Jump to content

Setting the Port to ECP Mode

  • PrintPrint

Introduction

The ECP, Enhanced Capabilities Port, is a parallel port mode that can be used on most computer systems to drastically decrease the amount of time required to pass information over the parallel cable (such as scanning). Review the transfer rate information below. ECP is even faster than the USB 1.0/1.1 standard found on most existing computer motherboards. Future revisions of USB (USB 2.0 Hi-Speed) and IEEE1394 (Firewire) connections are or will be faster but require motherboards (or add-in cards) and peripherals that support those standards.
NOTE: For Microsoft Windows XP and 2000, the parallel port settings must be set in the parallel port properties to establish two-way communication. See the information below to set the port settings. Owners of computers with Windows XP installed should not install the software that shipped with their HP Photosmart product. Please review the section for your product. Windows NT 4.0 does not support ECP mode. Windows NT 4.0 does a drop-down to Standard Bidirectional when ECP is selected. Some older BIOS versions and motherboards do not support ECP or are not fully compatible with ECP mode. Consult the PC or motherboard vendor for information about BIOS upgrades and ECP compatibility. If problems arise from using ECP mode, switch to standard bidirectional or EPP mode.
Connection typeTransfer rate (Megabytes/second)
Serial port .115
Standard parallel port .115
USB 1.0/1.1 low speed 0.1875
USB 1.1 full speed 1.5
ECP parallel port 3.0
IEEE1394 (Firewire) 50.0
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed 60.0
Benefits of using ECP mode vary greatly depending on the type of system and resources used. The greatest increase in speed appears on older 486 and Pentium 1 based systems. Some systems, particularly laptops, might have an ECP setting from the BIOS, but the actual hardware may be incapable of using this setting correctly. Symptoms for this are communication errors, ability to print but not scan, ability to scan but not print, and inconsistent scanning behavior, usually with docking stations.

Checking to see if ECP is enabled

The only sure way to prove that the parallel port is set to ECP is to enter the computer's BIOS and check the settings. Check the parallel port properties in Device Manager . This might indicate whether it is enabled, but is not 100 percent positive. Once ECP is set up on the system, Windows and the HP Photosmart product software use it automatically. ECP might not work on some systems, particularly laptops. To find out if a system is in ECP mode or how to set up ECP mode, perform the following steps:
  1. Right-click My Computer from the desktop (or from Start in Windows XP), and select DeviceManager (for Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP, the Device Manager is found on the Hardware tab).
  2. Double-click Ports in the list, and select the reference to LPT1 . It might or might not read ECP next to the reference for LPT1.
  3. Double-click Parallel Port Entry to open the Parallel Port properties.
  4. Select the Resources tab. If the parallel port is in ECP mode there will be two I/O ranges listed as shown in Figure 1. If there are not two listed, the parallel port is not in ECP mode.
  5. One input/output range should start at 0378 for LPT1. This is the system address range reserved for LPT1. Contact the computer manufacturer if an input/output range is not 0378, for assistance changing this setting.
    NOTE: Even if the parallel port entry reads "ECP Printer Port" and has two input output ranges, it might be in ECP and EPP mode. This mode might or might not work correctly. The only way to know for sure is to enter the computer BIOS.
Figure 1: The ECP parallel port I/O ranges

Checking interrupts and DMA channels before setting ECP mode

Before setting ECP mode, it might be necessary to check the interrupt request used, and available Direct Memory Access (DMA) channels (see Figure 2). Changing the parallel port mode to the ECP setting often requires configuring these resources in BIOS.
  1. Right-click My Computer from the desktop, and select DeviceManager (for Windows 2000 and XP, the Device Manager is found on the Hardware tab).
  2. Double-click Computer , and review the information for Interrupts. In Windows 2000 and XP, select ResourcesbyConnection from the View menu. Write down the interrupt used for the parallel port.
Figure 2: Checking the Interrupt request of the parallel port
  1. Select the DMA section. Review the DMA channels already used. Write down which channels have been used.
Figure 3: Checking for free DMA channels
  1. Exit out of DeviceManager .
    NOTE: The HP Photosmart product makes no specific DMA request; Windows manages this.

Entering the BIOS

Some laptop computers can access BIOS from a configuration screen located by clicking Start and Programs . Normally, however, the BIOS must be accessed while the computer is in the start phase. Restart the computer, but pay close attention as the computer loads. A screen should appear stating "Press (Key) to enter Setup." Press this key when this screen appears to enter the BIOS. There are several ways to enter BIOS; here are some common ways to enter the BIOS for various PC manufacturers. If the PC manufacturer\model is not listed or problems are experienced, contact the PC vendor for assistance entering, navigating, or updating the PC BIOS.
PC make/modelKey press
Compaq Presario Press the F10 key when the red Compaq logo is displayed.
Dell Dimension Press the DELETE key as the system powers up.
Dell OptiPlex Press the F2 key or CTRL + ALT + ENTER keys during startup.
Dell Latitude (except LM) Press the FN + F1 keys simultaneously at any time.
Dell Inspiron and Latitude LM Press the F2 key during startup.
Emachines Press the DELETE key as the system starts up.
Gateway Press the F1 key as the computer starts.
HP Pavilion (most models) Press the F1 key as the computer starts at the blue HP screen.
HP Vectra and Kayak Press the F2 key as the computer starts at the blue HP screen.
IBM ThinkPad Press the FN + F1 keys simultaneously at any time.
IBM Aptiva Press the F1 key as the computer starts at the blue IBM screen.

Locating the parallel port settings

CAUTION: Only change the setting listed in the next step. HP cannot be held responsible for damages caused by changes made to the BIOS settings. Consult the PC manufacturer for any questions about making changes in the BIOS. If there is any question that the incorrect settings were changed, do not save the changes when exiting the BIOS. This will retain the original settings.

Newer AMI, Award, and Phoenix BIOS

There are three main BIOS creators: AMI, Award, and Phoenix. The manufacturer should be listed near the top of the BIOS screen. Here are the normal steps to locate the parallel port settings for the newer versions of these BIOS manufacturers.
  • Newer Phoenix and AMI BIOS:
    1. From the Main menu, go to Advanced Peripheral Configuration .
    2. Then, select Parallel Port Mode .
    3. Use the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys to change the settings.
  • Award BIOS:
    1. From the Main menu, go to Integrated Peripherals , and Configure I/O or Integrated I/O Ports .
    2. Select Parallel Port Mode .
    3. Use the Plus (+) and Minus (-) keys to change the settings.

Generic BIOS instructions

If further instruction is needed, do the following:
Navigating within the BIOS will vary based on the BIOS manufacturer and version. Moving within the menus is normally accomplished by using the arrow keys or the mouse. Changes are normally made using the Plus (+ ) and Minus (- ) keys or F7 and F8 keys.
Use the Help feature of the BIOS, when available, to learn how to navigate and make changes in the BIOS. The parallel port settings might be located in the Peripheral Configuration, Advanced, Communication or BIOS setup menus. There might also be a submenu called, Integrated Peripherals, Integrated I/O ports, Ports, or Communications. Sometimes, it is just a matter of scrolling through all of the options under the main BIOS settings page.

Changing the settings

Once the parallel port settings section is located, do or check the following:
  1. The Parallel port should be set to Enabled or AutoConfiguration . If the parallel port is set to be configured by the operating system or OS controlled, change this setting to Enabled .
  2. Change the port mode from EPP, SPP, PS/2, STANDARD, or BI-DI (possibly others) to ECP .
  3. If the BIOS require that an Interrupt request and/or DMA channel be set for the port, use the original interrupt request as determined above and/or a free DMA channel.
  4. Save settings, and exit.
  5. After Windows desktop appears, verify that the parallel port is in ECP mode by checking Device Manager.

Windows 2000 and XP Port settings tab

Windows 2000 and XP have an additional tab in the parallel port properties for Port settings. There is one setting that should be made to ensure proper operation.
  1. Enter the Parallel Port properties by right-clicking MyComputer from the desktop (or from Start in Windows XP); select Properties .
  2. Select the Hardware tab and click DeviceManager .
  3. Double-click Ports in the list, and double-click the parallel port reference.
  4. Select Port Settings .
  5. Enable the section Use any interrupt assigned to the port as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: The Port Settings tab
  1. Click OK to save the changes and exit.

Dell computers

Dells that use the XT and AT compatible parallel port mode in BIOS

Many late 1990s Dell PCs use a different bidirectional parallel port mode for which Windows appears to have a difficult time configuring itself. This is true of all currently shipping Dell Precision and Optiplex models. Instead of having the normal ECP, EPP or Standard bidirectional BIOS settings for the parallel port, the settings are labeled XT, AT or PS-2 compatible. The AT setting is supposed to be the bidirectional setting, but appears to not be compatible with the industry standard ECP mode that some HP Photosmart products require. The result is that communication with the HP Photosmart product cannot be achieved. Check the Dell Web site for any motherboard BIOS updates. Contact Dell for assistance, if necessary.

Possible solution

  1. Enter into the computer's BIOS at startup by pressing F2 while the computer is starting up. Contact Dell for assistance performing this task if necessary.
  2. In the BIOS setup screen, press the DOWN ARROW key repeatedly until Integrated Devices is highlighted and then press ENTER .
  3. Press the DOWN ARROW key repeatedly until Parallel Port is highlighted and then press ENTER .
  4. Press the RIGHT ARROW key repeatedly until AT or PS-2 mode appears.
  5. Press the ESC key three times to exit Setup. The message Save Changes and Exit should appear.
  6. Press the ENTER key to save the changes and restart the computer.

Dell 8100 series

Dell 8100 series owners should verify that they have BIOS version A09 or higher. The BIOS version should be displayed as the computer starts up or can be found by pressing F2 as the computer starts to enter the computer's BIOS Setup program.
If downloading the new BIOS does not correct the issue, enter the BIOS and make these changes. To make the parallel port fully functional in ECP mode, go into the BIOS as above and change the parallel port's mode to ECP and set the DMA channel to 1. It might be necessary to uninstall the HP Photosmart software before performing these changes. If this does not correct the issue, use the BIOS settings above.

Workaround

  1. Enter into the computer's BIOS at startup by pressing F2 while the computer is starting up. Contact Dell for assistance performing this task if necessary.
  2. In the BIOS setup screen, press the DOWN ARROW key repeatedly until Integrated Devices is highlighted and then press ENTER .
  3. Press the DOWN ARROW key repeatedly until Parallel Port is highlighted and then press ENTER .
  4. Press the RIGHT ARROW key repeatedly until PS-2 mode appears and change the I/O address to 3BCH .
  5. Press the ESC key three times to exit setup. The message "Save Changes and Exit" should appear.
  6. Press the ENTER key to save the changes and restart the computer.
    NOTE: If the issue persists after all of the previous steps in this document have been followed, install the printer using a USB connection.

Related support links

HP Support forums

Find solutions and collaborate with others on the HP Support Forum
HP on YouTube