• Beware of used printers

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    Normally when I purchase refurbished technology I have had zero problems. Normally with printers we have purchased new, but lately it’s been impossibl
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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    • #2466364

      Still using an HP LaserJet 4P, new circa 1995.  Not fast, but reliable if the used one you buy is in decent condition.  HP toner is still available for reasonable cost.  The printer will run forever on a toner cartridge.  Unlike modern printers, which have technology that terminates use of a cartridge when it reaches a predetermined number of pages–whether or not there is toner left–the HP will keep printing until the cartridge runs out.

      The HP uses a parallel cable but an adapter cable can be used for a USB connection.  I have two computers sharing one printer by means of parallel cables and a device that reads which computer is talking to the printer.  The printer does not communicate wirelessly.

      It’s getting harder to find a 4P with low miles, but I quit looking after buying a couple of spares a few years ago.

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      • #2466458

        I am still using LaserJet 1000 with Windows XP, but unable to find a driver for Windows 7 nor Windows 10. I’ll appreciate any tip of making it work with Windows 7/10 .

        • #2466613

          Basic capabilities from one printer model to the next (for a given manufacturer) are usually similar. You might be able to use an alternate HP driver already present in Windows 7/10. That’s worked for me. I usually start by digging up the technical specifications of the target device, and comparing those to the relevant technical specifications of the devices for which drivers are available. Granted it’s tedious, but maybe you’ll get lucky.

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          • #2466669

            +1 on finding a compatible printer driver.

            Your printer uses PCL 5 as its printer control language. There should be an HP universal printer driver that will work in the newer versions of Windows that will support PCL 5. There is a printer driver in Windows 10 called “HP Universal Printing PCL 6”. That one may work; I couldn’t find a PCL 5 universal driver.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #2466372

      My present printer, that solved many of my recurrent problems with previous printers, is a “tank” printer. A four-ounce bottle of black ink for the cost of a cartridge, and it always works wirelessly with my tablet as well as my desktop computer. The printer includes a scanner as well in a basically cube configuration that has a modest footprint. And a modest purchase cost. No way I am going to struggle with a “refurb” or custom cartridge printer.

    • #2466375

      Have an inkjet canon pixma from the mid-late XP days, nothing special or ‘Smart’ about this printer, it just works! Churns out the greyscale docs that still has 2 sealed black catridges in the wings. When they run out or printer is beyond economical repair, elecronic recycling gets a visit and it ain’t getting replaced.

      I’ve found taking a USB flashdrive with data to print to the supermarket when essential supplies are needed, works great at a small cost.
      High quality full color laser prints without the hassle of printers.

      Keeping IT Lean, Clean and Mean!
    • #2466426

      My printing needs are tiny. My refurb HP1100 print is not a SMART printer. Can refill the cartridge from my 1 quart bottle for years until the nozzle burns out or the sponge disintegrates. Good to the last drop since 2006?, maybe 04?…  Here is a built-in analog counter that I found caused an HP printer to stop printing. After I reset the slide, the printer functioned like new… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF9KAyDNTVk

    • #2466439

      We will never have a paperless society as long as the Lumberjack Lobby is as powerful as it is. 😉

      • #2466508

        Marcus, it is not quite that simple. Medicare, for example, each time sends me a “four pages of paper” statement. Mostly they are, in several languages and the same text each time, just telling me how to appeal the payment(s) made. Last night my wife and I went out for a small ice cream treat. The paper cash register receipt was nearly 12 inches long. Received a postal mail notice of an upcoming medical appointment. A full page of paper for a one sentence notice. Had lunch today. The tray with my soup and sandwich also had six paper napkins on it. I could cite many more examples of the same thing. As a society, we waste reams of paper on invoices, receipts, advertising and…

        • #2466510


          Go to your My Medicare Online account and select paperless. You get all the stuff online and notices when new EOBs are available.


          May the Forces of good computing be with you!


          PowerShell & VBA Rule!
          Computer Specs

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          • #2466570

            Thanks for the reminder. I have in fact done that for most of my utility bills and bank accounts. A couple of times I have tried to set up paperless notifications/billing only to get the reply, for each repeated attempt, “We are unable to set up your account at this time. Please try again.” More to the point, I am acquainted with several elderly friends who do not want to/won’t use computers and to whom your suggestion is, alas, unacceptable.

            Our use of too much paper goes back a long ways. I remember in the 1980’s when our school purchased several IBM PC’s. Since I was the Fortran “expert”, I was called upon to set up the computers to run the IBM supplied Fortran compiler software. I soon discovered that the software was hard-coded to first eject a blank sheet of paper each time the software sent any text to the printer. Nuf Sed.

    • #2466443

      Problems may exist with new or used items. Evaluate the item, not whether it is new or used. Determine idiosyncrasies and compensate for them, if possible. If not possible to compensate, try again — perhaps with the same make and model, perhaps with a different make and model.

      Carpe Diem {with backup and coffee}
      offline▸ Win10Pro 2004.19041.572 x64 i3-3220 RAM8GB HDD Firefox83.0b3 WindowsDefender
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      online▸ Win11Pro 22H2.22621.1778 x64 i5-9400 RAM16GB HDD Firefox114.0b8 MicrosoftDefender
    • #2466515

      The paper cash register receipt was nearly 12 inches long. Received a postal mail notice of an upcoming medical appointment. A full page of paper for a one sentence notice. Had lunch today. The tray with my soup and sandwich also had six paper napkins on it.

      And then there is Walmart. Try getting a paper receipt from them after using an iPhone (not Apple watch which befuddles Walmart totally) to pay from. You need a paper receipt as Walmart frequently screws up Apple iPhone payment also.

    • #2466535

      I’ve got 2 refurbished Brother MFC laser multifunction printers that have been cranking along for years. The most recent one was purchased in 2013.

      Two things I did differently:

      First, they were both manufacturer refurbished by Brother rather than some random refurbisher. They also included a manufacturer warranty.

      Second, I purchased both from Staples rather than Amazon or eBay. There’s way too many counterfeits and other scams on Amazon and eBay.

      So my advice for things like printers is to only buy manufacturer refurbished and to buy from a vendor who has better control over what they’re selling.

    • #2466604

      I do IT support for a cousin who runs a small business (otherwise, I’m mostly retired). We certainly have the ability to reduce the paper we generate, but our customers (mostly other small businesses) don’t always have the ability or inclination to accept any changes. We rarely do things which annoy our customers – it’s almost never worth the cost.

      That said, we trade business services with another small business that focuses on printer repair. When we needed to replace printers, we asked our printer repair vendor. We’ve replaced an HP 4000 printer and two HP 8000 printers (bought used/refurbished) with HP M506 printers (also used/refurbished), and have been very happy. Quality is very good, speed is much faster, and we have not had any supply or maintenance problems with the new printers. They also take up much less room.

      Happy Friday!

    • #2466628

      I don’t buy used printers – I seem to find them on the street – yesterday this near 80y-old was doing my normal walkabout and saw what turned out to be an abandoned HP P2015dn (2007) laserjet with a half-used non-OEM toner cartridge and half a ream of paper in the tray. Fortunately an abandoned shopping cart was nearby so took it home like an abandoned puppy, plugged it in. Worked fine. (did not pee on floor or need to be fed like a puppy would have!) Though faster than my monochrome HP 1606 I decided not to keep it and printed off a note “works fine just needs power cable” and put it downstairs where someone else in this 200 person building could grab and use it. Ecological! Didn’t cost me anything and I had fun for an hour.

      - Thinkpad P15s Gen1 20T4-002KUS, i7-10510U, UEFI/GPT, 16GB, Sammy 500GB M.2.
      - Mint Cinnamon 21 current, Win 10 22H2. WuMgr. HP laserjets M254dw & P1606dn, Epson 2480 scanner.

    • #2466695

      My luck buying used/refurbed electronics is mostly through ebay and very reputable sellers that sell exclusively computer stuff.  I’ve bought 4 refurb laptops in the past 12 years or so with no problems whatsoever.  The only problems I had with buying used printers is if they leave the ink cartridges in it, 1 in 3 or 4 printers will arrive with ink all over the insides that I have to clean out.  Only once did I end up trashing it (non returnable).

      As an aside…trying to keep the same ‘old’ make/model of printers going gets more expensive by the day.  The two Epson R380 photo printers I’ve been wearing out every 2 years or so (beautiful photo reproduction as well as prints directly to CDs) haven’t been built since 2010 or so.  What I bought new for $165 or so about 2008 now goes for $400 and up ‘new in box’ and $200ish for used on ebay.  That’s not the biggest problem.  The real problem is getting genuine Epson ink for it.  I used to buy brand new, genuine cartridges on ebay from Chinese sellers for under $3! (vs $15ish at Staples)  Nowadays, finding anything other than magenta and cyan for under $12 is rare!  Throw in that the printers reject about 1 out of 20 or so genuine cartridges when inserted.  It’s always been that way.  So, I’m toying with moving to newer printers.  But in looking at ink prices for those, I may just stay with the ‘old reliable’ printers longer than anticipated.

      On the other side of the coin, my luck with Amazon refurbs is poor.  I bought a refurb Epson scanner that worked fine except the bottom of the image was always darker than the upper portions.  This was painfully obvious when scanning slides 4 at a time.  I returned it, and got another refurb, same make/model.  Same problem.  I returned that and bought a refurb Canon scanner.  No problems at all.  I bought a refurb boom-box there to be able to digitize cassette tapes playing them into my computer and it’s been flawless.

      Is it getting worse these days?  Considering the staffing shortages in all industries these days, it’s no wonder that many workers simply push through as many tasks as possible in a day without much caring about how good or bad they get it done.  It’s all about ‘productivity’ and ‘numbers’, not quality these days.


      • #2466730

        There may be a simpler explanation.  My experience with buying several different types of vintage equipment online is that initially there is a period where you can still find “new old stock” units, followed by fairly new used units being offered, etc., and finally nothing but worn-out, dirty old junk.  In 2010, I bought from an online liquidator two 24-inch 1920 x 1200 displays that were new models in 2007.  They were still new but discounted because the boxes were dented.

    • #2466759

      It’s probably not in the interest of retailers (or the “refurbishers” they contract with) to spend a lot of time and money evaluating returned gear. They may just make sure a returned printer powers up, then resell it for what they can get and let the customer figure out if it really works. Plus most printers need to be shipped a certain way, possibly “parking” a printhead and removing all the ink, and using protective packaging that may have been thrown away, and who knows whether any or all of that was done correctly as the manufacturer originally shipped it in either the first customer returning the printer to the retailer or the refurbishing retailer reshipping the printer out to a second (or third?) customer. Printers are not just electronic devices but also mechanical devices with lots of moving parts. I can see why printers would be much riskier than other refurbished gear.

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