2 basic devices can connect 2 printers at once

Help Line

August 02, 1999|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

Is it possible to connect two printers to a PC using Windows 95 or 98 and be able to select which a document goes to? I use a black ink laser printer, but would like to add a color printer.

Most experts advise buying special, somewhat expensive automatic switching devices for those who want to run two printers on a single computer.

These devices are commonplace in computer stores and have slick features such as the ability to sense which printer is being requested and then send the print job to that machine.

I prefer buying an inexpensive card that goes into a computer's expansion slot and provides a second parallel port.

If opening the computer case and installing the board doesn't appeal to you, another choice is a so-called A/B box with a big plastic switch that you turn to change printers.

You should be aware, however, that many printer manufacturers warn against using the simple A/B boxes, even though many people, including this writer, enjoy excellent results with them.

I am looking for used parts, specifically the AC adapter, for my Macintosh PowerBook 540. Can you direct me to a site where I can find used parts for my laptop?

The easiest way I know to acquire obscure parts for most mobile computers is the Web site http://iGocorp.com -- formerly www.1800batteries.com (the telephone number is unchanged: 1-800-Batteries). It turns a healthy profit by offering just about any gizmo that can be plugged into just about any laptop computer still in service.

I checked and found a wide assortment of adapters, batteries and other accessories for your aging Mac PowerBook. As one might expect, prices tend toward the hefty side, but the cost is often worth it when shelling out $100 or $200 saves you from spending a couple of thousand to replace the laptop.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribbune.com.

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