So, for reasons too complicated for this humble blog, I needed a new laser printer. My previous laser printer was a Brother, and it was a real trooper. It worked flawlessly for years and Brother provides very good Linux support. So, for my new laser, I returned to Brother.
The HL-2280DW is more than a printer. It scans, copies, and prints, plus it networks both wired and wirelessly. Brother also provides an Android app that will print documents directly from the phone through its newer network printers. What’s not to like?
Linux drivers installation
For Windows or Mac, the CD that comes with the printer handles the installation. Brother provides Linux drivers and utilities, but installation requires a bit of manual work. First, the appropriate drivers must be downloaded from Brother’s support site because the printer is too new to be included in Ubuntu 12.10’s CUPs database. The two printer files required are:
The following scanner files are for a 64-bit system. Choose the ones for your build.
Once you have the drivers in hand, Brother provides step-by-step directions for installation, including key dependencies. The dependencies boil down to having the ia32-libs package installed.
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs
Then read the printer installation instructions for the lpr driver and the CUPs wrapper; and then the scanner and the key tool instructions. In short, in a terminal, change into the directory where you downloaded the driver files, then type the following to install the printer drivers:
sudo dpkg -i –force-all hl2280dwlpr-2.1.0-1.i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i –force-all cupswrapperHL2280DW-2.0.4-2.i386.deb
Then simply install the printer hardware normally, depending on how you hook it up. I suggest going with either a wired network hookup or USB at this point in the setup. I’ll get to wireless later. Ubuntu had no trouble finding the 2280DW when it was hard-wired to my router. Download and installation took only a few minutes, and the printer worked perfectly.
For the scanner, type:
sudo dpkg -i –force-all brscan4-0.4.1-3.amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i –force-all brscan-skey-0.2.4-0.amd64.deb
Then, you have to register the scanner in the system, filling in your own name and model as desired, plus your device’s IP address:
brsaneconfig4 -a name=Scanner model=HL-2280DW ip=192.168.1.xx
Then simply open a scanning program, select the new scanner from the list, and scan away.
In order to get the Scan button on the printer to work, you have to enable the key interface in the terminal:
I also set brscan-skey to autoexecute on restart. I scanned a number of documents using gscanpdf, and it all worked great.
I’m guessing that the Windows utility handles the wireless setup for those systems. I elected to set the wireless up at the printer itself using its LCD display and front controls. This was not difficult, but putting in the WPA2 key proved tedious.
On the front panel, press the Menu button, then arrow down to 4. Network, press OK, arrow to 2. WLAN, press OK, then arrow to 2. Setup Wizard and press OK. Select the appropriate SSID (ensure it’s visible for the router), then put in the key as required using the up/down to get to the correct character and then press OK when each one displays in turn. Press OK twice when you are done, then accept the result. The printer will attempt to connect to your wireless LAN. If it fails, ensure that you don’t have MAC filtering enabled. After you connect, you can get the printer’s wireless MAC and enter it into the filter.
That’s all there is to the wireless connection. I have WPA2 with AES encryption, and the Brother connected up fine once I input my security key.
The entire installation process above took about 15 minutes or so (I didn’t actually time it), and only because I forgot to disable my router’s MAC filter on my first wireless attempt. The connection has been solid since connecting.
The printer itself is very nice. The duplexing works great, and will save my a lot of time and effort that previously went into working print orders and manually duplexing. The output “tray” isn’t very large, so large printouts for large jobs will have to be pulled every 50 pages or so.
My only beef so far involves the manual feeder. It only takes one page at a time, and that must be hand-supported until the printer pulls it into the system. I’m not sure how I will handle check printing from Moneydance yet, but may use the main tray.
Brother continues to provide excellent support to Linux systems for its products. The HL-2280DW appears to be a good choice for a laser multi-function, and it set up easily under Linux. I’m a happy camper!