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Old 01-26-2015, 01:26 PM   #1
loshakova
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Print quality problems -- Epson WF-3620/Linux Mint 13


I just got an Epson WF-3620 all-in-one printer last week, to replace an older Epson WF 600 all-in-one. Both of these printers use the same universal Linux driver; it is identified on the Epson website as the ESC/P-R generic driver, version 1.4.4.

With my older Epson WF 600, I had no problems with print quality. With the new printer, copies look great, and test pages are perfect, but when I try to print a document from my hard drive, I get something that looks like a draft-quality printout. Blacks come out pale gray, and anything less than black drops out completely. I've tried changing the media type from plain papers-draft to plain papers-high in Properties/Printer Options, as recommended to another poster with the same problem on forums.openprinting.org, but this didn't work for me.

I tried calling Epson, just on the off chance that I'd get someone familiar with Linux, but wasn't lucky this time. Epson officially doesn't support Linux. I managed after some effort to get them to tell me the procedure for adjusting the print quality in Windows and Mac, just in case I could extrapolate it to Linux, but the menus are completely different.

My computer is a Dell Inspiron 580s desktop. I am running Linux Mint 13.

If no one knows a fix for this, one other thing that would be helpful is any recommendations for other all-in-one printer brands that support Linux. Thanks.

Last edited by loshakova; 01-26-2015 at 01:40 PM. Reason: add information
 
Old 01-27-2015, 03:18 AM   #2
veerain
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There is print head calibration and ink cleaning tool available. Use it. It is escputil.
 
Old 01-29-2015, 04:22 PM   #3
yoppypoppy
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Hi,

I had the same problem with WF-3620 and changing the media type did work for me (Linux Mint 17, KDE). I have a few suggestions:
- double-check if the program you are printing from is not overriding some settings from the printer configuration panel.
- this stupid printer requires you to set the paper type and size in two places - in its own menus (on the LCD screen) and in the Linux application. They must match (but I suppose you know that already). I discovered that you can disable this from its web administration page (Printer settings -> Error settings), if you connect it to your local network. I am not yet sure which of the two gets overriden by the other, but it is one annoyance less ;-)
- try a more recent version of Linux Mint. If it works for me it should work for you, too. You can boot one from a USB stick for testing.

Finally, after some fighting I also got the scanner running with gscan2pdf (libsane) instead of just the silly Epson application. If you need help with that let me know.

If you are looking for another printer - I had an HP Photosmart 7510 before and was working absolutely perfectly, both the scanner and the printer. The driver is called hplip and is included in the standard Mint distribution.

Cheers,
Mihai

Last edited by yoppypoppy; 01-29-2015 at 04:27 PM.
 
Old 01-29-2015, 04:46 PM   #4
loshakova
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Thanks, Mihai. The print setting worked briefly on Wednesday after I ran the latest Mint updates and restarted my computer, but stopped working after I ran the latest updates today. I restarted my computer again, but no dice. Argh! My paper settings match, so it looks like the next thing to try is upgrading my OS. I was hoping to avoid that for a few years yet -- just migrated to Mint 13 a few months ago when Mint stopped supporting version 9 -- but oh well.

Thanks for the information on the HP, if I can't get the Epson to work consistently. I hope I can. Other than this obnoxious problem, it's a very nice unit. (I've been using the scanner with Simple Scan.)
 
Old 01-29-2015, 05:04 PM   #5
yoppypoppy
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That sounds a bit suspicious to me - I still think something is overriding your settings, or perhaps there is a bug in the KDE/Gnome/whatever control settings panel you are using.

Just to be sure: try to print a page directly from the CUPS web administration page. Go to http://127.0.0.1:631/printers, click on your printer name, double-check that Media-type (under Maintenance - Set default settings) is set to "plain papers-High". Then go back and instead of "Maintenance" choose "Print test page" from the drop-down box. It should immediately print out a page. If it still comes out gray-ish, then I don't know.

Mihai
 
Old 01-29-2015, 05:18 PM   #6
loshakova
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I did exactly as you suggested: went to the CUPS web admin page, confirmed that the media type was set to plain papers-high, and printed a test page. The test page looked perfect, as before -- dark blacks, crisp colors. However, when I tried to print a copy of the PDF I was trying to print earlier, it printed in draft mode again. I tried a different PDF file, just to make sure, and the second one printed in draft mode too.

Maybe I'll try reinstalling the driver. Are you using the generic driver download provided by Epson?
 
Old 01-29-2015, 05:26 PM   #7
loshakova
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One other thing -- I just tried direct-printing a recipe from a website, and that came out perfectly. Just out of curiosity, I then tried printing an Open Office document, and that printed perfectly too. Next, I tried printing a .JPEG file, and that printed perfectly as well. So, it appears that the problem may be PDF-specific. Does that suggest any possible fixes?
 
Old 01-29-2015, 05:26 PM   #8
yoppypoppy
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No, do not re-install the driver, it won't help. If it worked from the CUPS page then we just proved that the driver is fine. (Well, perhaps not "fine" but rather "as good as one can expect from Epson").

I think the fault is with the PDF application. What are you using ? My favourite is called "okular". Anyway, when printing don't just press the "Print" button - go to the Properties/Advanced (or whatever menus it shows you) and check the settings.

Mihai
 
Old 01-29-2015, 05:42 PM   #9
yoppypoppy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loshakova View Post
One other thing -- I just tried direct-printing a recipe from a website, and that came out perfectly. Just out of curiosity, I then tried printing an Open Office document, and that printed perfectly too. Next, I tried printing a .JPEG file, and that printed perfectly as well. So, it appears that the problem may be PDF-specific. Does that suggest any possible fixes?
Yes, check if the print settings from the PDF application are correct. Or try a different PDF application :-)

On a different subject: you mentioned that you use Simple Scan for scanning. That one is quite primitive - have a look at gscan2pdf, it has quite a few more features. Most important: it can do duplex scanning from the ADF (automatic document feeder). And talking of this - I noticed that the pages scanned from the ADF have a blue tint and you can see the text from the other side of the paper (it is because Epson makes bad hardware). You can compensate for that by pumping up the brightness and the contrast a little bit, although you lose some detail. Oh well...

Cheers,
Mihai
 
Old 01-29-2015, 07:13 PM   #10
loshakova
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Hmm. It looks like the default program that is being used when I open a PDF is Atril Document Viewer 1.2.0, which is part of the Mate Desktop Environment. Sure enough, when I checked just now, you have to specify the media type there, too, and it isn't retaining the print settings from one reboot to the next. This seems to be overriding the settings in the printer and in my computer's printing utility.

At some point I will have to try the upgrade to Mint 17. For now, at least I know how to deal with it. I will check out the scanning program you mentioned, too. Thanks for your help.
 
Old 02-01-2015, 07:36 PM   #11
loshakova
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One more update -- I was going to mark this thread resolved, but today I went to scan something using Simple Scan and found that my new unit was not recognized in spite of being connected to my computer by a USB cable. I tried installing gscan2pdf, and it had the same problem. For now, making do with a very old Epson flatbed scanner that the OS is still recognizing, but am going to have to update my OS.
 
Old 02-02-2015, 12:31 PM   #12
yoppypoppy
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If it has worked before but it doesn't work anymore, then most likely updating Linux will not help. You have a much better chance finding out what is wrong and fixing it. Here is what I suggest:
- open a terminal
- type "groups" and look at the output
a) If you do not see "scanner" in the list, then the problem is probably with the user access rights. You have to add yourself to the "scanner" list:
- usermod -a -G scanner <your_user_name>
- logout
- login again
- check the output of "groups" to confirm your are in the "scanner" group
- try the scanning application again
b) If you are already in that group, check if the scanner is detected properly from the command line:
- run "scanimage -L" and check the output (it may take a few seconds). You should see something like this
"device `epkowa:usb:003:002' is a Epson WF-3620/3640 Series flatbed scanner"
- if you see it, then the driver is probably working and the problem is with the application
- if you do not see it, then there is something funny going on. Check the USB connection (try to print something). If that works, it's possible that there is another application using the scanner. Or perhaps there was another application that died and didn't clean up properly after itself so the scanner driver is blocked (shouldn't happen, but ok...). Try to reboot and see if that helps. If it doesn't, let me know and we can take it from there.

Best regards,
Mihai
 
Old 02-02-2015, 01:01 PM   #13
yoppypoppy
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Something I forgot to mention: you can also try to run the scanner application as root (administrator). If it works, then the problem is definitely with the access rights. Try from the command line: "sudo scanimage -L".
 
Old 02-02-2015, 01:29 PM   #14
loshakova
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Mihai,
I tried (a), but got the following error:
usermod: cannot lock /etc/passwd; try again later.

Next, I tried running (a) as root:
sudo usermod -a -G scanner <my_user_name>

It seemed to work, but the word "scanner" didn't turn up in the subsequent "groups" check. Also, the WF-3620 didn't show up in the subsequent scanner check. Note: the older scanner (an Epson Perfection 1660) DOES show up, although it is now mislabeled. Here is the result I get:

device `epson2:libusb:001:013' is a Epson GT-8300 flatbed scanner

I've run all available system updates. Will try a reboot now and get back to you.
 
Old 02-02-2015, 01:40 PM   #15
yoppypoppy
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Hi,

1. Yes, usermod should be run as root. Mea culpa for not specifying :-)

2. The list of groups (and implicitly the access rights) only get refreshed if you logout and login again. Or if you reboot, but that is overkill. You must be member of the scanner group, otherwise you won't have the necessary access rights (it will only work as root).

3. As root: edit the file /etc/sane.d/epkowa.conf . Look for this line (I expect it is commented out):
# usb 0x04b8 0x0110
Un-comment it by removing the '#' sign at the beginning. Save the file, re-boot then try again "scanimage -L".

Let me know,
Mihai
 
  


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