This is a small tutorial to make the printer Brother MFC-9840CDW work on Arch, through a wired (ethernet cable) network connection.
Currently, you can set it up with either the generic postscript drivers, or the more high-quality (and experimental?) PCL-6 drivers with gutenprint (as the MFC-9840CDW supports PCL-6 emulation).
TIP: You can add multiple versions of the MFC-9840CDW by repeating the steps below, and then for each version, changing the printer settings with the Set Printer Options button in CUPS. This way, you can quickly set up default settings that you use often (e.g., color vs. greyscale), and then print with these options by simply selecting the corresponding printer in your application.
Setup with PostScript
The MFC-9840CDW natively supports the postscript format, so for basic printing functionality we'll be using the generic postscript driver that comes with the foomatic packages. (Although it's probably better to convert the official Brother drivers for Linux (currently available in either .rpm or .deb format), no one has done so yet.)
Currently, the following postscript setup results in somewhat fuzzy text. Use the PCL-6 drivers to get crispy-clean (although limited to 600x600 dpi) results.
- Install the cups package. Make sure it's working by going to http://localhost:631
- Install the foomatic-db, foomatic-db-engine, and foomatic-filters packages (to get the generic postscript driver that we need).
- Make sure the printer is connected to your network router/switch. If your router is acting as a DHCP server, the MFC-9840CDW will automatically get an IP address assigned. Make note of this IP address. (You could also assign a static IP address to your printer, but that is outside the scope of this article).
- Go to http://localhost:631 to open up the CUPS web interface.
- Click on the Administration tab and then click on Add printer.
- Select the "Internet Printing Protocol (http)" option for the Device.
- For the Device URI, use: http://IPADDRESSOFPRINTER:631/postscript_p1. E.g., http://192.168.0.102:631/postscript_p1
- For the Make/Manufacturer, click on Generic, then Generic PostScript Printer Foomatic/Postscript (en) (do not choose the "Level 1" variant, as it is an older postcript driver for older printers)
- Click on Add Printer to finish the wizard.
Print out a test page to see if everything works. The above configuration allows you to change the duplex and resolution (dpi) settings within CUPS, via the Set Printer Options button under the Printers tab, but is missing the "Toner save" option. Of course, this and all other settings are still accessible via the printer's own web interface, which makes any changes the default settings of the printer (see the official Brother documentation).
Setup with PCL-6 and Gutenprint
The MFC-9840CDW also natively supports (via emulation) the PCL-6 format, so we can take advantage of this feature. The procedure is essentially identical as with the postscript configuration above, except for a couple of things.
- Install the gutenprint package.
- Instead of postscript_p1 in the Device URI field, use pcl_p1 (the pcl has a lowercase 'L', not a numeral 'one').
- Under For the Make/Manufacturer, click on Generic again, but instead choose the Generic PCL 6/PCL XL Printer - CUPS+Gutenprint v.5.2.3 (en) option. (The Gutenprint version number is dependant, of course, on which version of gutenprint you have installed.)
Customize the default printer settings, to the extent that they are controlled by CUPS, by clicking on the Set Printer Options button in the CUPS web interface. You will notice that the Gutenprint driver has many more options than the generic PostScript driver. You may want to repeat the procedure above and add a second printer, and then customize this second printer's settings to your liking (e.g., color instead of greyscale).
Note: As there are many different PCL-6 drivers available, you may want to experiment with using these different ones instead of the CUPS+Gutenprint one. To change the driver, click on Modify Printer and go through the wizard, just like when you were adding the printer from the beginning.