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Two Computers to Share a Single USB Printer or Some Other USB Device

Two Computers to Share a Single USB Printer or Some Other USB Device

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Published by Najam Rafi
Connect and share one printer with 2 PCs
Connect and share one printer with 2 PCs

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Published by: Najam Rafi on Apr 06, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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NajamG Collections
n a j a m _ r a f i @ y a h o o . c o mPage 1
This simple device allows two computers to share a single USB printer or some other USBdevice,such as an external flash drive, memory card reader or scanner. A rotary switch selectsthe PC that you wish to use with the USB device, while two LEDs indicate the selected PC.The most common way to share a USB printer between two PCs is to use one machine as a printserver. However, that’s not always convenient because it means that the server PC must always be on if you want to print something.
Picture of the project:
NajamG Collections
n a j a m _ r a f i @ y a h o o . c o mPage 2
That can be a real nuisance if you just want to quickly fire up the other machine and printsomething out. It also means that the two PCs must be networked together, either via ahub/router or directly via an ethernet crossover cable.Another way is to use a dedicated USB print server. However, as before, this must be connectedto an ethernet network, along with the PCs. Such devices also need their own power supply,generally cost well over $100and are overkill if you just want to share a single USB printer  between two computers for occasional printing in a home set-up.
Parts layout:
That’s where this simple device comes in. It’s basically a 2-way switch box that lets youmanually switch your USB printer from one PC to the other, as required. The switching is performed using a rotary switch, whiletwo LEDs on the front panel indicate which PC has beenconnected to the printer.This method has several advantages. First, you don’t need to network your two computers.Second, you can print from either machine with the other turned off. And third, the devicedoesn’t need a power supply.
Circuit diagram:

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