How to make an old USB brother laser printer wireless?

submitted by Brkdncr edited

I have an old Brother laser printer that's been doing fine and doesn't need to be replaced, but it only supports USB. Is there a device besides an old computer/laptop that would make it a shared wireless printer that supports windows machines well? I'm pretty sure i could come up with something myself, but i would prefer an off-the-shelf solution that handles updates and bugs without needing any attention from me.

Edit: Raspberry Pi 5 ordered!

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25 Comments

BearOfaTime

You could try setting up a cheap Raspberry Pi with the print service (I forget what it's called). Even a Pi Zero W would work, just need a USB cable to the printer.

I've found USB print servers to be rather pricey, since they aren't used much any more. At least spending money on a Pi would give you something you could do a lot more with.

ElderWendigo

CUPS is probably the print server you're thinking of.

tal

USB print servers to be rather pricey,

I mean, on Amazon, they look to be $25 and up. I guess "pricey" is relative, but that doesn't seem all that bad.

I don't know that they'd be less effort to maintain than a laptop or whatever, though, which OP was concerned about. I mean, you might or might not update your laptop, but I'm dubious that an all-in-one print server is gonna be getting updates at all.

BearOfaTime

Oh, wow, last I looked they were a lot more than that.

Plus when I looked a Pi wasn't $50+.

I'd probably just get the print server today at that price.

jordanlund

A lot of wifi routers have a USB port on them, connect the printer straight to the router, enjoy your wireless printer.

ikidd

OpenWRT FTW.

elucubra

Rpi 5 is overkill. You can probably do this with a Rpi zero W

Brkdncr [OP]

I’ve never used a Pi before so I may end up using it for other things. The cost isn’t really the issue, it’s the idea of throwing out a perfectly working printer just to get network support.

Flax

My thoughts too

Dumbkid

I used the cheapest sbc I could find at the time which was an orange pi zero to run a CUPS server

shalafi

Look for a USB print server.

Brkdncr [OP]

Yeah I’m asking for recommendations.

rekabis

Many modern routers have this exact capability - to take a USB-only printer and serve it up over the network. Even some ISP modem/router combo units are set up to do this. Check to see if your router has any USB ports on the back.

Brkdncr [OP]

Router and printer are in different locations.

elucubra

You or someone may have an old router with usb in a closet somewhere. Many routers have repeater capability.

Eol , edited

It's hard to change an old brother.

U can probs get ur hands on a raspberry pi pretry cheap and put cups on it. Seems very doable chatgpt will strait up give u a step by step.

Brkdncr [OP]

Wouldn’t I need to get a unique ARM driver for the usb printer to work?

Cups when u add a printer figures that all out and gets the appropriate driver and things u need to print.

Brkdncr [OP]

It didn’t and I ended up with a generic driver that’s lacking a lot of function. Not the worst, and it mostly does what I need.

Oof unlucky. Did it not have ur printer in the setup wizard. Whats missing from the generic driver?

Brkdncr [OP]

Looks like toner status and some other notifications.

ferret

CUPS eats printers and shits out function, it’s all open source so underlying isa doesn’t matter much.

CouncilOfFriends , edited

As others have already mentioned the better method of connecting to a router, I'll also mention if it's located by a Windows machine you can share the printer from the printer properties window. One other option is buying a wireless adapter for the printer itself. I have fixed old printers which used the wireless adapters and I assume they worked for a long time but were a massive pain to troubleshoot as the user manuals/drivers/documentation could no longer be found online.

rufus , edited

I'd pick the Raspberry Pi if you can do the install. Furthermore maybe your internet router can do it. I think it's possible with some Fritzbox models or ones that run OpenWRT. Or you pay the price for one of those dedicated adapters. I don't know if the drivers for those are more or less haste than using a Raspberry Pi.