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 user 2008-05-07 at 2:23:27 pm Views: 59
  • #19573
    Modern-day Mr. Fixit wants your old printer
    Foote has been rescuing your old technology from the ‘Graveyard of
    Busted Printers’ for 17 years.Travel with us now to the Graveyard of
    Busted Printers where the bones of once-shiny, light-flashing,
    cheerfully beeping machines lie bleaching in the sun.They are here
    because their ink stopped jetting, their paper feeds stopped feeding,
    their lasers quit lasing and their owners tossed them out like an empty
    Bic pen.But it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way, says Bob Foote,
    owner of Canada One Office Repair, tucked in a small-business centre at
    10624 105th Ave., in the shadow of Grant MacEwan College.

    and his staff are the modern, high-tech successors to the Mr. Fixit
    shops of yesterday — the nearly extinct tinkerers who soldered
    elements in broken toasters, gave new life to old vacuum cleaners and
    mended holes in leaky buckets.Printers can be fixed and Foote has spent
    17 years proving it, after discovering there’s more money to be made
    repairing them than selling them.On one end of the spectrum are
    companies that spend $800,000 on high-end laser printers and getting
    them repaired when they break down is a more attractive, cheaper option
    than tossing them out, Foote says.And, in terms of $200 to $300 home
    printers, “some people just don’t want to throw things away.”On that
    level it’s an economic balancing act. An average printer repair is
    about $70 — and could be more, depending on the components needed to
    make it work again.”It’s the manufacturer’s fault,” he said. “They keep
    the prices down (to sell the units), but sell the individual parts at
    sky-high prices.”The part may cost as much as you paid for the printer
    to start with.”The part that breaks down most frequently in ink-jet
    printers (the most common for personal use) is the printer head — the
    device that squirts ink onto the paper through human-hair-size holes.
    It’s also the most expensive part in the machine. “The printer head is
    80 per cent of the cost of the machine.”Foote’s business comes from
    people who see the economy in a repair cost or who come to him with
    machines still under warranty — especially extended warranties that
    retailers sell on behalf of independent insurance companies.

    doesn’t recommend extended warranties on low-end printers, but sees a
    value in them for better machines.”The manufacturers do fix them — but
    want you to ship it to them. Most people want it done quick.” Foote’s
    four Edmonton technicians (he’s also got three in his Calgary office)
    will do the repair work in the shop or will make house call.Foote
    doesn’t hold any particular printer brand over another — he notes that
    companies often have agreements to put their brand names on units
    manufactured by other companies.But he does have this piece of advice
    for people contemplating substituting the manufacturer’s recommended
    ink for the cheaper generic cartridges on the market these days:
    Don’t.While he agrees manufacturers reap a whirlwind of profit from
    over-priced ink (“they only sell you a printer every once in a while,
    but you need ink a lot more often”), it’s still best to use their
    recommended product.

    “Ink formulas are unique to manufacturers.”
    “jet” is created by heat, not a pump, he explained, and if the ink is
    not the right viscosity, it could gum up the works. And using
    non-prescribed ink could void the warranty.Canada One also repairs
    computers (most any PC product) and especially laptops, which Foote
    says have created an interesting mindset in consumers.”Their whole
    lives are contained in the laptop,” he said, describing anxious
    customers who, when they drop off their machine act like “they’re
    dropping their kids off at school for the first time.”People come in
    with crashed hard drives hoping to have their photos, contacts,
    e-mails, phone numbers and other information restored.”For some reason
    people don’t back up their data on a laptop, but they really should.”

    Carlson invented a dry printing process called electrophotography
    (commonly called a Xerox), the foundation technology for laser printers
    to come in 1938.
    - Remington-Rand developed the first high-speed printer for the Univac computer.
    The original laser printer called EARS was developed at the Xerox Palo
    Alto Research Center beginning in 1969 and completed in November 1971.
    In 1976, the ink-jet printer was invented, but it took until 1988 for
    the ink-jet to become a home consumer item with Hewlett-Packard’s
    release of the DeskJet ink-jet printer, priced at $1,000.