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sa547 2008-06-15 04:46

The Printer Thread
 
I decided to make this thread in order to discuss about printers and their problems, after our only printer, a Brother all-in-one which had prissy tendencies with the paper we provided, had several nasty paper jams and nearly derailing a critical desktop publishing project.

The culprit? It was a dirty paper feed wheel which had little grip on the paper, and thus not able to feed properly. When combined with a poor paper path design, it's a sure bet that the Brother printer will not do well with high-density (or high GSM -- gram per square meter -- values) paper types unless I have to disassemble and clean the wheel myself.

Fortunately, we had a specially-modified Epson that'll replace it tomorrow.

My thoughts for other printer brands? The HPs were the line I'm most familiar with because they're often used almost everywhere, are simple to install and operate, and as they have a full roller the width of a legal sized pad, I can use any paper size in them. However my pet peeve with HP is that some of the 3xxx and 5xxx series printers, intended for home use, seems to have a very short life span, as evidence by stacks of junked 3xxx and 5xxx printers in one repair shop I visited. And their ink cartridges seems to be getting smaller: try comparing the cart for the 3xxx series with the bigger cart for the 832/840c printers.

For photo printing, Epsons and Canons are great; very good paper feed, vivid colors, fine nozzle, borderless prints, and can be modified (of course the mod is "illegal" and will void your warranty) to use a huge ink reservoir for bulk prints. IMHO, one of the disadvantages of those printers is that they're not very easy to disassemble and repair; you'll need some specialized tools even if you just need to manually clean their innards choking with dirty ink.

If I'm gonna buy a printer, I'm split and I'll buy an HP and an Epson for the win, as the Brother printers have scarred me for life (and I'll stay away from that brand).

Any thoughts from the rest of the crew?

Claies 2008-06-15 14:02

Really? I've been using the same Brother printer for years and not a single problem. o.o

sa547 2008-06-15 20:47

DCP-115C was a three-in-one model (scanner, copier, printer) that had a u-turn type of paper feed, and I think is really meant for home use. I presume yours uses a straight-through paper feed system, which is less likely to be prone to paper jams.

Now the problem with this particular model is the aforementioned feed wheel. If it gets dirty, it has a very hard time with thicker paper densities, and it can't feed the paper to force it through that u-turn. Therefore this printer can become very "picky" about the paper it needs.

If anything goes wrong, I have to cancel the error the manual way by unplugging it, as I can't simply press a button to clear up the error -- the error beep keeps coming back no matter how much I have to press.

Heck, I almost unplugged it and threw the damned thing right out into the street.

Claies 2008-06-15 21:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by soulassassin547 (Post 1656911)
DCP-115C was a three-in-one model (scanner, copier, printer) that had a u-turn type of paper feed, and I think is really meant for home use. I presume yours uses a straight-through paper feed system, which is less likely to be prone to paper jams.

Now the problem with this particular model is the aforementioned feed wheel. If it gets dirty, it has a very hard time with thicker paper densities, and it can't feed the paper to force it through that u-turn. Therefore this printer can become very "picky" about the paper it needs.

If anything goes wrong, I have to cancel the error the manual way by unplugging it, as I can't simply press a button to clear up the error -- the error beep keeps coming back no matter how much I have to press.

Heck, I almost unplugged it and threw the damned thing right out into the street.

Oh, no, I had a U-turn model as well (if you mean by it takes from a paper source at the bottom and the paper comes out bottom-side-printed). It's just that mine's just a printer and not all-in-one.

I understand the need to save space, but I've accepted the fact that it's often better for the features to be separate components, and then creativity will somehow free up the surface area for them. >_>;;

sa547 2008-06-15 21:13

I guess you're also fortunate that you're living in a cleaner environment for such a printer to be used, as I'm working in a place now all too prone to dust and humidity, and besides the work printer is so heavily used and it can go nuts on me at any moment.

Potatochobit 2008-06-16 01:56

brother is one of the leading asian brands due to their price vs performance. I believe they started with sewing machines, not too sure on that.

unless u print with oversized paper regularly you don't need a canon or epson. I have both and the ink alone costs twice what the printer did in a year. seriously,its 60-80$ to refill all the colors. (canon ink has some special thing in it, dont try and use cheapie refill ink except at your own risk!)
its true u have to order the canon parts from a dealer (or online) and might have to search some on the internet for the reset codes and eventually you must have the printer serviced by a dealer because after so many deep nozzle cleanings the printer is programmed to lock up.

but most normal folks will never see that happen. I changed out the ink pad and the cleaner thing in a canon s9000, u can reuse the ink pad, but a new one is like 8 bucks and the ink roller thingie was like 60$, part of a normal 3-4 year service requirement and you can reset this warning with the code off the internet yourself. just do two quick cleans instead of one deep clean when possible :heh: (its an old s9000 btw, actually bought it when it first came out and its still going, but will upgrade soon anyway due to newer ink cartridges) the epson is newer dont really mess with it much, but it can do roll paper printing. I don't think you should buy all in one units unless you must have a fax ability attached or its a full size serviceable machine (xerox) :eyespin: remember, the little desktop units were not meant to be run like a printing press.

Ledgem 2008-06-23 11:26

Problem printing black ink from Mac OS X
 
Since we have the printer thread now, I suppose I'll post my issue here.

I'm having trouble with an HP Photosmart D5060 (this is an inkjet using a two-cartridge system). The printer is a little over a year old and has been used extremely lightly. The problem is that when I try to print with it, black will not print. This makes it useless as far as printing anything but pictures. It printed perfectly as of about five months ago, I believe. It probably went unused for anywhere from one to four months before my family complained that it wasn't printing letters (blacks).

I thought that the black ink cartridge had either gone empty already or had become clogged. Using HP's printer utility I found that the black ink cartridge should still have well over 75% ink remaining (while the color has well under 25% - that's a surprising difference), although that dialogue claims that the ink levels are estimates only. I printed a diagnostic page and the black came out perfectly. I realigned the cartridges and the black printed perfectly there, as well. Even after all of that, printing would result in the black ink not printing at all.

Today I tried something different. I opened Windows XP (SP2) in a virtual machine, wired the printer to it, and printed through there. The letters did not print in black, but in an off-color purple-gray. The printout also should have had a shadow, but the shadow appeared as a uniform purple-gray blot (that is, there was no "fading" effect as there should have been). Note that just minutes before, when the exact same page was printed on the Mac OS X side, the blacks did not print at all. I tried removing and reseating the cartridge but it made no difference. The cartridge does not appear to be damaged, but I don't think I'd be able to see it if it were clogged.

I have Googled for this issue and found that other people have had similar issues, but with different models of printers. As per this thread, I did try removing the printer from OS X's printer settings, rebooting, and allowing the OS to discover the printer again, but it didn't help.

Does anyone have any ideas about what's wrong and what can be done to fix it up? If the only option is to buy another cartridge, then I have another question. Since my family prints so infrequently, would it be a better option to buy a laserjet printer (monotone-only, since color is still too expensive)? I don't know exactly how long inkjets can go unused without the cartridges drying out or gumming up, but that problem doesn't exist with laserjets, as far as I know.

escimo 2008-06-23 12:38

^I've bumped into similar problems at work. Somehow someone fixed it but I haven't found the culprit yet. What I can tell is that replacing the cartridge didn't help.

As for clogging and drying, nowadays inkjet printers don't clog very easily. Many can be unused for even 2-3 months without any problems. Inks drying shouldn't be a problem either. They should last easily until the expiry-date without drying regardless whether they're installed into a printer or not.

I'll try to ask around if anyone knows how they got them working. Test print and alignment print being fine would actually point to driver issue but it's a bit odd that similar issue would appear in both windows and os x.

SeijiSensei 2008-06-23 13:15

I'm with escimo; it sounds like a driver issue. When you get purple-gray blacks it usually means the black is being created by mixing colors, not by using the black cartridge. Does OS X also use CUPS for printing, or does Apple write its own drivers? The CUPS driver for HP knows about my PhotoSmart 8250 and uses all six cartridges correctly.

For pure black and white printing, I'd recommend a cheapo laser printer. I've got an attorney friend with a desktop Brother that works just fine, and he prints hundreds of pages a month. (Like a lot of attorneys he only feels comfortable with documents on paper.) Color laser printers are now pretty reasonable as well, though I don't know how expensive the consumables are. You might want to take a look at one or more of these items.

Ledgem 2008-06-23 15:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by escimo (Post 1672997)
I'll try to ask around if anyone knows how they got them working. Test print and alignment print being fine would actually point to driver issue but it's a bit odd that similar issue would appear in both windows and os x.

Thanks for checking. I thought it odd that the issue seemed to occur for both operating systems, but it should be noted that this is through a virtual machine. Up until recently I don't think we were able to connect the printer directly to the VM, and instead had to resort to printing via printer sharing (a very painful process, I discovered). It seems that they've gotten around that. Connecting the printer to the VM removes the printer from OS X, as is the normal behavior when connecting a USB device to the VM directly. I can't say for certain that it isn't still going through OS X printing somehow, or that it isn't a driver issue entirely.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 1673066)
I'm with escimo; it sounds like a driver issue. When you get purple-gray blacks it usually means the black is being created by mixing colors, not by using the black cartridge. Does OS X also use CUPS for printing, or does Apple write its own drivers? The CUPS driver for HP knows about my PhotoSmart 8250 and uses all six cartridges correctly.

It uses CUPS, and as far as I know it's an unmodified version. The CUPS access provides a link to www.cups.org and the only way you'd know that Apple was involved is based off of one line at the bottom which reads: "The Common UNIX Printing System, CUPS, and the CUPS logo are trademarks of Apple Inc. CUPS is copyright 2007-2008 Apple Inc. All rights reserved." Everything else has CUPS and UNIX all over it.

I hadn't thought that it could be a driver issue, given that there's strange behavior going on with Windows and given that the printer worked fine initially. It's always a possibility, though. I may try reinstalling the driver to see if it fixes it.

SeijiSensei 2008-06-23 15:41

Is the printer connected directly to the Mac? Or are you printing over a network with another machine connected to the printer? If the latter, what should matter more is the driver on that computer, not the one on the Mac.

For instance, my HP is connected to a Linux server running CUPS. The various client machines are set up to send Postscript to the server. The server converts the Postscript code and drives the printer. So in my case what really matters is the driver on the server; the clients are irrelevant.

Don't know how applicable that is to your situation; just thought I'd throw it out there.

Ledgem 2008-06-23 15:49

Printer is connected directly to the Mac, unfortunately...

escimo 2008-06-23 16:36

BTW. Have you tried printing from a memory card or via pict-bridge? If the direct printing works it's quite surely a driver issue.

Forgot to mention this earlier, the issues we had were with Vista computers. And the symptoms were as described, black printed as purple.

Ledgem 2008-06-23 23:58

Haven't tried Pictbridge. The weird thing is that as far as I can tell, regular images aren't affected (but I haven't completely verified that yet). I'll try to think of a way to test that one out.

Phantom-Takaya 2008-06-29 21:54

People are saying software/driver. Let's try a different venue. I used to repair printers, after all...

Since it's an inkjet (classification for HPs versus laserjets), there's a culprit that's often overlooked. The contacts. The place where you seat the cartridge, are the contacts made of pink ribbon or are they metal "needles"?

If it's a pink ribbon, look for punctures on it. If there are any, you might as well get a new printer. HP doesn't manufacture replacements for those since it's not cost effective to buy a whole new carriage assembly. Not to mention getting to that part isn't easy. The encoder strip could also be damaged in the process.

If they're metal "needles", then compare it to the other cartridge holder. Is it missing a metal bar with springs at the center of the holder? If so, then what you're missing is the ground. You can go searching in the printer to see if the part is in there somewhere, but if it refuses to stay on, then you're out of luck. Same problem as the paragraph before. Sorry.

There's just not much you can do with ink-based printers without running into a lot of expenditures.

Also, as already said, pictures are not affected because they mix the colors to make black for some printers. For those types of printers, black is used mainly for text and such.

Ledgem 2008-08-24 14:38

Update to this issue: a new black ink cartridge seems to have solved the problem. I still find it very strange that the printer's behavior differed based on which operating system was used.

monster 2010-06-07 16:48

I'm trying to add a network printer (hp psc 1315v all-in-one) that's connected to my Linux PC to a Windows PC. Using the Add Printer wizard, i entered the url of the printer and it then asks me to choose a driver from a list of manufacturer.

My printer is not listed under hp. But even when I insert the installation disc and let the wizard look for it, it still couldn't find the driver. I even tried installing the driver myself and even tried the latest driver from hp's website, but the problem remains.

Is there anything else I can do to have this printer added and working?

SeijiSensei 2010-06-08 10:01

If you're using CUPS on the Linux box, and have the correct driver installed on that, then you only need to use Postscript on the clients. Try using the Apple Color LaserWriter driver in Windows and see if that works. It's worked for me with Windows machines printing to CUPS/Linux printer.

Another option is to enable Samba on the Linux box and share the printer using SMB.

monster 2010-06-08 17:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeijiSensei (Post 3083437)
If you're using CUPS on the Linux box, and have the correct driver installed on that, then you only need to use Postscript on the clients. Try using the Apple Color LaserWriter driver in Windows and see if that works. It's worked for me with Windows machines printing to CUPS/Linux printer.

How would I do that? And would a driver for an old Apple printer work for an hp printer?
Quote:

Another option is to enable Samba on the Linux box and share the printer using SMB.
Doesn't that require me to also share directories? I just want to share the printer.

SaintessHeart 2010-06-08 17:59

I am currently using an Epson CX4100 which I had for 5 years. I refill the ink myself, and it saves me a whole lot of trouble and money. Each new cartridge costs a hefty 2x-2.5x of the price of a manual refill at the shop, and the bottles I bought from Alibaba are a whole lot more cheaper at 50 cents per bloody bottle, 20 ml each.

The volume of each cartridge is 10 ml, so this means that each ink I refilled costs me 26 times less. Never had a problem with the supplier's quality of pigment ink though. :D


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