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I've had a client using an HP OfficeJet 8715, which had been connected via Ethernet to a fairly recent and capable DLink AC3200 router (looks like a space ship, has 6 antennas and dual-band WiFi). No problem printing from the client's Windown 10 PC via Ethernet. But from his iPhone and iPad the printer would randomly appear/disappear from the AirPrint selection window and almost never actually print.

As one must choose Ethernet or WiFi for the printer—it's not active on both ports, so to speak—I tried connecting it via WiFi to the router. The printer only recognizes the slower of the two WiFi bands. That gave me the idea to check which network the iOS devices were using; sure enough, they were using the 5G network. I switched them to the same 2.4G band as the printer was using and presto, AirPrint began working.

WTH? I thought an AirPrint printer was supposed to appear on the iOS device if it was on the network via Ethernet or any WiFi network that was coming out of a common router. My home network has a couple of AirPrint-enabled printers (both on WiFi but on a different band than my iPad). Printing from the iPad works fine.

I'm wondering if the DLink AC3200 is either defective or came misconfigured from the factory; I changed nothing in its settings. Suggestions welcomed, of course. Thanks!
 
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The printer only recognizes the slower of the two WiFi bands. That gave me the idea to check which network the iOS devices were using; sure enough, they were using the 5G network. I switched them to the same 2.4G band as the printer was using and presto, AirPrint began working.

I'm wondering if the DLink AC3200 is either defective or came misconfigured from the factory; I changed nothing in its settings. Suggestions welcomed, of course. Thanks!
This sounds to me as though the D-Link is not bridging the network it creates at 2.4GHz and the network it creates at 5GHz. This should be a configurable option, although since I don't use D-Link myself, I couldn't say where that setting is.
 


This sounds to me as though the D-Link is not bridging the network it creates at 2.4GHz and the network it creates at 5GHz. This should be a configurable option, although since I don't use D-Link myself, I couldn't say where that setting is.
Scott,
Your supposition sounds spot-on. I did manage to contact DLink and they suggested something was awry in their (factory) settings. Why they would even prevent bridging among the three ports (2.4G, 5G, Ethernet) is mystifying. As my client is moving to Lubbock soon and is in the process of packing up all of his gear, I'll do some research regarding the proper settings and send him an eMail with the proper settings so his next techie will be able to fix things quickly. Thanks for your post!

Barry
 


I've had a client using an HP OfficeJet 8715, which had been connected via Ethernet to a fairly recent and capable DLink AC3200 router (looks like a space ship, has 6 antennas and dual-band WiFi). No problem printing from the client's Windown 10 PC via Ethernet. But from his iPhone and iPad the printer would randomly appear/disappear from the AirPrint selection window and almost never actually print.
I saw this on my Brother printer for many years. Printed great over Ethernet, but AirPrint would work only intermittently. After much testing, it turned out that AirPrint would work only within a few minutes of some other print job (via Ethernet). It turned out that when the printer went to sleep, it would no longer be visible to AirPrint devices.

I saw the same symptom with Macs configured to use AirPrint, but they worked fine if I configured them to print via LPR or TCP protocols.

Eventually, the problem went away after Brother issued a firmware update.

... That gave me the idea to check which network the iOS devices were using; sure enough, they were using the 5G network. I switched them to the same 2.4G band as the printer was using and presto, AirPrint began working.
That is weird. Your Wi-Fi access point should treat both bands identically.

Could it be that your 5GHz band is configured for use as a guest network? The "guest" configuration profile for consumer routers usually allows connected devices to reach the Internet but will block them from accessing anything on your LAN (both wired and wireless). If yours is configured this way, see if you can change it so that SSID/band is a normal (non-guest) network.
 


I saw this on my Brother printer for many years. Printed great over Ethernet, but AirPrint would work only intermittently. After much testing, it turned out that AirPrint would work only within a few minutes of some other print job (via Ethernet). It turned out that when the printer went to sleep, it would no longer be visible to AirPrint devices.

I saw the same symptom with Macs configured to use AirPrint, but they worked fine if I configured them to print via LPR or TCP protocols.

Eventually, the problem went away after Brother issued a firmware update.

That is weird. Your Wi-Fi access point should treat both bands identically.

Could it be that your 5GHz band is configured for use as a guest network? The "guest" configuration profile for consumer routers usually allows connected devices to reach the Internet but will block them from accessing anything on your LAN (both wired and wireless). If yours is configured this way, see if you can change it so that SSID/band is a normal (non-guest) network.
On the DLink, both 2.4G and 5G have "Guest" SSIDs showing up (as well as the usual WPA2-protected 2.4G and 5G SSIDs). All four show up in the Airport (WiFi) menu of my MacBook Pro, the client's Dell desktop, and their iPhones and iPads. Any of the four SSIDs will provide access to the Internet (as you'd expect). DLink (and others - I've done more research) believe this to simply be a misconfiguration where the router is preventing the printer (connected via 2.4G or Ethernet) to broadcast its AirPrint goodness to any other port other than the one to which it is connected. The Dell desktop (running Win10 and connected via Ethernet) has no trouble hitting the HP printer whether the HP is connected via Ethernet or 2.4G; undoubtedly, having a real printer driver in Windows makes everything work as expected. AirPrint does its magic requiring some extra spices in the router configuration and it appears DLink turns these spices off as a means to improve security; that's the gist of what I'm reading, anyway.

This issue has left me with a dislike for DLink's devices until I can find the correct answer to fix this issue. I'm certainly not going to buy another one for clients using iOS devices.
 
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DLink (and others - I've done more research) believe this to simply be a misconfiguration where the router is preventing the printer (connected via 2.4G or Ethernet) to broadcast its AirPrint goodness to any other port other than the one to which it is connected
Ah. This might be something similar to what I observed years ago from Verizon's Actiontec FiOS router. Back when I had that service, I found that their router would not pass multicast traffic from the wireless network segment to the wired segment. This ends up breaking Bonjour service discovery, since that is all based on multicast-DNS.

In my case, this manifested as an inability to have shared iTunes libraries. iTunes running on my server (on the wired segment) was not visible to iTunes running on my laptop (on the wireless segment). But the other direction worked - iTunes running on the server could see iTunes running on the laptop.

I didn't have an AirPrint printer at the time, but I'm sure it is also using Bonjour (and therefore multicast DNS) to establish connections.

I worked around this problem by disabling Wi-Fi on the Actiontec router and attached my own access point (a Linksys router in bridge mode) to the Ethernet switch. That had no problem. I don't know if Linksys passes multicast between segments when operating as a router, but when in bridge mode, it definitely doesn't care.

Why do they do this? I don't know. I'm guessing that somebody thinks it's a security measure. But if it is one, it's pretty annoying and pointless.
 


DLink just replied with the recommendation to turn on multicast. Thanks, David; looks like you nailed it. I'll send the recommendation to my client so his new techie in Lubbock knows what to do.
 


I saw this on my Brother printer for many years. Printed great over Ethernet, but AirPrint would work only intermittently. After much testing, it turned out that AirPrint would work only within a few minutes of some other print job (via Ethernet). It turned out that when the printer went to sleep, it would no longer be visible to AirPrint devices.
I have been impressed with handyPrint. I have it installed on an iMac with two ethernet connected (non-"AirPrint compatible") printers (through a switch hanging off of an Airport Express, which provides my office LAN). I am able to print from my iPhone after sleeping the iMac without issue. I have a similar setup, except with an Airport TimeCapsule (older, flat model), at home and it works there as well.
 


Thanks for the info about handyPrint. I've been using software with similar capabilities called "Printopia" that allows printing to non-AirPrint-compliant printers and also allows saving pdfs.
 


I have a Brother HL-2240 b/w printer connected via USB to my 2008 Mac Pro running El Capitan. After a lightning storm, the printer didn’t show up in the System Preferences/Printers settings. I did all the troubleshooting I could think of - restart the printer and computer, swap USB ports, replace the USB cable, even replace the power cable (a spare was nearby). Nothing worked.

Finally, I hooked it up to my 2012 MacBook Pro running Sierra - success! It popped up on the first try. I tried one other Mac, and it showed up there as well.

So, gotta be software, right? Back on the Mac Pro, I reset the printing system, reinstalled the drivers, did upgrades… nothing. I put a fresh copy of El Capitan on a partition and booted to that. Still nothing. This printer works with every computer but this one.

Has anyone ever seen something like this? I can’t find anything on the web, and in over 25 years of Mac experience, this is a first for me.
 


I have a Brother HL-2240 b/w printer connected via USB to my 2008 Mac Pro running El Capitan. ... This printer works with every computer but this one.
This is extremely weird.

I suppose my first question would be to ask what you see if you launch System Information (easiest to get to by option-clicking the Apple menu) and look on the USB page. Do you see any USB device that might be the printer? Do you see other USB devices?

If you see the printer on the USB bus, but it's not being identified as a printer, then that would sound like a software issue, but based on what you've described here, I don't think that that is going to be the case.

If you don't see any USB device for the printer (or any USB devices at all), then the problem is at that layer. The power surge that started all this may have damaged the Mac's USB controller in some way. This would be especially true if you don't see any USB devices at all.

You might try resetting the Mac's SMC. It is possible that the USB controller is working but some firmware setting got scrambled. To reset the SMC, power it off, unplug the power cord, wait at least 15 seconds, plug in the power cord, wait 5 seconds, then power-on. (Based on what I can find on-line, the 2008 Mac Pro does not have an SMC-reset button on the motherboard the way earlier models did.)

If that doesn't work, then your USB hardware might be damaged. Since you (probably) have a spare PCIe slot, you might want to try installing a cheap USB card in a slot and see if the printer works when connected to it. (But note that according to Amazon reviews, this card, like many USB PCIe cards, will prevent your Mac from going to sleep and attached disk drives will eject themselves if you try to force it asleep. If this is likely to be a problem for you, reviews claim that the more expensive Sonnet Allegro USB card doesn't have this problem.)
 


D'oh! Sorry, horrible editing on my part. The capper of this situation is that all of the other USB peripherals still register. A scanner and an inkjet printer show up in the Printer window and in the USB page for System Information, along with two USB hubs and a guitar interface cable. It's just this one printer that never shows up on any USB port (built-in or hub) of this one computer. So, yes - extremely weird.

Worst case scenario is that the wife gets a decent printer with almost brand new toner and drum, which isn't too bad, but this is one of the strangest things I've encountered. I'd love to solve it just to solve it.
 


Worst case scenario is that the wife gets a decent printer with almost brand new toner and drum, which isn't too bad, but this is one of the strangest things I've encountered. I'd love to solve it just to solve it.
Weird! Since this is a new printer, have you tried connecting to your wireless network rather than the USB port? Just one other option....
 


Weird! Since this is a new printer, have you tried connecting to your wireless network rather than the USB port? Just one other option....
Yup. Connected to the Apple Airport Extreme and still no joy. Unless burning sage produces a result (beyond the smell of burned sage), I'm out of ideas.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's changing support for printing can be confusing, but here are some relevant documents.
Apple said:
Printer and scanner drivers for Mac
This list is no longer updated.
Many vendors of printers and scanners have adopted driverless technologies such as AirPrint, and they are no longer providing drivers for new devices. If your printer was made in the last several years, it probably doesn't require a driver. This list is provided for reference purposes and is no longer being updated.
Apple said:
About AirPrint
AirPrint is an Apple technology that helps you create full-quality printed output without the need to download or install drivers.

... The following printers and print servers are AirPrint-enabled. This information is provided by each manufacturer and is updated once a month by Apple. If you don't see your model listed, check with the manufacturer for more information.

Learn how to print from your Mac or print from your iOS device, and what to do if you can't print.
Apple said:
If you can't print from your Mac or iOS device
If you can't get your printer to work with your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, these steps might help.
Wikipedia said:
AirPrint
...
Legacy printer support
A number of software solutions allow for non-AirPrint printers to be used with iOS devices, by configuring support on an intermediary system accessible via Wi-Fi, connected to the printer. Since AirPrint is driverless, such a configuration compensates for the printer's lack of native AirPrint support by using the drivers on the intermediary system instead.
 


Some time ago I posted a description of a problem I had after a power failure: the inability to print to either one of our Brother printers over our wireless network. After turning the printers off and on, they would go to sleep on the network after 5 minutes. This really got tiresome, and after trying many options we got the printers to work sort of reliably -- until the problem returned.

About a month ago I searched Brother's web site and found firmware updaters that I had not installed. This completely solved the problem, and we've had trouble-free wireless printing for the past month.
 


Some time ago I posted a description of a problem I had after a power failure: the inability to print to either one of our Brother printers over our wireless network. After turning the printers off and on, they would go to sleep on the network after 5 minutes. This really got tiresome, and after trying many options we got the printers to work sort of reliably -- until the problem returned.

About a month ago I searched Brother's web site and found firmware updaters that I had not installed. This completely solved the problem, and we've had trouble-free wireless printing for the past month.
Some of Brother's firmware updaters for Mac require Java Runtime. Since Java shouldn't be installed unless you really need it, that means creating a startup flash drive on which you install Java Runtime just for the purpose of installing the firmware update. Brother really needs to rewrite the remaining firmware installers which require Java. I have encountered this problem with a new (and current model) HL-L5100dn laser printer.
 



I just installed a Google WiFi mesh network, and now my HP L7680 printer can no longer print. If I delete the printer (in System Settings) and reinstall it, it will print for about a minute, maybe two. Then the next time a print job is submitted, the print queue window says the printer can't be found. However, using Terminal I can ping its IP address and it is definitely there on the network, so it's not a basic connectivity thing.

I would say this printer is somehow incompatible with Google mesh WiFi, except that I can get it to print, briefly. This printer is hardwired via Ethernet to the master Google access point, so it's not a WiFi issue.

I was on a chat for two hours with a Google tech, and he was completely mystified. So now I turn to the most knowledgable Mac community on the interwebs for help. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks as always to Ric for his decades-long service to the Mac community.

- Chuck
 


On a 2011 iMac with an SSD running High Sierra (APFS), I created a separate partition with Snow Leopard (HFS+) so as to run Colorit. The Brother printer and scanner drivers for a MFC9130CW color laser printer work fine on the APFS partition but will not install in Snow Leopard, and the installer indicates "install failure" with code provided. A search of Brother's web site finds no solution. The Brother drivers installed just fine on a 2007 white MacBook with Snow Leopard. Has anyone else seen this problem with a partitioned SSD with one as APFS and the other as HFS+? Firmware was updated on the Brother printer.
 


I just installed a Google WiFi mesh network, and now my HP L7680 printer can no longer print. If I delete the printer (in System Settings) and reinstall it, it will print for about a minute, maybe two. Then the next time a print job is submitted, the print queue window says the printer can't be found. However, using Terminal I can ping its IP address and it is definitely there on the network, so it's not a basic connectivity thing.
I would say this printer is somehow incompatible with Google mesh WiFi, except that I can get it to print, briefly. This printer is hardwired via Ethernet to the master Google access point, so it's not a WiFi issue.
I was on a chat for two hours with a Google tech, and he was completely mystified. So now I turn to the most knowledgable Mac community on the interwebs for help. Anyone have any ideas?
Thanks as always to Ric for his decades-long service to the Mac community.
I have been noticing occasional printing and local network connection problems with my Verizon FiOS home network that I traced to the way the household Macs re-establish WiFi connections after awaking from sleep.

My FiOS network has separate connections for 2.5 and 5 GHz WiFi, and we have an extender with both 2.5 and 5 GHz WiFi that we use to serve some areas on the first floor that get weak signals from the main WiFi terminal in my attic office.

The Macs and my wife's iPhone pick up connections to any of those, plus an unknown neighbor's open WiFi -- and when they have connected to different connections, they can't connect to the printer (hooked to a Mini in my office) or to each other.

I have not yet traced down exactly what's happening, but I've found that resetting the WiFi connection solves the problem. FWIW, one Mac is running El Capitan; two others are on High Sierra.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have been noticing occasional printing and local network connection problems with my Verizon FiOS home network that I traced to the way the household Macs re-establish WiFi connections after awaking from sleep....
I don't know if you've explored System Preferences > Network settings yet, but I see (in macOS SIerra) a checkbox for "Ask to join new networks" and an "Advanced..." button that lets you set the priority of different network connections.
 


I would say this printer is somehow incompatible with Google mesh WiFi, except that I can get it to print, briefly. This printer is hardwired via Ethernet to the master Google access point, so it's not a WiFi issue.
This might be a double NAT issue. It could be that the master access point is acting as the "parent" private network with the mesh clients on another "child" private network, then the master access point is on another private network. Some configurations of UPnP will allow access for a short time then cut it off like you're seeing.

I would recommend first checking if UPnP is enabled on the master access point (shut it off if it is). Next, disable NAT on the master access point - the mesh and master access point should be "bridged" (on the same private subnet).
 


I just installed a Google WiFi mesh network, and now my HP L7680 printer can no longer print....
I read about a similar issue somewhere that said assigning the printer a static IP address (make sure it is outside your DHCP range) solved the issue for them. It might be worth a shot.
 


About two months ago I upgraded my WiFi network from an Apple AirPort Extreme to an Orbi base station with one satellite. Without changing the cable modem or upgrading my internet account, the WiFi download speed has doubled, from around 50 Mbps to 110+ Mbps!

The Orbi provides access via two speeds and continues to allow both my wired and WiFi printers to work as expected. I am very happy with the Orbi and recommend it to anyone who needs to update their WiFi access.
 


Some routers will not pass multicast traffic between network segments (e.g. the wired and wireless sides of the router), which can make Bonjour service discovery (which is based on multicast DNS) fail, causing devices to disappear or otherwise act flaky.

See if there is a setting for this that you can enable/disable.

Many years ago, I found that the Actiontec router (provided by Verizon for FiOS) wouldn't pass multicast packets from the wireless LAN to the wired LAN (but it would pass them in the other direction). This meant my laptop couldn't see the desktop computer's iTunes (for streaming music), but the desktop could see the laptop.

Another possibility is the printer itself. When I first got my Brother laser printer, AirPrint discovery would only work on the Ethernet port when the printer was awake. When the printer went to sleep, it wouldn't be discoverable anymore, even though I could still print from a computer that was manually configured for the printer's IP address. A firmware update from Brother ultimately fixed this problem.
 


I don't know if you've explored System Preferences > Network settings yet, but I see (in macOS SIerra) a checkbox for "Ask to join new networks" and an "Advanced..." button that lets you set the priority of different network connections.
In earlier versions, also (I'm using Mavericks), under System Preferences > Network > Advanced > WI-Fi, there is an option to drag the networks "into the order that you prefer".

This will control which network is preferred, and the computer will attempt to connect to that network first. I ran into this when connecting to my daughter's network, since they have both 2.4 and 5GHz networks. They were having speed problems, and making this change improved things considerably.
 


I don't know if you've explored System Preferences > Network settings yet, but I see (in macOS SIerra) a checkbox for "Ask to join new networks" and an "Advanced..." button that lets you set the priority of different network connections.
Ric (or anyone), are you aware of a similar option for iOS?

My iPad and iPhone are making really dumb choices for connections. At my desk, with a 5G router three feet away, they will insist on using the 5G extension two floors down at the opposite corner of the house with two steel I-beams between. I set them to the near one, and they will switch back when I'm not watching (once when I was). Needless to say the distant one doesn't even show full bars.
 


Ric (or anyone), are you aware of a similar option [to prioritize network connections] for iOS?
A search for ios prioritize wifi networks at DuckDuckGo leads to things like Prioritize WiFi Networks on Your iOS Device which effectively say, “No, but you can sync settings with a Mac via iCloud.” Good luck!

<cynic>Target demographic won’t be bothered by such things, but annoying tech-savvy users can get what they want if they buy more Apple stuff! It’s a beautiful garden in here!</cynic>
 


Ric (or anyone), are you aware of a similar option for iOS?

My iPad and iPhone are making really dumb choices for connections. At my desk, with a 5G router three feet away, they will insist on using the 5G extension two floors down at the opposite corner of the house with two steel I-beams between. I set them to the near one, and they will switch back when I'm not watching (once when I was). Needless to say the distant one doesn't even show full bars.
Turn off and then on again the wifi on the iDevice, it will look for the nearest (strongest) network. Sometimes it will not release the old network even if a stronger signal is available (that is the advantage of mesh networks where all "stations" are equivalent).
 


I read about a similar issue somewhere that said assigning the printer a static IP address (make sure it is outside your DHCP range) solved the issue for them. It might be worth a shot.
With DHCP reservations, you don't have to make sure it is outside the range. Google Wifi has DHCP IP reservation.

I would pick a number outside of what it will initially probably hand out - e.g., printer(s) 192.168.86.50, 192.168.86.51, etc. The default range on Google Wi-Fi is 192.168.86.1-254. (If you daisy chain them in a 'weird' way, then the downstream Wi-FI will node will switch to a 192.168.85.1.0 / 24 network.)

For the HP printer, it would be a useful sanity check to make sure that the Google Mesh only sees one (Wi-Fi on, printer is off, and only path is via the wired Ethernet). Google Wifi should enumerate all the devices it can see. (I don't think you have to enter MAC IDs to do reservations... at least for devices that can automagically set a readable name.)

The other sanity check is to look to see if the printer is on a coherent subnet with the rest of your devices.

If the HP printer goes to sleep and some other device "steals back" the IP address, you could still get a ping answer, but the user would be pinging another device. With DHCP reservation the router never hands out the reserved address to anything else. Even if the printer disappears / goes to sleep / times out / etc. from the network, nothing else is going to jump in and take the address away. Pragmatically, it becomes a static address.
 


I just installed a Google WiFi mesh network, and now my HP L7680 printer can no longer print. If I delete the printer (in System Settings) and reinstall it, it will print for about a minute, maybe two. Then the next time a print job is submitted, the print queue window says the printer can't be found. However, using Terminal I can ping its IP address and it is definitely there on the network, so it's not a basic connectivity thing. I would say this printer is somehow incompatible with Google mesh WiFi, except that I can get it to print, briefly. This printer is hardwired via Ethernet to the master Google access point, so it's not a WiFi issue.
That is kind of odd. From the description, I presume that if you reset the printer again it works for another 1-2 minutes and then stops again.

I'd start with a reserved DHCP IP address. Google Wi-FI has an allocation range. (I think it keeps some put aside for mesh point assignments. I wouldn't mess with anything in that subrange).

Are your Mesh Points ( ot the main one but the others) hooked to the main via Wi-Fi or via hardwired (LAN -> WAN)? If hardwired mesh points, I'm not sure the subnets are "flat" (you can check the IP address of devices as they are hooked to different mesh points to see if there are any changes). If it isn't "flat', then as mentioned in another response, the Bonjour and 'auto find" kinds of features may not wok right, even though Google may be doing the more basic internet stuff "good enough" to work.

The other part would be to look at it from the printer side. If, before you had Google Wi-Fi, the printer was manually set to a static IP address entered at the printer's UI, then that may be an issue. The standard subnet that Google uses isn't what most routers default to. If it was all DHCP for assignment, then that is probably fine. (I posted about reservation above. A defacto static allocated from Google Wi-fi may be better.)

The other print-side issue is perhaps to hardwire the printer to a mesh point's LAN. If your master has a flakey LAN port, perhaps that is an issue (e.g., if you send a certain amount of traffic through flakey port). Printer may be a pain to move, but that would be a close to last step option.

The other potential "odd duck" about Google Wi-FI is how they do the guest network. They have an option that can add the private devices to the guest network. I suspect they do that through some firewall and/or VLAN tap dancing. If you have a printer straddling two networks, then that may be a potential problem source, also. Or even just [turn] the guest network all the way off to see if that makes a difference.
 


My iPad and iPhone are making really dumb choices for connections. At my desk, with a 5G router three feet away, they will insist on using the 5G extension two floors down at the opposite corner of the house with two steel I-beams between.
If you want to disable connection to any network, go into Settings > WI-Fi and click on the little "i" in the circle. That should give you the option to "Forget this network". The affected network can still be connected to manually but will not be joined automatically. (Of course, if you join it manually later on, you will have to go through the same "forget" process, since it has now learned of the network again.)
 


If you want to disable connection to any network, go into Settings > WI-Fi and click on the little "i" in the circle. That should give you the option to "Forget this network". The affected network can still be connected to manually but will not be joined automatically. (Of course, if you join it manually later on, you will have to go through the same "forget" process, since it has now learned of the network again.)
You can also de-select the "Auto-Join" option (just below the "Forget this network" button). This way you will need to manually select the network, but your phone will remember your configuration (access credentials, etc.)
 


a color [inkjet] printer, left just sitting around, will, if plugged in, burn through the cartridges just with periodic self-maintenance, while, if you don't leave it plugged in, the carts may self-destruct (dry out). If you do use it a lot, well, printer ink is [awfully expensive]. Toner is also expensive, but not quite as bad!
It depends on the printer.

For inkjet printers where the ink cartridge and print head are separate units, this can be a real problem. That periodic self-maintenance is needed to prevent the heads from getting clogged with dry ink. If it gets clogged to the point where it can't be cleaned, you may find that a replacement head costs more than a new printer.

For inkjet printers where the ink cartridge contains the head assembly, it's a bit easier - if the heads clog, you just need to replace the cartridge. Still a pain but usually less expensive than a new printer.

Regarding cost, I was surprised to learn that (at least for the equipment I used), an ink jet printer is slightly less expensive than a laser for color prints. For my color laser printer (a Brother HL3170), a set of four high yield toner cartridges costs about $300 and lasts about 1500 color pages, for a cost of about 20 cents per page. For my old inkjet (an HP DeskJet 842c), a set of ink cartridges cost about $60 and would last for about 500 pages, for a cost of about 12 cents per page.

Of course, for black-and-white printing, the economics reverse. For my printer, the black cartridge alone costs about $75 and lasts about 2500 pages (about 3 cents per page) and the HP's black ink cartridge cost about $25 and lasts for 500 pages (about 5 cents per page)

Of course, different printers are going to produce different prices, so your milage may vary. And no laser printer is capable of producing high quality photo prints the way a good quality ink jet printer can when used with photo paper.
 


Recently I discarded my two HP Inkjets after one's LED display failed and the other gave me such grief at 02:00 that, on a friend's recommendation, I bought a Brother L3510 duplex color laser scanner and have been overjoyed with it.
Further to my note about the Brother colour laser is that I still have and use an Epson EPL 6200 with duplex option and max RAM. I have had this for over 10 years, and it still performs well, except it often fails to pick up paper, so I have to push the sheet in off the tray. I suspect the pickup rollers need a clean, and advice on that would be welcome.
 


If you aren't printing photos, I think, in general, you will find laser printers to be much, much cheaper. That's especially true if you only use color now and then (which is why I bought a color laser when they were still $$$; a color [inkjet] printer, left just sitting around, will, if plugged in, burn through the cartridges just with periodic self-maintenance, while, if you don't leave it plugged in, the carts may self-destruct (dry out). If you do use it a lot, well, printer ink is [awfully expensive]. Toner is also expensive, but not quite as bad!
If you use HP Instant Ink, then ink wasted by maintenance cycles doesn't matter. Nor does it cost any more to print full color photos.
 



Be aware that, after sufficient years rubber can harden and the rollers may need replacing. There are some rubber reconditioning tricks, as well, which I have never tried.
Any ideas what these tricks are to soften and restore the stiction on the feed rollers? Your thoughts gratefully received.
 


Any ideas what these tricks are to soften and restore the stiction on the feed rollers? Your thoughts gratefully received.
Thanks to James R. Cutler for the link to the ManualsLib site with the Epson cleaning procedure. Unfortunately, I find Epson's suggestions to basically dust off the rollers woefully inadequate. For P Trinder, yes, if a rubber roller or pad is very hard from age, it will have to be replaced. However, I have resurrected many printer feeds by rubbing down the rubber rollers and any pads with 200 or 400 grit emery paper and then cleaning them thoroughly with >90% isopropyl alcohol (not rubbing alcohol).

Some disassembly may be required to effectively access the rollers and pads. Both the physical abrasion and chemical interaction of this approach make the rollers and grab pads more tacky. If the procedure doesn't work the first time, repeat it. If it still doesn't work, you'll have to replace the parts. Certainly worth a try.
 


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