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Error: "Problem communicating with the printer" or Bogus Error Messages

Document ID:SO1611
 
  Properties  

Problem

Printer not found; Printer offline; Printer not connected; Error: "Problem communicating with the printer"; Error:"Error writing to LPT1"; Nothing connected to printer port; Will not print; No communication; Printer not ready; Paper jam error when there is no paper jam; Error: "Please load paper in the auto sheet feeder"  when feeder is full

Environment

Microsoft Windows 98; Microsoft Windows 95; Microsoft Windows Me; Microsoft Windows XP; Lexmark X6160; Lexmark X6130; Lexmark P705 Photo Jetprinter; Lexmark Z703 Photo Jetprinter; The issue you are experiencing could be caused by a communication breakdown between the printer and the computer.

Solution

To help you resolve this problem, try the suggestions below.
The Basics:

  1. Check your cables and their connections. Reconnect the parallel or USB cable to the computer and to the printer. Make sure there is a direct connection, with no scanners, switchboxes, or hubs inline. Other devices can sometimes cause communication problems between the computer and printer. For more information on this issue, see 'Scanners and Other Devices' below.

  2. Remove the power supply cord and reattach it to the printer. The printer should make a noise soon after the power cord is reattached. Note: This is a general diagnostic that seems to fix minor communication issues.

  3. If you are using a parallel port, verify that your computer is set up for bi-directional communications. If bi-directional communication is not enabled on your computer, the parallel port mode setting in the computer CMOS setup will need to be set to either bi-directional or ECP. Do the following:


    1. Right click on My Computer and select Properties.

    2. Click Device Manager. You should see a section called Ports (COM & LPT). There should be a (+) sign to the left of that section.

    3. Click on it, and look for ECP Printer Port (LPT1). You may need to contact your PC manufacturer if any of the following are true at this point:


      • It does NOT say ECP in the description.

      • There is no listing for Printer Port or any variation of'LPT.

      • There are question marks or exclamation points next to the LPT1 port listing.
        Let your PC manufacturer know what you are trying to accomplish and what you have done up to this point.

  4. Go to Start, Settings, Printers. Right click on the Lexmark object and select Properties.

  5. Click the Details tab.

  6. Under Print to the following port, it should say LPT1 for parallel cables and USB Lexmark or USB00x (<x> = 1-9) for USB cables. You can change these values by clicking on the arrow and selecting a new value from the list. Click Apply, and OK.
    If you are using a USB cable and the USB value is not in the list, try uninstalling and reinstalling the driver as detailed in your manual.
    If you are using a parallel cable and do not see LPT1, you will need to ask your PC manufacturer to walk you through the process of turning your parallel port on. You will also need to make sure the Lexmark printer is set as default. If not, right click on it and select the default option. 

  7. If the printer does not work when connected directly to the computer's port and you have complied with the steps above, there may be a hardware problem. In this case you should perform a self-test on the printer. (Click Start a New Search above this solution and enter self test in the search field.)

Scanners and Other Devices
Scanners or other sharing devices could cause communication problems.

  • If you are using a parallel connection, please verify that your cables, scanner, or other sharing devices are IEEE-1284 compliant .
    If you are using an USB connection, they need to be at least USB 1.0 compliant.
     

  • If the printer prints normally without the scanner/sharing device and its cables, there might be a problem with the scanner/sharing device. Please contact the manufacturer for information on how to fix such issues.
    Note: Although connecting devices through a scanner (or other sharing device) may work, we do not recommend or support the use of such devices as they can interfere with the signal strength that is sent to the printer. Please contact the manufacturer of the scanner/sharing device regarding communication issues for that specific device.

USB Issues:


  1. Right click on My Computer and select Properties.

  2. Click Device Manager. Click on the plus (+) sign next to Universal Serial Bus Controllers. The host controller listed here is the software that runs your USB ports. It is linked to a chipset on the motherboard that requires frequent updates to satisfy the needs of newer products such as your printer.

  3. Look at the name of the host controller. Some of the more common names are Ali, Intel, AMD, Via, and SIS. You will need to contact your PC manufacturer to get help updating these specific controllers to the newest driver set.
    If YOU are the PC manufacturer, check the manual for your motherboard to find out who makes the chipset for the motherboard. Again, Ali, Intel, AMD, Via, and SIS are some of the more common manufacturers of chipsets.

  4. Look for either Lexmark USB Printer or Other Devices in the Device Manager.

  5. If you see anything with Lexmark..., click on the plus (+) sign to its left and look for Inkjet Color Printer below it.

  6. If it is present, double-click on it. Tje next screen should report that the device is working properly.

  7. If you see any question or exclamation marks listed in the Device Manager (small yellow icons next to the listings), double-click on those items to obtain information on what's wrong with the items. This information is useful for troubleshooting the system.

  8. If not or there is nothing present, you will need to uninstall and reinstall the printer driver software, or download a newer version from our web site. Click here and follow the link to our Drivers & Downloads center.
    It is also recommended that you connect your printer to a USB port that is hardwired or "part" of the motherboard. USB ports that are located in the front of the PC and those that are located in the expansion card slots may cause communication issues if used for printing. You should always try to use the USB slot that is located near your peripheral slots, i.e., your mouse, keyboard, parallel and serial ports.

Multiple PCs:
The printer cannot be connected to multiple PCs at the same time. This includes, but is not limited to, using both the USB and parallel ports of the printer and the use of switchboxes. The system board on the printer will get confused at multiple requests for status, even if one computer is off and the other is on.
Docking Stations:
If you are using a docking station, try using the printer with a different, standard computer with parallel equipment as a test. You may want to contact the manufacturer of your other device for information on the correct functioning of a pass-through device. If the printer does not function correctly when directly hooked to a computer, the hardware may be at fault and the printer will need to be run through the self-test.
Converters/Adapters:
Lexmark printers do not support USB/parallel adapters and will probably not work. Nor will any USB/Parallel constructed cables. Our printers require either an IEEE 1284 bi-directional parallel cable, or a USB v.1.0 or 2.0 A/B style cable. Some printers can only use the parallel cable, some can use only the USB, and some can use either one. However, Lexmark cannot support printers hooked up to computers with a cable that attempts to cross between parallel and USB platforms, as this will cause communication issues.
Software Interference:
A piece of software may be interfering with the printer's communication ability, or your computer may be experiencing a system resource problem. We can try to alleviate these issues by putting your computer into Selective Startup mode. This will prevent any software applications other than Windows from loading when the system starts. To do this:

  1. Click Start, Run.

  2. Type MSCONFIG on the Open line, then click OK.

  3. When the System Configuration Utility opens, place the marker dot beside Selective Startup. Below that, deselect Load Startup Group Items. Then click Apply and OK. You will be prompted to restart the system. 

  4. When your system restarts, only the Windows operating system should be running. You should not see any icons in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, beside the clock.

  5. Try your action again. If it works, the source of the problem was one (or more) of the applications that were loaded into memory.

  6. You can return your system to its original configuration by clicking Start, Run, typing MSCONFIG and clicking OK. This time, select Normal Startup, click Apply and OK, and restart the computer.


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