Connecting Squink to a Windows PC

Using a direct Ethernet Connection

Carlos Ospina (BF)

Windows we love you!

...but you have your little quirks.

Some of our customers have had trouble getting Squink to talk to their Windows computer when connecting using the provided Ethernet cable. In most cases it comes down to some configuration on the Windows system. The following guide shows how to directly connect Squink to a windows computer.

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What happens during Direct Ethernet Connection?

Most problems can be avoided if you understand how the direct connection works. In essence we need your computer to do three things for Squink:

  • Assign an IP address: By default Squink will ask for an IP address using DHCP protocol
  • Provide routing: Your computer has to know how to send traffic to the IP address it assigned to Squink, and also how to direct traffic from Squink to the outside world.
  • Name resolution: Well, your computer doesn't need to be a DNS server, but need to be configured correctly to resolve names to IP addresses.
This sounds like hard work, but it's actually very simple with the correct configuration. Read on and you'll see.

Before you begin

You need two (2) network adapters

Your PC needs at least two adapters, because you're sharing the connection in one adapter with the other adapter connected to Squink.

Most modern computers have two or more adapters by default. It can be one Ethernet adapter and one Wi-Fi, two Ethernet adapters or a mix of Ethernet, Wi-Fi and emulated adapters. Don't know what you have? Follow this procedure and you should see something similar to what is shown on the right:

  1. Press the "windows key" + r (simultaneously). 
  2. Write "ncpa.cpl"
  3. Hit enter
  4. This will take you to the "Newtork Connections" screen
If you only see one adapter, go straight to "Using a Router" below.
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Clean the adapter's configuration

You've used your computer for several things before Squink came into your life. That's why it's absolutely important to verify that the adapter you're going to use to connect to Squink is clean and ready:

  1. Go the the "Network Connections" screen as shown in the previous step
  2. If there are any connections that are "shared":
    1. Right click on it
    2. Select properties
    3. Go to the "Sharing tab"
    4. Disable the "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection" checkbox
    5. Click Ok
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  1. Now, select the adapter you're going to use to connect to Squink (it's probably your main "Ethernet" connection), and follow this steps:
    1. Right click on it
    2. Select properties
    3. In the list of services, click on the one related to TCP/IPv4 and click properties
    4. If you have any values in the Preferred DNS and Alternate DNS fileds, clear them out (empty values).
    5. Select "Obtain IP address automatically"
    6. Select "Obtain DNS server address automatically"
    7. At the end, your settings should look like the picture on the right.
    8. Click Ok
Now that your configuration is clean:
  1. Turn Off your squink (keep it off. We'll tell you when to turn it on)
  2. Reboot your computer
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Configure network Sharing

Now, share your connection

Now that the configuration is clean, you can share your connection.

  1. Go to the "Network Connections" screen
  2. Select the adapter that connects your computer to the internet (usually your Wi-Fi adapter). Follow these steps:
    1. Right click on it
    2. Select properties
    3. Go to the "Sharing" tab
    4. Enable the "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection" checkmark
    5. Make sure you select the adapter that will connect to squink in the "Home network connection
    6. Click Ok
    7. Reboot your PC
    8. Connect Squink to your PC via the ethernet cable
    9. Once the PC done rebooting and ready to work, turn On Squink
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Test your Connection

You should be seeing blinking LEDs (one green and one orange) in Squink's Ethernet port. If you don't see these LEDs the connection will not work. Try some of the following advices:

  • Turn Squink off, and then on again
  • Check the connection is firm in both ends (computer and squink)
  • Try a different cable
Once you see the LEDs blinking, give Squink a minute or two to get an IP address.

Now, everything should be ready for Squink to surf the net, but we need to make sure things are ready to go. 

When Windows is sharing an internet connection it creates two things for us:

  • A network domain: mshome.net. All devices that use the shared connection will become part of this domain
  • An IP range: All addresses asigned by the internet sharing service in Windows will pertain to the range: 192.168.137.XXX
Our best tool to know if things are working properly is a program called ARP that resides in every Windows operating system. Follow these stepes:
  1. Press "windows key" + r (simultaneously)
  2. Type "cmd"
  3. Hit enter
  4. In the console, type "arp -a" and hit enter
The result of the above command is a list of known networks and devices, just as the one shown on the right. Squink should be the only device in the network 192.168.137.XXX and XXX should not be "1" or "255". In the picture, Squink's IP is 192.168.137.120. 
Keep in mind this IP address can change after either Squink or your PC is rebooted, so you may need to repeat the process above to find Squink's IP address.

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First connection to Squink

Use the IP address first

It's our experience that sometimes windows doesn't recognize the name "squink.mshome.net" right away. But most of the times you just want to connect to Squink to setup a network configuration then connect via wifi and remove the cable.

If your ARP run was successful (look at "test your connection" above) and you have an IP address, just jump to your browser and go to http://<Squink's IP address>.

Once in the main page, read the license agreement, and accept it (if you agree to it). From the main page click the "Admin" button and you will land in the page shown on the right. 

The first thing to do at the admin page is to update to the latest software version using the "check for updates" button on the left.

After you update, go back to the admin page and from there you can configure Squink's connections to the network at will.

 Remember to uncheck "Automatically get network address" if you want to setup a fixed IP. Most users can leave that option checked.

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Access using squink.mshome.net

After you have updated your printer, you'll be able to use "http://squink.mshome.net" in your browser to access Squink. Keep in mind that this only works if you're connected via direct Ethernet Cable Connection.

If you're connected via Wi-Fi or any other external connection you will need to use something like "http://squink.<your domain>". In most local networks created via a Wi-Fi router this address will be:  "http://squink.local", or simply: "http://squink"

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Other helpful resource

Using a router

This can be useful in different scenarios. For example:

  • You only have one ethernet adapter in your computer and need to connect to Squink for the first time
  • You have an existing network where cabling is the standard
  • You prefer not to use Wi-Fi
It's to be noted that ethernet connections are usually more reliable than Wi-Fi, so many people would prefer this setup.
Setting up this connection has one very important pre-requisite: Squink is configured as a DHCP client by default. What this means is that your network has to provide an IP address on request. 
Once you have a router ready to provide an IP address, use an Ethernet cable to connect Squink to it. You should be able to access your printer using one of these addresses in your browser:
  • "http://squink.<your domain>"
  • "http://squink"
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"KaBooom!", nothing works, what can I do?

We've caused seen cases where Squink's network configuration goes so bad that you just can't connect to it. For example: you may accidentally set a static IP address when your network needs a dynamic IP. Or you may have it configured to connect to a Wi-Fi network that no longer exists. 

Squink has a procedure that will reset it to it's original configuration, leaving it's Ethernet connection configured to get an IP address automatically using DHCP.

To reset your printer:

  1. Turn off the printer
  2. Make sure it does not have access to the internet
  3. Move the head carrier piece with your hand (slowly) to reach the left edge of the axis so that the switch is pressed (turn the large coupler between the motor and the shaft to manually move the head)
  4. Move the head carrier rail up (slowly) until you hit the top switch, (this is to leave space for the head in the next step)
  5. Place a head (any head) on the rail of the carrier. You don't need to connect it, just place it 
  6. With one of your hands press both the right switch and the bottom switch on the head carrier
  7. With your other hand turn on the printer.... 
  8. Hold the switches down until they flash red
  9. You can then let go of the switches
  10. Reboot the machine
 

 The picture to the right highlights the switches that need to be pressed for the printer to reset.

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