Ivor O’Connor

November 23, 2008

Ubuntu & The HP Officejet Pro L7780 All-in-One

I’ve been using the HP Officejet Pro L7780 for a few weeks now. It works with Ubuntu probably as well as it does with M$ or the Mac. I can print, scan, fax, copy, and most importantly use the “Direct Digital Filing” to scan documents directly from the printer to PDF documents on my Ubuntu laptop. No special software is needed. It’s probably the best printer than can be bought in the *nix/bsd world bar none. Perhaps the best printer money can buy for a small home office.

I’m going to keep updating this post with the pros and cons as I come across them. There will probably be more negatives than pros since if it works I don’t think about it. Only when it is causing me problems… So on that note.


  1. Double sided digital scans always cause a paper jamb! Case number 8019332220. I’m calling 1-800-hpinvent to talk with tech support about this since I really need double sided scans. The phone call started a little before 12 on Saturday afternoon. Charu is the tech’s name who is attempting to help me with this problem. I’m asked for my name, case number, and then my operating system. To avoid needless problems I say I’m using Windows XP. I learned the hard way saying “ubuntu” confuses them so much they can’t continue. To help with the paper jamb I’m sent a link to a document on how to clear paper jambs. We blindly go through it together. Little by little they start to understand the problem. Finally I’m told they’ll need to send me another printer. I was hoping for a fix over the phone but oh well. I hope it’s really a printer problem and not a bad setting somewhere. At this point I’m told I should go for an extended warranty. I’m generally not at all interested in any “insurance” but since this printer has already given me more grief than all past printers combined I decide it is probably a good idea. I go for the three year policy rather than the four year since I think this printer will need a total upgrade by then. They give me an “Agreement Number: CA02470202-0001”. Mohit senior hardware technician then proceeded to get the details from me so they can ship a new printer. Unfortunately after 2:13 minutes on the phone with them he said he’d have to call me back in half an hour when his computer becomes available again. He said the new printer will not have ink, print heads, cords, or any other materials. Just the printer. I hope the ink cartridges don’t dribble out again when I move them over to the new printer. I wish this all this could be done by somebody else besides myself. Wasting 2 hours for something simple is not my idea of time well spent. I’m certainly glad I had an ear piece on and could do other things while being on hold and such for 2+ hours. Mohit finally called me back. My replacement printer will be arriving on December 24th.
  2. WHEN YOU REMOVE AN INK CARTRIDGE AND PUT IT BACK THERE IS A CONSIDERABLE CHANCE IT WILL BLEED DRY WITHIN 24 HOURS REQUIRING YOU TO BUY ANOTHER CARTRIDGE!!! GRRRRR. I talked to the local toner supply people about this and they said it’s highly irregular. I called HP and they are going to send me another toner cartridge and a postage pre-paid box to send the cartridge that dribbled out. I only did this because I had to use their tech support to figure out my fax confirmation options. As an afterthought I asked about the toner. Even though I was already on the line with them it took me another 30 minutes of answering, and reanswering, the same questions again. It was not worth the time it took. Once down that fork though, of asking about the toner, there was no turning back. HP needs to work on their support speeds.
  3. It’s very difficult to run pages through the feeder correctly. They want to pull to one side or the other. Even crumple. And to top it off it’s difficult to remove the paperjams.
  4. Every once in a while the feeder will get confused and after passing a page through, just before spitting it out, pull the paper back in. Happens perhaps one out of every hundred sheets. Turning off the power and turning it back on does not clear the paper out. I have to reach in and forcefully tug the paper. It requires lots of care and an even broad grip or I risk tearing the paper and then I’d have no idea how to get the sheet out.
  5. Powering the printer off and on takes forever. Seems to want to do all sorts of diagnostics on itself taking what seems like minutes. Not the 20 plus minutes during installation but still a long time.
  6. The help display requires some sort of software to be loaded on the computer. This printer comes with FOUR CDs! One for Mac OSx, one for Vista, one for 2000/xp, and one for readiris pro 11 on the Mac. Nothing for Linux or Ubuntu. Grrr.
  7. There are many options for direct digital filing but they overlooked the possibility you’d want to scan a pile of say invoices. So I have to stand next to the printer and wait for each page to be scanned before putting the next sheet in. sigh.
  8. It goes through ink too quickly. Despite the advertising claims it’s expensive to use for printing. A heavy duty laser printer is still needed. Not a big deal really.
  9. It did not want to send a PDF I was viewing with Adobe via the FAX machine. It just vanished. I’m probably doing something wrong but I have no idea what.
  10. The manual that comes with the printer. It’s so incomplete as to be almost useless. They somehow spread about a page worth of real material across almost 30 pages. Then to thicken the physical manual they write include the same 30 pages in other languages until the manual looks like it must contain something useful.
  11. Their technical support. I called asking each person I spoke with as I got passed up the chain whether it was ok to record the conversation. So they tried very hard to be good. However they were all woefully ignorant. It took me almost 50 minutes to get an answer that would take a competent support group only seconds. (Maybe I’ll upload the recording.) I do not want to ever call them again. Oh, and their final answer was they had no idea how to do it with Linux. Only with the Macintosh or Windows operating system. The sad part was that it had nothing to do with Linux they were just too ignorant. It’s not their fault actually. It’s the system. I imagine as they learn more they get promoted to positions that would need their talents more.
  12. When the paper gets low pages start printing out strangely. Like starting half way down on a page. Using multiple pages to print something that should fit on a single page, etc.. Not a big deal as long as you keep the paper tray more than half full.
  13. Fax confirmation settings. No where in the manual does it mention this setting. It’s one of those things you have to play with. That is go to the LCD panel and look at all the options. I would have done this sooner except for the fact that many of the options require a PC connected to the printer to work. Previously I had attemted to explore the options but got bogged down when it took forever to respond and then said I must install some software on a PC to view the entry. I don’t like waiting an eternity to be told I need a PC connected and so I’ve avoided the LCD panel ever since. Anyways the fax confirmations are lame. Instead of printing out say three quarters of the first page and then at the bottom showing the status in a few lines it just shows a few lines. There is nothing to visually correlate the fax confirmation to what was sent. So you could have successfully sent blank pages. Some confirmation! How can HP be so stupid?!
  14. The entire device will not function, even when trying to scan images to file, when a toner cartridge is missing. And when one cartridge is empty, even one that is not being used, all the functionality requiring the printer is turned off. In other words, no black and white functionality is available when a color toner cartridge is empty! Even scanning images to the disk is hampered with warning messages you must clear every few seconds.
  15. HP makes every effort to get you to buy their cartridges. They even have popups with the cartridge needed and a form just waiting to be clicked on so that you can buy their cartridges. However their cartridges are extremely expensive. You can the toner cartridges from www.4inkjets.com at 80% off HP prices if you buy three or more of each cartridge. After my experience today with the yellow ink cartridge I bought an extra cartridge for each color from the local shop which is much much cheaper than HP and then ordered in quantity at even cheaper prices from 4InkJets.com above. Buying this way may match the price of laser printing. Maybe much cheaper when you consider the electricity saved.
  16. Today the printer decided it does not know how to do double sided printing. (Which is my default and I use double sided extensively.) I’ve now powered it off in the hopes that when I power it back on it will remember how… Sigh.
  17. Either Ubuntu or perhaps the L7780 does not know how to handle printing two copies of a single sided paper when the double sided feature is default. Instead of printing two pages it prints the first copy on the first side and the second copy on the back side. To get around this you have to manually print the document twice.
  18. This post continues at:

    Ubuntu & The HP Officejet Pro L7780 All-in-One, REVISITED


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