What Can You Say About a Seven-Year-Old Printer That Died?

I bought my first color laser printer back in October 2003 to replace a monochrome Texas Instruments machine that had printed thousands of pages of code and documentation for me since 1991. The TI was compact, even for that long-ago time (though it had nothing on the Diconix), and cost something like $1,200 dollars.

My printing needs had grown more sophisticated by 2003 (so I thought) and while I’d been sharing a large-format Epson ink-jet printer for color work with one of my office partners on Hawthorne Blvd. there was no way to shoehorn both my computers, office stuff, and two printers into my home office when I scaled back after the pulmonary embolism that followed my broken leg (not to mention a radical slowdown in the amount of work coming my way since the tech bubble burst). The Minolta-QMS 2350 that replaced it was a comparative monster — though far smaller than the first color laser printers I’d encountered a decade earlier — and seemed incredibly fast. It cost about $1,400 because I got the optional duplexer unit for it (ASSIGNMENT: Calculate the cost savings on paper factor against the price of the duplexer unit).

A couple of months ago it started jamming — initiall on the first page after startup and then on everything — and though I’d just replaced the OPC drum (whatever that is) and ordered a new black toner cartridge (which I couldn’t install because suddenly the color cartridges stopped rotating) it looked like the fuser unit was dead and even that may not have been the end of my problems. So, though it wasn’t exactly in the budget this month, new printer.

So the new unit was picked up last night and installed this morning. It seems to be doing what it’s supposed to (although I have to try printing from the Windows side of things yet). It prints PostScript 3 like the old unit did. It has Ethernet like the old unit. It’s probably two-thirds the volume of the 2350. It’s got a built-in duplexer. It cost me just under $400, which is what the magicolor’s duplexer cost.