Getting an HP P1102w to work as an AirPrint printer

Web/Tech

Most of you will no interest in this post. But I’m tossing it out there because, if you like me, want to print directly to a laser printer from an iPhone or an iPad this is going to be helpful.

When our daughter went to college a few months ago, she took our inkjet printer that had been hanging out on our Apple bonjour network and managing all our printer needs (mostly hers) for years. She really wanted to be able to print in color. And she printed enough that, in most cases, we drained the printer cartridges before they dried out. (Printer ink is already more expensive than gold by weight, and losing it to lack of use really bothers my Pennsylvania Dutch values.)

So in need of a new printer, my wife and I talked about what we wanted. We don’t print all that often. And we tend to print out things like directions to someone’s house, a recipe, a webpage that we want to share with someone who doesn’t have a computer. It works out to something like 15 pages a month at most. Buying a color inkjet would be a total waste of money. We decided to get an inexpensive laser printer. Toner doesn’t dry up. And the higher energy use is easily cheaper for spot printing than buying a new set of ink jet cartridges every 3 or 4 months (50 pages or so).

I had an old Brother printer that worked a treat for years. But when I thought about picking up another one of those, I hesitated after I thought harder about how we actually use the network at home these days. It’s relatively rare for us to sit down at one of our laptops and surf the web or read email. I tend to only use mine in the morning when I’m plowing through a long list of unread emails, or when I’m writing something longer than a couple of sentences. We’ve ended up using our iPhones or an iPad much more commonly when at home. They’re just way more convenient to read articles, newspapers, books, etc. So if possible, when I’m putting a printer on the network, it would be great to get one that would print directly from a phone or tablet.

Apple has a service called “AirPrint” that does just that. But at the moment (and for the last year) the only printers that will work with it are the ones from HP. Okay. So if you look at HP’s printer line up, their inexpensive laser printer is the P1102w, which according to online reports will work as an AirPrint device if you update the firmware. So I went off to Amazon, ordered one and yesterday it was delivered.

And then the fun started.

We have two Lion laptops and one Snow Leopard mini in the house. But none of them would work to download and update the firmware on the laser printer. After trying all the tricks suggested online, muttering under my breath, I gave up. I took the printer into the Cathedral office and used one of the windows computers. First you need to download the drivers. Once the printer is working, attached to the computer via USB, you can download the firmware updater program directly from HP’s driver page (for the P1102w), run the program and update the firmware.

It would be nice if the program, having run, would tell you what firmware you now have installed. But that’s not the HP way apparently. It’s possible to print out a configuration page that will tell you that information, but it’s not readily apparent (to me at least) how to do that on a windows computer. So I ran the program twice, had it report it didn’t need to run the second time, and took that as confirmation that something had changed.

I brought the printer home with me. More fun ensued.

It turns out that AirPrint will only work if the printer is in stand-alone wifi mode. So you need to join the printer to your network. But HP’s macintosh software doesn’t allow you to do that. It’s not the HP way apparently.

So. You download the Mac drivers from the HP page for the printer. Install them. Then connect the printer to a computer via an USB cable. Not to your AirPort. To the computer. Go to the Printer applet under system settings. Install the printer as a USB printer. Go to Options from the info page on the printer properties. Choose Utility. And a nice little web server on the printer will fire up and you’re talking to the printer directly.

If you’re on Snow Leopard that is. On Lion the little web server thing fails.

So, taking the printer into the room with the Snow Leopard machine, installing the drivers, opening the web server on the printer, I’m able to finally access the network properties.

On the third tab from the left, Networking, there’s a page that will let you choose your network, specify the correct password and join. When the join is successful, the blue wifi light will light solidly. When I did it initially, it wouldn’t and didn’t.

Took me a little while to figure out the problem. You must have the AirPort working in B/G compatibility mode. I had mine running in N only. Won’t work with the HP printer. Not the HP way.

Once I downgraded the network, the light lit and I thought I was in business.

But no. Not yet.

So, the final step is to undo all that you have done to get the printer to talk to the computers directly. You need to remove the printer from the USB connection to the Snow Leopard computer. You need to remove the printer from the printer list under System Resources. You must *not* connect the printer directly via USB to the AirPort (That’s not the Apple way apparently.). Having done all that…

The printer is recognized by the iPhone and iPad and you can print! Go back to the System Resources on your computers and re-add the printer, which will now be seen as a Bonjour printer.

And it all works. Sigh.

Nice thing is that the web server is now accessible via Lion when the printer is accessed as a wifi bonjour printer. And the web pages are a ton faster than they were via USB.

So the key is… update the firmware with a windows machine. Access the internal web server via USB connections via the installed printer driver on a non-Leopard machine. Join the wireless network that is working in B/G compatibility mode. Remove the drivers from the computers. Reinstall the drivers, now as a wireless printer.

Enjoy.

(You’re welcome. Heh.)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

12 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Shy says

    As a fellow Apple-product devotee, I am in great sympathy. I think that the laser is a good solution. We changed to a laser printer a few years ago and have not regretted it. The overall cost per page is much less than inkjet. We decided to go with an MFC as we found that a quick “xerox” capability was something that we needed. Philip also gets faxes at times on his students, and since we had the “dedicated” second line for faxes that worked. Presently, I have a brother MFC networkable printer attached via ethernet to my airport. I tried the “wireless” option, but never could get it reliably to work and “gave up.” The ethernet connection works well. As for the HP, I have an HP windows laptop that I must use for digital EEG reading. I detest it greatly, and I think that it knows it. I wonder if your HP product could sense your anti-PC thoughts? : ) I have not been brave enough to try “airprint” but we have a similar phenomenon that we use our ipads at home way more than the laptops these days. Given your “trauma,” I think that I may “wait” a bit to leap into the airprint. Good work on the problem solving, though.

  2. Catharine says

    Oh, my. And I thought our household was specially and uniquely afflicted as I struggled to get the ipads, iphones, and variously-aged macbooks to talk to the new HP printer after our daughter and the old printer went to college last month. Thank you for relieving me of that erroneous perception. And congratulations on ‘winning.’

  3. Paul Martin says

    We gave up on HP printers a couple of years ago. Our latest came with a ton of unneeded software. Every time my wife tried to print something, it launched software to index all of her photographs. What that had to do with printing, I don’t know. I believe that printer is now safely away in my daughter’s dorm room, addressed by a much more limited version of the print driver.

    A couple of weeks ago, I converted the Lexmark printer to WiFi. It seems to be working pretty well so far, limited only by the usual reliability problems of the WiFi router. If anyone knows of a router which doesn’t need to be rebooted every couple of days to maintain a connection, please let me know.

  4. Art Ickles says

    Jeepers. Been having problems myself getting to Airprint. Got my P1102w going by installing from my daughter’s Vista laptop after wifi setup failed from my OS X Lion Macbook. I had updated the firmware from my Macbook earlier. Now, when I try to update the firmware from the Vista laptop, it refuses and simply says it is all up to date. Is there a way to roll that back? P1102w now works wirelessly from PCs and Macs (only after I removed printer from the Mac’s print utility list and reinstalled wirelessly using Bonjour + manually adding the printer’s IP address to the Networking tab), but Airprint can still not see any printers. You are right about the router. My Vodafone Huawei HG 556a runs in b+g+n mode, and I suspect it may be that, or the need to open a dedicated port for the printer on the router. However, I cannot figure out how to do that, or how to downgrade to b+g only. Anyone with any ideas?

  5. You can setup the printer in “ad hoc” mode. I believe it’s the default setup for this printer when it comes out of the box. After you turn it on, on your mac you can connect to it under wireless networks/devices. Then from Safari – bookmarks – bonjour devices, it should be listed there :) The web interface it available and you can connect to it. In order to make the airprint work, the firmware may have to be updated as some models ship with dated firmware!

  6. Michael N. says

    *sigh* I feel your pain. We are coming at this same problem from the Windows world… but we have iPod Touchs too. Three of them, actually. We got the P1102w printer so we could print coupons from our iPods using the app Coupons.com makes available. We can print fine… from every computer in the house…. from every app on the iPods… except the Coupons.com app. For some reason it can see our OLD HP printer, which is not wireless… but the app will not see the new printer. Looks like the printer is not going to pay for itself in coupons as originally planned. =0( (Let me explain, if you’re not a couponer. You’re allowed to print two coupons per computer… or iPod… so we should be able to print six additional coupons per item from iPods if this worked.)

  7. Sean Bartel says

    Yay I’m not the only one with p1102w nightmares! Something your article does not mention though that I have found to be true on my Vista 32 bit HP desktop is that every time the printer shuts off or the power goes out, BLAMMO! no more wireless connectivity. This may be fixed in a future firmware update, but so far I have been through three hour+ long calls to HP customer service/tech support to troubleshoot when my wifi connectivity is lost. For now I have resigned myself to uninstalling all drivers then reinstalling them in USB mode and then reinstalling them again in wifi mode every time this happens (power goes out briefly where I live at least once a month or so). Thanks for letting me vent here, and if anybody knows how to keep this from happening please share! :)

  8. Brook Papworth says

    Thanks Nick,

    Appreciate the effort you went to to write that. I also experienced the B/G mode issue prior to reading your article and found with my B/G/N on I had issues, some time intermittant, others not connecting. Then I disabled the N mode and it all worked well (after the initial setup)

    Good you were able to share with others

    Brook

  9. Sathyamoorthy says

    Dear guys,
    It was very usefull to understand the sprint concept.
    I resolved the issue by simply going through all the ideas given and doing the simple procedure.

    It is simple if you follow the steps correctly.

    1. First use a laptop or pc switch it on.
    Then power the HP printer 1102w.
    Make sure that all the units (laptop, hp1102w, iPad iPhone all are in the wifi network)
    Connect the hp1102w with the laptop or pc using the USB cable.
    The printer will do the automatic installation.(I am in windows 7)
    Once the installation is over, you have to do the following two steps
    With the printer still connected with laptop or pc by USB cable, go to http://www.hp.com
    Select drivers and softwares
    You input your printer details Laserjet 1102w
    You will get one update for firmware and another one for ePrint software
    Do the the firmware update as per your operating system.(windows or Mac)
    After the firmware update do the ePrint software installation.
    This will take you through many screens till you reach the validation of the ePrint by entering the code received in your email.
    Once this is done, the ePrint option is ready.
    From laptop,iPhone, iPad you can print wirelessly.
    Your printer will have an IP address and email. Email will be in the format of @hpeprint.com
    You can see the printer name HP Laserjet 1102w in the list of printers available when you opt for the print in docs, puts, emails, xls, photos etc

    The printer can be controlled through signing in hpeprint web site.

    If you need more guidance pl write to sathyamoorthym@hotmail.com

    Sathyamoorthy

  10. Jops says

    Thanks for this article! Glad to know I’m not alone!

    What a HORRIBLE piece of equipment! I have wasted about 3 days (and counting) with this printer. Information is poorly available on the internet and almost all “solutions” have something that does not work on my end… I would like to be able to figure out how it works and post it somewhere, but it’s going from bad to worse: now I cannot even connect to the printer’s built-in web server anymore… so no graphical UI for me, where I could tweak the network settings for the gazillionth time…

    I think I’m gonna use it as a paper weight… or take it out to the desert and rent an AK47 to relieve me of my stress…

  11. Brent says

    Thanks so much for the helpful walkthrough! FWIW, on Mac OS X 10.8.2 with the current firmware I was able to get everything working without downgrading my network to B/G. I’ve got it connected via AirPrint to my Mac and my iOS devices.

  12. Hi,

    I resolved the problem using the method outlined here: http://www.unexpectedit.com/mac-os-x/hp-p1102w-time-capsule-wifi-mac-lion-airport. I am using using Mavericks on a mid-2011 iMac as well as an iPad 2 and an iPhone 5 running iOS 7. I also bought an Airport Express as the Vodafone wifi router wasn’t up to the job.

    When I bought the printer originally, I had to use a friend’s Windows PC to update firmware but the most recent update was via my mac.

    My only residual problem is that the printer will not automatically wake up and connect to the wifi if unused for a few hours so I have to push the on-off switch and wait about 30 seconds. I shouldn’t have to do that but, at least, I can print from my mobile devices.

    I didn’t have any b/g/n conflict issues.

Comments are closed.