Network my HP LaserJet?
September 4, 2008 10:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I print to my HP LaserJet 2100 (networked with a JetDirect 610N card) from any computer in my Mac network?

I've gotten tired of wasting expensive color ink to print long black and white documents with my color inkjet, so I want to hook up my trusty old HP LaserJet 2100 to my Mac network. Since the printer only has regular PC printer connections (no USB), I bought a used JetDirect 610n card and installed it. But I can't get anything to print when I connect the network cable directly to my iMac, nor can I get the iMac to see the printer over the network at all. The printer gives no IP address when I print out a status page. I could connect the printer via cable to the wireless router, but that would be a hassle, but I would do it if I need to. I just want to be able to print to the printer from any of my several Macs. How do I set this up?

If I have to, I could connect it to a PC that would just sit there and act as a print server (and, I guess, to do things like serve Netflix content to my tv or run other Windows-based stuff I don't want to hassle with emulating), but I would like to avoid that.
posted by iknowizbirfmark to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
You dont connect the network cable to your mac, you connect it to your router.

You need to give your printer an IP address. What is your IP addressing scheme look like? Is it 192.168.1.x? If so give it a high number like Subnet mask Gateway can be left blank.

Now in OS X you add a printer with the address/name of It will detect it and install a driver.

Also HP support is your friend.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:37 AM on September 4, 2008

If your printer has a network card in it already, just connect it to your router with an ethernet cable. The printer will most likely allow you to find the IP address it has obtained on the display, once you have this, go to System Preferences on your Mac, then Print & Fax. Click the plus to add the printer, and I believe you'll have to select "more printers" to get to the screen where you enter in the printer's IP address. In most cases, OS X will already have the necessary drivers. Do this and you should be good to go.
posted by cgomez at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2008

We have an HP 2100 in our lab, hooked to an HP JetDirect 500 series external print server. We got it to work with the lab Macs but it was a pain in the ass, because the standard 2100 printer files ended up blowing out garbage rather than printed docs. It took me a while to figure it out, but I got it to work on all the lab Macs as follows:

1. After hooking up the JetDirect box to the printer, plug it in to the router with an ethernet cable and power everything on. Press the status button on the JetDirect box (usually the same as the power indicator light) and your printer should spit out a config page listing the currently assigned network name, IP address, and so on. If you get nothing at this step, ensure that your router is assigning an IP via DHCP. If it isn't, or if you need to set a static IP, you'll need to assign the thing an IP using the JetAdmin utility (the newer JetDirect devices have built-in config web pages, so you should be able to get an address from the device that can be used to access it and reset it - otherwise you may need to do a hard reset on the thing to blank it back to default values.)

2. Install the correct printer drivers. You can try the ones supplied by Apple, but in my case all I got on Leopard was many, many pages of plain text gibberish. The only drivers I got to work correctly were the Foomatic/pixlmono drivers for the HP 2100. You can download the printer ppd files here ( Just click the "download PPD" link listed after pixlmono in the gray box. You'll need to manually move this file into the folder "Macintosh HD/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj/" for it to go properly. A pain, but necessary. I didn't actually have an en.lproj folder, so I created one, no problems. The driver won't work by itself, you'll need to install Foomatic RIP and Ghostscript as well. Those packages can be found here ( Once you have all that installed though, things are relatively easy, despite the annoyance that Apple can't include by default a print driver that actually works.

3. Add a new printer in the printer Pref panel. Click the "IP" button at the top to select printer type.
Protocol: Choose "HP Jetdirect - Socket"
Address: your printer's address as reported by the JetDirect status printout
Queue: Leave blank
Name and Location will fill in automatically.
4. Print using: "Select a driver to use..." It will give you a list of all your printer drivers. Should be a space at the top where you can type to narrow down the choices - you want the "HP LaserJet 2100 Foomatic/pxlmono (recommended)" driver - this is the one you just installed. Once you have selected the driver, hit "OK" and you're done. You should now be able to print something besides a ream of complete gibberish.

Step 5 is to run a test page and see if this whole thing worked. If it did, hooray. If it didn't, double-check your steps. I think in some cases my only method of making it work was to add the printer using the CUPS interface (open your web browser to to see your Mac's CUPS config page; may have to enable your built-in web server to do this; when asked for permissions use your usual OS X user name + password to authenticate; keep in mind that some older versions of OS X use an incompatible password setup which stops you from being able to authenticate with the web interface).

Step 6 is to repeat this for as many Macs as you have. I hope this helps, it was a real major pain in the ass getting this specific printer to work correctly not through any fault of the printer but due to Apple's inclusion of a nonworking driver. Luckily for you, you have the same problem I did, and I've already done the legwork to find the solution. Yay AskMe.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I disagree with everyone who says you should let the printer use DHCP. Whats going to happen is it'll work today and then it will lose its lease in some way and grab a different IP. Now your computers wont be able to find the printer.

Use a static IP. Pick something high in your range. You can remove that IP from the DHCP scope if you like on your router, but I find residential users never come close to .200
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2008 my case all I got on Leopard was many, many pages of plain text gibberish.

Sounds like a classic Postscript dump to a non-PS printer. That would fit-in with the need for the third-party RIP, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:03 PM on September 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks! I'll try all this when I get home from work.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 7:58 PM on September 4, 2008

Forgot to add one thing: The PPD file will be gzipped, and you can leave it that way. Don't decompress it, just dump it in the en.lproj folder. Good luck!
posted by caution live frogs at 9:27 PM on September 4, 2008

...and what dda said as well. Man should preview before posting more often. I used DHCP for the lab printer, but the lease is essentially permanent on that setup; at home I have a JetDirect set to static IP, in my own office I do the same thing. It is less problematic; most DHCP routers will happily let you specify an IP. Use the JetDirect built-in web config page to set the IP and you should be golden.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:29 PM on September 4, 2008

Might be worth a try to connect an AirPort Express to the JetDirect 610n card if it has an Ethernet port on it. Apple officially doesn't support Ethernet printing on the AirPort Express (they do USB), but you might be able to make it happen. I did with a black and white HP printer for exactly the same reasons you're trying to, and it works like a dream.
posted by Lucy2Times at 9:24 AM on September 6, 2008

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