Friday, February 5, 2010

Did You Know Your Canon Printer Can (most likely) Print On a CD/DVD Face?

[see end of post for update]

There's nothing wrong with my printer/scanner.  In fact, I love it.  It's relatively quiet, it's pretty fast, and the prints/scans are excellent.  However, I've been looking at a new printer so I can print directly onto a DVD face.  After spending a couple of days researching which to buy, I stumbled across a really interesting internet post.  Apparently, a lot of Canon printers can already print to a disc face.

After a quick once over regarding the steps, I took a look inside my Pixma MP810 (in the area where the paper comes out), and sure enough, there's a little door that folds down to expose a place to slide in a disc media tray!  WTF?!  Why in the hell would Canon hide that from us? (apparently there's some patent or copyright in the US that prevents them from making this available --Euro-sold units, the exact same machines, have this feature enabled).

So I purchased a media tray on Ebay for around $20, went through the steps to put my printer into "euro mode" (it still speaks English, but with a slight accent... and it keeps looking at me with an air of disdain), and now I'm printing on DVD's!

Here's how it works...

The tray you need for a Canon Pixma MP810 is the "F" tray.  You can find the tray you need for your specific Canon printer (and a handy link to a good/fast seller on Ebay) here (click the link and then scroll down a little to the chart).

Once you've got a media tray, look in the area on your printer where the paper comes out.  There's a door that folds down, and behind that is a little plastic piece (3/8" x 5 1/8") that pops out.  They suggest using a screw driver, but I popped it out just by grabbing it and carefully yanking it out.  This is where the disc tray will slide in.

Next you need to enter the printers service mode; this is where you Frankenstein your US printer into a "europrinter."  NOTE: follow the instructions well... there is no visual evidence given by the printer of where you are in the process, so just be sure you do it correctly (number of times you press the buttons, etc.).  It's a little like getting your extra lives in Contra on Nintendo.

To begin, make sure your printer is plugged in but turned off.

  1. Hold the Stop/Reset button and the Power button at the same time for 5 seconds.
  2. Release Stop/Reset button but continue to hold the Power button.
  3. Press Stop/Reset twice.
  4. Release the Power Button.
  5. Wait for lights to stop blinking.  This could take a little while... just be sure all lights are done blinking.
  6. Press Stop/Reset button 1 time then Power this will print a service mode printout showing that your printer is in US mode (text under colored boxes is "US" printed a bunch of times).
  7. Press Stop/Reset 5 times then power to select Destination.
  8. Press Stop/Reset 4 times then Power to choose Euro.
  9. Press Stop/Reset 1 time then power to print a service mode printout again.  This time, where it said "US" over and over, it will show "EUR" over and over.
  10. Press Power button Twice to save settings.

Next you should either uninstall and reinstall your driver, or simply go to your RegEdit and find the "CnmFSI_CDRSWITCH" key and change it from "0" to "1."

My key was here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Printers\Canon MP810 Printer\PrinterDriverData\CnmFSI_CDRSWITCH

Once you do that, you can turn the printer back on, and you should be able to select "Printable Disc" from your media type drop-down in your Canon "page setup" dialog.  Then under your "page setup" drop-down, make sure you select "CD-R tray F."

Use the Photoshop template found here, and you're good to go!  Note, you might want to modify the "center hub" size in the template from the linked download, depending upon what discs you're using.

UPDATE: My MP810 conked out.  I installed a magenta ink cartridge (genuine Canon, not generic), and the power simply went out and the printer wouldn’t power back on.  After a couple of days I tried powering the unit on again before tossing it, and it magically came back on, but reporting 5200 (ever so briefly before quickly switching to the other) and 5020 errors.  A rather extensive Google search leads me to believe that the logic board is burned out.  Some people suggest that replacing a cartridge or the print head will fix the 5200 error, and the 5020 error is used to indicate that the scanner is locked in place.  However, my scanner bar is definitely unlocked (many people report having unlocked scanner bars but still getting the 5020 error), and I can’t remove the print head to check it because when I power the unit on, it immediately switches to this error and the print head won’t move to an accessible place (it’s all the way to the right and unreachable).  I assume there’s a way to manually move the print head without the power on, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to do it.

So I purchased an MP990 as a replacement (WiFi!), and can verify that the above method works for allowing on-disc printing.  However, I now know of an easier way to change the region of the printer: there’s a little piece of software available from Damn Printer.  It will allow you to simply select from a software menu vs. poking around in the dark using the buttons on the printer itself.  The thing that sucks?  The MP990 requires the G tray instead of the F, so I have to spend another $30 on a tray and wait for it to arrive in the mail. Suck.



Smith William said...
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Canon Store India said...

Awesome.Most effective post for canon digital printing lovers.