Epson WorkForce WF-3520 + Ubuntu 13.04

2 minute read

Background

Previously I had a HP OfficeJet 6500. It worked “ok”, but eventually I got fed up with it. The Linux support for an 8x11” page seemed broken (margins were always wrong and I got sick of screwing with cups) and the print head(s) seemed to continuously get filthy and needed cleaning not to mention being expensive.

I said forget HP this time around and instead went with Epson. It seems that HP makes a new cartridge every time they make a new printer, so no point in staying, even if my current cartridges were lousy already.

Amazon Prime had the Epson WorkForce WF-3520 for sale for $120 and I bought it after a failed attempt to print a boarding pass pushed me over the edge.

The big requirements for me were: * Network capable (usually makes drivers simpler in Linux from my experience), don’t really care about wireless (although I am using it) or printing from Android devices. * Auto document feeder. Occasionally I go on digitizing frenzy and scan alot of documents. * Duplex printing. For some reason I don’t like a tall stack of papers when it can be half the size.

Networking and Printing

Out of the box, after removing an insane amount of tape to protect the plastic pieces during shipping, I connected it to my WiFi network. This was easy and straight forward with the nice touchscreen and LCD. Much better experience then the HP OfficeJet 6500

Ubuntu 13.04 just handled the printer part of the setup. I went to printers, it found it over the network and that was that. I assumed it was discovered through mDNS, ignorance is bliss. I then printed the test page and called that part done.

Now for the scanner… that’s a small task in itself.

The Scanner

Ubuntu has no clue how to make this work, so we need to help it. Not quite as easy as the printer setup, but we can’t win them all. To do this I had to the following:

  1. Go to Epson’s Download site.
  2. Search for “WF-3520” with Linux for the OS, download iscan-data_1.22.0-1_all.deb and iscan_2.29.1-5~usb0.1.ltdl7_amd64.deb.
  3. We need to dig to find the network drivers, maybe Epson will fix this. Go back to the Download site, search for “artisan” as the printer and stick with Linux for the OS, you’ll then be able to download iscan-network-nt_1.1.0-2_amd64.deb
  4. Install the packages:

     sudo dpkg -i iscan-data_1.22.0-1_all.deb iscan_2.29.1-5~usb0.1.ltdl7_amd64.deb iscan-network-nt_1.1.0-2_amd64.deb
    
  5. Modify /etc/sane.d/epkowa.conf by adding:

     net <hostname or IP>
    
  6. Test it by running iscan which should just work.
  7. I typically use Canonical Simple Scan which can be easily found by searching with Unity.

Closing Thoughts

The printer initially seems to be higher quality then the OfficeJet 6500. It’s a bit wider and has an integrated power supply as opposed to the annoying power brick of my old printer. The print trays seem better and the envelope feeder might actually work well.

The only thing I’ll miss about my old printer is it’s web interface. The HP web interface was pretty awesome, more on the line of a commercial office printer in terms of features. I could scan documents, and print somehow if I recall correctly from memory. The web interface on this printer doesn’t really let me do anything. It did however seamlessly connect to an update site and install updated firmware with no extra attention from me. Hopefully the printer continues to work and I won’t have to worry about the web interface at all.

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