General discussion


Cable length.

By nhon_mai ·
what is the maximum length for parallel cable ?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Cable length.

While I'm not exactly sure I have never seen one over 10 meters long ever being advertised.

That may be of some help to you as that is what is commercially available.


Collapse -

by dmiles In reply to Cable length.

Parallel Cables Length Limits

Older style Centronics parallel cables, can rarely be more than 15 feet long and still operate correctly, and 9 to 12 feet is a safer limit. The IEEE-1284 can go up to 30feet in length.

Collapse -

by dryflies In reply to Cable length.

I can't give you a spec, but in 1995 I was working for a fly by night manufacturing automation co. The owners wife did not like the sound of the dot matrix printer she used to print reports etc. so the owner had one of the technicians build a centronix cable that went from her office to mine (about 60ft) It was really annoying. I quit 2 mos later.

Collapse -

by TheChas In reply to Cable length.

All of the answers are correct, but incomplete.

The maximum working length for a parallel cable depends on several factors:

The signal loss in the cable.

The sensitivity of the parallel port and device.

The amount of electrical noise present.

We had a sneaker net printer setup where I used to work.
Most of the PCs were connected to the printer with 50 foot cables through a switch.

The reliability of printing was VERY defendant on the PC, printer and switch used.

DOS mode printing worked most of the time.
Windows based printing was not as reliable.
When we tried to use a smart switch, or a printer that required full bi-directional communications, we often had problems.

For long parallel cable runs, make sure you use quality bi-directional (IEEE-1284) shielded cables for the best results.


Collapse -

by willcomp In reply to Cable length.

I've done runs of 100' using heavily shielded low impedence cable which was rather expensive. That was back in DOS and early Windows days when using a Buffalo switch box to share a Laserjet printer. Cables were about 0.4" in diameter as best I recall.

Longest run in recent years was about 50' to a Laserjet. Used good quality IEEE 1284 cable and had no problems.

As Chas said, depends on device and quality of cable. Also dependent on interference from RF sources (e.g. flourescent lights) and general electrical interference.

In short, only way to know for sure is run cable and see. Use high quality cable.


Collapse -

by willcomp In reply to

Here's a warranted 100' cable designed for laser printer use. Cheap it isn't. Shorter lengths are also available.**3&sku=06095


Collapse -

by jonno112 In reply to Cable length.
Collapse -

by geekchic In reply to Cable length.

Cable length really depends on what you are trying to attach with it. We recently purchased a postage metering machine that we needed to attach to a computer that was across the room. We found a parallel cable that was long enough but when we connected the computer and the machine...nothing happened. We found out later that the postage machine would only function with a parallel cable that was under 9 ft in length.

Collapse -

by MdTrackman In reply to Cable length.

IEEE-1284 cables have a total distance limitation of 31 feet.

Collapse -

by sgt_shultz In reply to Cable length.

as chas said, that one really begs lots of questions. like whatchu doin with that cable?
one presumes you are driving a printer with it. then the main question in my mind, is, what printer? i have seen cables easily fity feet installed and working. but printer is invariably an epson dot matrix. not a laser. not a mulit function...
problem is always attenuation (loss over distance) or noise. so you can get away with stuff in one setting you can't get away with in another...
consider using a high quality print server which will allow you to place printer on ethernet cable then you have more noise tolerance plus you can go 100 meters and expect it to work solidly...

Related Discussions

Related Forums