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Thread: A friend's printer problems

  1. #1
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    A friend's printer problems

    Your help would be much appreciated...

    I've got an HP C4280 printer which I've pretty much had it with. Two things annoy me: first, the bundled software package is enormous, but if I don't load the whole pile of crap, then I can't seem to use all the basic functions, such as scan, for instance; second, every time I disconnect it from my laptop (such as when I take my laptop to Brenda's), the printer will then re-install itself when I get back home and reconnect it. I've got up to ten copies of the printer installed, and it's a pain to have to change the printer selection for every app that subsequently will try to print on, say, "HP C4200 (copy9)", when the latest copy is #10. I'm not going to ask you for a solution. I'd just like to hear your opinion of printers and printer brands. HP seems, to me, to be .... what is the word?...... invasive? It loads way too much proprietary software. Is there a printer/brand that you favor,
    wherein the printer simply does its job without being so
    all-encompassing? I'm not a PC whiz, but I consider myself to be of above-average intelligence with computers. I know enough to uncheck the boxes for software elements I'll never use during the installation. I just can't seem to get this printer to behave, though, and I'm about ready to replace it. The Kodaks claim that their ink-replacement costs are so low, they practically pay for themselves in savings in the first
    year. Lexmark? Canon? Thoughts?
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  2. #2

    Thumbs down

    HP has gone to the dogs. Back in the 70's, 80's and the first half of 90's, brand name "HP" was something of a synonim for quality. Then, around the turn of the century, they started making terrible, overpriced hardware that ran on poorly written and incredibly bloated code. I don't understand why people keep buying HP's junk - if you check the peripherals/printers subforum on PC Guide, roughly 90% of printer problems are related to HP's "products", their horrid drivers and erratic behavior.

    My boss used to have an "all-in-one" device; a scanner, printer, telephone and a fax machine integrated into a big box of epic fail. Scanner would randomly refuse to start. Printer worked okay most of the time but toner cartridges were incredibly overpriced and tended to clog. Telephone had a mind of its own (such as forgetting stored numbers and redial function not working) and faxing functionality simply did not work and no amount of fiddling with the drivers and hardware could make it work.

    The best of all, couple of months after the final warranties expired on this model, HP quietly acknowledged that this machine is factory defective and that they just kept manufacturing them this way all along. They never issued refunds for the product they KNEW was defective all along nor did they attempt to write a firmware/driver update to at least partially remedy its numerous problems.

    My boss kept using this printer until the toner ran out, then threw the damn thing out. She paid around $800 for it, as it was a premium product. $800 out the window.

    I had a clash with another HP scanner/printer, this one was mechanically sound but the drivers were bad and if you wanted to scan in a picture, you had to use special and incredibly bloated HP's software that took roughly five minutes to load, and wouldn't let you select the scanning resolution/depth. Every time you loaded that wonder of a program, you had a 20% chance of getting a BSOD. This, coupled with the incredibly long loading times made for a sharp increase in office productivity.


    The biggest mystery of all - how the hell HP stays in business with atrocious products like these? Are people really that stupid? HP should have gone belly-up like Compaq years ago, but they're still kicking around. How the hell.
    Last edited by kiosk; 01-23-2011 at 12:06 PM.

  3. #3
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    It depends on whether you want to go inkjet or laser.
    Inkjet reviews:
    http://reviews.cnet.com/best-all-in-one-printers/

    Laser reviews:
    http://www.pcmag.com/category2/0,2806,1639039,00.asp

    Personally I think all-in-ones are problematic.

    Lexmark? I avoid after their DMCA suits against third party ink competitors.
    Last edited by PrntRhd; 01-23-2011 at 02:12 PM.

  4. #4
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    I must say I am head over heels in live with Brother Printers right now. They are economical, easy to install and the software is straight forward and intuitive.

    If you read the reviews from CNET, they consistently rate the Lexmark higher and the Brother sucks . I could not disagree more. HP has the most retarded networking setup of any printers I have ever used. I have gone through several Lexmark all in ones. In fact I took three of them to the ethical recycling in the last few weeks. I have a Brother, my daughter has a brother, my mother has a brother and I have many customers using them. They work flawlessly.

    Since everyone has broad band with router these days, I would get one with an Ethernet connection and you are good to go. The printer is on the network and adding a new PC is as simple as pie. If you follow the directions you will be up and running in less than 30 minutes from slicing open the box to printing your first page.

    Whether you want ink jet or laser, Brother is the way to go....
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  5. #5
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    I use a Brother Laser (7840) wireless and send my color pictures I want to Costco for good prints......cheaper
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  6. #6
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    For me the days of inkjets are over since you can now get really good budget color laser printers. I have clients who have had no problems with both Samsung (there are also wifi and cable network models) and, believe it or not, Dell Color Lasers; both for little over $100. I now personally have in use a Brother Network HL-4040 CN but think its print quality is not as good as my former Samsung, which I had sold on. One warning with Color Lasers is to only use appropriate paper (especially thick glossy photo paper) for the model in question.

    I think the only drawbacks with them is that they tend to be large and heavy and a bit slow to warm up initially. If you want a good monochrome laser workhorse then I think its hard to beat a basic Brother printer for quickly churning out reams of stuff.

    I too stay clear of all-in-ones. Standalone scanners are cheap and most of the time I now use a digital camera to "scan" stuff.

    BTW if your have multiple copies of a printer installed delete the redundant ones and (if you don't already) try to use the same USB port each time - or better use a network printer or add a printer server, wired or wifi, to your network.

    Another approach could be to backup the printer drivers with My Drivers 5 uninstall the HP software and use the Add new hardware wizard to point at the inf files or use the exe inside the bundle if one exists.
    Take nice care of yourselves - Paul - ♪ -
    Help to start using BiNG. Some stuff about Boot CDs & Data Recovery Basics & Back-up using Knoppix.

  7. #7
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    I agree.

    I recommend TCP/IP printing to anyone with a home router, it makes it much easier to have every computer print immediately without having to use a print server device and is more flexible for printer placement due to Ethernet cabling allowing 100 meter length to the router vs the very limited USB cable length.
    It communicates the same way for Windows PC/Macintosh/Linux for those in mixed computer environments.
    You can simply connect the printer to an open Ethernet port on the home wireless router, then users can print with both wired and wireless computers.

    I use networked laser color at home these days.
    "Smooth" bright white paper is best for for color laser quality, but cheap copy paper is just fine for black and white output.
    You don't have to wait for the ink to dry.
    The "ultrafast" inkjets for home use are only 9 ppm when printing color. (Epson Workforce 610)
    Last edited by PrntRhd; 01-30-2011 at 03:55 AM.

  8. #8
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    I am sorry to hear that HP printers have become so bad. I have a five year old HP OfficeJet AIO that has been used and abused and keeps on chugging. The one I had before that was also an HP that ran for at least five years and was abused even more. We literally wore that thing out. That poor thing had days were the scanner would run for 12 hours straight day after day while my wife (aka "the camera nazi" aka "aunt camera") started digitizing her many thousands of photos.

    Though I completely agree that monochrome lasers are cheap and reliable. And I have been wanting to get one myself. Good color lasers are expensive though. I have been trying to convince my wife to get a mono laser and keep our current inkjet AIO around for color prints and faxing. Although that Dell Paul linked to has peaked my interest.

    And also I will definitely be getting a wireless workgroup printer next time.
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  9. #9
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    Although that Dell Paul linked to has peaked my interest.
    If the Dell has been of interest and you also want a network printer there is a network printer of the same model I linked earlier but I could only find it for sale in the UK but I haven't searched very hard. I have to say that I think they are incredible value for money.
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  10. #10
    Another thing that drove me up the walls with these HP printers is that every toner cartridge had a chip and the printer would check whether it's an original HP's toner (which cost an arm and a leg and would clog nevertheless) or it was a third party product. We learned this the hard way when I suggested we replace our toners (which we used up very quickly) with much cheaper 3rd party toners. Fortunately we bought just one, and when I installed it, I was greeted with an error message on the screen, and some preachy text about the dangers of using cheap knockoff products that will clog your printer/void the warranty/revive Hitler, etc.

    For crying out loud, not even my $20 Epson inkjet did that.

  11. #11
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    Still sorting through stuff...

    Okay. So, now that we've narrowed the printer selection, I'm still confused with the "sharing" aspect on a LAN when it comes to printers. Indulge me please...

    When my friend first described the problem, my recommendation was to go with a printer with an RJ45 (ethernet connection) capability. Then I'm thinking, would he need a print server also such as I have with my HP 5 Laserjet?

    My understanding is that the RJ45 capability means that there's a NIC (network interface card) built into the printer. This would allow it to be shared on his home LAN (local area network) by other computers accessing through his wireless capable router.

    When I Google the definition of a NIC, I get back references to my HP 5 Laserjet printer's JetDirect, "print server". The HP 5 came equipped with a LPT (Line Printer Terminal), so using a parallel printer cable one could connect directly to a computer. To share on my home network, independently, I needed to purchase a JetDirect that allowed me to connect via the RJ45 to my wireless capable router. I say, "independently," because it is my understanding that if I was connected via the parallel printer cable to my main computer, others on my home network could access the printer, but in order to do so, my main computer would always have to be connected to the router and powered up.

    So, what is the difference?? The Print Server is a type of NIC capable of being added rather than built-in?? Wireless ethernet "adapters" seem to be always referred to as Print Servers... Printers with wireless capability built-in don't appear to be referenced as being equipped with a Print Server.

    Are we moving away from the term Print Server as built-in ethernet (NIC) becomes the norm for printers??

    My apologies for the rambling thought process...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  12. #12
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    Whyzman: Please I beg of thee, stay away from HP. They suck, their configuration sucks and their reliability is not what it used to be.

    • First determine if you need to print photo's. If you do, you need to get a photo printer or a color laser.
    • Next determine if you want other functionality. Do you want scanning/copying and faxing.
    • Finally determine what speed you want.


    The printer must be able to connect to the router via it's own NIC, therefore it must have an RJ-45 jack.

    As I said, I really like Brother.

    If you want an inkjet, I would look at:
    Brother MFC-5490CN

    If you want a color laser all in one:
    Brother MFC-9010CN
    No two moments are alike and a person who thinks that any two moments are alike has never lived.

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  13. #13
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    I hope I am not repeating myself:
    LPT (a parallel port) is really obsolete these days, is very slow and has very limited connectivity (parallel bidirectional communication was a really big thing 7-8 years ago). Most modern computers do not even have a legacy parallel port at all. JetDirect was a "transitional technology" sold by HP to connect parallel printers to networks. Forget about it, it is no longer relevant to the modern world.
    HP had a reputation for being able to print almost anything because of their early lead in offices and as such they were considered a "standard".
    Other vendors have caught up and it no longer is required to use HP printers to properly print files.

    Modern PCs have USB ports (a serial port interface) and Ethernet ports.
    Using the Ethernet port is better because you don't have to have a PC connected and running to use the printer from other PCs, it is equally accessible from any PC connected to the network. You simply create a Standard TCP/IP port on each PC you want to print from and "name" (address) the port to the assigned IP address of the printer. Each PC is independently using the setup as a Local Printer connected on the network. Each PC has equal access to the printer. The printer ques the print jobs and prints them one after another. The software on driver disks from the better printer manufacturers even handles the creation of the TCP/IP ports automatically so it is pretty darned easy.

    Larger organizations may have an existing Print Server for their printers, in that case they load the Standard TCP/IP printer as a Local Printer, then share the printer...and that turns the printer into a Network Printer. The printer is listed as a shared device and the client PC is supplied with the driver files from the Print Server. The advantage is the driver is configured once on the server instead of on every PC which saves a lot of time for the administrator.

    Just look for printers like Classicsoftware and Paul posted with an included NIC and away you go.
    Last edited by PrntRhd; 01-30-2011 at 02:44 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by classicsoftware View Post
    Whyzman: Please I beg of thee, stay away from HP. They suck, their configuration sucks and their reliability is not what it used to be.
    Seriously, Classic, I'm trying to quit!! My printers are all "legacy" devices, HP 4500 Color Laser, and HP 5 Laserjet...well, except for the 7130 (d135) Inkjet AIO that serves as a constant reminder and irritant of whereof you speak...

    Do not venture here unless you are prepared for, for...."Hewlett Packard Officejet 7130 Runaround" http://www.pcguide.com/vb/showthread...highlight=d135
    Last edited by Whyzman; 01-30-2011 at 02:54 PM.
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrntRhd View Post
    I hope I am not repeating myself
    No, some of what you are saying was info privately disclosed via PM...

    In retrospect, I thought some of the "misgivings" I had might have value if aired to the forum. There might be others stumbling around and tripping over their ethernet cables...

    You've dotted the i and crossed the t in regard to what I was surmising about the JetDirect technology and its transitional use with my HP 5 legacy printer. The same must also be true with my HP 4500 which also has an LPT port. The wireless Linksys Print Server I purchased came equipped with a parallel port to be able to connect it to my network....so do we call this a wireless NIC card, as well as a Print Server??

    Is a Print Server just a name used for an NIC adapter that then makes a device, better, a legacy device, network capable?

    No, you're not repeating yourself...just helping me clear the cob webs...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  16. #16
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    The Linksys device you named is considered a "network print server appliance".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Print_Server

    The modern printers that have NIC capability do not require a print server at all. You can connect and print to them directly on any Ethernet network.

    I meant repeating myself in this thread.

    I do own a HP color laser printer using TCP/IP. I understand Classicsoftware's comments re configuration since I had to work to do a Custom installation to connect it without loading a bunch of crap, the default configuration really sucked, and included nags to sell me more HP supplies and "keep my drivers up to date".
    Unnecessarily difficult but it has been reliable since I figured out the custom configuration on the third attempt.

    Unlike some earlier HP printers that said they were empty of toner with 25% remaining mine actually is accurate. No shaking the old cartridge and reinstall is required. (I PMed you who makes this one for HP).
    Last edited by PrntRhd; 01-30-2011 at 03:35 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrntRhd View Post
    I meant repeating myself in this thread.
    Hmmm...nope, I don't think you have...

    Oh yeah, configuring... My HP 5 Laserjet with the JetDirect was having some issues with DHCP, so I opted for a static IP. Very interesting taking a legacy device through such a configuration. 'Twas a very interesting learning curve I'd like to forget!

    I read the link you set above. Yep, it appears that what is being referred to as a Print Server,whether hard wired or wireless, is simply a NIC card that can adapt to whatever connections the printer has available, RJ45, USB, Parallel...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  18. #18
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    Paul, I took a look at your link for the 1320CN. Indeed, they do not appear to be available here other than as a 1320C. However, when I look at the specs for the 1320C it says it has: Interface: USB 2.0, Ethernet 10/100Base-TX (CABLES NOT INCLUDED)

    http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Color-Las...=cm_cr_pr_pb_t
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  19. #19
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    Ethernet 10/100Base-TX (CABLES NOT INCLUDED)
    I just know there are two models the 1320C and the 1320CN. Let the buyer beware. If there really is an Ethernet interface then it should attach to a router in straightforward fashion but that is not absolutely clear from the amazon.com blurb.

    Printer sharing (a printer attached to a PC and then shared just as folders can be shared) on a network is different from having a standalone printer on the network - be it wired or wifi - but directly attached to a router. It should also be stated that there are also specific routers that can become print servers by having, for example, USB ports on them to which a printer can be attached and thus "transforming" the router into a print server.

    It may all sound a bit confusing but a printer that is attached (by whatever means via a router) to a LAN has the great advantage that no particular PC needs to be powered-on for that printer to be always available on the network. It should also be said that each PC needing to access a network printer must have installed the approriate software/drivers for it to become functional.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Komski View Post
    Let the buyer beware.
    Indeed, found this in the 1320C manual...At least an adapter is available if it is not purchased equipped out of the box.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  21. #21
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    The "network adapter" is actually the NIC card.
    On the type-A printer it is an Option that you have to purchase. It only comes standard with USB.

    On the Type-B it already comes with the NIC card installed.
    It comes with USB as well..
    Last edited by PrntRhd; 01-30-2011 at 10:38 PM.

  22. #22
    These network-based printers are news to me (well it's not like I've been keeping up with the hardware... ) ...but my old Panasonic laser printer from 1995 had a SCSI interface which striuck me as very strange.

  23. #23
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    but my old Panasonic laser printer from 1995 had a SCSI interface which striuck me as very strange
    There certainly were both SCSI printers and SCSI scanners too but most attached to desktop workstations using a SCSI to Parallel Port adapter. Servers with a SCSI interface could daisy-chain such devices together and the devices themselves would have had two ports on them to allow this and with the final device in the chain needing the redundant port to be terminated.
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  24. #24
    Just my 5 cents(inflation) is that the Brothers are very good. Just look for one that has the individual CMY inkjet cartridges.

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