I recently had a D-Link 300U print server die on me. It’s been fairly reliable for a few years; every now and again I would have to power cycle it to make it work. I liked the fact that you could share up to 3 printers from it – 2 Parallel Port and 1 USB. I looked for something similar that just had USB but could not find any print servers that supported more than 1 printer, and most of these were for wireless not wired networking. D-Link still sells the 300U but the 2 Parallel Port thing was not good for the future.
I had had an HP Laserjet 1200 and HP Laserjet 2420D printer attached to the print server when it died. They were both using Parallel Port connections, although both support USB as well. The 1200 does not have an internal HP Jetdirect option (they recommend you use the HP Jetdirect 175X with it which is a single USB print server). I have setup one of these before, but opted instead to use a USB hub and switch the 1200 to USB. The 1200 is next to a Canon All-In-One on USB so it was easy enough to add the USB hub and put both the Canon and the HP 1200 on the hub.
This left me with the 2420D to address. I knew I could install an EIO card in it, but it took some time to figure out which one. Resellers do not list every printer that a particular EIO card works with (sometimes they do not list any). After looking at the Jetdirect 620n and confirming it worked with the 2420D, I had to decide where to buy it. I found the card for $300 – $400 on some retail sites, but some online sites were selling OEM/bulk versions for around $100. Then I found there were 2 different models of the 620n – J7934A or J7934G. After more research I found that the only difference was the “G” model had a built-in web server – very nice. So I opted for the “G” model.
On buy.com I found several sites that sold the 620n, and I bought the card from entercomputers.com. I had never used them before and there were some negative reviews on them, but they looked okay and they also sold a 500 sheet tray for the 2420D in new condition for around $120. So I purchased both the card and tray from them – they even had free ground shipping. I received both items in about a week and both worked just fine. The EIO card came in a static bag, but it was worth it to save $200+ over the retail version. Anyway, it was just a matter of removing a cover from the printer, sliding the card in and screwing it down, and configuring the card through the printer’s menu. The tray was a plug and play affair – remove printer, set down tray, set printer carefully on top of tray in the proper position. The printer recognized both and both work without problems.
Like my old friend Robert Langford used to say, if you have an empty slot fill it. For the 2420D, I think I’ve filled every slot between these upgrades and a previous memory installation. I am glad most new printers come with built-in networking now – print servers are okay, but built-in networking is a lot less hassle.