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  1. #1

    rcltrh's Avatar
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    Printer driver trick
    Can anyone help point me in the right direction on how to install a printer driver for a wireless printer that is not in the list? I have OS-X tiger, all updates on a Powerbook G4 1.33Mhz. I have a Hp Photosmart 7960 printer. I connected it via USB and installed the driver that came with the printer and that worked flawlessly. The problem is, I don't want to have to connect the laptop to the printer via cable every time I want to print. The printer is on a Netgear dual port wireless print server in another room in the house, and my XP computers all print to it just fine. However, Netgear does not have a Mac setup program to allow it to go directly to the print server via IP (it is 192.168.2.108 port 2) and if I enter it as an IP printer it doesnt allow me to specify a port in the IP block on the Mac. So I decided I would share it on one of the XP computers and try it that way. My powerbook found it being shared just fine, however it loaded a "generic postscript" driver. When I go to change the driver, the default HP list loads, but of course this driver is not in the list. I made sure to add all the HP drivers off the OS-X install disk. I know the correct driver is on this laptop somewhere, because it has it for the USB entry, but why won't it let me find it anywhere to use that as the driver? I have searched the hard drive using spotlight and just browsed around but cannot figure out where the actual driver(s) is stored nor even what all files would be involved. The generic postscript gives me hundreds of pages of garbage when I try to print to it. Does anyone know how to point the driver for this windows shared printer to the existing HP7960 driver that is setup on the USB port, or know how to input the IP address including the port number into the IP printing setup (however I suspect I would still have the driver problem going that way as well since it doesn't show that printer model in the OSX list of printers)? Help :dummy:

  2. #2

    cwa107's Avatar
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    I see no one responded to your post, which is unfortunate because this is almost exactly the same problem I'm having. I have the driver for my Canon i550 installed and it works beautifully with OS X via USB, but when I go to set up my Linksys PSUS4 wired print server, I can't locate the driver to use.

    I suspect your print server works in a similar manner to mine - that is, you simply specify it as an LPD server, enter the IP address and the LPR queue name. Unfortunately, I had a devil of a time locating the LPR queue name, but once I did, I was talking to the print server with no problem (in my case it was "LP" - minus the quotes. When you have the print server configured on your PC, dig through the configuration utility and see if you can locate the LPR queue name.

    Now, the other half of the equation is where does OS X keep its printer drivers. I've located the drivers that are pre-installed with the OS. They seem to reside in >Macintosh HD>Library>Printers, but I can't locate where an aftermarket driver would be stored.

    If anyone has any ideas on this one, I sure would appreciate your input!

  3. #3

    ToddG's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with my Epson R260 ... I got as far as having the computer, print server, and printer all in communication. But the driver -- which is obviously installed on the computer because I can print when hardwired -- is nowhere to be found.

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    i have the same problem....if anyone knows how to fix this, please let us know!

  5. #5

    cwa107's Avatar
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    This seems to be a real common problem. I've spent the better part of the afternoon Googling and getting plenty of the same question, but no easy answers. Certainly OS X in its current iteration is lacking badly for a robust set of printer drivers and configuration utilities. The current implementation is crude at best.

    What I'm also irritated about is the lack of a powerful search utility. Spotlight is great for finding documents and user-specific data, but I'm like to be able to search hidden/system folders and files - and in that regard, there doesn't seem to be any good built-in utilities. If I could do a proper search for the terms "Canon" or "i550" or even *.ppd, I'm sure I could figure this out in a matter of minutes.

  6. #6

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Welp, through plenty of trial and error, I finally discovered where the driver file sits for printers that don't have a driver native to OS X (or at least included with the OS X distribution since it doesn't appear as though Apple has written any of the drivers, simply leeched them from Open Source distributions).

    In my case, the driver file was located in .private/etc/cups/ppd. I haven't found a way to get Finder to actually explore hidden directories like this, so you'll need to navigate to it from the shell:

    sudo cd /etc/cups/ppd

    ...and then copy it to a directory you do have access to via finder:

    sudo cp /etc/cups/ppd/<drivername>.ppd /Users/<username>/Documents

    Once you get the driver file to a location where you can access it, it's just a matter of changing your network printer to use that driver. But before you get too excited, I should note that despite the fact that I have the very same driver OS X was using when printing via a USB connection, it does not work when attached via my Linksys PSUS4 print server.

    Although it does look like it wants to work, it will eventually error out when sending a job. My guess is that Canon designed the driver to work specifically from a USB connection and it expects to send the job in a very specific manner.

    The moral of the story is this - Windows and OS X handle printers in very different ways. In my opinion, Windows' implementation is far more robust and configurable. It appears that OS X print drivers are a lot "smarter" in that they don't pass off any aspect of connectivity to the OS, whereas Windows has its own API for the connectivity aspect of the printer, the driver just provides the model specific and language. This is evidenced by the fact that you can take a USB printer (like my Canon i550), open up the Ports tab from the Properties box, add a new port and anything that would have been directed to the printer using USB will now be directed through the network port.

    Let's hope that Apple addresses this issue in Leopard. I see a ton of users complaining about it and there is no easy fix that doesn't involve changing out hardware that I've found. I may consider switching my print server for something that is more Mac friendly. Although my print server fully supports LPD (an old and universal standard for networked printing), I think OS X needs a third-party program to handle redirection for USB printers. I'd imagine print servers that claim Mac compatibility (Linksys famously does not) would have this functionality built into their software.

    I will keep this thread updated if I ultimately do decide to try a different print server or printer. For right now, I can handle running down to my basement and plugging straight into the USB port if I absolutely have to print a document right there and then.

  7. #7

    ToddG's Avatar
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    After fooling around in the shell (which I had to figure out meant Terminal :p ), I went to Onyx and set "Show hidden files and folders" (Parameters, Finder ... last check box on the page).

    I moved the drivers to someplace convenient, set up the printer, but mine doesn't work either. Printer is an Epson R260, print server is a Belkin F1UP0001. The computer thinks the the job was sent to the server, but nothing is happening on the printer.

  8. #8

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddG View Post
    After fooling around in the shell (which I had to figure out meant Terminal :p ), I went to Onyx and set "Show hidden files and folders" (Parameters, Finder ... last check box on the page).

    I moved the drivers to someplace convenient, set up the printer, but mine doesn't work either. Printer is an Epson R260, print server is a Belkin F1UP0001. The computer thinks the the job was sent to the server, but nothing is happening on the printer.
    Sorry about that, Linux-speak I guess.

    I'm not convinced that I am getting the entire driver package using this approach. As I understand it, a PPD file is a "Postscript Print Driver". If the printer is not a Postscript-compatible printer, a PPD file is still needed, but also a device-specific driver. So, it might just be that I'm barking up the wrong tree. I don't believe that most modern, consumer-oriented InkJets are true Postscript printers.

    To be honest, I'm just about ready to throw the towel on this one. I've spent the better part of this three-day-weekend fooling with it and the ends simply don't justify the means. At this point, I just want to see it work so that I can say "I did it". I can print to it from all of my Windows machines, including XP running on VMWare Fusion on my MacBook.

    Currently, I'm eyeing up the D-Link DP-G310 wireless print server since it claims to be Mac-compatible. I'm assuming that means it includes a dedicated driver that tricks a USB driver into passing over a networked connection. But I'm curious - you said that you're using a Belkin print server, and my understanding is that Belkin supports Macs. Do they actually provide an OS X driver for the print server or is compatibility specified purely by virtue of the fact that it supports LPD or IPP?

  9. #9

    ToddG's Avatar
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    There is no specific software for the Mac that I can see. It allows for LPD, TCP/IP direct printing, and FTP printing.

  10. #10

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddG View Post
    There is no specific software for the Mac that I can see. It allows for LPD, TCP/IP direct printing, and FTP printing.
    At last I have the printer printing half decent copy. It's not perfect, but it works. I found this site:

    http://www.linuxprinting.org/printer_list.cgi

    Which will point you to the right direction for a Gimp-print driver (this is the package that OS X comes with for printer support) for your printer. If it doesn't contain the exact printer driver, they'll at least point you to one that is compatible. In my case, the most updated package comes with a BJC-8200 driver which works fairly well. If it's not perfect, at least it allows me to print off decent drafts. If I want to print photos (or something that requires high quality), I can always do a direct connection.

    I didn't look up your model specifically, but I'm sure they'll be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck!

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