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Brother MFC420CN on Linux

My family has a Brother MFC420CN which is run off the network and accessible to everyone in the house. Though it’s not my default printer, it’s convenient to have a backup in things go wrong or ink runs out with another printer, so I was eager to get it installed on my Linux machine. I was able to piece it together instructions from a few different tutorials on the brother website to get in working.

First of all, step 1 on this page provides you with links to both the LPR driver and cupwrapper driver – both of which you’ll need – and steps 2-4 explain how to install them on your system.

NOTE: To install those packages, you need csh, which is not included with Debian/Ubuntu by default. If you don’t have csh installed, this command should do the trick on a Debian based system: “sudo apt-get install csh”

If you’re installing the printer on a USB port, then the first link should be sufficient, but our MFC420CN is hooked up to the network directly, so I had to go digging further for these instructions. You should be able to skip the first step if you successfully installed the driver using the packages on the previous page, but the valuable information here is regarding locate your printer on the network. The example given is “lpd://”. Replace the IP address with the IP of your printer. I believe there is detailed documentation on how to discover/change the IP address of your MFC420CN in the guide found on the main support page for the printer. I just checked my router’s logs to find the printer’s local IP.

That should be all you need to know to get it working. You can use the CUPS web-based interface, or the Ubuntu Printer Management GUI. Either way, the secret handshake that’s most important is the “lpd://ip.address/binary_p1”. Secret handshake + drivers = a printing MFC420CN. Now.. I just wish the stupid thing didn’t lock up every time one of the cartridges ran out of ink…

I have yet to give the scanner a try, but I’ll save that for another day.

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3 Responses to “Brother MFC420CN on Linux”

  1. Thnaks for posting this – it helped me get my new Brother MFC 420cn working on the network. 🙂 Now, for scanning . . .

  2. Brother MFC 420CN Won’t print

    went to the Brother site. I downloaded the LPR driver first for the debian, (Using Ubuntu 8.04) and installed that. Then I downloaded the CUPS driver, and installed that. The printer is recognized, and the print command brings up the printer, allows me to select the properties and everything. But when I print out of the OpenOffice Word Processor, it goes into the motion of printing, but then gives me a “Error while Printing” Error. I have downloaded and re-installed the drivers a number of times with no success at all.

    I would like to know what I am doing wrong. The printer is a Brother MFC 420CN. It works fine in Windows XP.

  3. Hmm, sorry, not sure I can be of much help. I don’t think I ever encountered that error. The printer worked fine for me right through to Ubuntu 9.04 (it just died a couple months back though).

    When you say, “it goes into the motion of printing,” do you mean the software? Or is there any response from your Brother MFC 420CN?

    If there’s no response from the Brother, what’s your device URI? Are you accessing it via the network, or locally? That seems to me the most likely point of failure, if you’re not getting any response. Took me a while to find the right device URI…

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