Support > Members Docs

Using the Parallel Port with Mach3.


Using the Parallel Port with Mach3.

Most computers nowadays are no longer provided with the old Cannon D type, 25 way, parallel port connector. Although this limitation can be overcome by installing a suitable PCI parallel port card there is a catch…

The old, original 5 Volt TTL standard (used in the days of parallel port printers) has to a large extent now been replaced with a new 3.3 Volt TTL standard. Many of our existing breakout boards and drivers etc. were designed for 5 Volts TTL operation and  these older devices may not operate correctly with 3.3 Volt TTL.

When buying a new PCI parallel port card, unless you are confident that your existing equipment will work with 3.3 Volt TTL, then, to be on the safe side, always get a PCI card which provides 5 Volt TTL outputs.

How do you tell the difference ?

Please refer to the following diagram (thanks to Phame)…

Firstly, ensure that your PC motherboard does in fact have a 5 Volt PCI slot.
Next choose a PCI card which has the correct cut-out position for the 5 Volt PCI slot.

This may not be a totally fool-proof method of choosing the correct 5 Volt PCI card but it at least lets us identify the 3.3 Volt cards.

One final note – the parallel port can only be used with operating systems up to (and including) Windows 7 and it cannot be used with any 64 bit operating systems.


I have had good success using the following PP cards with Windows XP.

Rosewill RC-302 - Low-Profile PCI Card - Single Parallel (SPP / PS2 / EPP / ECP) Universal  
                  5V PCI slot only
                  approx $14.00

Rosewill RC-304 - 2-Port Parallel (SPP / PS2 / EPP / ECP) Universal PCI Card
                  5V PCI slot only
                  approx $22.00

I prefer the 2 port card.You can find them on Ebay and other places. Some other makes were not to my liking.



[0] Message Index

Go to full version