Printing without wires, part II

Over a year ago I figured out how to connect our Laserjet to our wireless network. A few minutes ago I installed our new SMC base station, which comes with a built in print server—with a parallel port (what is it with all the obsolete hardware interfaces that won’t die?).

I took the opportunity to try hooking up our color HP DeskJet 842c to the print server, which can provide an LPR-style IP interface to the connected printer. I installed the printer as an LPR printer using Print Center and printed a test document from TextEdit. The first page had a PostScript job header, and it went on from there. Apparently the Print Center printer only could do PostScript—and the DeskJet doesn’t speak PostScript.

I was about to give up when I decided to try CUPS. As I wrote in August, Apple includes CUPS but doesn’t configure it by default—but you can enable it. You can also use it to provide more options than Print Center gives you for configuring the printer. Specifically, you can tell Print Center that an LPR queue is a DeskJet:

  1. After configuring CUPS and adding your DeskJet as an LPR printer through Print Center, point your web browser to
  2. Click on Manage Printers.
  3. Under the LPR printer, click on Modify Printer, then continue through the next few screens accepting the defaults until you get to the option to choose the Make of your printer.
  4. Choose the correct make of printer and click Continue.
  5. Choose one of the two DeskJet models—I’m using HP New DeskJet Series CUPS v.1.1 (en)—and click Continue.

You should now be able to print through your SMC wireless router to a DeskJet. So much for SMC’s claim that “the printer server is only compatible with x86 based Computers”.

Now if I could just get the LaserJet back online. It isn’t working and I can’t telnet to it again…