When I bought my iMac almost three years ago, I decided to upgrade my printer at the same time and take advantage of the Apple printer rebate offer. So I went for the more-than-I’d-usually-spend £160 Epson Stylus Photo RX640 All-In-One Printer, Scanner, Copier. With the £60 rebate, this made it £100, which was a bargain for a printer of this specification at the time. Although I didn’t have a particular use for the feature, I quite liked the idea of the advertised bluetooth connectivity. I know the range of bluetooth isn’t as good, but WiFi home inkjet printers were few and far between at the time, and using a USB print server would have left me unable to use the scanner function.
So the printer arrived, I got my rebate, and it has served me brilliantly over the last few years. I really can’t fault it. However, I was really quite baffled when I originally set it up as to how I enable the bluetooth connectivity. I found out shortly afterwards, that there was no bluetooth connectivity…at least not built-in. To enable the bluetooth functions, you have to purchase the optional Epson USB Bluetooth Adapter! This was a small-print item on the original product brochure, that I’d annoyingly overlooked, but what a swizz!! Feeling slightly misled after spending £160 on the printer, I was in no hurry to be spending yet more money on a bluetooth adapter for it.
I’ve recently had more and more need to be able to print to my printer whilst my iMac has been turned off. It’s such a pain having to wait for it to boot up, just to print a document from my laptop. So I decided to look into purchasing (begrudgingly) the Epson USB Bluetooth Adapter. I found that the price of this adapter varies wildly, but can be found for around £30. Well, I say ‘found’…..I couldn’t actually find one in stock anywhere. I even tried the trusty boot-sale in the sky – eBay. Trying to be as vague as possible, I searched for ‘Epson Bluetooth’, but there were very few results, mostly from overseas.
After searching a bit more though, one of the results was for a generic mini USB bluetooth adapter, but it was being being described as an alternative to the Epson USB adapter. Many eBay sellers stock them, and some call it a ‘nano’ bluetooth adapter. They can generally be found for less than £3 including delivery charges. It just so happened that I was bought one of these very same adapters as a gift about a year ago. I’d been using it to make my old laptop bluetooth enabled. As that laptop has now been replaced with one that has built-in bluetooth, the adapter was just sitting in my drawer doing nothing. I had nothing to lose by plugging it into the printer and giving it a try.
I plugged it into the ‘EXT I/F’ port on the front of the printer, and the little green LED inside the adapter started to flicker. I checked through the ‘setup’ function directly on the printer to see if the bluetooth options were configurable, and they were. It had a valid MAC address, and I was able to set a pairing code. I set the printer to discoverable, and scooted over to my laptop. I scanned for bluetooth printers in the area, and it found the Epson! I continued through the setup of the printer on my laptop, and sent a test page. It printed perfectly. It wont print from the lounge, as it’s too far away, but as I only intend on using it wirelessly with my laptops, this isn’t much of a problem.
Wireless printing for £3? Bargain!