Running an OkiData MB471 in Ubuntu Linux

okidata MB471

Despite being told by someone at Okidata that the MB471 multifunction would work great in Linux, it's not so awesome out of the box.  I did get it to work though…


December 12, 2012

I was at a customer’s business location getting email straightened out on three of the Linux laptops they’re running (xubuntu 12.04 all around — one of them is the Acer I talked about in What is the Best Laptop for Linux) when W.B. Mason showed up with the MB471 he ordered.  I’d been looking forward to this, since it was supposed to be one of the easiest printer installs I’ve ever done.  The HP M1212nf MFP he got a few months ago starting making a grinding noise, and he’d had good luck with Okidata in the past.  We unpacked it without too much trouble (I realized in short order why the instructions show a picture of TWO people carrying it) and at last it sat all nice and pretty on a short file cabinet.

I found a CD in the printer box, that did NOT contain a driver, and ended up online to look for one. Once I found it I was able to print to the MB471 over a network with no problem whatsoever.

Scanning, however, was a problem.  Sane and Simple Scan saw nothing on the network for scanners, and chatting with someone at Okidata revealed that I was not spoken to truthfully over the phone.  There was a bit of FALSE to what I was told when I’d first called in about this printer. According to the person I had right now (and hunting around online so far confirms it), there is NO WAY I’m scanning to this printer the way I’m used to scanning with something like a Brother MFC 7840.

It turns out (sorry folks — I guess I’m out of the loop working in a lumber yard) that another way to set up scanning is to configure the printer/scanner so that it scans to a shared directory on a network.  I discovered this while at the customer’s site, and realized this would have to be the way to go.  It made sense, and wouldn’t work any other way anyway.  My wife told me after I got home that this is how they do it where she works and it’s a great setup.

It requires a SAMBA share.  I don’t tend to worry about security too much on a private network that’s encrypted when there aren’t knuckleheads involved, so the SAMBA setup I described in Easy File Sharing With Linux, Samba, and a Firewall was what I used here.  The trick then was getting the printer to see the share I’d set up.

There are two ways to do this.  One is standing at the printer, the other is from a Windows computer.  While the idea of Option #2 aggravates me, there happened to be a Windows7 box on the premises, and it was a lot faster to set the printer up with that than using the interface right on the printer itself.  It’s very clunky with LOTS of button pressing.  Using a Windows box is kind of like messing with a router — very much “point and click.”

First of all, the default passwork to get into the printer is aaaaaa.  That’s six lowercase a characters.

Next, the printer needs to know where the share was.  In the case of my customer, there were three laptop computers that were potential scan “clients,” so I had to set up all three.  Sometimes Windows is a bit numb about shares showing up and disappearing from a network (like when a computer shuts down, or starts up with a new name) and it seems that the Okidata MB471 is just as “temporarily oblivious.”

Here’s the first setup screen in the Okidata, as seen from Windows using the setup program:

okidata config tool device info

From here I went to the User Setting tab and entered data in just a couple of text boxes.

okidata config tool user setting2

I’ll walk through this screen…  This is the actual screen I saw at my clients.  dawn-acer means nothing; it’s just how the printer is naming the share.  \\DAWN-ACER\share is important though, as this is how the cifs (SAMBA) share is broadcast to the network and the printer.  In the example I gave (back in my Easy File Sharing post) this would have been \\DEV-BOX\other-share.  This is all I changed via the Okidata config interface.  After that, it was merely a process of choosing which share (via the printer’s GUI) to send a scan to.  Here’s what that looked like…

First, I made sure everything was on.  Then I went to the printer and hit the scan button on the left of this screen:

okidata MB471 choose scan

I used the arrow keys to pick Network PC, hit OK, and landed here:

okidata MB471 choose profile

Then hit OK again when Select Profile was highlighted.  On the next screen:

okidata MB471 choose computer

I picked the computer I was trying to scan to.  The final scan showed up in the directory I specified. In the case of the SAMBA example I gave in the Easy File Sharing post, it would have been /share on the Linux box.  In the case of Wilfrid and Dawne, that was also the case, except that I also made a link to /share from each of their /home directories ( ln -s /share /home/dawne/SCANS did it for her, ln -s /share /home/wilfrid/SCANS for him ) so that they could see scans from their home directories.

Once I arrived at the above screen, I hit the black and white (called  mono maybe?) scan button on the right of the screen, and all went well.  I also tried the color button, and got a color scan, even though the printer only prints greyscale.

Other Points of Interest

These are just some other little ditties you might find interesting…

I own the same HP that my customer did, and have had no trouble with it.  I’ve got no idea what happened to his.  I was going to have to dig into it quite a ways before I got to whatever was grinding.  We just threw it away rather than fart around with HP’s warranty department.  Who knows what a ruckus THAT would have been.

I can NOT find the ppd file on Okidata’s website anywhere.  I ended up on Okidata’s Belgian site and grabbed this zip file containing the ppd file for the OkiData MB471.  When I tried to contact Okidata while getting this blog post done, I ran into a couple of things.  The person in live chat said she could only support America, and that there was no ppd file for this printer.  I mentioned the Belgian link.  She said to call support.  I waited for over half an hour and gave up on waiting for support to answer their phone.

The Brother MFC 7840 I use at work does not scan to a share, but it will scan to an ftp server.  I set one up, and serve out a directory that is also a SAMBA share that everyone can get at.

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