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05 January 2011 @ 06:33 pm
)#$%& printer  

We have an Epson RX425, which is a 5 year old color laserjet. It should be in more or less perfect condition, because we only had ink for it for about, oh, four months, and the rest of the time it’s mostly been used only as a scanner. But I got new ink for it, and after an exceedingly frustrating couple hours of running color test pages, I finally got all four cartridges to actually print their little wavy lines that indicated yes, they were all functional.

Literally immediately upon managing this, the printer announced it was out of ink and will not print anything at all. Now, not only are they brand-new (and brand-name) cartridges so they shouldn’t be out of ink, if I shake the little fuckers I can hear the ink sloshing around. Shaking, however, does not loosen whatever is causing the printer to think it has no ink. Neither does hitting it, swearing at it, or rebooting it.

Does anybody have *any* goddamned clue what I should try next? Don’t suggest defenestrating, because I’m already pissed off and have no sense of humor left about this.

(x-posted from the essential kit)
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on January 5th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
Good idea. It didn't work, but it was a good idea. I don't know how to get to the underside of the print head without disassembling the printer, but where they punch into the cartridges was easy to reach and easy enough to clean. Thanks for the suggestion.
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on January 5th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
It wasn't that we had no issues, it's that we didn't use the damned thing except to scan. I mean, it worked fine for that. We have another printer for my manuscripts. It's just we barely used it for its intended purpose, so really it's been a paperweight for five years.
R. Scott Shanks, Jr.mnarra on January 5th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
If the printer is that old, the contacts may have begun to tarnish. You can remove the ink cartridges and clean the contact pads -- gently -- with a pencil eraser, then follow up with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol. Let everything dry well before you put the cartridges back.

--Scott, former printer repair technician
kitmizkit on January 5th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
Ah. Okay. I'll try that. Thanks.
Cymru Llewescymrullewes on January 5th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
By brand-name cartridges, do you mean that they are Samsung cartridges? We've occasionally had issues where a printer wouldn't recognize cartridges because they weren't Original Equipment Manufacture. Other than that, the first commenter and the former-printer-repair-technician covered my suggestions for fixing it.
Cymru Llewescymrullewes on January 5th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
Sorry. I meant Epsom. (someone else was complaining about a Samsung.)
Ellen Millionellenmillion on January 5th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, what mnarra says. Additionally, you are always able to hear ink sloshing when they are 'empty.' It is questionable whether or not this is a squeezing tactic on the part of the ink manufacturer - there was a lawsuit to that end a while back, but I think Epson won, because they charge you for the amount you can USE, not the amount you get. Something about damaging your print heads if you run them dry, so it's a risk/benefit thing.

There is a chip on the cartridge, if the internal program THINKS it's dry, that's when it seizes. There IS a 'chip re-setter' on the market, which you can buy to reset the cartridge and then run dry - you just need to keep a keen eye on the prints coming out, because it won't warn you when it really does run out. I do not use this, and won't, despite paying a gawdawful $900 to recharge my printer with ink. It's not worth the risk to me.

(Also, this isn't really a laserjet, is it? Because lasers use dry toners and should never, ever slosh...)

Edited at 2011-01-05 06:27 pm (UTC)
kitmizkit on January 5th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
Inkjet. I meant inkjet.

THey're brand new goddamned cartridges. I don't see how they could be empty. They've printed, let me count, ah, yes, nine tiny sets of squiggly lines.

I should've just bought a new fucking printer, apparently. *rages*
Ellen Millionellenmillion on January 5th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Heh. Added more as you were posting. And yes, after that long, it's almost worth a new printer sometimes - they usually sell you the printer at a loss, or close-to, and squeeze you with the ink. The cleaning process uses a lot of ink, it's not just what got printed, they flush the ink through teeny tubes a bunch of times into a pad to clear out clogs.
Ellen Millionellenmillion on January 5th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, and yes, doing that many head cleaning runs CAN run cartridges dry, not surprising for sitting empty that long. You are not only cleaning out clogs that have occurred, but also re-charging a completely empty system. You had to fill all the dry cavities that developed. It's frustrating, and one reason I will boot up at least once a week and do some minimal little test page rather than face a serious head cleaning.
kitmizkit on January 5th, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck *fuck*.
Ellen Millionellenmillion on January 5th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
Sorry not to have better news. :( I remember learning this and having the same general reaction.
kitmizkit on January 5th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
It's better to have it than not, but *fuck*.
Dan/Дмитрийicedrake on January 5th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
If all else fails, see here: http://www.fixyourownprinter.com/forums/printer/39568

(about halfway down the page, they recommend two utilities to essentially lie to your printer)

The replacement cost the Epson with a newer printer is somewhere around GBP50-75, from what I'm seeing on Amazon UK. Last time we were faced with a significant cost for parts replacement to keep the old printer functional, we did exactly that.
Autopopeautopope on January 5th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
Recommendation? If you're thinking about replacing the printer and you need colour, consider upgrading to a colour laser printer (not an inkjet). Prices start around £130 over here (as opposed to £35 for a cheap colour inkjet) and cartridges cost substantially more when you need to replace them, but they take sitting still for a few months a lot better, and if you can get 5000 pages out of a set of four cartridges (£180 quid) rather than 500 pages out of a set of four ink cans (£50 quid) you're ahead in the long term.

(But always, always, try and calculate the cost-per-page before you buy a printer. It can vary by an order of magnitude or more.)
Ellen Millionellenmillion on January 5th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
I'll second this, if you're looking for general printouts. Lasers aren't consistent enough for art quality prints, but I do everything else (including all of my magnets, cards, etc, when I was doing those) with the laser. More startup, but much friendlier in terms of cost to use, and much more able to deal with neglect.
deliiriadeliiria on January 5th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
...and you only actually get that 500 pages if you print them shortly after you've put the ink in. if you're like me, and you only print something about once a month, you're lucky to get 100 pages from your ink, and a good percentage of them will be those testing to see if the ink still works pages :p

I <3 my laserjet printer.
deliiriadeliiria on January 5th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
not that it helps you at the moment, but I would recommend junking your inkjet printer and buying a laserjet, especially if you don't print very often. about the only advantage to having an inkjet printer is the ability to print photos... and even then, I think it's less expensive, the quality is better and you have more options for things like finishes and paper type if you order from somewhere online.

on the surface, the toner cartridges are more expensive, but in actuality, they end up being super cheap compared to ink cartridges. we bought a new printer about 2 years ago and we haven't even had to replace the sample-sized toner cartridges that came with it... by this point, we'd have had to replace the ink at least 3 or 4 times, if not more. and even if I haven't printed anything in a month or more, I never have to worry about whether or not the damn ink has dried out - the toner cartridges just print.
anthony_lionanthony_lion on January 5th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)

I haven't had an inkjet I haven't loathed, except the old Canon BJC 10sx, and that was a B/W type.
(The first that was compact, affordable, and did decent prints)

A GOOD colour laser and decent paper can make pretty spectacular prints.
Get the most expensive model you can afford. The cheapest may have carts limited to 1200 or 2000 pages, but 'office models' usualy do 5000 or more pages.
Also, if it's a HP model, makecertain to buy Black toner with an 'X' at the end of the type number, instead of an 'A' as they are double capacity cartridges. But not double the price)
Harold Zablehzatz on January 5th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)

I still have the Konica Minolta color laser printer we bought when preparing my wedding programs, some six years ago. (The previous Epson ink jet printer stopped feeding properly while working on thick paper.) Aside from arguing with the printer on the page counts--and it actually has a mode that lets you keep printing even when it thinks it's out of toner--it's worked fine and printed everything we've needed. Without having to replace toner.
Harold Zablehzatz on January 5th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
So, what sorts of things can you actually spell with @#$%^? Has anyone built up a table?

! = i/l
@ = a
# = h
$ = s
% = oo
& = E

@$$#%!& seems workable. $#!( almost works. Any other profanities would get difficult. Right?