An open community 
of Macintosh users,
for Macintosh users.

FineTunedMac Dashboard widget now available! Download Here

Topic Options
#51307 - 03/12/19 08:45 AM The dizzying world of printers
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I've been reading a lot about printers. Most of you know this already.

When my Epson Workforce started printing horizontal lines through photos, what they call banding, I tried the usual suggestions. Some of these, such as built-in diagnostics like head cleaning and aligning, are counterproductive because they use a lot of ink and rarely fix the problem. The fact is, over time ink jet printer heads get clogged. You might think it's a dried out ink tank, but it's the heads. For some reason I've seen the most amount of complaints about Epson, but it happens to all of them.

This means ink jet printers have an expiration date that's probably sooner than other computer products, though that's always a dicey judgment in today's world where everything is made to be disposed of as quickly as possible.

I watched YouTube videos where people have successfully cleaned the heads of their printers with alcohol using various methods. Hasn't worked for me.

Some on the internet suggest you solve this problem by printing your photos at a local pharmacy. They insist it's cheaper. I don't know, I've never tried it, but these people miss the point of owning an inkjet in the first place—the convenience of printing photos at home instead of having to get in the car and make one more trip. These people also fail to distinguish between different kinds of photos. There's a wide spectrum of uses between a professionally done photo with a high end camera, on one hand, and photos of my nephews snapped quickly with an iphone. The latter seem suited for a home printer—unless you get banding. I don't print many photos, and I don't want to drive to the pharmacy.

One choice is accepting I will have to buy an inkjet printer every few years, something I have trouble with for many reasons. Regardless, it doesn't solve the problem of what to buy right now. I still want something reliable.

I looked at color laser printers. But they are large. I use an Epson all-in-one, and the color laser all in one printers I've seen are huge. They are intended for offices, but many people have been buying them for home use because they last longer. Although laser toner is expensive, it doesn't dry out like the liquid in ink jet printers, making me consider a high volume printer for low volume printing. Things that make you go hmm. In the long run it may be cheaper. It's hard to say because there are other considerations. Someone like me with a bad back probably ought not to lift one or carry it. You need a big solid workspace to support about 50 pounds. Like copy machines, laser printers have a drum that needs to be replaced, and it's expensive. Laser printers don't print photos as well as inkjets do. If I didn't need color, I would recommend a laser printer to everyone.

Recently companies have pretended to help us by introducing ink-saving technologies. One of these is selling liquid ink instead of ink tanks. You pour the ink into the empty tank. This may save money, but I've never been good at that kind of thing. I'm one of those people who gets my hands dirty. I would probably get color ink on my clothes, the carpet, and my white Westie. I remember the days of copy machine toner. Black powder was always getting spilled even when the cartridges were sealed. Copy machines, too, used the "pour your own powder" approach. Messy.

Other changes from the unfriendly tech world have included the use of touch screens. Some printers have flip up panels with tiny 2 inch screens. For many of us, this means putting on our glasses when we want to use the all in one. As with all touch screens, they are erratic. Press, press, press. No, not that one. Back. Press, press, press. Come on. Press. Flip panels flip down when you press them. So you have to learn to hold it with the left hand hand while pressing with your right. Or you can try holding the panel with your hand and fingers while touching the screen with your thumb. Most cars have touch screens now. So dumb. I would rather use buttons on cars and printers. Why do electric cars have touch screens? Isn't that a waste of electricity?

Last but not least, if your printer driver is flaky, your wireless will be flaky, and every time you print you will get frustrated. I've seen this mentioned in reviews of Brother printers. This hasn't been a problem with my Epson drivers, which have worked nearly always on both Mac and Windows. Cumbersome to set up, but once it is, it works. I certainly don't want bad drivers or flaky wireless connections from the printer. The most difficult troubleshooting I have ever done is for wireless.

I find this whole subject mind boggling. I'm trying to find a printer that isn't worse than what I have.

This isn't progress. It's regress. Our next episode: Are emoticons hieroglyphics?
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

Top
#51308 - 03/12/19 09:24 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
Ira L Online


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
Printers are like Chinese restaurants, cheesecake and bagels: everyone has her or his own personal favorite, and most people won't think your favorite is as good as their own.

Also, remember that printer companies are in the ink business, not the printer business; or so I was told by a printer rep at a trade show. He said if they sold printers at a "normal" retail price they would cost two to three times more.

So having said that, a color laser printer is probably the most cost effective over the (very ) long run. But like you, I am partial to Epson printers for two reasons. They are always easy to set up and compatible with every osMac and the printer drivers are kept current. (OK, that's three reasons for my first reason. smirk ) Second, the Epson ink quality is outstanding. It does not smear or bleed, even if the page gets wet.

With regards to the ink bottle printers, I agree with you from first hand experience. They are messy and the opened ink seems to be perishable. The printer was returned the next day.

Go buy another Epson and don't think twice about it! grin
_________________________
On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.14.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!

Top
#51309 - 03/12/19 09:26 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
I prefer stand-alone printers and scanners. All of the all-in-one's I've had in the past have been disposable garbage. The auto-feed on the scanner is a nice idea but not something I ever need. And space, although it's a bit tight, isn't at a premium here.

So I've bought a black and white laser printer, shortly followed by a color laser printer. No more fighting ink carts, no more-expensive-than-gold ink. No more clogged heads, no more 3-minute-prints, no smudged ink.

Both of my printers are deals from Woot, refurbished Brother laser printers. I'm not a big printer user, so I have yet to need to buy more toner. But the shelf life on what I have is basically infinite, and I can go a month without making a printout with zero worries about clogged print heads. Printouts are fast and sharp. If I need 10 copies of a form for a meeting, they'll be off the printer before I can get my laptop in the bag.

Just get a cheap laser.
_________________________
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

Top
#51319 - 03/12/19 03:08 PM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: Ira L]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Ira L
Printers are like Chinese restaurants, cheesecake and bagels: everyone has her or his own personal favorite, and most people won't think your favorite is as good as their own.

Also, remember that printer companies are in the ink business, not the printer business; or so I was told by a printer rep at a trade show. He said if they sold printers at a "normal" retail price they would cost two to three times more.

Ira is IMHO spot on.

A major criteria for me in choosing any printer is how good is the manufacturer in keeping the drivers up to date with the latest changes in the OS and how long do they support drivers for a particular model. The availability of drivers can often be the limiting factor in the useful life span of a printer. I have had to get rid of printers that were still functional but the available drivers were no longer compatible with the latest release of MacOS. My experience has found Brother and Canon to be the best in this regard.

Most of the studies/reviews I have seen indicate ink jet prints are more expensive on a "per page" basis but have a lower "life cycle" cost because of the significantly lower cost of the printer itself. On the other hand lasers have a definite edge in life cycle costs in high volume situations. An additional cost consideration is the significantly higher per unit cost of toner cartridges. To replace all three cartridges in my old color laser would easily run $200. I switched to all ink jet when I realized one set of laser cartridges cost more than two heavy duty multi-function ink jet printers complete with two sets of high capacity refills each.

A third decision factor is how many photos/images do I print? In my experience I have never seen a desktop laser that can equal the image quality of a good ink jet. In fact I know of several shops that have lasers for most printing but keep multiple ink jets for the sole purpose of printing images. As to the price of printing at home vs. printing at the pharmacy, the pharmacy MAY be less expensive but a good photo printer at home is WAY more convenient. But, if you don't print many photos, the local pharmacy may be the better way to go for that particular task.

COMMENT: No matter what your feelings are about multi-function printers. A year ago, when I went shopping for a new printer, unless I was looking at heavy duty "office" laser printers I was hard pressed to find a decent printer that did not have fax, copy, and scan functions. I ended up buying a more expensive printer than I had planned in order to avoid getting the multi-function features (and undesirable size/form factor).


Edited by joemikeb (03/12/19 03:11 PM)
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#51323 - 03/12/19 04:46 PM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: joemikeb]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I hesitate to this say, but it isn't the cost per se that's the biggest problem. It's the reliability. It's the hassle of having one more thing to baby. Sometime I'll tell you about the Bosch dishwasher I bought and the constant maintenance it requires.

I expected this futuristic world of ours to be "set it and forget it" more than "buy it and tinker with it constantly as though you were a German engineer". More often it's the latter. Moreover, researching products has become almost pointless when there's no consensus and nearly all brands and products have problems.

I was looking at an Epson Workforce until I saw many negative reviews on Amazon, though that's not so unusual anymore. Every time I think about inkjets I think about all the problems. I don't fax or scan much. I don't even know if copy machines are sold anymore, but I do need a copier and printer.

I loathe touch screens. I assume they are ubiquitous because they are cheap. I wonder if cockpits have touch screens. There's a thought that might keep me awake tonight. I've used them on vending machines. Tried to. It's easy to press the wrong number.
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

Top
#51324 - 03/12/19 05:10 PM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: deniro
I watched YouTube videos where people have successfully cleaned the heads of their printers with alcohol using various methods.

This worked for me when I had an inkjet printer, so it may be worth your while to give it a try...

When my cartridges stoped working I nuked them for 3 seconds - but only 1 second at a time or they start sparking...1/0ff/1/off/1/off - and then I wiped them with warm water.

Never failed to get them going again.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

Top
#51325 - 03/13/19 05:57 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: deniro
I hesitate to this say, but it isn't the cost per se that's the biggest problem. It's the reliability. It's the hassle of having one more thing to baby. Sometime I'll tell you about the Bosch dishwasher I bought and the constant maintenance it requires.

I haven't had any problems with the mechanical reliability of printers or computers. I have had failures with cheap third party ink and toner cartridges and I have had printer drivers that failed to work because the manufacturer CHOSE not to update the drivers to work with upgraded versions of the OS, but that is about it other than routine replacement of paper, ink, toner, and other consumables.

Originally Posted By: deniro
I expected this futuristic world of ours to be "set it and forget it" more than "buy it and tinker with it constantly as though you were a German engineer". More often it's the latter. Moreover, researching products has become almost pointless when there's no consensus and nearly all brands and products have problems.

Name one product that doesn't require research before purchasing and where there is even 50% consensus on which manufacturer's product is best. If such a product existed there would be no competition. In fact I would posit that as long as any choice involves humans there will always be different opinions about which is best and all of those opinions will be valid in the eyes of the individual expressing it. Differences of opinion are part and parcel of the human condition.

Originally Posted By: deniro
I was looking at an Epson Workforce until I saw many negative reviews on Amazon, though that's not so unusual anymore. Every time I think about inkjets I think about all the problems. I don't fax or scan much. I don't even know if copy machines are sold anymore, but I do need a copier and printer.

I very seldom send or receive faxes any more, but I use my multi-function device to print, copy, and scan every day. It is very useful.

Originally Posted By: deniro
I loathe touch screens. I assume they are ubiquitous because they are cheap. I wonder if cockpits have touch screens. There's a thought that might keep me awake tonight. I've used them on vending machines. Tried to. It's easy to press the wrong number.

Granted, at my age, I wish the touch screen on my multi-function device were larger and the menus had the benefit of some human factors engineering, but it works where switches could never adequately fill the bill. Touch screens have become ubiquitous because they are far more reliable than mechanical switches as well as being more informative not to mention they are multi-functional which is very useful essential on a multi-function device. The touch screen on my multi-function device would require 40 or more rotary switches, toggles, buttons, etc. to control all of the functions and options and they could never give as much feedback to the user as the touch screen does.

By-the-way, just to keep you awake nights the instrument panels on modern aircraft from the largest airliners down to many two passenger "sport" aircraft are almost entirely "glass" displays. The big guys still have an amazing number of toggles, knobs, and levers but even those are often backed up by computerized stability systems without which the aircraft becomes extremely difficult to fly. The apparent cause of the two recent Boeing 737-800 aircraft was a change in the SOFTWARE that is the "intelligence" behind the stabilization system. Personally I would be very reluctant to fly on any recent Boeing or Airbus product that relied on "steam" gauges and lacked computerized stability assistance. A human pilot might be able to fly the aircraft successfully without that but the work load would be cruely high.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#51328 - 03/13/19 09:26 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: joemikeb]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
You'll get no argument from me that the "softwarizing" of the world has negative consequences.

But to assert that touch screens are more reliable—surely you jest. Ask around. You may be surprised at what you hear. Isn't it obvious? Flip a switch. Press a button. Cf. to touching a semi-responsive screen. Through menus, scrolling, following arrows back and forth, with screen and text that are often hard to read. How can that be progress?

Researching products is also different today. There are web sites such as Fakespot that claim to help you determine whether a review is legitimate or not. That's new.
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

Top
#51339 - 03/16/19 04:12 PM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I talked to someone at Best Buy who said the new Epson eco tanks were spillproof. I watched a video of how they work. It's a possibility.

One drawback of color lasers: can't use glossy paper, must use plain paper.
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

Top
#51340 - 03/17/19 01:17 PM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: deniro
One drawback of color lasers: can't use glossy paper, must use plain paper.

I disagree. It takes some careful looking to find and it may not be in stock at your local office supply, but I have found and used glossy laser paper.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#51342 - 03/18/19 07:15 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: joemikeb]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
Very interesting. I'm glad you mentioned that. I'm still debating ink jet versus laser. Whenever I read reviews I change my mind. The Epson Workforce series, once reliable, has really been taking a beating in customer reviews—assuming they can be trusted.
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

Top
#51345 - 03/18/19 07:54 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: deniro
One drawback of color lasers: can't use glossy paper, must use plain paper.


It exists. like labels, you have to make sure you get the right kind otherwise it may make a mess of your printer. (by fusing the paper to the fuser, or by sticking labels around inside the rollers, etc)
_________________________
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

Top
#51347 - 03/18/19 10:11 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: Virtual1]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
For me, the photo has to be good enough to tack onto the refrigerator.
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

Top
#51354 - 03/18/19 03:18 PM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: deniro]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Another factor for your consideration is the availability/cost of supplies including ink/toner, paper, and consumables (in some laser printers). When I had a color laser I found that although the big office supply stores, and Amazon listed the toner cartridges and even the consumable parts — they were seldom, if ever, in stock at the local store and had to be ordered, and unless I was willing to spend 50 to 100% over the cost of the cartridge for expedited overnight shipping, if I ordered on Monday I was lucky to get delivery by Friday.

As to media, there is a definite and distinct difference in media for laser and inkjet printers. Plain paper, photo paper, labels, etc. for inkjets are far more readily available, and often less expensive, than media optimized for laser printers. While the media for lasers are often not stocked in stores or there is a very limited selection, you can get media for inkjets at stores like Walgreens™ or the Dollar Store™.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#51361 - 03/19/19 10:36 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: joemikeb]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I've been getting ink and paper from B&H without any problem.
_________________________
OS X 10.11.6
iMac 21.5", Mid 2011
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7, 24 GB
AMD Radeon HD 6770M
Using Apple computers since 1980

Top
#51386 - 03/21/19 09:17 AM Re: The dizzying world of printers [Re: joemikeb]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Another factor for your consideration is the availability/cost of supplies including ink/toner, paper, and consumables (in some laser printers). When I had a color laser I found that although the big office supply stores, and Amazon listed the toner cartridges and even the consumable parts — they were seldom, if ever, in stock at the local store and had to be ordered, and unless I was willing to spend 50 to 100% over the cost of the cartridge for expedited overnight shipping, if I ordered on Monday I was lucky to get delivery by Friday.

fortunately, toner has a shelf life measured in years, so feel free to keep a spare on hand. When you need it, swap it and go, and place your order for the new spare. Go from 25 minutes of downtime (trip to the store) to instant-up.


Quote:
As to media, there is a definite and distinct difference in media for laser and inkjet printers. Plain paper, photo paper, labels, etc. for inkjets are far more readily available, and often less expensive, than media optimized for laser printers.

While toner carts DO cost more than inkjet carts, they print MAAAANY more copies. You're comparing hundreds against thousands. Paying 4-6x the cost gets you (at the very least) a good 25 times the prints. Laserjets are incredibly cheaper to run. (and so much faster, even by the single sheet, and absolutely blow away inkjets as soon as you go past a single page)


Quote:
While the media for lasers are often not stocked in stores or there is a very limited selection, you can get media for inkjets at stores like Walgreens™ or the Dollar Store™.

Again you can just keep a spare on-hand for however long you need to - months, years, it's good for at least a few years as long as you don't store it somewhere extreme. No need to worry about how long it takes to get in the replacement since you'll likely have at least several months to go on the spare you just swapped in before needing another swap. I order that sort of stuff online, or you might just be able to order at walmart online, and then go pick it up in a few days when it arrives.
_________________________
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

Top

Moderator:  alternaut, cyn