Our forums are currently in maintenance mode and the ability to post is disabled. We will be back up and running as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!



2 printers with 1 USB Cable?

By ACT68135 ·
Because of my office setup I don't want to move out my equipment and furniture to get to PC connections and cables (I am partially disabled so it's a pain in the butt to have to wait on help).

I do have one USB cable connected to the PC (Dell Dimension DIM3000/Windows XP) and then I operate both of my printers from it (one is Brother HL-5050 Laser Printer and the other is a Dell 964 Photo Inkjet). To do this, I just plug in the printer I need to use leaving the other unconnected. Then when I need to use the unconnected one I just switch the USB cable to the printer I need to use.

My Question: Is there an adapter to hook on to the end of the USB cable (the one that goes into the printer) that would then plug into both printers and the computer be able to see both are connected?

Thanks, in advance, for your help.

Mary Jane

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

Expand the computer's USB ports

by nepenthe0 In reply to 2 printers with 1 USB Ca ...

If you have exhausted the available USB ports on the computer, you can easily expand the available ports with a small USB hub:

Connect the hub to the computer's available USB port. Then run separate USB cables from the hub to each printer. Your computer will figure it out upon reboot.

However, before you purchase a USB hub, check the back of the computer for an unused USB port (often you will find more than one). If you have an unused port, run a separate cable to the 2nd printer directly from this port.

Use the driver that ships with the printer (it usually has more functionality than the 'default' Windows driver), or go online to the printer manufacturer and download the latest driver for your operating system.

Rick/Portland, OR

Collapse -

Thanks Rick for your prompt response

by ACT68135 In reply to Expand the computer's USB ...

I already have a hub with several cables connected to it running to other equipment like 3 Dymo Printers etc. The problem is I can not get to the back of my PC or under my desk to get to the connections to take advantage of an extra cable connection. LOL

I just have the one cable up on my desk that I've been switching between the 2 printers so I was wanting an easy way to use the USB cable on my desk without going under or behind it.

Doesn't look like I'll be able to do that but thanks for your prompt response. :-)

Collapse -

You're welcome

by nepenthe0 In reply to Thanks Rick for your prom ...

I'm getting pretty stiff myself. Perhaps you can enlist the assistance of your next visitor to connect another cable to the hub?

Do you still have that awesome fighter squadron stationed at Offutt AFB? When I last cruised through Omaha (~20 years ago) and saw them overhead, it filled my heart with pride.

Rick/Portland, OR

Collapse -

Rick, Yup, as far as I know it's still at Offutt AFB

by ACT68135 In reply to You're welcome

You would love the Offutt/Sac museum west of Omaha on I-80 then. It has a lot of equipment in there and sure takes you back a few years. Mostly, though, reminds you of what is really important (and most likely taken for granted by many) in life...the sacrifices of others, our freedom and our safety.

Mary Jane

Collapse -

Well as you know about Hubs

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Thanks Rick for your prom ...

Did you know that you can Daisy Chain them till you have 128 Devices connected to 1 USB Port?

This is the advantage of USB you can add up to 128 Devices per USB Port so you are very unlikely to ever exceed the ability of 1 Port.

If you run a lot of unpowered equipment off the USB you may need to use a Powered USB Hub but if it's only printers involved a simple USB Hub will be sufficient. So just plug another USB Hub into the existing one and then plug in both printers and what you removed from the existing hub. Everything will work and you will not need to bother changing cables or constantly plugging in different devices.


Collapse -

I envy OH Smeg's confusion

by nepenthe0 In reply to Well as you know about Hu ...

Every time OH Smeg posts a response, I learn something new. It never occurred to me to connect 128 USB devices to a single computer port, but now that I know it can be done, I need a bigger room.

In a previous post, I suggest to Old Mycroft that he publish his pearls for posterity. You must do the same, my Australian friend...

Rick/Portland, OR

Collapse -

Daisy 128 connection

by ACT68135 In reply to I envy OH Smeg's confusio ...

Ok, I'm an accounting geek not a computer geek LOL .. Being a real novice at this, I was under the impression from previous research when I added hubs that it's not really recommended to run a hub to hub and have them all full. I have 2 but they are plugged into different ports on my PC.

The USB cable I was referring to in my original post is coming from another port (a 3rd) in my PC so I could add anther hub (and set it on top of my desk this time LOL) ... if this would be acceptable and not hurt my computer?

I think I'm going to have to use Rick's advise and enlist the help of the next unsuspecting visitor through the door (they will never return again LOL).

Mary Jane

Collapse -

The reason why you are not encouraged to add a hub to a hub

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Daisy 128 connection

Is because of a loss of power which can cause some devices like Scanners not to work.

However the solution here is to place a Powered Hub after a Unpowered Hub so you have full power of 500 MA available at each USB Port.

I currently have 2 USB Ports working on the computer that I use 1 is directly connected to a Scanner that is powered off the USB Port and the other has 4 USB Powered Hubs connected with a variety of Printers, Cameras, Web Cams and the like connected to it. There is no issue with a lack of power and when I plug in a I Pod to the last Powered Hub it charges without a problem and plays, Transfers Data. So Power isn't an issue nor is Signal Loss. But I do try to keep the USB Leads as short as possible.

While it is defiantly better to use a different USB Port if you have one available adding Powered Hubs is the next best option. Though you do still have to run the Power Lead from the Plug Pack top the USB Hub so maybe it's easier to just get someone to plug in another USB Cable.

A powered Hub looks like this and has a Power Adapter which these days is a Power Pack with a male connector that plugs into the Hub.

It is also possible to get bigger USB Hubs so that you have more than a 4 way split. I have a 24 Way Rack Mount USB hub in use here but that isn't something that would be in a normal Domestic supplier of these devices. Again this is a powered Device.


Collapse -

Thank you OH Smeg!

by ACT68135 In reply to The reason why you are no ...

I'm very grateful for your thorough guidance. You have provided me with my options and that is very helpful .. as was the link of the powered hubs. I can now at least make an informed decision on my options.

Have a wonderful day!


Collapse -

I agree with OH Smeg

by nepenthe0 In reply to 2 printers with 1 USB Ca ...

Before you run out and purchase a powered USB hub, try an unpowered hub. If your computer squawks, it will tell you in no subtle terms: There is insufficient power to support this device.

That makes the decision easy and painless. I avoid powered hubs where possible, because I have no more outlets on my surge protector for AC adapters.

As for the danger of hub proliferation, that's news to me, and I would need to see some solid documentation before I believed it. The real risk is the proliferation of neglected wiring, with dust accumulation and developing fire hazard.

A new technology is emerging called 'Wireless USB':

which will eliminate hubs and cables. The good news is that the computer hardware industry will get a real economic boost, because all our printers, devices, and computers will be obsolete. Instead of a $25 dollar hub, you get to buy $7K worth of computers, printers, and peripherals. Ain't technology marvelous?

Rick/Portland, OR

Related Discussions

Related Forums