When it rains, I get wet

It rained today. I got wet.

Oh, and we discovered that my HP LaserJet 4m printer, age 13 & 1/2 years, will not power up anymore. I think the brownout we had killed it dead, which is odd, because it’s on a surge-protected line. I guess the printer had it coming.

Every Schlock Mercenary strip you’ve ever read — EVERY LAST ONE — began life as a script that was printed with that printer. It’s the end of an era, I tell you. (Maybe I can sign the printer in sharpie and sell it to a museum…)

It’s also just a little bit inconvenient. I’ve only got four scripts left to pencil before I have to print more, and I’ve nothing to print them with. So… I’m buying a new printer, and paying for 2-day shipping. There goes the first $500 of pre-order revenue, right there. I’m buying a Hewlett-Packard Color LaserJet 2605DN. 12pp per minute, and supposedly good for 2500 b/w pages on the black cartridge. The color cartridges are less likely to last as long, as they’re only rated for 2000 pages — at 5% coverage, saith the fine print. I think that means I can print exactly 20 pages each of full-fill cyan, magenta, and yellow. After that I get to spend $240 on refills. But who knows? Maybe I can sell a few “Limited Edition Prints” and keep myself in toner indefinitely.

Hope springs eternal. Which is nice, because when it rains, I get wet.

29 thoughts on “When it rains, I get wet”

  1. We got a HP Color Laserjet 2600n last year. Very nice printer. Good quality pages. And for the cost of the toner cartriges, it was like buying the first set of cartridges and getting the printer for free. We’ve had it over a year and still haven’t run out of any of our toner colors. YMMV.


  2. Well, a surge protected line protects against voltage spikes, not voltage drops. A UPS would have protected the printer (and everything else) from low voltage.
    After that I get to spend $240 on refills.
    I think I choked a bit on that. Wow.

    1. A UPS would have protected the printer (and everything else) from low voltage.

      Negative, Ghostrider. A laser printer is one device you don’t put on a Battery backup. Laser printers generally pull enough amperage when they start printing to cause the controller on a ups unit to have a fit.

      Putting a computer on a UPS? Heck yes. My unix machine lives on one along with all my network gear. but not a laser printer.

      APC’s recommendation for laser printers:

      1. Also:

        My lexmark Optra R (may it rest in piece) ran me over $200 for a new toner cartridge when I needed it. And it’s black and white.

      2. Interesting. We ship them with laser printers all the time, I wonder if they actually use them though (we’re not actually shipping the laser printer and a UPS together, there just happen to be 3 UPSs in the order with the laser printer). I can see how what you say would be true though.

      3. I think they weren’t suggesting that Howard PRINT while using the UPS, but simply use it to protect the printer…

        If that makes any sense…

    2. A UPS would have protected the printer (and everything else) from low voltage.

      If it was a big enough UPS. If you want other equipment on it too, probably not less than an APC Matrix 5000. A laser printer can draw as much as couple of kilowatts on startup, while it’s heating the fuser.

      I wouldn’t put my LaserJet 4DM Plus on my main UPS, and it’s a 3KVA UPS.

  3. Maybe I can sign the printer in sharpie and sell it to a museum…

    If you’re smart about it, you’ll sign it and put it up on E-Bay or the equivalent. How much do we the fans pay for artwork? Now, how much more do you think one of us is likely to pay for a piece of history like that?

    1. I was going to say the exact same thing. Shoot, the printer that printed every single Schlock script for the first… six years, is it? That thing could put your kids through college!

  4. So… what…. 50 sketch copies? That’ll be like what/…. The first 4 minutes?


    Sorry to hear about the passing of the printer…

    You know you could have gotten some over-night scripts sent, right? 🙂 to buy you a couple of days/weeks (depending on your current script surplus)…

    Also… I need to start remembering I changed my default Icon to something Sandra would be annoyed to see….

  5. Man, I thought my printer ink cost too much! Perhaps you can find places that refill ink for less? Or perhaps places on line that have the ink for less… I found ink for the mail station at work on line for 1/3 of the retail price at The Supply Guys.

    1. Toner cartridges will typically cost about twice to three times as much as inkjet carts, but they last about 5 – 10 times as long. It’s actually cheaper over the long haul to print color on a laser printer then inkjet.

      lessee… 2000 pages , $240 for a set of toner? that’s 12 cents a page. Not too shabby, really.

      I did a cost comparison a while back and found that the cheapest printer to buy on the market then (a QMS/Minolta Magicolor 2350) was the most expensive to run at nearly 30 cents a page. HP fell into the middle, and the cheapest was Kyocera (which I later removed due to the number of service calls that we had on the silly thing) at 6 cents a page. HP was right in the midde there, and still is.

      ::puts on offical printer service tech hat:: While The official party line is that “thou shalt use OEM supplies in your printer 100% of the time”, you can sometimes get away with refills if you find a reputable supplier. That that’s material for whole other post. 🙂

        1. Yes, although the LIght sensitive drum (the OPC) can degrade over several years if the device is not used a lot.

          that’s what doomed my Optra and it’s mightily expensive toner carts. 🙁

  6. Thought you might find this amusing, my roomies printer got shorted out because of a power storm and brown out that we had, so we went out and bought a new printer but didn’t ever get around to setting it up ’cause life was crazy and we weren’t printing anything. Then about a month later, we had yet another electrical storm and brown out and a few minutes later, I hear something printing and low and behold the printer came back to life. We now have a Frankenstein printer. IT’S ALIVE!!!!

  7. 1) I remember when I was a freshman in college (92-93) and you were showing me that printer — you printed a giant Times New Roman “a” that filled the page, and pointed out the lack of any jaggies whatsoever. That’s almost half my lifetime ago.

    2) I have free 2-day shipping from Amazon if it’s not too late to cancel your order. Yay Amazon Prime!

    3) My old boss had a friend who worked at Canon, who said that his boss said “We don’t sell printers, people! We sell ink vending machines!”

    1. +1 bazzzilion on statement #3, says the printer tech. 🙂

      I tell everyone who asks me what printer they should buy to look at the cost of the ink/toner/consumables for it first, to make sure they know what they are getting into. 🙂

      Lexmark had a nice scam running a few years ago where they would sell the printer for $50, but a set of ink carts for it ran somewhere around $70. And they were the chip encoded ones that they got into legal troubles with later, IIRC. But then, we have several HP 4100 multi function devices at work that will actively tell you that you’s stuck a refilled cart in it and disable economode. ::rolls eyes::

      1. Yeah, when I bought my Dell, they threw in a free printer. “Can I just get a discount on the computer?” “Good heavens, no. Oh, and you will need to buy a USB cable.”

        Well, I had a USB cable, so I didn’t have to buy anything, but I still didn’t want to get roped into their scam. “Oh, you’re low on ink! Click here to have your account charged so we can send you a new cartridge!” Wow, that IS user-friendly.

        Basically we hooked it up, ran it dry, and now it sits in my closet awaiting an uncertain fate.

        1. FUnny you should mention that. Dell printers are re-badged Lexmarks with the approipriate firmware “adjustments”. ::grin::

  8. I lucked into a Tektronix Phaser 850 DP at a local second hand electronics place. It uses a “different” technology. It’s a dye sublimation printer. Instead of toner it uses these blocks of wax about the size of the larger ink cartridges some printers use. 1200×600 dpi.

    It’s slow (2 ppm in photo mode, 16 in low quality mode). But I’m nly going to use it for color stuff. My ancient LaserJet II will do for b&w text.

    package of 5 inksticks of one color (cyan, magenta or blue) plus a pair of black ones, run about $100. Iv’e printed a lot more than 20 photo mode pages with little consumption of the sticks. 🙂

    On the other hand the ing is *heavy* (much heavier than my ancient laserjet). And I’m told they are power hogs.

    But it’s a *nice* printer and only cost me $300. And I can truthull say I own a phaser. 🙂

    Xerox took the Phaser line over from Tektronix, and ther current equivalent of my unit is the Phaser 8550 (I think).

    *Way* high end. But if you are ever feeling rich… 🙂

    1. If I ever start doing print-on-demand posters I’ll probably be looking into high-end printers like yours. It’s only a matter of time, really…

      1. Well, the one “downside” to the Phaser’s output is that you can *scratch* the image with a fingernail. So possibly not suited to posters.

        I’d probably have not gone for it myself, but that $300 was too tempting. Especially after having to throw out yet another $40 ink cartridge that’d dried out after barely being used.

        When looking for supplies for mine, I saw several on ebay for about the same price. But with the shipping being over $100, that’s a significant factor.

        I have a few evil ideas for the local con next month though. Things like “Antimatter” hazard warning signs. 🙂

  9. Math…

    Maybe I’m doing the math wrong, but it looks to me like 2000 pages at 5% fill works out to 100 pages at 100% fill. And, being that any given color probably only fills about 25-50% of a given page (all three doing full fill would, of course, be black), you’re probably looking at about 200-400 good, solid full-color prints before it runs dry.

    In theory. Very curious to see how it turns out in practice. 🙂

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