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An interesting conversation I've had about printers

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
...with two guys from a company not only selling, but also repairing printers and refilling cartridges - this came right after the advices I've got from some of you here last week in this thread. So, according to their experience:
- in most cases, the build quality is getting worse and worse by each generation (I knew this)
- the black cartridge of the Canon Pixma MP520 I was thinking about has a chip that does not allow refilling unless reset with a special device (you can refill, but the printer will claim the cartridge is empty and will refuse to print). Many other models from this and other brands have such a chip too
- given their bad build quality, it is somewhat risky to buy an inkjet multifunctional as the more complex the machine is, the more chances there are that something stops working and in that case you cannot use the other functions either until you repair the malfunction.
- the prices for service pieces are outrageous, sometimes as much or more than the price of a whole new printer
- in the HP 2460's case, a certain plastic piece is prone to break and there is no such piece available for servicing, so if it breaks your printer cannot be repaired - and I suppose this is far from being a singular case; however, its black ink cartridge can be refilled without any problem and has a reasonably great capacity
- the Lemark inkjets are pretty low quality, at least the cartridge clogs very often
- the Canon inkjets are prone to giving this message after a while (and I gess after a few refillings): "the waste tank is full" (or compartment, or something like that) and then you need to take it to a service or to buy a new cartridge
- they were carrying Canon, HP and Lexmark and they recommended Canon or HP for inkjets and HP for lasers.
- for my needs (cheap printing with no hassle, 95% b&w, and quite a few pages), they recommended me a low end HP laser monochrome printer. They said it can be refilled with toner easily and there is no fuse requiring replacement with every refilling like in the case of other laser printers (and he mentioned Samsung). However, when I asked if I can refill it by myself, the answer was "only if you know what you are doing; we do it together for 20 times, then you can do it, otherwise no, you end up with black dust coming out of the printer without being able to figure out where it's coming from and other such problems". I strongly suspect that he was deliberately exaggerating on this as they have an interest in having people come to them and pay for refilling, but I guess there is also some truth in his claims. And I still don't like the health concerns related to the laser printer's air pollution.

So I guess I will end up buying the inkjet HP 2460 or even its cheaper 1460 sibling for a third of the price of the laser HP they recommended and print as much as possible within the first year (refilling the cartridge by myself), so that if it breaks, I can claim warranty. If it breaks later, I can easily buy another one.

I just wanted to share with you some things "from behind the courtains" that I've found out. Hope somebody will find it useful.
post #2 of 24
Everything about the inkjet business is a scam. Don't even give them your money.

If you want a reliable, low cost, easy to repair printer, get a used HP LaserJet office model from a couple years ago (these are everywhere, Craigslist, eBay, local auctions). Every part on the older LaserJets is replaceable, including the fuser, and toner costs per page are 20x to 100x lower than inkjets. (Watch some of the newer, low end LaserJets as the toner cost per page is going up, in an attempt to emulate the inkjet business model.) If you need scanning and copying functions, get an actual scanner too. You'll save money even in the short term.
post #3 of 24
Very good look at the details. I agree about everything said about the Canon since I own a few. My only advice is: Do research on the cost of the ink and it's availability before you buy the printer. Neximaging.com is one place that sell almost every type of catridges.

I am using the Pixma MP500, it had to have 5 freeking cartridges, at $15 a pop, about $80 for new inks. If any one of the cartridges is missing it won't print.

But their 2nd hand catridges were $15 for all fives, abeit I need to bring over the chips. The secret with the Canon chips is that each chip represent a single color, it won't allow you to print with two same 'color' chip. It will not tell the ink level, but holding the stop/reset button on my printer ignored the error message.

Bought some photo paper and print some hi-res image from the MP500, the details is pretty astonishing comparing my brother's canon laser printer. Been using it for a year now and haven't given me problems yet.

Another great thing I did with the printer is bought a cd tray for it and changed the firmware to european version which allows me to print cds. Epson patented the cd tray loading thing for printers, but there are still many printers out there that can print on CDs like the HP D5160. This feature is so useful that I don't think I can buy another printer without it.
post #4 of 24
I use a laserjet printer and still on my fist cartridge after countless papers printed.

and if I want quality photo prints I use the expensive printers at walgreens/cosco/ext.-10X better than any inkjet can do, and cheaper too.
post #5 of 24
Gotta love laser printers. I have a Brother HL2070N, and aside from its inability to handle thicker paper, the thing is awesome. The first 'starter cartridge' was only supposed to last for about 1250 sheets, but managed to print over 2500 pages before running dry! The regular toner cartridges are rated at 2500 pages, so I imagine that they'll be good for about 5000 each. Just picked up a spare one online for $40, too - that works out to 0.8 cents per sheet.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trippytiger View Post
Gotta love laser printers. I have a Brother HL2070N, and aside from its inability to handle thicker paper, the thing is awesome. The first 'starter cartridge' was only supposed to last for about 1250 sheets, but managed to print over 2500 pages before running dry! The regular toner cartridges are rated at 2500 pages, so I imagine that they'll be good for about 5000 each. Just picked up a spare one online for $40, too - that works out to 0.8 cents per sheet.
I have the same printer. I thought the "starter" toner was good for 2500 sheets and the normal toner was for 5000?
post #7 of 24
I know what you mean about repair parts being too expensive.

I had an old HP Laserjet 3P that I bought new and used for years. The platen went bad and the cost of a new one was less than a new home laser printer cost. I ended up buying a Brother 1440 and have had no problems for a year and a half. I'm still on my first toner cartridge, but I don't print that much. I've never tried to refill a cartridge because I've seen people make a mess at work just changing a cartridge. Probably people like TheRefillMan describes
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your inputs. After noticing that the HP 2460 and 1460 inkjets use a very small (5ml) black ink cartridges, I'm not so attracted by this option anymore. So, right now I'm quite confused because on the other hand I don't want to risk buying anything expensive (laser printers in particular) only to need unreasonably expensive servicing soon after the end of the warranty period. Buying used on the internet is also rather inconvenient for me. I may end up with a cheap, new laser monochrome from HP or Samsung, I don't know. Since I will need to print only next month or a couple of months from now on, I will take some more time to learn more and I might post again then.
post #9 of 24
I think it's hard for people, at least from the US, to give you good recommendations. We don't really know what's available, or what it would cost you in Romania. When my Laserjet died, I looked at what was available locally and then checked those out online. My only consideration was that is was an inexpensive laser printer. When you go cheap you have trade offs.

You can get laser printers fairly cheap here.

Staples.com®. that was easy®.

I can probably find this at a store within 10 miles of where I live.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Quichotte View Post
Thank you all for your inputs. After noticing that the HP 2460 and 1460 inkjets use a very small (5ml) black ink cartridges, I'm not so attracted by this option anymore. So, right now I'm quite confused because on the other hand I don't want to risk buying anything expensive (laser printers in particular) only to need unreasonably expensive servicing soon after the end of the warranty period. Buying used on the internet is also rather inconvenient for me. I may end up with a cheap, new laser monochrome from HP or Samsung, I don't know. Since I will need to print only next month or a couple of months from now on, I will take some more time to learn more and I might post again then.
Buy a cheap Samsung monochrome - Samsung makes the guts (the lasers & moving parts) for many other laser printer manufacturers. Plus, their toner cartridges are easy to refill if you just follow the instructions. The holes are already built-in!
post #11 of 24
the title of this thread is something i never thought id read lol

tho quite relavent after a little read through
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by apnk View Post
I have the same printer. I thought the "starter" toner was good for 2500 sheets and the normal toner was for 5000?
Well, that would be consistent with my experience, but it's not what I remember reading when I got the printer. But I may be remembering wrong; it's been a while.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
After some serious reading on several Romanian forums as well as searching for the prices and availability of consumables, I am now considering:
- the Canon LBP 2900 laser monochrome, costing about $130 around here. No chip or fuse, and somebody said the cartridge is refillable for 10 or 15 times provided you replace the drum (he said it's cheap) every 3 or maximum 4 refills; also, I read that it is very paper jam- proof and it's recommended to let it cool down for >1min. after each ~150 pages as it has a passive cooling system (fine with me, just letting others know as well)
- the HP Deskjet 6940 at about $110. Comes with a reasonably large black ink cartridge (21ml), prints very fast, high duty cycle, feels more comfortable for me not to move to lasers. Some guys complained about the HP inkjets having the bad habit of taking more sheets of paper at a time, a problem which could make the manual double sided printing very unpleasant
- the HP K550 inkjet, an inkjet I can buy new for $110, although I've seen it for much higher prices too - even bigger cartridge and higher duty cycle, but in addition to the problem mentioned above it has (on paper) a very high noise level - 69dB!. It also has separate print heads, which I do not like.
- a used, much higher ranked in its days laser printer from HP (I've found a few that sold new for $900 - 1000+ at similar prices with a low end new monochrome), but I'm a bit scared about buying used precisely because of the high servicing costs, or even
- a used Lexmark Optra E312 laser printer I've found for a mere $30, with 6 months warranty and 30 days warranty for consumables. Has a big cartridge as far as i understand, but I don't know how full it is and the seller company is located in a different town

The simplest solution would be one of the HP inkjets above, probably the 6940, and refilling the cartridge many times, considering the fact that I would print some 10 000+ pages within a few months and then only occasionally a few hundreds. I don't now if their cartridges have chips, though.

Anyone knows how many times should I expect to be able to refill an ink cartridge? I've read extremely different opinions, from 5 times to 80+ times in somebody's case (I think it was a Lexmark). Now, 20+ refills / cartridge with at least 4-500 pages of text in draft mode for each (the HP 6940 claims 860 pages / cartridge) would make this option very low cost, comparatively. Ink is extremely cheap at ~$40 / 1000ml. What do you think? Where am I wrong? Why so many insist on laser printers for high volume b&w printing?

My second choice would be the Canon 2900. What do you think?
post #14 of 24
Servicing costs for old HP business laser printers are very cheap as long as you buy the parts from eBay, rather than direct from HP. Plus, realistically, these things usually need only a small amount of service every 10 years.

You're being penny-wise, pound-foolish by worrying about refill costs of inkjets. Refilling an inkjet cartridge multiple times + associated parts that need replacing ends up being more expensive than a single business toner cartridge for laser printers, normalizing for an equivalent number of pages printed.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wodgy View Post
Servicing costs for old HP business laser printers are very cheap as long as you buy the parts from eBay, rather than direct from HP. Plus, realistically, these things usually need only a small amount of service every 10 years.

You're being penny-wise, pound-foolish by worrying about refill costs of inkjets. Refilling an inkjet cartridge multiple times + associated parts that need replacing ends up being more expensive than a single business toner cartridge for laser printers, normalizing for an equivalent number of pages printed.
I've checked some more offers and I can buy for example a Laserjet 4 with a new toner included for $110. I might have to pay some visits to these shops to check the condition of their refurbished printers and then post here to get more advice for choosing between those specific models. But again, I will choose a laser printer only if the inkjets prove to be not as cost effective. I repeat myself: I need to print a lot of text for a few months and then only sporadically, so I might never reach 25.000 prints. Also, I don't have to worry about other parts failing due to a lot of printing because the heavy printing period will be within the warranty period. If I have to replace the 6940 Deskjet's cartridge after, say, 7-8 refills, then inkjet is not cost effective, just as you said. If, on the other hand, I can count on 20+ refills, it might turn out as a cheaper alternative to a new laser printer and probably similar to a refurbished HP laserjet only less tricky and much faster. Which brings me back to my previous questions:

1. How many refills can I expect an inkjet cartridge to last? An approximation, of course...
2. What do you think of the Canon 2900 laser?

P.S. Thank you all for your patience and support. I've learned a lot these days about printers (not that I was feeling any urge to do so - but I'd like to make an informed decision, which seems to be more difficult than I expected). Although I own audio equipment worth several thousands, $200 or so is still a lot of money for me and this is why I keep on asking so many questions.
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