capability. Out of the
    box, with the recommended papers, and a new printer, I would expect to see
    the brighter 80% of a reference picture printed correctly, and the darker
    20% to be darker than is correct. With proper tweaking, this can be
    improved, to the point that The lightest shade (white) and the next lightest
    shade by 10% can be seen, and the difference between 100 % black and a 90%
    black shade is visable. Out of the box settings seem to favor a bolder more
    contrasty picture than is actually technically correct.

    The better paper sources usually provide printer specific information. For
    instance Kodak provides correction factors for thier paper and my Epson
    R300. Epson provides a driver compatable file that sets an Epson driver up
    for Epson papers.

    All of the above aside-- With some effort, I can setup an older Canon S750
    to provide a quality printed photo that will be very difficult to tell from
    the same photo printed by the R300. The R300 has slightly better droplet
    positioning capability, and a slightly smaller droplet. Even so, the
    differences can only be utilized internally within each printers driver.

    "History Fan" <Placesunknown@unknown.com> wrote in message
    news:47cb8$42a24b94$42a1cb40$6470@FUSE.NET...
    > I have a relative who owns a Epson C60 inkjet printer. It is about
    > four years old and is connected to a desktop PC running Windows 2000.
    > Previous to that the printer was connected to a desktop PC running Windows
    > 98SE.
    >
    > With both of these computers, the Epson printer was connected via a
    > parallel port cable, which it shares with a flatbed scanner. In fact, the
    > parallel port cable came with the scanner. The print quality with the
    > Epson C60 has never been very good, especially with color images.
    >
    > I've noticed that retail stores sell different types of parallel port
    > cables, some with gold plated connectors. Is it possible that buying a
    > more expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality? I
    > realize the problem could be 500 other things. I'm just wondering if the
    > type of parallel cable has an impact on print quality. The one that came
    > with the scanner appears to be a basic one.
    >
  3. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    > Is it possible that buying a more
    > expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality?

    In the olden days of daisy wheel and dot matrix printers where a single
    bit error would result in the wrong character being printed, I never
    ever saw this happen unless it was an extra long, and we're talking
    20ft huge ass cable, where IIRC the max distance is 6ft or so for the
    old centronics standard. In all fairness, high speed bi directional
    does require a good solid cable, but I never upgraded mine, never had a
    problem.

    But a bad cable shouldn't affect quality of the output image but rather
    mangle the data going to the printer, resulting in either intermittent
    failure, garbage data, or plain old wouldn't work at all. Good thing
    to troubleshoot, but not very likely.

    The only cable that wouldn't work for me was one I bought at radio
    shack, but this was when their clone of the HP laserjet II had a
    different pinout than the rest of the world and the cable was useless
    unless you happened to own a Tandy laser.

    If you must buy a cable, see if it's marked IEEE-1284. You could buy a
    6ft gold one from Dalco.com for $6.00 or so, or a Belkin tin one for
    under $10.00. Typicaly speaking retail stores mark up their cables by
    at least 100% if not more. "Would you like a cable with your printer,
    it doesn't come with one".
  4. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    I'm tempted to say that it is impossible for a cable to contribute to poor
    quality print (but stranger things happen), it is at best a very long shot.
    What are the details of the poor print quality? Have you run a nozzle check
    from the print driver?
    You could e-mail Arthur Entlich at e-printerhelp@mvps.org who is an expert with
    Epson printers, he will help you if he can. You need to explain the symptoms of
    the quality problem to him.
    Tony

    "History Fan" <Placesunknown@unknown.com> wrote:
    > I have a relative who owns a Epson C60 inkjet printer. It is about four
    >years old and is connected to a desktop PC running Windows 2000. Previous
    >to that the printer was connected to a desktop PC running Windows 98SE.
    >
    > With both of these computers, the Epson printer was connected via a
    >parallel port cable, which it shares with a flatbed scanner. In fact, the
    >parallel port cable came with the scanner. The print quality with the Epson
    >C60 has never been very good, especially with color images.
    >
    > I've noticed that retail stores sell different types of parallel port
    >cables, some with gold plated connectors. Is it possible that buying a more
    >expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality? I realize the
    >problem could be 500 other things. I'm just wondering if the type of
    >parallel cable has an impact on print quality. The one that came with the
    >scanner appears to be a basic one.
    >
    >
  5. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    History Fan wrote:

    > I have a relative who owns a Epson C60 inkjet printer. It is about four
    >years old and is connected to a desktop PC running Windows 2000. Previous
    >to that the printer was connected to a desktop PC running Windows 98SE.
    >
    > With both of these computers, the Epson printer was connected via a
    >parallel port cable, which it shares with a flatbed scanner. In fact, the
    >parallel port cable came with the scanner. The print quality with the Epson
    >C60 has never been very good, especially with color images.
    >
    > I've noticed that retail stores sell different types of parallel port
    >cables, some with gold plated connectors. Is it possible that buying a more
    >expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality?
    >

    NOT AT ALL. A better cable will last longer and may reduce lost bits.

    > I realize the
    >problem could be 500 other things.
    >

    Maybe its AfterMarket ink????

    >I'm just wondering if the type of
    >parallel cable has an impact on print quality. The one that came with the
    >scanner appears to be a basic one.
    >
    >
    >
    >
  6. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    "History Fan" <Placesunknown@unknown.com> wrote in message
    news:47cb8$42a24b94$42a1cb40$6470@FUSE.NET...
    > I have a relative who owns a Epson C60 inkjet printer. It is about
    four
    > years old and is connected to a desktop PC running Windows 2000. Previous
    > to that the printer was connected to a desktop PC running Windows 98SE.
    >
    > With both of these computers, the Epson printer was connected via a
    > parallel port cable, which it shares with a flatbed scanner. In fact, the
    > parallel port cable came with the scanner. The print quality with the
    Epson
    > C60 has never been very good, especially with color images.
    >
    > I've noticed that retail stores sell different types of parallel port
    > cables, some with gold plated connectors. Is it possible that buying a
    more
    > expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality? I realize
    the
    > problem could be 500 other things. I'm just wondering if the type of
    > parallel cable has an impact on print quality. The one that came with the
    > scanner appears to be a basic one.

    Although there may be many types of parallel cables available, it is
    unlikely the cause of the print quality. It would be a good idea to have the
    printer on a separate port from the scanner since this more often than not
    results in communication issues (printer not responding to print commands or
    false 'out of paper' errors).

    I own a C60 and have given it to my sister who uses it quite frequently to
    print photos. They are usually good quality depending on the image and other
    factors, so it may be that either your driver settings are not appropriate
    for the image quality you want or the nozzles are plugged. It could, of
    course, also be due to needing new ink cartridges, but this would result in
    an 'ink out' condition.

    If you haven't already done so, try running the nozzle check to see if the
    pattern is complete (the driver has a maintenance tab that allows this
    function). If not, run the head cleanings as needed and/or replace the ink
    cartridge(s).

    BTW, the print head alignment is almost never helpful in cases where print
    quality is poor. The head alignment only works if your printer is printing
    text and the top half of the letter is slightly offset from the bottom half.
    Many people spend way too much time running head alignments for this very
    same issue and, if anything, makes matters worse when it's not done
    properly.

    Hope this helps...
  7. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    The cable is not likely to improve the results you are getting. Unlike
    the dubious report of improved sound quality with gold plated audio
    cables, the information transferred from your computer to your printer
    is digital in nature, so it is unlikely that errors would manifest as
    problems with color fidelity. More common problems related to cables
    are, sudden loss of the connection, causing the print to be kicked out
    before completion, loss of the computer recognizing the printer as being
    on line, a sudden offset line of image or text in the midst of the
    print, loss of ink level monitoring, unexplained out of ink messages and
    the like.

    If you can better describe the nature of the color defects you see, I
    may be able to help you to point to the issue and maybe even the fix.
    It could be color management issues, misuse of driver adjustments, need
    to realign the heads or timing, partially clogged heads and so on.

    Art


    History Fan wrote:

    > I have a relative who owns a Epson C60 inkjet printer. It is about four
    > years old and is connected to a desktop PC running Windows 2000. Previous
    > to that the printer was connected to a desktop PC running Windows 98SE.
    >
    > With both of these computers, the Epson printer was connected via a
    > parallel port cable, which it shares with a flatbed scanner. In fact, the
    > parallel port cable came with the scanner. The print quality with the Epson
    > C60 has never been very good, especially with color images.
    >
    > I've noticed that retail stores sell different types of parallel port
    > cables, some with gold plated connectors. Is it possible that buying a more
    > expensive parallel port cable will improve the print quality? I realize the
    > problem could be 500 other things. I'm just wondering if the type of
    > parallel cable has an impact on print quality. The one that came with the
    > scanner appears to be a basic one.
    >
    >
  8. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    I think I might have mentioned print head alignment in replying to the
    O.P. , and you are correct... I wasn't thinking about it, but most
    current Epson printers use only one ganged head which contains the color
    and black ink head as one unit. Older Epson printers have a color head
    and a black head, and these do suffer from print quality loss if not
    aligned to each other. Only older machines with separate or and black
    heads can be effected

    Marky wrote:

    > BTW, the print head alignment is almost never helpful in cases where print
    > quality is poor. The head alignment only works if your printer is printing
    > text and the top half of the letter is slightly offset from the bottom half.
    > Many people spend way too much time running head alignments for this very
    > same issue and, if anything, makes matters worse when it's not done
    > properly.
    >
    > Hope this helps...
    >
    >
  9. Archived from groups: comp.periphs.printers (More info?)

    "Arthur Entlich" <e-printerhelp@mvps.org> wrote in message
    news:05Ape.1599652$6l.224705@pd7tw2no...
    > I think I might have mentioned print head alignment in replying to the
    > O.P. , and you are correct... I wasn't thinking about it, but most
    > current Epson printers use only one ganged head which contains the color
    > and black ink head as one unit. Older Epson printers have a color head
    > and a black head, and these do suffer from print quality loss if not
    > aligned to each other. Only older machines with separate or and black
    > heads can be effected

    You're probably correct about the heads since it appears you actually read
    the service manuals. I was never inclined to pick one up and too busy to
    bother with the mechanics. I just learned from experience in support that
    alignments don't work or don't apply if the nozzles are not firing.

    I was always amused when people complained that they couldn't read the
    alignment patterns because the printer was not putting any ink on the paper.
    It took me a bit of practice to learn to immediately divert customers from
    the alignment and get them to focus on the real issue. Time was money in
    support, after all.

    Marky

    >
    > Marky wrote:
    >
    > > BTW, the print head alignment is almost never helpful in cases where
    print
    > > quality is poor. The head alignment only works if your printer is
    printing
    > > text and the top half of the letter is slightly offset from the bottom
    half.
    > > Many people spend way too much time running head alignments for this
    very
    > > same issue and, if anything, makes matters worse when it's not done
    > > properly.
    > >
    > > Hope this helps...
    > >
    > >
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