We’re a mostly paperless household. But we do print things occasionally. We’ve got a bunch of ink jet printers, but only one laser printer.
The collecetion of ink jet printers stems from wanting quality out of the newest generations, combined with the spurts of activity for which they get used. During the bursts, losts of things get printed, including things to remember, things to sign and mail, and photos. Usually lots of photos. Then the need abates, and the printer sits idle. Both the ink gunks up, the printer gets dusty and crusty inside, and new printers have higher speed or better resolution, and often cost about what a new set of quality cartridges for the old printer do.
Not the laser printer. We bought a tough little workspace HP LaserJet 1100A, with a copy/scanner attachment. It was never used for scanning, but it did make decent copies. We bought that in like 1995. It’s gotten the most basic of service, in the form of compressed air and a Swiffer duster. Its toner cartridge lasts forever. It’s old enough that we had to buy an external network adapter, or run it shared off of a workstation (before they stopped having parallel ports). It, too, sits idle for weeks or months at a stretch, but fired up and worked, every time.
Until it didn’t.
Some time during our social distancing, otherwise known as April, it stopped feeding paper through. It had been a little cranky before with the one or two printings, but after pulling the first couple jammed pages through, it seemed fixed by re-seating the paper in its (vertical) feeder before printing. It made sense; the paper would sit there for long periods and compress or whatever. Re-seating it seemed to do the trick.
Until it didn’t.
In the last attempt to print a simple thing, clearing the paper jams didn’t do the trick. Feeding in just one sheet didn’t do the trick. A blow-off of the dust, and even a gentle wipe-down of the rollers didn’t do the trick.
Decisions were made.
It was suggested to just use the ink jet. That’s fine, but it’s slow and noisy and you need to wait for the ink to dry, and other quibbling objections.
I peeked, and there’s another highly rated line of HP LaserJet printers for not a lot of dollars. I ordered one, and a full-sized toner cartridge (knowing it comes with a smaller started) that should last me through the whole virus timing, or a couple years, whichever finishes last. It’s got native support for Linux, probably through generic PS or LS commands.
I even slept on it before ordering. And then I slept on it for a day after it arrived. Yeah, I want the pluses of the Laser Jet.
It took longer to remove the old one, and clean the thick dust from beneath where it’s been sitting for many years, than it did to set up the new one.
I removed all of the orange helper tape, and opened all of the doors looking for more. I struggled, and couldn’t get the toner cartridge out, but didn’t see any tape in there. I cracked the manual and it had arrows pointing to all of the places I’d already been, so I figured I was good. I plugged it into the Ethernet (despite having WiFi, too) and the power, and turned it on. It groaned and grinded a little bit, presumably cleaning its gears. I was curious if I didn’t miss something, but eventually it settled. I long-pressed the button on the front, and it spit out three pages of printer status in two short shakes.
I went to the WiFi adapter to give it a different static IP, outside the DHCP range, but it wouldn’t respond for some reason. I tried the IP address on the status sheet and was pleasantly rewarded with a full web UI. I was able to change the IP address there.
Before I could configure my desktop, I was called for dinner. Then to give the kids a bath. I did restart my router, but will have to finish the configuration on my desktop and the others later.