Liz, it sounds like a communications error. Try a different cable and see if that works. Make sure that you uninstall all the drivers and software for the printer. Then restart your computer and reinstall. The error may also be in your OS (not sure if you are using Windows etc.) so make sure the proper drivers show up. You can view the service manual for your printer on here. Try to print a status page. To print a service status page, press and hold the STATUS key on the control panel for more than 3 seconds. Or, have a PC running MS-DOS and proceed as follows:
1 Connect the printer to the PC via the parallel interface.
2 Ensure that the printer is ready to print.
3 At the DOS prompt, type:
echo !R! STAT 1; EXIT; lpt1:
The service status page is printed. (If you omit ‘1,’ a user status page is printed.) Hope this helps, good luck.