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My Samsung ML-2850D printer is connected via USB to an Airport Express. I print to it from my Mac over WiFi. I want to check how much toner is left, so I know if I need to purchase a new cartridge soon. However, when I check the Supply Levels via system preferences, it says "Information Not Available." What is the best way to reliably find out how much toner is left?

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Attaching a printer using Airport does not provide the same capabilities as attaching through USB, and one of the things that will not work is querying the printer for paper/ink levels etc.

When you have the printer attached locally, the driver has the ability to talk over USB for lots of things, including these services, reading from a card reader that may be on the printer etc. Once the printer is made wireless, these facilities are lost, and it effectively just becomes a dumb queue that you can drop a print into. About the only feedback it can give is if the printer is offline or not. If your printer is multifunction, you'll likewise lose the scanning/fax stuff also.

So unfortunately the only way is to hit up the printer direct, walk on over there and take a peek.

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I can't see any reason this should not be possible. I can check the toner levels on my networked 1998 HP laserjet. –  Fake Name May 20 '12 at 13:24
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Sure, possibility isn't the issue really, it's whether doing it over USB via an Airport Extreme will yield results for this particular printer. –  stuffe May 21 '12 at 11:33
    
Ok, wow, The Airport sucks. –  Fake Name May 21 '12 at 20:20
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It has nothing to do with the airport, and everything to do with the USB protocol. USB printers are designed as local printers, with a 1:1 relationship to the host OS it is attached to. Whilst they can be networked via an AE for example, this effectively is merely acheived by turning them into a dumb queue which will accept prints and simple commands like "delete from queue" etc. Anything further requires more advanced network print compatability to be baked into the printer, much like your LaserJets, which are designed for multi user and network sharing. –  stuffe May 30 '12 at 14:45
    
Not sure why this old post comes up as active today, but I don't think that's correct. It works fine with my Canon iP4500 and Airport Extreme. It must depend on whether the manufacturer bothered to implement it or not. –  gabedwrds Aug 29 '12 at 2:36
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