Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

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Finridge
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Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by Finridge » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:35 pm

Chromebooks are popular choice for Bogleheads, and I can see why. My wife and I each have one and love how easy the are to use.

The only fly in the ointment is trying to print from the chromebook. We have a Brother multifuction machine (scanner, copier, fax, laser printer, etc.) as our printer. It's supposed to support "cloud printing" for chromebooks, but it's really difficult to set this up, and then a day later it's not working--obviously something changed on the printer, the chromebook, or the printer that made it stop working, but who knows what... it's too hard to troubleshoot. So printing from the chromebook is too unreliable.

As a result we do all of our printing using an old Windows laptop. This can reliably print everytime, but its a very, very slow to boot up or do anything. I hardly need to print much these days--I don't have the need for "paper copies" like I used to. But my wife has a lot of forms that need to be printed out and signed for various school things. And she's really frustrated.

She's saying we need to buy a new Windows laptop if that's what it takes.I think it would be silly to buy a whole new laptop to be used only for printing things, and my wife's first preference would be to just be able to print reliably from the chromebook anyway... I'm wondering if there are inexpensive laser printers that could fix the problem more cost-efficiently.

Does anyone have any recommendations for an inexpensive laser printer that reliably works with chromebooks? (I'm reluctant to get an inkjet printer because I know that the inkjet cartridges often make inkjet printing more expensive over the long run). I'm also open to any other suggestions you may have to more easily print from a chromebook.

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JoMoney
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by JoMoney » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:54 pm

I haven't personally owned a printer in over a decade (even before I moved to a Chromebook).
I print to a .PDF file. If I absolutely have to have it on hard copy paper, if it's work related I'll email it to work and print it there, else I'll copy it to a USB drive and print it at a copy shop or library.

I have been considering getting a scanner recently (usually I just use my phone to take a picture of the document and that's been good enough), and there are some "All In One" office printer/scanners that will scan to a USB drive and print PDF files from a USB drive.
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TimeRunner
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:10 pm

Two thoughts:
1. Ensure your printer is using latest Brother Firmware. You may need to download it and install it from your Windows machine.
2. Googling your issue brought up this article which may be useful: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/ho ... ine-issue/
No need to respond to this post. Good luck.
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inbox788
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by inbox788 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:39 pm

I've owned several Brother printers and their wifi connection is terrible (they're not alone in this). I've had good luck setting static IP address and manually adding printers (with Windows and MacOS), but none of them support Chromebooks. If you have a newer Brother multifunction, you might give a static IP a try.


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heartwood
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by heartwood » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:59 am

Finridge wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:35 pm
Chromebooks are popular choice for Bogleheads, and I can see why. My wife and I each have one and love how easy the are to use.

The only fly in the ointment is trying to print from the chromebook. We have a Brother multifuction machine (scanner, copier, fax, laser printer, etc.) as our printer. It's supposed to support "cloud printing" for chromebooks, but it's really difficult to set this up, and then a day later it's not working--obviously something changed on the printer, the chromebook, or the printer that made it stop working, but who knows what... it's too hard to troubleshoot. So printing from the chromebook is too unreliable.

As a result we do all of our printing using an old Windows laptop. This can reliably print everytime, but its a very, very slow to boot up or do anything. I hardly need to print much these days--I don't have the need for "paper copies" like I used to. But my wife has a lot of forms that need to be printed out and signed for various school things. And she's really frustrated.

She's saying we need to buy a new Windows laptop if that's what it takes.I think it would be silly to buy a whole new laptop to be used only for printing things, and my wife's first preference would be to just be able to print reliably from the chromebook anyway... I'm wondering if there are inexpensive laser printers that could fix the problem more cost-efficiently.

Does anyone have any recommendations for an inexpensive laser printer that reliably works with chromebooks? (I'm reluctant to get an inkjet printer because I know that the inkjet cartridges often make inkjet printing more expensive over the long run). I'm also open to any other suggestions you may have to more easily print from a chromebook.
I could have written your post for you. I've spent many hours (days?) getting my chromebook to work with my Brother lasers. It works, then it doesn't work, then it works on my CB, but not my wife's. It works with the android phone app, then it doesn't. Like you the only reliable way to print is with an ancient Windows machine running W7. I do keep all the software up to date using that laptop. No easy way (at least that I've found) to do it via CB or the laser itself. Like your wife I'm considering a cheap Windows machine for this problem, but also so I can run MS Money.

I've read all of the fixes. None work consistently.

It's inconceivable to me that with the number of brother lasers used by those with CBs that the two tech companies can't get it to work reliably. Do they hate each other?

Scrapr
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by Scrapr » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:10 am

Can you save as pdf to a USB stick? Then take the USB to the printer?

pochax
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by pochax » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:42 am

Scrapr wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:10 am
Can you save as pdf to a USB stick? Then take the USB to the printer?
+1. this is what my wife does when she needs to urgently print and i am not around for tech support. funny thing is that she has a windows 10 PC so the wireless printing issue is not chromebook-specific.

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Blues
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by Blues » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:58 am

If you have an iPhone or android device, you can download an app from Brother called "iPrint&Scan"

As long as the iPhone or android device is connected to the same (wireless) network that the printer is on, you can print directly from the device. (I use a Kindle Fire or iPhone in our case.)

It's very quick and easy to setup and I use it more often than starting up my old Windows XP Pro machine just to use the printer.

I just send the .pdf file I've saved on my chromebook to the email associated with the iPhone or Kindle Fire, tap on the document to be printed and it gives the option of opening it with the Brother app. Once the app opens you can print. Just make sure to turn the printer on first. :wink:

Give it a try and let us know if it works for you.
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TOJ
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by TOJ » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:19 pm

You need to set a static IP on the printer. Then in your router configuration, exclude that IP from the list of IPs the router will dole out dynamically. In effect you tell the printer to always use one IP, and you tell the router to reserve that IP for the printer. Google how to do this for your specific devices. It was simple on my brother printer and netgear router.

Then, go into the chromebook and set up google cloud print for one of the users. Then, share the printer with the other user. Basically, the printer has an owner and a user. Then you can print anywhere you are logged into chrome.

I went through all of this and once you do the above you will stop having issues. It’s a bit in the weeds technically though. Currently it only works for a day because the IP address of the printer changes.

As you have found, you can’t add a printer to a chromebook like you do a traditional laptop. This is because printer manufacturers don’t create drivers for chromebooks and the chrome OS isn’t really set up to play nice with peripherals. So it’s all done via cloud even if you’re sitting right next to the printer.

mhalley
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by mhalley » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:30 pm

You might Try dual booting a Linux build on the laptop. Look at this page and see if your model has Linux drivers.
http://support.brother.com/g/b/products ... content=dl

Katietsu
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by Katietsu » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:52 am

Personally, I just bought a new printer when I was in this situation. So many printers start out as loss leaders and become really cheap when you add a sale. I took the per page cost into consideration but was not too concerned with this given the limited number of pages I actually print per month. I have found the ease of use to be well worth the price, especially as I have seamlessly added other devices to my home network.

The Wizard
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by The Wizard » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:08 am

I print from my Google smartphone to two different Brother printers (at my place and at the GF's place) using WiFi.
Setting up the printer to use wifi isn't too hard; they give you instructions.
Note: direct wifi is different from cloud printing.

Only problem I've had is sometimes the printer is slow to wake up on the network, but that seems to be getting better.

My smartphone isn't a Chromebook, but I can't imagine it's much different from one re: printing...
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Finridge
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by Finridge » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:12 pm

heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:59 am
Finridge wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:35 pm
Chromebooks are popular choice for Bogleheads, and I can see why. My wife and I each have one and love how easy the are to use.

The only fly in the ointment is trying to print from the chromebook. We have a Brother multifuction machine (scanner, copier, fax, laser printer, etc.) as our printer. It's supposed to support "cloud printing" for chromebooks, but it's really difficult to set this up, and then a day later it's not working--obviously something changed on the printer, the chromebook, or the printer that made it stop working, but who knows what... it's too hard to troubleshoot. So printing from the chromebook is too unreliable.

As a result we do all of our printing using an old Windows laptop. This can reliably print everytime, but its a very, very slow to boot up or do anything. I hardly need to print much these days--I don't have the need for "paper copies" like I used to. But my wife has a lot of forms that need to be printed out and signed for various school things. And she's really frustrated.

She's saying we need to buy a new Windows laptop if that's what it takes.I think it would be silly to buy a whole new laptop to be used only for printing things, and my wife's first preference would be to just be able to print reliably from the chromebook anyway... I'm wondering if there are inexpensive laser printers that could fix the problem more cost-efficiently.

Does anyone have any recommendations for an inexpensive laser printer that reliably works with chromebooks? (I'm reluctant to get an inkjet printer because I know that the inkjet cartridges often make inkjet printing more expensive over the long run). I'm also open to any other suggestions you may have to more easily print from a chromebook.
I could have written your post for you. I've spent many hours (days?) getting my chromebook to work with my Brother lasers. It works, then it doesn't work, then it works on my CB, but not my wife's. It works with the android phone app, then it doesn't. Like you the only reliable way to print is with an ancient Windows machine running W7. I do keep all the software up to date using that laptop. No easy way (at least that I've found) to do it via CB or the laser itself. Like your wife I'm considering a cheap Windows machine for this problem, but also so I can run MS Money.

I've read all of the fixes. None work consistently.

It's inconceivable to me that with the number of brother lasers used by those with CBs that the two tech companies can't get it to work reliably. Do they hate each other?
Thank you. This is exactly what we have gone through. That's why I was wondering if maybe there are other printers out there that do work reliably.

But I'll probably double-check and see if any of the other suggestions will help...

Finridge
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by Finridge » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:19 pm

pochax wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:42 am
Scrapr wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:10 am
Can you save as pdf to a USB stick? Then take the USB to the printer?
+1. this is what my wife does when she needs to urgently print and i am not around for tech support. funny thing is that she has a windows 10 PC so the wireless printing issue is not chromebook-specific.
I just looked into this, and this works. Thank you! I didn't even know that my printer supported this. I hadn't even noticed the plug-in for the USB stick before and had to look for it.

I still wish we could get our chromebooks to print directly, and will work on that further (although I am not at all hopeful.) But this little "fix" (using a USB stick plus Sneakernet* ) should work well enough to prevent us from having to buy a new Windows computer or a new printer. I think it will be more convenient than using our old Windows laptop.


* See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneakernet

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thecarrotfund
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by thecarrotfund » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:23 pm

I can just plug the printer USB into my chromebook when I want to print, It seems very easy.
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Gadget
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Re: Solutions for Printing from a Chromebook

Post by Gadget » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:47 pm

I'm confused. It sounds like you have a Brother Google ready cloud capable printer. That's what I have. I set it up with Google Cloud print and I can print from any chrome window or android phone. It's worked flawlessly for me. I'm on a Chromebook right now on a business trip yet I can still print this page back on my printer at home.

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