Networking an Old Inkjet


New member
Our office has an old HP DesignJet 500 hooked up to a pc via a parallel port. Consequently, no one can use it, except via Acrobat, and except for the person who logs in to this machine. I have been asserting to our IT director that this machine can be networked via AppleTalk (since I did something similar about a decade ago for a school I consulted with.) However, our IT Director seems to have no idea about how to implement it.

I scoured the HP site for help with this, but came up blank. So I was wondering if there was anyone on these forums who could point me to a link that I could forward to our IT Director so that this machine will no longer be a $2000 doorstop?


parallel to IP

parallel to IP

I don't know that printer exactly, but just about any parallel port printer can be converted to a networked printer with an adapter box that has the parallel connection on one side and a TCP/IP plug on the other. The box acts as a print server/network connection.
I've got several old dot matrix printers that are fed by old "mainframe" systems, and a few odd inkjets that are now 'networked'. I just trashed out an old HP wide format from 1999 with the same connections and problem you noted.
HP used to make a line of "JetDirect" boxes, Lexmark had several as well, and I'm sure there must be other brands. Simple to set up, quite reliable, and not too pricy.
Your IT guy shouldn't have to spend more than 15 min setting one up.


Active member
You can buy a little print server box with a parallel port as shazam suggested if you don't have one laying around.

Also you can just share the printer out over the network using the PC it is already attached to. No need to buy any new gear unless you are looking to dump the PC for other reasons.


Well-known member
The attached Designjet 500 brochure lists the J7934G 620n as your internal network print server module. The 620n module may already be installed on your particular printer? If it is not, you can purchase one from many vendors. The 620n module seems to range from $80.00 to $350.00 in price.

The 620n module supports EtherTalk AppleTalk for the Mac, as well as the more common network protocols.

If you plug a network cable into the 620n module after it's installed in your printer, it may simply configure itself, and that may be all you have to do if you're lucky.

Download the user manual for the 620n module from HP site and refer to it for further configuration and setup instructions and for your IT director.


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