Setting up the B-510dn
When I took the B-510dn out of the box, I immediately thought that this was going was going to be a lengthy set up. The design of the B-510dn looks like an old school printer/copier, and so of course, I started thinking of the complicated installations of yesterday.
But I was wrong about the B-510dn. Starting with the Start Here guide, users are directed to unpack the printer and to check for all components. The back half of the duplexer and the cassette cover slide into their designated slots easily.
Users are then instructed to plug in the printer and power on, install the four cartridges, load paper in both the cassette and rear tray, and choose a connection method.
Since the B-510dn is a business printer at heart, I would assume most users will be using it over a network connection. At this point, the Start Here guide directs users to the Network Installation guide, a separate booklet included in the original packaging. For Windows users, the network setup consists of 12 steps (4-12 will need to be performed on every computer on the network that wants to print to the B-510dn): turn off printer, connect cable to Ethernet port, turn on printer then insert the software CD (step 4).
Epson provides a very simple wizard that walks users through steps 5-12. Users can select custom installation and take over the reins (including not choosing to install provided software). I went with the regular installation which included: selecting the connection type, selecting the printer from the network menu, and then deciding what I wanted to name the printer.
After that, the wizard wraps up the installation and users are instructed to remove the CD and restart the computer. It probably took me longer to write this section of the review than the actual installation (minus the restart).
Ease of use
As it is a single function printer, the B-510dn isn’t exactly difficult to use. You can print, and then you can print in color. Ok, so it’s slightly more complicated than that, but you get the idea.
The B-510dn can be navigated using the small control panel found on the front right of the printer. In the first look specs, I list the B-510dn having a 5-line LCD because that’s what I written down. But for all intensive purposes, it’s really only two lines, as in it only displays two lines of text at any given time. There are six menus accessed by pressing the right directional arrow (a small wrench and screwdriver mark the spot): printer settings, test print, printer status, maintenance, network settings and passwords. They are all relatively explanatory in meaning and give no more than six sub menus to work with at one time.
What I did find odd about the control panel navigation is that if a user sends a job to the printer while someone is navigating (or if perhaps someone forgets to navigate back to the home display) the B-510dn will not print. The LCD must be displaying the ready menu (home) for the B-510dn to start printing. This is nice because a person wouldn’t be interrupted while trying to perform maintenance or print a network settings sheet but the downside is if a coworker forgets to navigate back to home, all the subsequent jobs will be put on hold.
Users can access most of the above menus through the print properties page (found via a browser or word processor’s print menu). As I mentioned before, the B-510dn is a single function printer, so the main options are based around the print settings and maintenance. For example: whether users want double sided printing, if they want to print a photo as opposed to a draft text document or if they want to perform a nozzle check, etc.
Most options are also available through the EpsonNet web server, accessed with the printer’s IP address through a user’s web browser.
Users can also check the status of the printer by right clicking on the printer icon in the taskbar. It won’t pop up unless each individual PC user sets it up that way.