Inkjet printers are, in many ways, a phenomenally positive testament to the power of Moore’s law and the advance of technology and all that good stuff. As I’ve mentioned before, around 1990 I bought one of the first Hewlett-Packard Deskjet printers, driving up to New Hampshire to save the sales tax on the $750 purchase. Since then, inkjets have become wonderfully adept at many tasks and prices — at least for the hardware — have fallen through the floor.
But there are some trade-offs and I just gotten bitten by one recently when my HP Deskjet 6980 decided it couldn’t see its color ink cartridge anymore. More specifically, the little orange “out of ink” light was on and the printer wouldn’t print in color. Replacing the cartridge had no effect.
A little snooping around on the Internets and use of the HP trouble shooter application revealed that my printer was suffering from the dreaded broken plastic cartridge holder nub thingamajiggie. HP can’t fix it and the only choice is to buy a “refurbished” version of the same printer for about $80 (Amazon is offering the more recent HP 6988 model brand new for $80 to $100). This killer problem, perhaps due to a design flaw, seems to crop up all too frequently, if you read all the comments on the link above.
Until this happened, the HP 6980 had always been a nifty printer, other than the expensive ink. It’s fast and quiet and includes built-in networking over wifi or ethernet. It also does a good job with photos, especially if you swap out the black ink cartridge for HP’s special photo cartridge. It has one feature I don’t need at all, a memory card reader to print pictures directly. So instead of getting a refurbished one, I found an insane deal on a similar model, the HP Deskjet 6940, that lacks the card reader but still has the photo-printing capability and networking connections. And I’ll be VERY CAREFUL loading and unloading ink cartridges!