Thursday 17 January 2008

HP source fixes printer

Been a bad HP printer day today. First up was an HP Photosmart C3180 that was happy to print but ignorant about the scan button being pressed. You'd get the HP scan logo initialising on screen followed by an error about a communications failure. Initiating the scan from Windows XP worked fine. Went through a couple of rounds of uninstalling and reinstalling before tracking down a good HP document ('An error occurred while communicating with scanning device') that talks about different solutions, got all the way to solution 9 before I got the scan button working correctly. It just needed this patch.

Second problem HP printer of the day was a Color (Colour!) LaserJet 2500 (tn model). When printing multiple copies of a document from Word, Acrobat, IE, Firefox, etc with a collate option you'd get both prints out ok followed by an error:

job storage status page
Error: Unable to store job at printer
Reason: Printer not configured to collate
Solution: Install an EIO hard disk
... yeah thanks for that HP, identify an error and immediately try and sell the customer an upgrade (is this printer spam!?)
Also noticed that clicking the update button in the device settings (to auto load tray and memory configuration) reported a communications error.

A few months back we were having regular printer errors with this CLJ2500 covering a range of memory overflows and communication faults. I upgraded to the new HP Universal Print driver - bad move. Talk about slow, particularly when loading properties. So I went back to the PCL6 driver and performance was better and curiously much less error-prone. Finally tracked down the collate error in an HP forum and an HP engineer recommending to go back to the PCL5 driver! With that loaded performance is quick, there are no communication errors, the update button works, multiple copies print without a 'buy an EIO hard disk' error and so far (fingers crossed) there have been no job failures or memory overflows.

Problems aside I'm still a huge fan of HP printers - build and design is excellent, support is good and widespread, compatibility is still important with some niche applications and there's never any problem getting hold of consumables or spares.

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