Brother MFC-9840CDW

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Revision as of 20:36, 19 August 2009 by Listdata (Talk | contribs) (Setup with PostScript + Brother's Official .ppd file: toner save is also available as modifiable setting)

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Introduction

This is a small tutorial to make the printer Brother MFC-9840CDW work on Arch, through a wired (ethernet cable) network connection.

Brother released an official .ppd (postscript printer description) file on June 24, 2009. It is available from [1]. This .ppd file lets you change essential printer settings such as color/mono in the application's dialog box (such as Firefox), and is thus recommended over the previous method of using generic printer drivers.

Setup with PostScript + Brother's Official .ppd file

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 (instead of using the application-specific printer dialog box each time you want to print using non-default settings).

  • Install the cups package. Make sure it's working by going to http://localhost:631
  • Download Brother's official .ppd file from [2].
  • 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, provide the official .ppd file that you downloaded.
  • Click on Add Printer to finish the wizard.

Make sure to modify the default settings, such as page size (change this to letter, if you are not using A4 paper), auto/color/mono for color settings, toner save on/off, as well as duplex mode (DuplexTumble is short-edge duplex, and DuplexNoTumble is long-edge.)

Old Method

Additionally, you can set it up with either the generic postscript drivers, or PCL-6 drivers with gutenprint (as the MFC-9840CDW supports PCL-6 emulation). The postscript driver has fewer settings, and is easy to set up, whereas the PCL-6 driver has more options, although it is more experimental (and doesn't support color). As of February 2009, the postscript driver always has color on by default, whereas the PCL-6 driver is always set to greyscale -- so you may want to add two printers, with one for each.

Setup with PostScript + Foomatic

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. (Again, it is recommended to download Brother's official .ppd file instead of using the generic ones as shown below.)

  • 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.