Posts Tagged ‘MFC420-CN’

(on Technorati , Del.icio.us)

Hacking the Printer

Look into my eyes, Brother (MFC420-CN)… repeat after me, “I still have ink left.”

This ink never runs out!

This ink never runs out!

I have a Brother MFC420-CN (multifunction printer) and it religiously cleans its heads as long as it is plugged in. This combined with the facts that it will not print unless it has ink and the cost of ink make for a pretty nice business plan for Brother. This is common practice with most budget bubble jets, I suppose, since I’m sure they lose some money on the ~$100 device. Even if you want to print in black, and you’re magenta is empty, it will refuse to print. I’m a little conflicted about how I feel about this, because Brother does provide open support for Linux, which is a good thing. Anyway, the solution is clear: trick the vile thing into thinking it has ink. In fact, all the times I’ve received the “replace ink” message, there has still been a little ink in the cartridge…. and after tricking it, you can still print in that colour (until it actually runs out, of course). Googling resulted in a post on a forum somewhere about applying a strip of black tape to the ink cartridge, but wasn’t very clear. After some trial and error, I hope this picture clarifies things. I guess the tape blocks light of some sort, which it uses to monitor ink level.

(Wasn’t really sure how to classify this post… don’t have a how-to category. I should upgrade to WP 2.3 and use tags….)

Scanning in Linux

After actually using my all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier thing for scanning some photos, I’ve discovered it’s not actually that great as a scanner; Jack of all, master of none, I guess. It has trouble differentiating any dark colour from black, so the resulting scans have an excessive amount of black in them and generally much fewer colours than they should. The device in question is a Brother MFC420-CN, and for most tasks I require, it’s great – just not for producing quality scans of photos. Not sure if there’s some settings on the scanner I can change, but I tried a bunch of stuff in the scanning software to no avail. On that topic, gnomescan will be a much needed improvement over xsane for Linux/GNOME. I tried it out and it mostly worked. 🙂 But the version I was using (0.4.0.4) has since been rewritten so if you want to use it, try out the svn (version 0.5+).

What was I scanning, you ask? Some class photos from elementary school for a friend. See if you can find me in my grade 3 class. 🙂

My grade 3 class photo