Stupid printer, stupid me
January 16, 2009 10:00 AM   Subscribe

MacPrinterfilter: Feeling stupid. Didn't want to install crap software from Canon on my Mac for my new PIXMA MP620 printer, and downloaded the drivers for the printer and scanner directly from Canon website. Clever right?

Except no. The printer worked fine, but when I tried to scan, the scanner wasn't recognized by Mac. And when I tried to go back to printing, I couldn't figure out how! There's a scan option on the printer menu, and a copy option, but no print option. Now I feel like a moron. So now I've got a brand new printer copier scanner that doesn't scan or print.
posted by mrstrotsky to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Have you tried just sending a print job to the printer anyway? It may just put itself back into "print" mode as necessary when receiving data, instead of having the user set it.
posted by owtytrof at 10:06 AM on January 16, 2009

Response by poster: nope, no dice. Even deleted and readded printer via print options. Bubkiss
posted by mrstrotsky at 10:10 AM on January 16, 2009

Response by poster: Getting:

Unable to open device (read failure)!

Error Number : 306 A communication error has occurred. Make sure that the printer is plugged in, powered-on, and properly connected to your computer. Then try printing again.

But the printer is plugged in, turned on, and visible to my computer via Bonjour.
posted by mrstrotsky at 10:11 AM on January 16, 2009

You've done some of the basic troubleshooting, right?

- removed printer from the Printer List and then re-added it?
- turned printer off completely, then powered back on again?
- unplugged USB cable from Mac and then plugged it back in again (re-initializes the USB bus)

When you add the printer, does it recognize it as a Canon Pixma MP620, or it defaulting to a generic driver?
posted by at 10:22 AM on January 16, 2009

I just helped a friend with the MP700. If its similar, the best option for scanning was to launch the Image Capture application. It immediately saw the scanner and let us choose settings and scan.

On the printer side of things: I do know it was "simple but not obvious" to get the printer to work. The printer list showed the right printer, but it just. wouldn't. work. I got the new driver from Canon's site, deleted the old printer from the printer list, and then added it back using the new driver. Presto! It worked. I don't have a step-by-step version of events, I just know it too way longer than it should on a Mac.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:31 AM on January 16, 2009

Oh, about the "stupid me" part of your title. No. Not really. I've installed dozens of printers on dozens of Macs, and installing the Canon for my friend was the least intuitive, most frustrating printer installation experience I've had. I blame Canon. So I don't have to admit I'm stupid too.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:34 AM on January 16, 2009

You're network printing, aren't you?

I had to give away a new Canon printer to a friend (don't remember the exact model) because it wouldn't work when used as a network device; only when plugged in via USB. (Like you, I tried downloading the drivers directly first, but when that failed, installing all their crapware didn't help either.)

If you can, try a direct USB connection and see if that works.
posted by ook at 10:37 AM on January 16, 2009

Response by poster: Image capture can't see the scanner, that's when this whole mess started.
posted by mrstrotsky at 10:45 AM on January 16, 2009

Response by poster: The worst of all this is that I bought the Canon at the Apple Store so that I'd be sure of getting one that was compatible. Apple builds peripherals occasionally, couldn't they build a non shitty printer? I'd happy pay more for an non ugly, non chintzy printer that JUST WORKS.
posted by mrstrotsky at 10:48 AM on January 16, 2009

Response by poster: mrbarrett: All of the above. And it recognizes as the printer with name, and it's also locating the drivers.
posted by mrstrotsky at 10:50 AM on January 16, 2009

Response by poster: ook: dammit, so it works on a direct USB. But it HAS WORKED on the network, not one week ago.
posted by mrstrotsky at 10:52 AM on January 16, 2009

Apple builds peripherals occasionally, couldn't they build a non shitty printer?

Apple actually used to make kick-ass laser printers.
posted by mkultra at 11:22 AM on January 16, 2009

What is your network setup? I had a network printer that worked just fine when attached to a Netgear WGR-614V4 but when I upgraded to an Airport extreme I gave up trying to use the ethernet port and just used USB.
posted by TedW at 11:36 AM on January 16, 2009

Best answer: Is the printer using bonjour on it's own, or do you have it plugged into an airport or print server?

We bought a PIXMA some time ago and had a really similar issue when using it with our airport base station. We were able to get it to scan over the network once, somehow, and then something happened and it never worked that way again. We ended up fixing it by taking it off of the airport and using the printer's own networking capabilities, and removing and reinstalling all of the drivers.
posted by dreadpiratesully at 11:42 AM on January 16, 2009

I feel for you. I usually have no problem setting up basic printers on Macs but multifunction printer/scanners are always a problem, because the manufacturers always seem to put zero effort into writing the Mac software that runs them.

My suggestion is to think of it as two separate devices; a printer and a scanner. Start with the printer. Uninstall whatever you've installed, and try to get the printer working first. Install JUST THE PRINTER DRIVER from Canon, from here, and then remove and attempt to re-add the printer to the printing preference pane.

Scanning is more difficult. See if you can find a TWAIN driver to install, or something like that, and definitely try with Image Capture first.

Sorry I can't help any further, because yeah, it sounds like you've already done most of that. Multifunction printers are a b**ch.
posted by raygan at 2:09 PM on January 16, 2009

We recently bought a Pixma 970. It is a very nice shiny thing. We did a lot of research beforehand and pretty much universally people said that the Pixmas work great with Macs but scanning does not work wirelessly or over a network. We went with the Pixma anyway because networking is not that vital in our little house. There may well be a fix, as others have suggested, but it does appear to be an extremely common problem. I don't know if that is reassuring or not.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:11 AM on January 19, 2009

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