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May 25 2013

Just Leave Legacy Hardware Alone or Replace It

I learnt this the hard way this week despite being the person who had previously fixed it.

There is a reason why hardware is upgraded every so often particularly when newer interfaces supplant older ones (i.e. USB replacing those old COM and LPT/parallel/printer ports). These interfaces can often provide a higher level of compatibility and a lower amount of configuration. Similarly, older hardware can often miss out on drivers for the latest operating systems which means if you want to keep your operating system and/or PCs up to date then those peripherals might have to be let go.

Anyway, in this instance, I attempted to move over a thermal receipt printer and tethered cash drawer from an old netbook to a replacement MacBook Pro that was going to replace the terminal. The receipt printer had an old printer port on it and in order to work with the netbook it required a USB to parallel port to function (already in dangerous territory). The printer was an integral part in the setup as without it you can’t pop the cash drawer to get at the money – this also means you can’t replace the printer without replacing the cash drawer.

Furthermore, the setup requires a special driver from Epson to work but doesn’t seem to work at all (either printing or popping the drawer) however installing a driver for a different Epson receipt printer model will pop the drawer but printer garbage.

In setting up the netbook a while back I swore that I would not change anything on it again but somehow I forgot that when I disconnected the hardware to connect to the MacBook Pro. The hardware wouldn’t work with MacBook Pro because I had forgotten how it was setup and when I connected it back to the netbook it wouldn’t work there either. – awesome!

Anyway, long story short, I have managed to get it working on the MacBook Pro but new hardware is absolutely a must to prevent upgrade hassles in the future.

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