I hate printers. I hate HPs bloated and bug-infested drivers, and I hate Xerox’s blatant fraud over their ’empty’ toner cartridges. However, what I especially hate about printers is that we have so damned many of them.
We have 61 printers currently in use in the school. Compare this with the fact that we only have about 90 staff, and those numbers are somewhat ridiculous. 41 of those printers are inkjets, which are awful quality and expensive to run. There are also so many different models of printers that I have 58 different types of consumables to keep stock of. The budget for consumables (decided before I was hired) ran out in February, despite the fact that I changed supplier the moment I arrived and have reduced our per-unit costs by about 20%.
Recently I put a proposal to staff to scrap all of the inkjet printers in classrooms and replace them with shared colour laser printers, at a ratio of roughly 1 printer per 3-4 classrooms.
20% of staff voted in the ‘over my dead body’ category. I’m starting to think their conditions may be acceptable.
You may recall my post last year about how much toner appeared to be left in a Xerox 6125 toner cartridge that the printer was reporting as ’empty’. Though much delayed, I have now quantified the leftovers, and the results are startling.
Xerox are ripping me off. Big time.
I weighed a yellow cartridge (P/N 106R01333) when it was full, fitted it and ran it until the printer spat it out as empty, then weighed it again to determine how much mass it had lost through toner being used. I then emptied as much remaining toner as I could without breaking into the cartridge, and weighed the cartridge a third time. (I also weighed the extracted leftover toner to double check).
Here’s what I found:
|Full cartridge||83.3 g|
|‘Empty’ cartridge||75.3 g|
|Actual empty cartridge||71.0 g|
|Toner used||8.0 g|
|Toner remaining||4.3 g|
|Total toner||12.3 g|
That’s right: this crooked printer is reporting the cartridge as empty when there is still an entire third of the toner remaining inside the cartridge!
I recently bought a Xerox Phaser 6125N for the school, as a result of good experiences with similar Xerox printers at previous schools. This one, however, had started to concern me as it seemed that the toner cartridges were reporting as empty when they still had a bit left in them. I knew this because the cartridges on these printers are very simple; they don’t incorporate the image transfer components like so many of Xerox’s competitors, and opening them is as simple as sliding a small trapdoor open by hand.
Last week, I did a little experiment. I borrowed a Petri dish from the science prep room, and used a funnel to shake out what was left in an ’empty’ cartridge into the dish.
Now clearly this isn’t a mountain of toner, but it is significant, and more than I was expecting. Next week when I have more time I intend to weigh both a full and ’empty’ cartridge to find out the weight difference between the two, then weigh this residue to see what percentage is being left over. Care to place any bets?
In the last week I have reduced the number of printers in the school by six. That may not seem like much, but bear in mind that no-one has gone without as a result, and you begin to understand the reason why we have been spending so much on consumables. We have printers coming out of our ears.
All of these now-retired printers are HP. Which leaves me with a happy feeling inside.
What does not leave me with happy feeling inside is that every time I have gone to remove the various bits of HP software from the workstations, I have ended up having to resort to Autoruns, the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility, and hard file deletions to get rid of them after the uninstall programs largely failed to even run, let alone do anything remotely resembling an uninstall.
Did you know that the HP Deskjet D2460 software CD installs more than 20 component pieces of software, only 2 of which have functioning uninstallers, and most of which are completely hidden from Add/Remove Programs entirely? This is the sort of ridiculous obscenity you only truly learn about when you have to start digging through said obscenity in a titanic struggle to pry your computer from its slavering, undying jaws, the obsidian tendrils of its CLSIDs clinging desperately to the last remaining vestiges of its sundered registry keys.
Today I installed what I intend to be the first of many Xerox colour laser printers in the school. The driver download was a grand total of 2.6MB. By comparison, the smallest driver download for the D2460 is 36.0MB.
THIRTY-SIX MEGABYTES. For a DRIVER.
Guess which one of these printers works better?