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printer cable

A cable that connects a printer to a computer. On a PC, it typically refers to a cable with a 25-pin DB-25 male connector that plugs into the computer and a 36-pin Centronics male connector that plugs into the printer. Known as a "Centronics" cable, it uses the parallel port on the computer. See Centronics interface.

Superseded by USB and the Network
The parallel port has been superseded by USB, network and wireless connections. When a printer is attached via the USB, the printer cable is a USB cable (see USB). When connected to the network, the printer cable is an Ethernet cable with RJ-45 connectors (see RJ-45).

Legacy Printer Cable
This printer cable configuration became the de facto standard after IBM defined it for the PC in 1981. Variations of the cable with the Centronics connector (right) were used for printers in the 1970s. By the turn of the century, it was giving way to USB and network connections.

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