[GLLUG] OT: workgroup printers
marr at copper.net
Mon Jul 7 23:55:32 EDT 2008
On Thursday 03 July 2008 10:29am, Mark Szidik/mlc wrote:
> Our venerable 2001 HP 4100 is ready to be retired, and I am wondering what
> I should replace it with.
> The safe answer is a HP 3005x b&w laser.
> But I am wondering about the Xerox Phaser solid-ink color printers. Anyone
> have experience with them? Are they as reliable as a HP laser over 7
It's been a long time (about 15 years) since I used a Phaser solid-ink color
printer. Back then, they were still known by the "Tektronix" name (whose
printer division was bought out by Xerox sometime around 2000). I used
a "Phaser III PXi" model back then. I still have a few of the (multi-color)
Things have undoubtedly improved somewhat since then, but what I recall was
the long time (about 10-15 minutes, IIRC) it took (after 1st power-up) for
the wax sticks to heat up and melt enough to be ready to print. If you leave
the printer on all day, it's not an issue. There was also a lot of wax waste
(in a little pull-out drawer in the back, IIRC) because the printer was very
infrequently used and got turned on and off each time, wasting wax every time
On the plus side, the color output is nice. In fact, back in 1993, I'd have
said "outstanding", given the era (when color lasers didn't really exist, at
least not at any comparable price point). A minor drawback is that the waxy
output on the pages is somewhat easily scratched off -- I just did it with a
fingernail, on one of the color sheets I still have.
Unfortunately, I have no information on reliability. While it had beautiful
color output, the printer was just not practical for anything but special
uses and it didn't get used enough to justify its existence, so it eventually
For a high-volume output printer, I cannot imagine that it would be very
practical, even today, even assuming that some of the shortcomings have been
Cost-per-page was very high back then. But I think there was a time when
Tektronix offered black wax blocks for free, to encourage solid-ink printer
purchases/use. The idea was to get people to use the printers to print basic
B&W text-based documents instead of using a laser. I cannot imagine that ever
went over very well. Lasers just beat the pants off the solid-ink printers
for basic text.
I guess it depends on what you really want -- nice shiny, glossy, waxy color
pages or a basic workhorse.
I'm a little perplexed that you're even considering a solid-ink printer if any
B&W laser is an alternative. To me, color output would be the only possible
advantage of a solid-ink printer, but maybe that equation has changed in the
last 15 years. :^)
On Monday 07 July 2008 9:23pm, Richard Houser wrote:
> I can't speak for long-term reliability, but the printouts were
> definitely different. They looked very good, but were a bit shiny (I
> think, been almost 4 years since I've seen it now). I heard from
> co-workers that the dye, wax, or whatever else you want to call it had a
> tendency to flake off under certain conditions.
I would agree with all of that. Except that, in my case, I've had no
flaking-off of the wax, even after 15 years. But those pages were not under
harsh conditions in any form either -- i.e. normal humidity, no direct
For the last 9+ years, I've used a Tektronix color laser (Phaser 740) and I
like it far more than the solid-ink (i.e. wax) printer of the early- to
mid-90s. The color is great and there's no way to scratch the page and damage
the image or text. I've had to replace the clutch which feeds the paper, but
other than that, it's worked fine (under light usage, admittedly).
I really don't see any disadvantages to a color laser (assuming you even need
color). And the price has come down remarkably in the last 10 years.
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