November 21, 2011

Samsung ML-1865W Low Toner Work-Around

Tested in Ubuntu 11.10 using the Samsung Unified Driver

Story

For a tiny laser printer, the Samsung ML-1865W is a steal. Mine worked great until one day it refused to print. Neither the PC nor the printer itself gave any indication to me what was wrong. The driver reported the printer as idle and the printer just blinked red. Only when I would go to print did my PC report an error, but even then it did not tell what the error was.

I called Samsung's tech support, and it turns out that blinking red means that the printer thinks the toner is low and therefore refuses to print any more pages. This really annoyed me because I was able to make it print a test page by holding down the wireless button for about thirty seconds and the print-out showed the toner at around 10%. Even though there was toner still left in the cartridge, the printer refused to print.

The ML-1865W forces people buy a new toner cartridge even when there is still toner left!

Solution

It turns out that you can still get the drivers to print, even when the Samsung doesn't want you to! Here's how to do it in Ubuntu. These steps may work on other operating systems with a few changes, althought I haven't tried it.

    1. Open the document you want to print.
    2. Go to Print - Options - Print to file, hit Print and save the file in a convenient location. Remember where you saved it. (Alternatively, you can just export as PDF if you are printing from LibreOffice, for example)
    3. Open Terminal and type "sudo apt-get install xpdf" if you are on Ubuntu, Linux Mint or other Debian-based OS.
    4. Change directory to where you saved the PDF in step 2 using the cd command. For example, in my case it was "cd /home/andrew/Desktop". Then, convert the PDF to Postscript by typing the following command into Terminal and hitting enter: "pdftops yourfile.pdf yourfile.ps".
    5. Open Samsung Unified Driver Configurator and click the Test button.
    6. Check "Print test page", select "Custom test page", click the "..." button and select the Postscript .ps file that you made in step 4.
    7. Click the "Start" button and watch the printer print your document!


Take that, Samsung!

Good luck and have fun sticking it to the man :)