January 7th, 2007

Kevin Standlee

Printer Daze

Our old Epson C80 ran out of color ink a few days ago, so we got refills. Almost immediately afterwards, the ink nozzles clogged (although they weren't in great shape before that), and no amount of running the clearing utility would fix them. Investigating, we found cleaning kits on-line, although they do involve a lot of poking around the innards of the printer.

We've been considering replacing that printer anyway, as Cheryl needs a more robust multi-function machine for her business, so we went to Fry's on Saturday. We ended up buying a more expensive machine than we originally expected to get, mainly because being able to connect it to our wireless network saves us having to spend money for a new hub. (We've maxed the ports on the existing wireless/wired router.) The cost of the more feature-laden printer was about the same as the less-loaded printer and the additional hardware we would have needed to buy to attach it to our home network. It has a bunch of ports and slots for inserting memory cards from digital cameras, although I don't foresee using them that much -- the main use will be for printing documents and using it as a fax machine, and maybe some single-sheet copy jobs now and then.

So now we have a HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-one printer, including copying, faxing, and photo-printing. We spent some time today getting the thing running. Actually unpacking it, plugging in all of the cables, installing the seven (yes, seven) ink cartridges), etc. wasn't so bad. Having to enter the WEP key was a bit of a pain, but at least only has to be done once. But getting the drivers to install was a lot of work. The first two attempts on my laptop failed completely. It went a bit faster on Cheryl's machines. She loaned me a copy of her registry-cleaning software -- my machine was a mess -- and eventually I was also able to get the drivers installed and the printer is now accessible from all sides.

We hope this printer lasts longer and is less troublesome than the C80. I'm still contemplating buying the cleaning kit and seeing if I can get the Epson working again, but only if I can think of a use for it after it's working.
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