SUMMARY: Problem using internal parallel port!

From: Marc Gibian (gibian@typhoon)
Date: Sun Mar 31 1996 - 11:56:48 CST

I sent a query on printing to a brother HL-660 printer via the
internal parallel port on SPARCstation 20s. I recieved a number of
replies, most of which said that there is a known problem on many
SPARCstation 20 system boards that cause the exact symptoms I am
encountering. I have reported this problem to our hardware support
vendor and have installed three replacement system boards to date, all
of which were supposed to be at a rev. level at which the problem has
been corrected. I am still unable to use this printer on the internal
parallel port. I am additionally concerned that my customer will have
to go through this ordeal for every SPARCstation 20 with which they
attempt to use this printer, i.e. every workstation running my
customer's product. This is not acceptable and thus it seems time to
explore other alternatives. Unfortunately, all alternatives I have
identified thus far cost > $1 and thus are beyond planned

My thanks to those who replied, whom I can't list by name due to the
long period of time during which I have been recieving and acting on


Marc S. Gibian
Telos Consulting Services phone: (617) 377-6350
PRISM/TFS email:

-------------------- original posting -----------------------
My team recently purchased some multi-emulation printers that connect
to our workstations via a Centronics parallel port connection. I had
evaluated this printer while using an add-on parallel port sbus
card. The printer did what we need but the particular card and its
driver dragged down performance on the hosting SPARCstation 20 to the
point that virtually nothing got done while data moved to the
printer. I asked about this and learned to my surprise about the
existance of the internal parallel port of SPARCstation 20s (Sun had
neglected to mention it when we had first asked how to drive this
printer). At that time, I had been unable to test the internal
parallel port as we had to return the eval printer before we could get
the appropriate cable.

My problem is that I now have the printers, purchased one cable to
connect the SPARCstation 20 internal parallel port to the Centronics
connector on the printer (to eval it before buying the others we
need), but I can not get the internal parallel port to work. I was
told the best way to verify that the port is connected to the printer
was simply to:

cat /etc/motd > /dev/bpp0

Right now we get the error:

cat: write error: No such device or address

I am under the impression that while this may or may not actually
print, if we avoid this message, then the port is operating properly
and its time to setup the printcap and try the printing system. I have
checked the kernel and it has the device driver for bpp specified. I
have reproduced the success we had with the add-on card, so the
printer is fine. So, I can't think of anything else that I may have
missed. We have tried a number of our SPARCstation 20s and 10s and all
return the same error.

Right now we are trying all of this on SunOS 4.1.3/4.1.4 and have been
testing only on SunOS 4.1.*. I will need to move it to Solaris 2.5 in
the near future, so help with the internal parallel port on that
platform would be of help as well.

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