Yesterday I took delivery of a new Brother MFC410CN for home. It’s a very nice, neat machine that can scan, fax, and copy without needing to be connected to a pc. It has a built-in fax modem, and can be connected to through USB or LAN. I created a reservation on my DHCP server to allocate it a specific IP address and connected to my network. After downloading the Windows 2003 drivers from Brother’s website I had it up and running in no time as a network printer.
The advanced functions became a bit more difficult as you need to load the entire suite of Brother software onto a pc so that you can get the network scanning and faxing working properly. Unfortunately there was no software for Windows 2003 available so I’m limited in scanning from my Windows XP box. Installing the software was not that easy either as it’s a long and complex procedure that the setup program has to run through to get all the components working. It doesn’t make it any easier that the pc is only a Celeron 466MHz with 256MB RAM.
The initial install came up with errors and after I rebooted was presented with a message saying that the scanning functions hadn’t been installed correctly and that I needed to run the repair wizard from the CD. I’m assuming that Brother have had problems with the software in the past which has prompted them to include the repair wizard, but good on them for doing so. Unfortunately during the repair wizard I received more errors and after a second reboot was told that the scanning was now working but the network printing and faxing wasn’t – a complete reversal from the last error.
I figured out though that I could still scan over the network by using the Windows XP tools instead of the Brother Control Centre, and as I wanted to test the scanning capabilities that evening I decided to leave the Brother software for the time being and reinstall it another night. My first scan was at 12oodpi and I created a 88MB bitmap file which I then transferred onto my laptop for editing. I didn’t adjust any of the colours as I wanted to see how it scanned and printed out of the box, so I just used Microsoft’s Picture Manager to crop, rotate and print in 10x15cm format.
I printed the photo (Deb and Jo during the wedding shoot) on some old Epson glossy photo paper that I had lying around – it’s probably about four years old so I’m sure some newer paper would yield even better results. Using the Brother’s print driver I selected the highest settings and about 10 minutes later the job had finished.
Print quality was really good, the only downfall being that the colours were slightly saturated. Normally I wouldn’t have minded so much, but it made the slate-blue dress that Jo was wearing look like a darker blue which is obviously a problem. I don’t think this was the printer itself, just that I hadn’t done any editing or advanced settings on either the scanner or the printer. Also, I’m sure I would get better results using PhotoShop rather than the free Picture Manager bundled with Office 2003.
I still haven’t tested the faxing capability as I need to get it set up properly with telephone cabling going to the phone socket. Now that we also have our answer phone at home – the Uniden 2355 – the combination of this and the fax machine will give us a pretty good home office setup