JP Vossen on 28 Dec 2015 14:09:02 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Off-topic Rant: Don't Buy Brother Products!

Short: I like the MFC-9840CDW unit I have:  it has lasted, does
everything (including duplexing), and the scanner works over Ethernet on
Linux with XSane and gscan2pdf.  On the other hand Linux support (which
was a reason I bought it) has been very hit-or-miss and seems to have
declined, and the only printer drivers that work reliably for me are
32-bit only proprietary.

Next time I might go back to HP, but anecdotally (here and elsewhere)
they aren't what they used to be either.  Heck, I bet I could fire up my
early 1990's LaserJet4 and it would still work fine after sitting for 8

I have a Brother MFC-9840CDW multi-function laser device I got in
2008-12-02 from Newegg for about $500.  I'm on my 3rd black and 2nd
color toner cartridges (x3).  Last time (2013) I bought a TN-115BK it
was $68 at Amazon, and the color ones were each $80-$90, so that adds up.

I had liked Brother because they supposedly had official Linux support
and the consumable parts are broken out differently than HP.  Toner is
(more-or-less) just toner, not toner and a drum, etc.

They do have Linux support but it's hit or miss and the printer drivers
that actually work are 32-bit only.  The newer and/or F/OSS drivers take
forever to print, sometimes simply fail to print and sometimes print
hundreds of pages of PostScript instead of the PDF I wanted.  The older
32-bit drivers Just Work, at the expense of 32-bit libs crufting
everything up and hours of hair pulling until I realized that missing
32-bit libs was why the damn driver only worked on some computers.

Like everyone else they definitely play games with toner levels and
other consumable parts, but if you search you can find hack-arounds,
like these:

Aside from the drivers the biggest problem I've had is the dreaded and
useless "Print Unable 32" error which I finally fixed (I swear this is
true) with WD-40.  It seems that some bit of foam ages and gets sticky
so a "Density door" sticks [1].  There are a ton of "take it apart and
put tape on it" articles on the web [2] but you have to really
disassemble a lot and I didn't feel like it.  At around 80 lbs it's a
pain to move for one thing.  But WD-40 eats foam, unsticks and lubes
things, right?  So WD-40 over top and BEHIND the density sensor door
worked for me (and I have a pic of the bloody density door if anyone
needs it).


My unit emails me a maintenance summary every Sunday night.  Faxing Just
Works, even over Vonage (before) and (now) trunks that
officially don't support faxing.  The flat-bed and duplexing document
feeder scanner work great (with Brother XSane drivers) over Ethernet and
can even email you the results.

It has a web interface, which is a mixed blessing since it's a huge
potential security hole and it's quite clunky.  It does NOT have NTP,
and there does not seem to be a way to programatically set the time,
which drives me nuts.  You have to go in using a web browser, with an
admin password and JavaScript enabled, to set the damn time.  It does
have a telnet (yikes) interface too, but I never figured out how to set
time from that and...telnet?  Yuck!  See potential security hole.

Here are some stats from that email.  Most of those MP "jams" are
mis-feeds for printing Christmas card envelopes, which I stopped doing
since it was a tedious PITA and now I use gLabel (awesome!) for a couple
of pages of labels and I'm done.

12/27/2015 00:00

<Machine Info.>
    Model Name : MFC-9840CDW

<Page Counter>
    Total Page Count : 15807
      Color : 3899
      B&W : 11908
    List/Fax : 11
      Color : 0
      B&W : 11
    Copy : 814
      Color : 36
      B&W : 778
    Print : 14982
      Color : 3863
      B&W : 11119

<Parts Life>
    Drum : 16505pages (98%)
    Belt Unit : 7380pages (16%)
    Fuser : 64193pages (82%)
    Laser : 84193pages (86%)
    PF Kit MP : 48057pages (98%)
    PF Kit 1 : 89182pages (90%)

<Replace Count>
    Drum : 1				# Hacked, not replaced
    Cyan (C) Toner : 2			# TN-115C
    Magenta (M) Toner : 2		# TN-115M
    Yellow (Y) Toner : 2		# TN-115Y
    Black (K) Toner : 3			# TN-115BK

<Total Pages Scanned>
    ADF(SX) : 859
    ADF(DX) : 170
    Flatbed : 600

<Total Paper Jams>
    Jam MP Tray : 38
    Jam Tray 1 : 5
    Jam Inside : 3
    Jam Rear : 6
    Jam Duplex : 1
    Jam ADF(SX) : 1
    Jam ADF(DX) : 16

So for anyone who made it this far, I guess YMMV.  Shutting up now...

On 12/27/2015 02:50 PM, Josh Zenker wrote:
> Yeah, these days, every printer manufacturer does something like this
> with their cartridges. Buying the high yield toner is generally more
> cost effective (and better for the environment) than buying a whole new
> printer, especially because new printers often come with a "starter"
> cartridge that does not contain the full amount of toner/ink.
> On Dec 27, 2015 1:23 PM, "Anthony Martin" <
> <>> wrote:
>     With the brother cartridges they actually have a wheel on the end
>     that once fully rotated claims the toner is empty.  You can reset
>     that and use the rest of the toner but every company does things
>     like that it's not just brother but atleast with brother I can spend
>     7 bucks to buy 2 refills instead of a new toner.
>     On Sun, Dec 27, 2015, 1:15 PM Casey Bralla <
>     <>> wrote:
>         __
>         A month or so ago, my Brother DCP-7065 printer started giving me
>         "Toner Low" error messages. I was pretty sure the toner was
>         still good, but the printer refused to work and would only flash
>         the toner low error.
>         I considered buying a new toner cartridge, but hesitated because
>         (as we all know) a new cartridge is almost as expensive as a new
>         printer.
>         I concluded that the printer was likely dead and a new cartridge
>         might not fix the problem. If this theory was correct, a new
>         cartridge would not fix the problem and would be a waste of
>         $100. Instead, I bought an HP. (Brother's Linux support is hit
>         or miss, anyway, although I generally like their equipment.)
>         This morning, I was reading on-line about laser printers and how
>         they play games with the cartridges. They mentioned that a hard
>         reset might clear the low toner, and even listed the button
>         sequences to do the reset for a different Brother printer. A
>         little googling and I found the sequence for my printer.
>         Luckily, I had not yet thrown away the printer (it was sitting
>         in my e-waste pile). 10 minutes later, my old printer came back
>         to life.
>         I am really ticked at Brother. The only good news is that they
>         outsmarted themselves and lost a customer. They tried to trick
>         me into buying another expensive cartridge, and instead I bought
>         a competitor's product (that has aftermarket toner cartridges at
>         half price).
>         So, to my friends at Brother, I say "Good riddance to bad rubbish"
>         Casey Bralla
>         Chief Nerd in Residence
>         The NerdWorld Organisation
> <>

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