The title of this blog post is only half in jest. Yes, I have found a dodgy workaround to the Hewlett Packard Officejet Pro L7580 printer network connection problems, but one does have to wonder whether throwing the printer in the rubbish bin is actually the best solution! Read on …
When I went into business a couple of years ago I bought a HP L7580. My rationale was that HP printers had been used in many offices that I had worked in and I had been happy with their performance. The L7580 had all the features I wanted including printing (well duh!), duplex, copy, scan and fax. Most importantly, it had an Ethernet network connection so that I could share the printer across my LAN.
The L7580 worked fine for a while. But after a few months (and most likely a HP update or two) I noticed my XP PC was runing really slowly sometimes. The PC would also overheat. The situation got to the point that I was considering buying a new computer, thinking that it was the problem.
And then I discovered that if I uninstalled the HP L7580 printer software, the computer ran perfectly. On re-installation of an updated L7580 printer driver some months later, the PC could not connect to the L7580. I could connect to the printer web interface via the IP address in Internet Explorer, but there was no way that I could actually make the printer print as designed from the XP PC. Who knows whether the original problems of the PC running slowly and overheating were still present.
For probably 18 months I battled on either printing to an old HP Laserjet 1100 black and white printer using an ancient Windows 95 PC as a network print server, or printing to a pdf and then going to the Windows 95 PC and printing to the L7580 across the network from there – go figure that a Windows 95 PC could print to the L7580, but my XP machine could not. In the mean time, I also got a Vista laptop and a Vista PC, both of which could print to the L7580 printer without a problem.
I have probably spent more than 50 hours trying to diagnose the problem (can I send HP an invoice for my time wasted because of their rubbish software?). A quick search of the internet reveals that many other people are experiencing similar network connection problems with apparently no solution being provided by HP. I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling the software on many occasions, and followed all of HP’s useless suggestions to fix the problem. I was seriously considering the option of formatting the XP PC’s hard drive and reinstalling all software from the operating system up. But it should not be this hard HP!!!
While I am having a rant, I have to mention that any printer that needs a 318MB installation file has to be questionable. This HP printer software has to be the most bloated software on my network … note to HP software designers: get your act together. The printer hardware also has some problems, including the automatic feeder not feeding, the back panel switch telling me that the door is open when it isn’t, and the printer chewing up some types of recycled paper.
However, now that my XP PC has been demoted from my primary business computer to the family workhorse PC, I have finally found a solution to the network connection issue. Apparently the L7580 can be set up to run from both the Ethernet connection and the USB connection (but not wired Ethernet and wireless apparently). I have sitting under my printer and on my network a D-Link DNS-323 network storage box, which conveniently has a USB plug in the back to share a printer. To install, you need to install the basic HP printer driver, clicking past the Ethernet connection box (you will connect later). Then you need to manually connect to the D-Link DNS-323 lp using the HP L7500 series printer driver.
I now have the HP L7580 printer connected over the network to the XP PC through the DNS-323 box. All my other PCs/laptops are connected through the Ethernet. And it works! The only catch is that you should run the basic printer drivers rather than the massively bloated full install if doing this dodgy work around. Because the HP install can not see the printer over the Ethernet connection, it apparently does not install the full HP Solution Centre.
Not everyone has a DNS-323 sitting on their LAN, but a number of routers have a USB printer port that should work just the same. Alternatively, you could probably set up a PC that is always on as a print server with the L7580 plugged into one of its USB ports. Of course, this defeats the purpose of buying an Ethernet equipped network capable printer in the first place!
Given the time that I have wasted trying to fix this problem, I suggest that the best solution is to throw the HP L7580 printer in the rubbish bin and never buy another HP product – EVER!