Mac printing help with weird configuration
February 21, 2006 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Need some trouble-shooting ideas for an unusual Mac printing configuration (Farallon iPrint connects Laserjet to Soho network hub) which has stopped working.

I have an HP LaserJet 4000t (the non-network version) which connects to my home network using the RJ11 jack.

(This was originally set up because there was no way to run a parallel or serial cable 25 feet and across a doorway needed to reach my desktop.) Since the original configuration, which went direct into an old Mac G4, it's been modified to work with our Airport Extreme network as follows:

The RJ11 cable runs into a Farallon iPrint adaptor, and an ethernet cable comes out of the Farallon and enters a SOHO network hub. Another ethernet cable comes out of the SOHO and enters the Airport Extreme.

I have a Mac Mini and a G5, both OS X, and they both have Apple-standard wireless cards and connect to the Airport network just fine. Both machines can see the printer over the network and have always printed to the HP just fine.

Until last week. Now if I print a document to that printer from either computer, nothing prints (from any program), and the printer seems unaware that anything has been sent to it. Checking the printer on the Mac shows the printer sitting in the queue and a "Printer Not Responding" alert. The printer self-test works.

What I've done so far: unplugged and re-inserted all cables, gone through Apple's Printer troubleshooting steps, repaired disk permissions on both machines, turned off everything (both Macs, the printer, the Farallon, the Soho, and the Airport Extreme) for 5 minutes and turned them back on, and finally replaced all the cables with new ones.

I've tried to think of any hardware or software changes made at the time the problem happened, and can't think of any. The only other thing I have noticed is that at about the same time the Network icon stopped showing up in the left pane of the main hard drive window on the G5. It's still there on the Mac Mini, and the G5 is still connected even though the Network icon is not there anymore. This may be unrelated.

If anyone has the solution, that would be great, but all I'm really hoping for are some further troubleshooting tips. How can I tell if the problem is in the Farallon iPrint, versus in the printer, versus in the Soho, versus in the Airport? I don't have the wherewithal to get duplicates of the hardware and replace things one by one to narrow it down. Are there any testing utilities I can use to give me more information?
posted by lockedroomguy to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Has the network address on the printer changed; I have a similar problem from time to time on my more modern but similar setup. Sometimes when the printer is rebooted for whatever reason it is assigned a new address and plugging the new address on each computer on the network gets everything working again. I would guess the network icon disappearing is potentially related.
posted by TedW at 12:00 PM on February 21, 2006

Response by poster: That sounds like a good possibility, TedW. Do you know how I check the ip address of the printer, and how I would tell the Macs the new address if it has in fact changed?
posted by lockedroomguy at 12:25 PM on February 21, 2006

On my printer (a newer Okidata) you can print the network settings via a menu option on the printer. You can also look it up with the network utility on the computer, but I forget the exact details and I am at work now away from my Mac. One way to change the address is to "add new printer" in the printer menu, then delete the non-functioning printer if that fixes the problem. I have not had that problem since upgrading to a version of OSX with rendezvous. I still have the address issue occasionally with my wife's Windows laptop on the same network, though, and the fix is similar.
posted by TedW at 7:10 AM on February 22, 2006

Response by poster: The HP has a valid ip address, but I can't see any way to figure out what ip address my Mac thinks it has.

I can't add a new printer. When I select Appletalk on the add new printer screen, the add printer button is grayed out, and no printers are discovered.

So I tried deleting the existing printer first, but that didn't help.

I also went to the Terminal, and did an 'arp -a', but the printer's ip doesn't show up.

So it seems that the printer is properly connected to the airport (since it has an ip), and my Mac is properly connected to the network (since it's online) but the Mac can't see the printer.
posted by lockedroomguy at 9:40 AM on February 23, 2006

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