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Thread: Want To Purchase Printer/Scanner/Fax That Works With Linux

  1. #1
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    Default Want To Purchase Printer/Scanner/Fax That Works With Linux

    I am fairly new to Linux.

    My HP Officejet 6500 is pretty much dead...

    I would like to purchase a combination printer/scanner/fax (yes, I occasionally still send/receive faxes!) that works well with Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and/or openSUSE. I would prefer a monochrome laserjet rather than an inkjet.

    Due to past disappointing hardware and print quality as well as ink cost experiences, I would like to avoid HP products.

    Is there a site that evaluates printers currently available in the USA (not stuff that was on the market 5-10 years ago!) for somebody whose OS is Linux? (Ease of setup, including Wi-Fi connection to router; drivers; etc. etc.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tb75252 View Post
    I am fairly new to Linux.

    My HP Officejet 6500 is pretty much dead...

    I would like to purchase a combination printer/scanner/fax (yes, I occasionally still send/receive faxes!) that works well with Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and/or openSUSE. I would prefer a monochrome laserjet rather than an inkjet.
    This is not clever.
    Laser have much higher per-page cost than Inkjet.
    On inkjet side - count ink cost, printhead cost (only those with removable printhead)
    On laser side - count pulver cost, laser wear cost, drum cost, press cost, collector cost.
    One laser component costs at least 100$. For color lasers, multiply drum+laser unit cost by 4. Because either one drum for all colors or seperate drum - no difference, due to correspondingly highering wearout.

    Also, do not forget that there are standalone fax devices, like AVM products. They can send and recieve faxes, and can print the fax over to connected printer. They are linux-powered devices btw. So you donī t necessary need standalone Fax in printer.
    Quote Originally Posted by tb75252 View Post
    Due to past disappointing hardware and print quality as well as ink cost experiences, I would like to avoid HP products.
    I recommend HP.
    Because superb driver quality, very good hardware for money, no terminator pagecounters(hello epson!), no wear-out on purpose techniques I know, liberal aftermarket ink policy.

    Next comes Brother, which has worse software, partially opensource drivers. Prints graphics worser, but very liberal to aftermarket ink. Fax backend is bad, but after you write your own PDF/TXT to PS translator, it will work.

    Canon, no experience. Had Canon laser that had no working driver. I suppose driver quality - abysmal. Printing mechanism is thermal bubblejet, same to HP. So why care if HP is best here?

    Then probably Epson. Recommend only if Gutenprint supports your model and if you use pigment ink, or want to use dye ink in Lxxx models. Otherwise, get HP.
    Artisan color models are not worth it. For photo, its better to get pigment based and then experiment with profiles - you get 100 year light resistance on photo (not 5 years). Also, artisans are very complex devices. If you want better photo - get pigment printer that uses Ultrachrome inks.

    Epson original drivers: open and closed source, open - bad print quality, only basic features; closed - good quality, but can upgrade firmware - invalidate your aftermarket cartridges/CISS. Also only, if you are going to print with pigment ink (original or aftermarket). Also, pay attention printer has page counter, when it thinks its waste inkpad is full, it will require service (100$) or you will need to purchase reset program with code(10$) to crack your printer - wastepad can be replaced with toilet paper. Also, pay attention very very aggressive cartrige chips - Epson try hard to sell you only overpriced ink. Also, pay attention - very complex printer build - very hard to service.

    Thats it.
    You can risk buying Lexmark, but only if its large volume network-aware device. Standalone Lexmark printers (50-200$) have bad drivers, bad print quality, very overpriced original ink.
    Under no condition buy Kodak, they are dead, aftermarket inks are not available.

    I do not recommend to buy aftermarket cartridges, due to uncertain ink quality inside. You can easily kill your printer.

    If you are low on cash, check ebay used printers that are in prisine condition, then check their inks (and prices), decide original or aftermarket ink, then driver support. And read their reviews.
    That way, you can pay 60-80% less, ie 50$ for a printer worthy 150$ new.

    ---

    But you should really understand your specific printer. For example, inkjets are dirty printers, so they need to moisure printhead with ink.
    If you have permanent printhead, you should also clean printhead from time to time, with specific print head cleaning fluid. I prepeat - specific print head cleaning fluid (for example Inktec CS is very popular, cheap and powerfull).
    Once in a year, you should disassemble the printhead or use other technique to clean underside of printhead, and pump area. Otherwise you will inavoidably get ink smearing. This is 1 hour procedure. If you understand and service your printer properly, you will have no problems.

    ---
    If ink cost is too much for you - get refillable cartridges (print volume under 20 pages/month) or CISS (print volume above).
    Fill it with good ink for your goal - dye I recommend Inktec, real pigment - I recommend Hongsam/DCTec.
    And you print for 20$-100$ (depends on ink type) per Liter ink. Original Ink costs 1500$ per Liter (varies, Brother is best choice here... Can go with original).
    If you print A LOT, you can consider Epson Lxxx series and buy original Epson ink - comes in big quantities, so price is affordable. But this printer type needs to print a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by tb75252 View Post
    Is there a site that evaluates printers currently available in the USA (not stuff that was on the market 5-10 years ago!) for somebody whose OS is Linux? (Ease of setup, including Wi-Fi connection to router; drivers; etc. etc.)
    There is me.
    Also, if you go for inkjet and want aftermarket ink, it is better to get older printer.
    Because higher compatiblity, possiblity to have open drivers.

    Otherwise, on original inks, you probably go Brother. But their software is inferrior to HP.

    If you decide to get Laser, be sure to get full hardware capable printer. Not GDI printer.
    This will cost you around 600$ for device. GDI laser printers cost 300$, but they have are very low-page count and need almost all parts replaced, which will cost you more than a new laser printer. Yes.

    For example, you can get HP Photosmart for 100$, which uses water-resistant black pigmented ink and dye CMY inks, CISS for 20$ and around 0,5 Liter Inktec or other good Ink for 20$.
    This ink amount is sufficient for around 3000 pages, black is water resistant. Colors are resistant only on resin photopaper, but color will fade in under 1 year.
    If you need 100 year color resistant photo, go pigment ink (but you will need to print constantly, or ink will dry up in printhead like stone. Talk about 100 year resistance ). True pigment also costs much more in production. So decide how much you print per month, do you print photo, if yes does light resistance play any role, do you print color pages that need to be water resistant on normal paper. After this, I can recommend.
    Last edited by brosis; 04-03-2013 at 02:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brosis View Post
    This is not clever.
    Laser have much higher per-page cost than Inkjet.
    On inkjet side - count ink cost, printhead cost (only those with removable printhead)
    On laser side - count pulver cost, laser wear cost, drum cost, press cost, collector cost.
    One laser component costs at least 100$. For color lasers, multiply drum+laser unit cost by 4. Because either one drum for all colors or seperate drum - no difference, due to correspondingly highering wearout.

    Also, do not forget that there are standalone fax devices, like AVM products. They can send and recieve faxes, and can print the fax over to connected printer. They are linux-powered devices btw. So you donī t necessary need standalone Fax in printer.

    I recommend HP.
    Because superb driver quality, very good hardware for money, no terminator pagecounters(hello epson!), no wear-out on purpose techniques I know, liberal aftermarket ink policy.

    Next comes Brother, which has worse software, partially opensource drivers. Prints graphics worser, but very liberal to aftermarket ink. Fax backend is bad, but after you write your own PDF/TXT to PS translator, it will work.

    Canon, no experience. Had Canon laser that had no working driver. I suppose driver quality - abysmal. Printing mechanism is thermal bubblejet, same to HP. So why care if HP is best here?

    Then probably Epson. Recommend only if Gutenprint supports your model and if you use pigment ink, or want to use dye ink in Lxxx models. Otherwise, get HP.
    Artisan color models are not worth it. For photo, its better to get pigment based and then experiment with profiles - you get 100 year light resistance on photo (not 5 years). Also, artisans are very complex devices. If you want better photo - get pigment printer that uses Ultrachrome inks.

    Epson original drivers: open and closed source, open - bad print quality, only basic features; closed - good quality, but can upgrade firmware - invalidate your aftermarket cartridges/CISS. Also only, if you are going to print with pigment ink (original or aftermarket). Also, pay attention printer has page counter, when it thinks its waste inkpad is full, it will require service (100$) or you will need to purchase reset program with code(10$) to crack your printer - wastepad can be replaced with toilet paper. Also, pay attention very very aggressive cartrige chips - Epson try hard to sell you only overpriced ink. Also, pay attention - very complex printer build - very hard to service.

    Thats it.
    You can risk buying Lexmark, but only if its large volume network-aware device. Standalone Lexmark printers (50-200$) have bad drivers, bad print quality, very overpriced original ink.
    Under no condition buy Kodak, they are dead, aftermarket inks are not available.

    I do not recommend to buy aftermarket cartridges, due to uncertain ink quality inside. You can easily kill your printer.

    If you are low on cash, check ebay used printers that are in prisine condition, then check their inks (and prices), decide original or aftermarket ink, then driver support. And read their reviews.
    That way, you can pay 60-80% less, ie 50$ for a printer worthy 150$ new.

    ---

    But you should really understand your specific printer. For example, inkjets are dirty printers, so they need to moisure printhead with ink.
    If you have permanent printhead, you should also clean printhead from time to time, with specific print head cleaning fluid. I prepeat - specific print head cleaning fluid (for example Inktec CS is very popular, cheap and powerfull).
    Once in a year, you should disassemble the printhead or use other technique to clean underside of printhead, and pump area. Otherwise you will inavoidably get ink smearing. This is 1 hour procedure. If you understand and service your printer properly, you will have no problems.

    ---
    If ink cost is too much for you - get refillable cartridges (print volume under 20 pages/month) or CISS (print volume above).
    Fill it with good ink for your goal - dye I recommend Inktec, real pigment - I recommend Hongsam/DCTec.
    And you print for 20$-100$ (depends on ink type) per Liter ink. Original Ink costs 1500$ per Liter (varies, Brother is best choice here... Can go with original).
    If you print A LOT, you can consider Epson Lxxx series and buy original Epson ink - comes in big quantities, so price is affordable. But this printer type needs to print a lot.


    There is me.
    Also, if you go for inkjet and want aftermarket ink, it is better to get older printer.
    Because higher compatiblity, possiblity to have open drivers.

    Otherwise, on original inks, you probably go Brother. But their software is inferrior to HP.

    If you decide to get Laser, be sure to get full hardware capable printer. Not GDI printer.
    This will cost you around 600$ for device. GDI laser printers cost 300$, but they have are very low-page count and need almost all parts replaced, which will cost you more than a new laser printer. Yes.

    For example, you can get HP Photosmart for 100$, which uses water-resistant black pigmented ink and dye CMY inks, CISS for 20$ and around 0,5 Liter Inktec or other good Ink for 20$.
    This ink amount is sufficient for around 3000 pages, black is water resistant. Colors are resistant only on resin photopaper, but color will fade in under 1 year.
    If you need 100 year color resistant photo, go pigment ink (but you will need to print constantly, or ink will dry up in printhead like stone. Talk about 100 year resistance ). True pigment also costs much more in production. So decide how much you print per month, do you print photo, if yes does light resistance play any role, do you print color pages that need to be water resistant on normal paper. After this, I can recommend.
    The reason I would like to avoid HP printers is that I have been disappointed by their quality. I've owned three HP printers and their print quality has driven me crazy.

    Right now I own an HP Officejet 6500 (model e709n). It is only four years old and used in a light duty manner. It had been printing very bad (with smearing on paper, uneven ink shade throughout the text...) So I removed the printhead and cleaned it with a rag (no I did not use specific printhead cleaning fluid like you recommend!!). Well, right now it is not printing at all. It flashes an "Ink System Failure" message on the LCD screen. I guess the printhead is shot...

    HP does not sell the printhead for my printer anymore. Do you know of a reputable place where I could purchase one new? Do you know the part number for such printhead?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tb75252 View Post
    The reason I would like to avoid HP printers is that I have been disappointed by their quality. I've owned three HP printers and their print quality has driven me crazy.

    Right now I own an HP Officejet 6500 (model e709n). It is only four years old and used in a light duty manner. It had been printing very bad (with smearing on paper, uneven ink shade throughout the text...) So I removed the printhead and cleaned it with a rag (no I did not use specific printhead cleaning fluid like you recommend!!). Well, right now it is not printing at all. It flashes an "Ink System Failure" message on the LCD screen. I guess the printhead is shot...

    HP does not sell the printhead for my printer anymore. Do you know of a reputable place where I could purchase one new? Do you know the part number for such printhead?
    Hi!

    Take a cup of coffee and enjoy the read.

    Yes, you probably destroyed printhead. Don't be angry. I originally wanted to throw my printer out of the window in midnight. But my waken up gf suggested for me just to relax and ... she was correct. If you applied excessive force, then yes. But maybe, the contact side is just too dirty? Bubblejet printing heads are considered to be wearable part by Canon and HP themselves. But if serviced over lifetime properly, they can yield very long page counters (80k+). You will be glad to know, that thats the most expensive part in your printer. For example, one laser module for laser printer costs 150$ : ) Feel the difference.

    The printing head part number for your printer is (same):
    CN643A
    CD868-30002
    CD868-30001

    Funny enough, thats the same printhead I used on my now sold Photosmart Plus. Talk about coincidencies...
    This part costs 25-40$ original price, depending on market situation. The rest is up to seller, it can turn over as much as 100$.
    If you search hard enough, you can fetch a good price. They are usually made in Malasya. Use ebay(tick description search) or amazon search, but also price comparison sites : )

    As an option, you can call or contact HP directly to ask for local supplier of this printheads. You do not have to mention what ink you use.

    ---

    The methods and know how I write here are tried by me several hundreds of times and are guaranteed to work.

    You must understand that inkjet is a "dirty" printer. Like a pig, it absolutely wants to be moisured in ink and does not want for that ink to dry up.
    If printhead dries up - if its bubblejet based, it will overheat and burn. Piezo will not burn, but may irrevocably damage itself. So never print, when out of inks or when inks do not come out on paper. Anyway, I like it better this way, because its cheap to use and print, is predictable, and does not spray cancerous powder around.

    Unlike pig, it does not like dirt and, although posesses at least two prefilters, will usually clog if you pour anything except distilled water(for dye-based!) and ink.
    Cleaning fluids usually have similar components like ink plus solvents, so they are ok.
    Isopropyl alcohol is ok, althogh it is by far not efficient as many claim.
    Distilled water is ok, as mentioned.
    Heated distilled water or cleaning fluid are very well ok and accelerate cleaning by 4x.
    Normal water is NOT ok. Heated normal water is head clogger nr 1(guess why). Still, if this happens, people reported very light mixture of distilled water and acetic acid may remove limestone. If one is lucky enough.
    Drinkable alcohol, aka ethanol is head destroyer and clogger (dissolves plastic and covers everything in thin film).

    Bubblejet-based printheads should print only with corresponding inks. The fluids above are listed only for soaking and cleaning, not for printing.
    Piezo-based can print with anything.

    The "rag" to use as fluid absorbent and for wiping is - clean kitchen paper towel. It does not tear when wet. It is free from shreds. It is not soaked in anything. It is very soft.
    Using anything else is problematic! That includes toilet paper, other paper, textiles, microfibre textiles etc.

    Another thing to understand, is that you should always keep water and moisure from electronics. That includes contact area of printhead! And also means - when working with anything wet in the area of printhead - plug printer off.

    When soaking printhead, never allow fluid to reach cable contact area. If it happens - wipe contacts clean and let printhead sit for 24 hours on wet surface before reinsertion, then dry it contact area with hairdryer. Failure to do so will result in printhead shortcircuit and either permanent damage to printhead or resistor damage. You will notice that when you printer powers itself off shortly after start or when printing.

    Epson is extreme case for example. Never stops to amaze me, how they manage to position electronics PCB right next to jet area. Their service prays for shortcircuits probably.

    And last thing to understand is never to apply pressure. Especially not to bottom side with jets. The jets are very fragile.

    ----
    The printing mechanics of inkjet is that heads will clog from time to time, regardless of manufacturer.
    If you don't print, the ink will dry up in printhead. To counter this, it is important to print something at least once in a month.

    Again, if original inks cost too much for you - switch to aftermarket ink, main point it should be quality one and specific for your printer model if its bubblejet printhead. Piezobased printheads do not care of ink type. Just do not switch between aftermarket ink types, unless doing full clean in between. You are not using pigment printer, so you will hardly become problems switching inks or cleaning printhead. Dye-based inks can be soaked and wiped out even after five years. Your black cartridge is pigmented ink, that means it can dry up hard. But from my experience, it still not true pigment (HP 364 cartridge, similar to 920 of your officejet) and can be dissolved fairly easy.

    If you have color strays and bleedings, its because ink has gathered on the down side of the jet area. This is unavoidable with all printer types, especially if light printing. This happens mostly once in a year, to battle this you need to remove and service printhead and ink pump area. In pump/park area, there is a "rubber knife", that should also be cleaned. And parking pad will unavoidably be dirty - it will cry out load for a several slightly wet kitchen paper towels to collect old dirty ink around the area; and the sponge will ask you to pour cleaning fluid (preferably hot) inside, so that the pump channel is also cleaned. When doing cleaning cycles, every inkjet pumps inks inside of itself. Over time, this tubing might become clogged. This will result in printer unable to pump the ink from printheads, which will result in much more frequent clogging inside of printhead itself. On this nice image, the rubber knife is on the left, the pump/park area is on the right.

    You don't need to disassemble the printer to do this. But specifically HP are very modular printers. If you trust yourself, you can unscrew the printer by removing few screws and removing the whole pump block on the right, it should be one module without any electronics, and simply soaking it completely in bucket of hot water with washing powder, 20 minutes and two rinses, and its like new. On Epson and Brother, its contrary - a pain in the butt.

    If your printed text is smearing when heavily rubbed with finger, this is normal for all bubblejets.

    If your printer produces misaligned lines or letters, the reason is dirty encoder line. Dust sets from time to time on it and printhead optical sensor can't read it and position itself properly. This is resolved by very very carefully wiping the encoder line with slightly wet kitchen paper towel. The encoder line looks like this.

    Other reason - if your printers printhead is siting on printer metal frame, instead of shiny spindle, it might require some greasing.
    Also, the printheads that move directly on metal frame have bearings wear out much quicker than those with dedicated polished spindle, and those bearings will need to be replaced.

    ----- printhead cleaning.

    Should you remove the printhead for the service time, remember to keep undersides of cartidges; and printhead (a) top inlets, as well as (b) jet down side wet (unless you cleaned the printhead completely from ink, ofc). That means, you open cover, wait till printer allows access to cartridges, plug its cord off.
    Then take cartridges out and wrap them in kitchen plastic foil, placing them vertically all the time.
    Then take a dish. Doublefold the kitchen paper towel two fold, cut a 5x5 cm area, soak good it in a cleaning solution or hot distilled water (see below how to prepare it) and place it on very small dish. Take out printhead and place it on this soaked piece, but watch out that bottom jets sit on paper towel and dish is not getting in the way. Tank syringe with cleaning solution or distilled water, (it is advisable to blunt the needle btw), then continously drop droplets into printhead ink intakes when the fluid is sucked in. This way you clean the printhead.

    If the printhead is heavily clogged, you can pour cleaning fluid in the dish, you need 0.5 cm for effect. Just make sure the fluid is not touching and below the electronic contacts on other side of printhead. Instead of dish, in this case I found that lid from jam of jar fits the best. You absolutely need at least single layer of kitchen paper towel on the bottom though. Then it can take ... up to five days! Just remember to change the fluid and pour cleaning droplets in ink channels.

    On my HP photosmart printhead, the rubber coverings around ink intakes were removable, yours should be same. So you can carefully remove them and clean as well, if they are dirty.

    After cleaning or , do not forget to clean the pump area, minimally by cleaning pump/park place, dropping a few ml into sponge and cleaning the rubber knife.

    ---- efficiency of cleaning fluids

    My testings showed that only specific print-cleaning fluids perform ink dissolving adequately. I compared nine different sorts of them, plus distilled water, on two ink types (pigment/dye). The result for dye color is usually very good. Pigment is different story altogether - only three succeeded, inktec CS being one of them.
    I mentioned Inktec CS already, which costs around 25$ per 1 liter bottle, unlimited best before if sealed.

    The best option if you cant offer the solution would be a heated up distilled water. You will need to heat it up in "water bath", for example pour 200ml of distilled water inside sealed plastic container, then put that into 100 degree hot water and wait several minutes. The 60 degree Celcius hot distilled water already is able to dissolve what isopropyl alcohol (room temperature) couldn't. You will have to replace the water when it becomes colder. The mentioned Inktec CS dissolved everything including pigment. Heating it up improves rate several times.

    I explicitly won't risk using any kind of solvables. Many reported that isopropyl and glycol mix do the job, but my testing showed they are inadequate. Ammonium based cleaners are too agressive to consider, they literally wipe everything clean.

    So I hope this post is useful to you.


    PS.
    Btw.. try this magic if your printer has touchscreen.
    When in original starting menu, on the left side of screen the top left home, and the bottom right back keys, that are not lit here.
    home-back-home-home and back-home-back-back. Just dont break your printer if that works. "Nozzle test" and "H infinite tests" are very worthy.

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    Erm,.. forgot to mention.

    If I remember correctly, the parking pad on Photosmart Plus was normally not accessible when printhead is not above it.
    The trick was to remove the cartridges, remove printhead, close the sealing, then power on the printer without printhead, wait till that thing travels to far right and parking pad comes out - immediately plug off cable. Now you can service it with papertowel, syringe/needle and flashlight.

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    Thank you for your exhaustive explanations. I really appreciate all the effort that you put in.

    I am now trying to find a (cheap) printhead for my HP Officejet 6500 E709n in the hope that this will cure the "Ink System Failure" message. We will see...

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    You best look at something which works with community written free drivers. For cheap laser printer/scanner/fax this is e.g. Samsung which are supported by splix or foo2qpdl (careful, not all models are) and scanner side is supported by sane xerox_mfp backend. The networked devices can also store scans/faxes on smb or ftp servers.

    Do avoid the Samsung proprietary driver though, and do not buy anything that requires it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    You best look at something which works with community written free drivers. For cheap laser printer/scanner/fax this is e.g. Samsung which are supported by splix or foo2qpdl (careful, not all models are) and scanner side is supported by sane xerox_mfp backend. The networked devices can also store scans/faxes on smb or ftp servers.

    Do avoid the Samsung proprietary driver though, and do not buy anything that requires it.
    +1 to that. BTW, "Samsung proprietary" = GDI driver for Samsung stupid-gdi laser printer.
    Proprietary is necessary, because those GDI printers miss whole logic - and driver is part of printer.
    But the difference, is that software GDI driver part sucks great deal. But hardware laser printers cost a lot. Still,.. I am very fond of inkjet for quality and price.

    Below are examples of same photo sample done in Epson free driver and CUPS+Gutenprint free driver.

    All settings set at max quality, glossy photo.

    Gutenprint took 1m30 second CPU time, printing took 1m20s.
    Epson, took 20s of CPU time, printing took 35s.

    Above is free Gutenprint driver.
    Below is Epson free driver.
    Result:
    Click 1
    Click 2

    Feel the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by chithanh View Post
    The networked devices can also store scans/faxes on smb or ftp servers.
    We have full scan/print functionality over network, as if printer would be locally connected.
    I think some printers may give access to own cardreader(if they have one) via SMB, but I consider that insecure...
    Last edited by brosis; 04-07-2013 at 09:02 AM.

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    Feel the difference.
    /me is confused, with the people photo I prefer the above result, with the wind-wheel-thingy the lower one.

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    Samsung does not produce "truly dumb" GDI printers any more I think. Though they used to, the ML-4500 was one such example. Even the cheap modern laser printers speak SPL/QPDL printer languages which were reverse engineered by the splix and foo2qpdl projects. Unfortunately a few printer models seem to speak a SPL/QPDL dialect which is not or not fully understood yet, so are unsupported or produce bad quality prints.

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