Trying to figure out how to use a Laserwriter Pro 630 with Snow Leopard? This post may be useful for you if you’ve been unsuccessful in your efforts. It should save you stress and gnashing of teeth by pulling all the info together in one place.
It’s possible that this can be used to get other Appletalk printers up and running with Snow Leopard and beyond. Your mileage may vary in those cases.
Appletalk and Mac OS 10.6
There’s lots of discussion about how OS 10.6 no longer supports Appletalk, leaving us legacy printer folk in the lurch. I reviewed hundreds of posts trying to cobble together a solution that would work for me. If you’ve been doing the same, and have a LW Pro 630, look no further.
Two simple solutions for printing again
This solution involves adding an inexpensive print server. Just resign yourself to doing this- don’t fight it like I did. It’s just a fact of life that this will be much simpler and reliable if you do. These are the instructions for the rest of us, but you must be willing to make that small purchase of a print server.
First, if you have an older Mac running 10.4 or 10.5 and can use it to share your printer, do it. It’s much easier, and you’ve already got everything you need. Just follow the readily available printer sharing instructions and you’re good to go.
No extra Mac, step into the dark side of print servers
Assuming you don’t have that extra machine available, here are the steps I used to get back in business. First some assumptions:
1. You have a LW Pro 630.
(Disclaimer) I have not tested this with any other Laserwriters from Apple, or any other print servers other than the JetDirect 300x. It *should* work, but after going thru what I outline below, I make no more assumptions about anything.
2. You have a Mac running 10.6.x or higher
3. You want to connect your Mac running 10.6 to the LW Pro, either as part of your existing network, or on its own.
You will need to BUY two additional pieces of equipment. Both are cheap and readily available. The critical piece of hardware is a print server. Go to ebay, search for JetDirect. You should not have to pay more than $35 including shipping. Be sure the listing you buy from includes the power supply. If not, you’ll need that too.
Other print servers most likely will work as well, but see Disclaimer above.
Other bits and pieces needed
You’ll also need two cables to connect the JetDirect to your LW Pro 630.
One is a parallel cable which you probably don’t have hanging around. They’re cheap and plentiful- I picked one up for $1 at a computer recycle shop. It is a IEEE 1284 connector that plugs into the back of the JetDirect and a Centronics connector to plug into your LW Pro 630.
You will also need an ethernet cable to connect your JetDirect to your network, but you likely have one of those hanging around.
Once you have the JetDirect, cables, your Mac and LW Pro 630 at the ready, you’re ready to overcome your problem.
A “simple” 8 step process
1. Download the manual for the JetDirect from HP here, unless you already have it. Do this. Read it. Then give thanks that you don’t have to understand anything other than what follows below. You’ll want the manual for reference/ troubleshooting.
2. Set the little selector switch on the back of your LW Pro 630 to 9. You change the configuration of this by repeatedly pressing one of the little buttons on either side of the display counter. This is located on the back of the printer, in the top left corner. Don’t skip this step or you’ll never get things working.
3. Do not connect the power to the JetDirect yet. Connect the parallel cable to the back of the Jet Direct and to the Centronics connector on the back of the LW Pro 630. Connect your ethernet cable to the JetDirect and to your Mac or existing network router.
4. Now you can plug in the power to the JetDirect. You need to be sure that the JetDirect is speaking the proper language, PostScript.
Do this by simply holding down the Test button for 3 seconds and watch for the Status light to remain on and the Activity light to go off. You may need to watch things cycle thru a few times before you release the test button at the proper time.
The proper time to release that button is when STATUS in ON and ACTIVITY is OFF. Reference page 2-3 and 2-4 of the manual if you’d like
5. Almost there. You should now be able to print a Configuration page. Just press the Test button and release it. immediately. If nothing happens, go back and make sure your LW Pro is set to 9 (step 2), your cables are plugged properly, and your JetDirect is configured for postscript (step 4)
6. You’ve got a configuration page- congratulations! Towards the end of that page in the first column (English) look for an IP Address. This is the IP address of the JetDirect. You’ll need this in the next step. You do not want the IP address of the boot server, which appears a bit further down on the page.
7. Set up this printer on your Mac.
a. Go to your Mac and select System Preferences/ Print & Fax.
b. Click the + button that appears at the bottom of the printer window.
c. At the top of the Add Printer window which comes up, click on the IP icon.
d. In the Protocol line, select HPJetdirect- socket.
e. In the Address line, enter the IP address of the printer from the configuration page you’ve printed.
f. You can name this printer anything you want in the name field below, or leave it populated with the IP address.
g. In the “Print Using” field, Choose “Select Printer Software” Then scroll to LW PRo 630 in the list that appears.
h. Click Add and take a deep breath.
8. Confirm that the printer you just added now appears in your printer list. If so, breathe a sigh of relief. If not. . . .I can’t help you other than to suggest you repeat all of the above steps carefully.
It’s not intuitive. It’s not simple. But it’s also not difficult. Don’t make the mistakes I did, which began with the assumption that it should be a simple connectivity process. Here are mistakes to avoid based on my trial and error:
1. It does not “just work” even though we think it should. Proper steps must be followed. You can’t just plug things together and expect to get on with your life.
2. The ethernet cable is not the only connection which needs to be made with the JetDirect. You’ve got to connect the parallel port to the printer as well.
3. The JetDirct must be configured for PostScript. Don’t assume it already is.
4. Be sure the selector switch on your LW Pro is set to 9. Only 9. Nothing else. Just 9. Number Nine. How appropriate.
5. You need the IP address of the JetDirect. This is not difficult if you’ve configured it properly (step 3) , set the LW Pro properly (step 4) and pressed the Test button to print the configuration page.
6. You must enter the IP address of the JetDirect when you Add Printer thru system preferences. Don’t rely on the IP address that pops up in the field if you happen to hit the scroll arrow on the right side of the field during setup.
7. If all else fails, you can reset the JetDirect to factory defaults and try again. Rest the JetDirect by unplugging the power from the back of the unit, hold down the Test button, replug the power cable and continue to hold the Test button for 5 seconds.
8 If you change your network configuration by upgrading a router or switch, you may need to repeat all these steps because an IP address has changed. Don’t fight it. Just do it.
Hope you learn from my mistakes- now you can enjoy your Mac & LW Pro 630 again!