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i92guboj
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:09 pm    Post subject: Looking for color laser printer Reply with quote

Hello.

I am looking for a new printer, and I am fed up with all the physical quirks of brother ink dcp and mfc printers, so, please, don't even try :lol: :lol:

I want a laser printer that can print in color. It would be nice if it can also scan, but it's not mandatory. Obviously, it must work with Gentoo.

A separate tray for photo paper would also be nice.

I want something that will just function without having to shake trays and papers all day around. Something that I won't have to crash against the ground -eventually- because it's always failing. Something that's low-maintenance, being price a secondary concern only. I truly don't want to have to fight against the critter everyday, just like you do with regular ink multifunction printers. And I don't want a brother printer, it's just personal at this point.

I'd be grateful to know what you, Gentoo users, use nowadays that works well and doesn't give you a headache every two days or so.

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd choose something from this list https://developers.hp.com/hp-linux-imaging-and-printing/supported_devices/index

HP has open source driver (although there is binary plugin), it is under active development and they have great support forum. Also, in my experience, they react fast to any bugs you might file.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i92guboj,

Get something with a network interface, rather than USB.
Then you know it speaks Postscript, which is what all *NIX software produces.
That gets rid of the horrible slow rasterise step ... at least, it moves it to the printer.

I have an HP 2550Ln from 2003, which has done about 6,000 sheets. As you can see, I don't use it a lot.
Trays are optional extras. You don't use coated paper at all in a laser printer. Well, only once.
For photos, I use good quality thick white paper or even card.
Check that your selected printer has a 'straight through' paper path for heavyweight paper.

I've been happy with my HP.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for color laser printer Reply with quote

i92guboj wrote:
I'd be grateful to know what you, Gentoo users, use nowadays that works well and doesn't give you a headache every two days or so.


A Brother DCP. Set it up years ago and haven't had an issue since :lol: I actually wouldn't buy a small colour laser printer as they tend to be significantly more problematic (and expensive to run) than mono lasers (which are of course as hassle-free as printing ever gets.)

I had a Samsung colour laser which was so troublesome (constant and ever worsening paper feed issues mostly) that when it completely failed, still within warranty, I just chucked it in the bin rather than get a replacement. Not so much a recommendation as a non-recommendation!

Neddy's recommendation of insisting on an Ethernet equipped version is one I'd heartily back, although I've found the hard way it doesn't guarantee that you will definitely be able to avoid flaky binary drivers...
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The smallest colour laser printer and scanner I've used with Gentoo until a couple of years ago (at a previous workplace) is a Samsung Xpress C480FW, which currently retails for GBP 189.99 on Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-C480FW-Colour-Multifunction-Printer/dp/B010NE2HKI/

It worked fine in Gentoo with USB, wired and wireless networking (both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct), as well as Wi-Fi Direct and NFC with my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone. You can read my 2015 review and set-up notes in the following blog post:

Using a Samsung Xpress C460FW with Gentoo Linux and Android KitKat for printing and scanning

You can check the costs of toner cartridges etc. on Amazon.

The only negative point in my opinion is that it does not print duplex automatically; you have to print alternate pages and turn over the stack of paper. Other than that, I found it an excellent printer.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We spent the money for an HP color laser jet pro 400 several years ago and it has worked flawlessly ever since. The drivers are great. Not sure if tha model is still available, or how nay succesor might function, but this printer is one of the best tech purchases we've ever made.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've owned exactly one color laser printer, I'm still using it. It's a Canon Color ImageClass MF8050Cn, an all-in-one. I don't recommend it but my experience maybe can give you things to look out for. So my post has a combination of what my printer has, whether that's good or not, and what I would do next time.

I got fed up with the ink tax too. I literally had a shelf in the basement for all the old printers I had bought which had run out of the original ink and buying a new printer was cheaper and better than buying cartridges.

The lack of newer features I want and the irritating properties of my printer are causing me to start shopping again.

Drivers:

  1. This printer has been problematic with respect to drivers on Linux, Mac OS and Windows, since day 1. Oddly enough the best success has been on Ubuntu Linux, but the entire first year and a half I had this printer, I couldn't use it on anything at all.
  2. The only Linux driver for this is provided by Canon but you have to go to Asia's web site to get it. You have to know where to go, and what hoops to jump through, and then it's a debian driver. It has not had a great track record for actually working.
  3. Find a manufacturer with good Linux support for lots of years. Not Canon.
  4. Find something that is supported not only by the closed-source driver but by an Open Source one too. You stand a better chance that at least one driver will work at any given time.
  5. I advise that you keep both drivers installed and simply choose which one to print to, or set the default driver as appropriate.


Toner:

  1. My printer has small toner cartridges. They tend to be about USD $80 each (per color) for OEM cartridges, or half that for aftermarket ones. They last MAYBE 800 sheets. So you still pay the "ink tax" where they subsidize the price of the printer by charging extra for toner. It's worth replacing the toner cartridges but still artificially high price per sheet IMO.
  2. Get a printer for small or medium office use with higher capacity toner cartridges. The cartridges run maybe $250 but you escape the toner tax they put on smaller laser printers.
  3. Try to find a printer with an extra large black cartridge. My cartridges are all the same size, and I use twice as much black as anything else.
  4. The advice floating around for OEM, new toner cartridges is good. With ink, you can refill the cartridge several times and be good to go. With toner, the OEM cartridge is much much better quality and your colors are better, less streaks and fewer paper jams. When I tried off-brand cartridges the first page looked like hell and so did every other one. My first paper jam happened with my first set of off-brand cartridges.
  5. Reusing cartridges is a compromise. The good companies insist that you "prime" the system by giving them empty OEM cartridges, and they'll supply you with refurbished OEM cartridges. Paper jams are more likely but still better than new off-brand cartridges. I do this. The problem is that lately the people doing this locally are starting to dry up, so you need to actually have 2 sets of cartridges, one in the printer and one standing by.


Network:

  1. My printer has built-in networking. Don't do it any other way. Networked printers have lots of really nice features even if you don't notice, and they tend to be better build quality IMO. They don't have to be wireless, you can hook it up to your router and have wifi access.
  2. My printer does NOT act like a print server. You need a special driver to even see it on the network.
  3. I would recommend a printer that can be its own print server. Or, if you want, put in a small appliance board to be a print server if you want.
  4. A print server which contains the drivers for every platform would be really neat. I don't know if there are any office printers that do this for you but it would be great if the printer refreshed its drivers regularly and provided them on a small web server.
  5. My printer has a small web server for configuration. This is nice but in my case it's pretty basic. It does have an admin mode for changing settings, and some settings can only be changed this way.


All-in-one

  1. I have no idea why they still put fax support in an all-in-one printer. I haven't had a landline for more than a decade, probably for 2 decades now.
  2. Scanning is fantastic though.
  3. Watch for what exactly you can do with the scanning though. My printer (I think) supports scan by network but I never got it to work. I have to use a USB stick to transfer the file to whatever workstation.
  4. Some office printers I have used support emailing the scanned file(s) to you. I like that idea.


Phones and Tablets

  1. My wife informed me that we need a printer which supports phones and tablets. I didn't even know those existed, but they do.
  2. I've tried to get cups to print from my phone to my existing color system but never got it to work. I'm not a cups beginner, but I suspect there might be some sort of active software on the printer itself to deny files from smart phones, as weird as that sounds. My printer is old enough to not have the feature but possibly new enough that they were thinking about it when it was made, or maybe it's in the closed-source driver?
  3. Now that I know about printing from mobile devices I want it.


Paper trays

  1. You already said it, but I'll reiterate. My printer has a single "high capacity" paper tray that holds at most about 3/4 inch of paper. It also has a sheet feeder to do photos and stuff. Don't like it.
  2. IMO your main paper tray should hold an entire ream of paper, or more.
  3. I recommend two "main" paper trays with high capacity like that. Especially if you have to walk any distance to the printer. I use cheap paper for most stuff and a better quality paper for business proposals. Yes I still print them and send them even if I also send a pdf. I'm 53, get over it. Why else have a printer?
  4. I recommend one or more dedicated trays for photo paper or alternate sizes, and envelopes.
  5. A single-sheet feeder is still nice but frankly I have only used mine once.
  6. Look at the paper path through the printer. Both for printing and for scanning. The more direct you can get the more reliable your printer. Every time your paper turns a corner or passes a roller, that's an opportunity for a jam. Printers get better with each generation but it's still a good idea to look.


Security

  1. Some people insist on it and some people insist that it not be there. Think about it, and make sure your printer supports your desired scenario.
  2. There's more to this than who can use your printer.
  3. Good printers have an option for a USB or SATA storage device built-in for caching large documents, or managing an office print queue. There have been security issues with who has access to that cache, and office environments where classified or private documents got into the wrong hands.
  4. Hopefully newer printers have better security on this, but it's something to be aware of.


Other features

  1. The big one for me is double-sided. My printer does not do double-sided anything. I've spent more time dicking around with trying to get a double-sided final document than I care to admit.
  2. Sleep/power saving features. I could stand to use a deep hibernate for when I don't use the printer for days, but in my printer's case I have to push a button on the printer to get it to wake up.
  3. When I restart my router I need to restart my printer again too. It won't get a new DHCP address.
  4. IPV6 support. Mine has it. Personally I won't buy any networkable device without it anymore.
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i92guboj
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thank you so much, everyone, for the massive amount of tips and the few models you suggested above. There are a handful of things to think about up there.

I am not too experienced with toner printers, so, first of all, I should check in detail with local providers how the prices for those go and whether they can be refilled reliably or not for any given printers that I will consider to buy. I guess this is going to take a few days after all, if I don't want to regret a hasty purchase.

Well, thank you. I need to think about this a bit hehe.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A network printer is indeed the way to go, IMO, mine is both wireless and wired.

I have an older canon mg8200 and it's worked perfectly for years now (yes, it's an inkjet but no longer sold, not sure about the successor) it also scans and does duplex printing. It's also supported by gutenprint and xsane. And it works with android phones, tablets, etc, along with windows.

My advice is first see if network enabled. Then check to see if supported by cups/gutenprint and xsane, if scanner.
Then google for the printer make/model and "linux" to see if there are known problems.

Good luck.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i92guboj wrote:
Wow, thank you so much, everyone, for the massive amount of tips and the few models you suggested above. There are a handful of things to think about up there.

I am not too experienced with toner printers, so, first of all, I should check in detail with local providers how the prices for those go and whether they can be refilled reliably or not for any given printers that I will consider to buy. I guess this is going to take a few days after all, if I don't want to regret a hasty purchase.

Well, thank you. I need to think about this a bit hehe.


Toner: If you live in a larger city then chances are you can find a local source for your toner. Hopefully for both new and refurbished cartridges.

That said, chances are that there is a reliable online source which is significantly cheaper. I personally prefer to use local sources if I can because it helps the local economy. But take into account that this may not be reasonable in the future.

Beware Amazon and Ebay when looking for OEM cartridges. Be sure you're buying from a highly reviewed (thousands of good reviews) store front in the USA if that's where you live, or from a city in your country. There are many accounts that pose as American but are really someplace in China. And then they sell you some knock-off cartridge with OEM stickers on it. If you're looking for knock-off cartridges then Amazon and eBay are fine, and so are Chinese knock-off cartridges. At least you're expecting it.

Another thing: Get something that uses a common cartridge. My printer uses a pretty rare cartridge, and I've had to drive all over the place trying to find a local source. I don't bother anymore, online is pretty much the only place I can go. But availability of the cartridge as the years go by is important. If you get a printer that was widely used in offices across the country (or the world) then toner will be around for as long as your printer still works.
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i92guboj
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, everyone, and sorry for the delay.

I've been quite busy with business, and I've also wanted to give the new beast some usage, so I could give a better overview, in case it helps anyone who's also looking for a new printer.

I took the time to read all the info you posted, it probed to be quite valuable, and helped me decide.

After investigating a bit, and after retrieving old experiences as well, I settled the lower limit around 500€, which is where I think all the machinery really makes a difference for a color laser printer. Putting into the table all the things I needed, and after asking around a bit, I chose between two hp models and two brother models (yes, I know I said I wouldn't consider brother, but, until now I only tried cheap mfc printers, so to be fair I decided to give them a chance).

And Brother it was. Concretely, the Brother DCP L8410CDW. It installed without problems in Gentoo (printer and scanner, both via network, haven't tested usb and I probably won't ever), I got it working in like ten minutes, and it has been performing without problems for like 2 months now. I haven't still changed toners, and it will be long before I do that because the toner meters are still filled almost to the top.

It works fast and responsive, and the quality is adequate for what I do. Oh, it also works with glossy paper, which is nice because I've grown accustomed to use that for many things in my shop. You can attach trays to it, which is also nice because I use many types of papers for different things (regular a4 for docs, labels, glossy...). Right now I have two of those (one builtin and an extra one I bought), and a manual tray for the photo glossy paper. But I am considering attaching another tray module. It is supposed to support up to 3 of these.

One thing I like about it is that it heats up in like 5 seconds or so. I've had an hp color laser printer in the past and I remember having to wait a lot more to start printing, which is irrelevant for big docs but was a pain when you needed a single sheet and needed it quick.

So far, I am greatly impressed by this one, and I hope it won't be as problematic as the other (cheap ink) brother printers I've had in the past.

Oh, the printer and an extra tray costed me around 600€, a bit less then $700.

Only one small thing I just remembered... it seems to need two passes for double side printing, which makes it a bit slow. A thing to take into account if you massively print double sided copies of large documents. I do not.

Thank you everyone for helping out. Every single comment up there helped me. :)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i92guboj,

It has a single print engine and turns the paper over to print side two, so it does indeed take two passes.

Don't wait too long before getting your third tray.
The optional extras are not on the market very long after the printer ceases production.
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