Category Archives: Printers

Dell 1320C Colour Laser Printer

Here is the other printer I will be throwing out:

The Dell 1320C Colour Laser Printer

This is a fantastic printer, and has served me well for around 2 years. I’ve even written evangelical product reviews about it on websites. But now the black is printing as light grey and despite changing the toner cartridge, makes no difference. All forums point to the PHD unit being on the way out, but as these cost more than a new printer, you’d just throw the whole thing away, don’t you? No point bothering, unless you’re a eco-warrior. What a waste. It’s been squeaking and whistling for a while now anyway – had no idea where to oil it so couldn’t do anything about it. Problem is that I have 5 spare toners for each of the 4 colours left! I got my mum the exact same printer upstairs, so she’ll be able to use them I hope.

So, it’s back to the HP2600N which worked fine and gave me a worrying message saying the toner was running out about 2 years ago (hence me buying the Dell). Upon later investigation, there was 38% capacity left in each toner cartridge, so needn’t have even bothered. Silly printers. Bane of my bloody life sometimes, they are, ain’t no mistake.

****UPDATE TO POST 3 MONTHS ON ****

The Dell 1320C has stopped sqeaking of its own accord (perhaps it reads this blog down the CAT5 network cable?!), a new black toner appears to have fixed the problem (you have to let it do a number of prints before any difference is visible). On large black solid areas it’s still not deep black, but it’s hardly noticeable now. So all is forgiven and I’m able to get through the rest of the toners I have in stock. Hurrah!

****UPDATE TO POST 1 YEAR ON ****

It doesn’t squeak. The black is black. But red is light orange! Gah! Have replaced all toners, hoovered out the front and inside the rollers etc as suggested on a number of websites where other owners are having similar issues, but to no avail. Replacing the expensive PHD unit appears to be the suggested fix by Dell but doesn’t seem to work in most cases. So I have bought another printer to replace it. More on that in a future post.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Printers

Kodak ESP 3250 Printer – RUBBISH!

This week I will be throwing out 2 printers. Here’s the gen on the first one:

The Kodak ESP 3250 

We bought this from Staples as a photocopier. We brought it home and it refused to set-up correctly, always saying “Error: Paper Jam, remove rear access cover, Clear all paper, attach cover, press OK to continue”. We took it back to Staples who swapped it for another one. This one worked ok, but I noticed that even though we’d never printed anything in colour, and had switched off colour printing altogether, the colour ink cartridge status level slowly went down. It must be a year or two since I used it, and now both levels are down to half, despite having only made about 10 black & white copies on the thing. I’m trying to print something via the computer now, and this new one is giving me the paper jam error message again. I simply can’t be arsed – these things use ink when you’re not even printing, and go wrong too often. I will never buy Kodak printers again. Totally shit.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Printers

Thermal printers

When you just want to print off little notes or things, I always hate to print to the (fantastic) Dell Colour Laser 1320CN printer because you’re ‘wasting’ a sheet of paper for something so small in the corner, and it’s having to heat-up and cool down. I’m not bothered about the energy consumption (which goes over 1.2kW at its peak) but just the wear-and-tear on the parts the get hot and cold. So, my theory was to buy a thermal receipt printer (just like you get in shops and supermarkets when they print out the receipt) which doesn’t need to heat-up in the traditional sense, or indeed use a full sheet of paper just to print a couple of lines of text. So I uhmmed and ahhed for a while, then ordered an Epson TM-T20 thermal receipt printer from ERS (£142 ish). There were some on eBay for £50, used but with a serial cable connector and my PC doesn’t have one of those anymore.

I received it yesterday. It was easy to install and I was surprised at the number of customisable features it has. I’m not using it in a particularly traditional sense for what it was designed for. I’m not doing hundreds of receipts every day using a till. I’m printing bits and bobs off a few times a day. Is it ‘green’? Well, I suppose it is because you’re saving paper and energy and toner cartridges. Thermal printers simply heat the paper to make it go black, so you don’t need toner – just the thermal paper. I’m not an eco warrior at all, and the initial investment cost won’t really be recouped until you’ve printed out TONS on it. I bought a box of 20 x 80mm wide thermal paper rolls which I think will last me into retirement. But they are only £1 each and are many tens of metres long. The printer cuts the paper after printing, and you can store a number of logos or graphics in the printer itself which are automatically printed at the beginning or end of the job.

You don’t realise how good these printers are until you have one. They open up a world of possibilities. Small businesses could use them to print receipts quickly (they do print out the job very quickly by the way). They could also be used to send jobs or packing lists downstairs to their factory or packing area. You can set the printer to make a loud beeping noise once it has finished printing, alerting them to a task that needs fulfilling. This would be great for restaurants or hotels too for food orders. A wi-fi and ethernet version is also available, so it could be placed further away from the ‘sending’ computer. But, perhaps if the paper was 2 or 3 times the width, they would be great for domestic use – shopping lists, emails, order confirmations from amazon, etc. Maybe not letters or CVs or photos or school projects, but virtually everything else.

I’ve often wondered why normal A4 paper isn’t 40gsm as a standard with instead of 80gsm – it fulfills the exact same purpose, but uses half the amount of trees to make (and presumably would therefore be cheaper to buy?). Then I’ve wondered why A5 isn’t a commonly used alternative paper size — let’s be honest, the majority of non-work print-outs you do could be fitted onto a piece of A5 paper instead of A4, right? Just a slightly smaller font size and moving things closer together.

A4 thermal printers are available, and people like Screwfix use them, but I’m not sure of the cost of the paper. The printers are about £300 – £400.

So, in conclusion, this Epson TM-T20 thermal receipt printer is great.

Update Feb 2017:
This printer suddenly stopped working. No idea why — Power is on, installing it on different computers makes no difference. No error message, connection problem or anything — just simply won’t print. Gone back to printing with my standard A4 laser printer now.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Printers