Parallel to USB/Firewire Adaptor?

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
TwoPynts's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
Joined: Dec 7 2005 - 13:09
Posts: 11
Parallel to USB/Firewire Adaptor?

I'm trying to find one that works.

I need to connect an Epson Expresson 836XL large format scanner to my Intel iMac. At first I was looking for a USB or Firewire to SCSI adapter, but then thought of this option since my scanner also has a 36-pin Centronics type parallel connector.

I found a possible fit with the SCSI to Firewire adaptor ( (thanks to Eudimorphodon) but am wondering if Parallel to Firewire/USB might be a more viable (and cheaper) option. See here: or

Has anyone done this or know if it is viable? I worry about Mac compatibility.

Eudimorphodon's picture
Last seen: 11 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1204
Almost certainly *no*.

Those things are designed to make a parallel printers look like "USB Printer class" devices. They're not a full-function PC parallel port. (In that they do *not* emulate all the abilities of nor the software interface of a conventional SPP/EPP/ECP PC parallel port.) I've never heard of anyone driving a parallel port peripheral with one. At the very least it would require a custom driver. (This assuming the "USB Printer Class" API has the ability to flip the individual bits on the port at all.)

Whatever the case, it definitely wouldn't work with any Mac software. Macs never had parallel ports.


eeun's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1891
Software is likely to be as m

Software is likely to be as much of a problem as hardware.

We had several 836XLs at work, and when we upgraded our G3s to G5s, bought firewire to USB adapters instead of spending the money on a proper scsi card. Big mistake.

The firewire adapters were really picky, and tended to drop connection at random, and required a restart once that connection was dropped.

The Silverfast scanning software we were using didn't recognize the firewire adapter, and the other third party software we attempted to use, well..stunk.

The 836XL is a fantastic scanner, and I think you'll be disappointed using it with a kludgey adapter. I'd suggest picking up a cheap B&W G3 and using it to scan to a shared directory on your iMac. That way you get native scsi scanning and can still use the processing power of your iMac for scan cleanup, calibration, etc.

TwoPynts's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
Joined: Dec 7 2005 - 13:09
Posts: 11
Thanks guys

Not quite the answers I wanted, but I take what I can get, heheh.

I have a "cheap" G4 sitting under my desk that the iMac is supposed to replace. I was hoping to do away with it and not have invest $2k+ in another scanner as a result. But I may just keep it for scanning as I need the large capacity and am happy with the results.

I believe I'm currently using Vuescan on the G4 as it was the only driver I could get to work under OSX. I guess I'll bite the bullet and try the Ratoc SCSI to Firewire adapter and hope for the best. Does anyone know if the 836XL scanner supplies term power to the SCSI bus? (Term
power is the power to activate SCSI terminator. According to SCSI spec., at
least one device on the SCSI bus must supply term power. Since most SCSI
host adapters supply this term power, some SCSI devices don''t supply term
power to SCSI bus.) If it does not, I need to purchase a power adapter as
well. The Epson specs are not very clear on this and I have yet to hear back from them about it.

Log in or register to post comments