Printer toner

Printer toner, depending on who you ask, is cancerogenic.

Or not.

The Material Safety Data Sheets I’ve seen, say not.  But I still wouldn’t breath toner in.

Now some of the printers I’ve worked on over the years, have conspired to leak toner over me. 

There was the StorageTek mainframe printer, with the toner hopper.  You’d open the 5 litre toner container and pour the toner into the hopper.  Great clouds of toner would float up and cover the FNG* tasked to refill the toner.  And because of this, it was only ever the FNG who had to refill the toner on this printer.

The DataProducts LZR960.   You know, you could ship most laser printers and not be to worried that they survive the journey.  The LZR960?  Like a nervous puppy, it would leak toner when the shipping box “This Way Up” sign was not rigorously followed.  Resulting in me being covered in toner, and one expensive service bill later.

Things have gotten better over time, and since I had not had toner leaked on me for a few years, I thought

how much toner was left in the Lanier|Ricoh Photocopier toner cartridge when it said it was “out of toner”?*

An impressively small amount as it turns out.  I’m very impressed that Lanier|Ricoh are not ripping me off on toner.

Other things.

  • In theory, the cartridge is designed to be disassembled.
    Theory is good, but I used a Dremel tool.
  • Cartridge seemed very well engineered.
  • Benefit of hindsight, I would have cut the other end of the cartridge off.  This would have allowed me to have a nice pile like The Angry Technician did.
  • You should wash toner off with COLD soapy water.
    Warm or hot water will cause the toner to bind to you.

* Friendly New Guy
* idea first seen over at The Angry Technician.

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The Elephant and The Mouse

pantone The Pantone Matching System is a wonderful idea.  Imagine being able to say “I want that exact shade of red on my poster.”  And actually get it.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Pantone Matching System is about.  It’s a system of describing colors, so the color you ask for on your commercially printed page, is what you get.  That makes it very popular with the print industry.

elephant-mouse The Pantone Matching System was first created in 1963, and Pantone have jealously guarded their intellectual property rights ever since.  They particularly dislike attempts to create conversion charts.  Not that I blame them, color charts are a big part of their business.

Now the picture of the Elephant and the Mouse is from a site which did offer a PMS <->RGB lookup.  Pantone told them to stop.

And they did.

(Much to his regret, Dale has neither printer’s ink or graphic designers flair, coursing though his veins.  He is very grateful to have spent time working as the IT guy for a large printing company.)

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24 Screen Capture Utilities

Since my last update in June, I find myself using the Microsoft Snipping Tool more often for those quick screen capture jobs.  But I am still using Printkey 2000 and Timesnapper.

Here are some others …


Name & download link Comments
Bug Shooting “Bug Shooting is a free screenshot utility that was developed for software testers who use bug tracking systems”
Cropper Capture "It offers a resizable, translucent capture area that can be moved and sized freely to capture the portions that you want to grab."
Gadwin PrintScreen  
Greenshot “Greenshot is a revolutionary screenshot tool optimized for productivity.”
HoverSnap “HoverSnap is a a free handy snapshot tool with jpg, png, bmp and gif support.HoverSnap can take snapshots of the full screen, active window or a selected area.”
Jing Recommended by Leo Laporte.
Lightscreen automates the capture of screenshots.
Microsoft Snipping Tool for XP Tablet For those times when you just want to “snip” part of a screen.
Microsoft Snipping Tool Vista It’s included!
MWsnap multi-language
PrintKey 2000 This is what I use.
See my previous blog post about it.
Screenshot Captor Donation-ware
Screen Hunter  

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“Use of HP UPD is in my experience counter productive.”

Use of HP UPD is in my experience counter productive.

If you need to print to HP use the CLJ 9500MFP PS driver (or PCL6 or PCL5c if you must).
This driver works on HP LaserJets.
This driver is cluster compliant comes in 64bit and 32bit flavours and works with Novell/Iprint Citrix – the lot.

Some care needs to be taken with configuration to ensure best performance.
– Within advanced disabled "advanced features"
– Ensure font substitution is set to "down load soft font"
– Set print processor to "winprint" & "raw"
– Stop PDF pass thru
– Stop PDF error handler

Although this driver only supports 4 trays max it will work with any number of trays, just use paper type when sending job.

If this does not work for you, or you want to print faster use Adobe’s Universal Print Driver – it’s easy to modify the PPD to add duplex and colour – it took me about 30 mins to sort and test.

– wapicho commenting on I’m not the only one annoyed with HP’s UPD print driver.

Use of any Universal Print Printer is counter productive, is what I think too.
I’ve discussed before why printer vendors like to use UPDs (hint: they’re a pack of cheap bastards), and why I loath them.

Wapicho’s advice is good, and should work very well.  Particularly with Citrix environments, which can be fussy.

Reminds me what I used to do in the past to get troublesome laser printers to work.  Use the HP LaserJet 4 driver.
The HP LaserJet 4 Postscript driver is a handy “works with almost everything” driver, particularly Citrix.  But it has it’s limitations (lack of more than 2 trays, for example).

In the far far past, LaserJet 2 drivers were a good substitute for just about any Postscript printer.

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The printer does not print “Watermarks”.

The problem was described to me like this:

Lexmark print driver showing WinPrint processor selected

When you print to the network printer, and want to use the “URGENT” watermark setting, it does not work.
When you print to a locally installed printer, it works.

The answer?
When I install the printer driver on the Windows Server I specify WinPrint / RAW as the print processor.
When you install it yourself, on your PC, the driver picks its’ default (in this case LMABT54C), and the Watermarks feature works.

So why do we use WinPrint / RAW on servers?
It’s a known quantity.  In other words, I know it works (mostly), and more importantly, as it’s a user-mode DLL, it is stable.
I don’t want some crappily written HP or Lexmark DLL* crashing my print server, or Citrix server, thank you.

Further reading:
Basic Printing Architecture (Ask The Microsoft EPS Windows Server Performance Team)
Disabling Advanced Printing Features (Ask The Microsoft EPS Windows Server Performance Team)

* – in this instance, it was a Lexmark Universal print driver causing the problem.  Given the build quality of the Lexmark printers I’ve seen, I wouldn’t trust their software drivers.

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3 fools and a printer.

Konica Minolta C652 Control Panel Problem:

Konica Minolta C652 multi-function printer, with Fiery RIP installed, refuses to print.

Cause & solution:

If you leave the Fiery RIP Controller in Setup / Menu mode, it stops the printer from printing.  You can tell the Fiery RIP is in this mode by looking at the item circled in the picture.  It should read “Info”, and not “Functions”.

It wasn’t obvious to us, so we called a Konica tech out.  It took him 1 minute to work the problem out.  We’ll not make that mistake again.

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Printer jams

Lanier c2800 & c5000 colour photocopiers and printersI expect that, when a fault is logged though to me to investigate, that some troubleshooting has been done.

Printer jams.  Vendor technician has thoroughly tested printer.  I think it’s a driver problem.”

And that was it.  No other details.

What did they mean by ““Printer jams?””.

Is it physically jamming?

I’m never seen a printer driver cause that.  Perhaps it’s stopping mid-print.  ie. stopping at page 10 of a 20 page document.

I bounced the call back, as there was not enough details.

I’ve heard nothing further since.

Physical printer jams are caused by one of four things:

  • Incorrectly loaded paper trays.
    (Lexmark Optra’s were infamous for this.)
  • Non-laser printer paper being used in a laser printer.
  • Paper stuck in the printer’s paper path.
    (this is caused by failing to remove all the paper from a previous jam)
  • Paper not stored in the same environment as the printer, being used.
    Changes in temperature and humidity can cause paper to jam.

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People used to say it sounded like a machine gun …

… when it starts to print.

If you click on the video, you’d see that they would be wrong.

Impact, or more accurately, band printers, have a sound all of their own.  Click on the Youtube video to see what I mean.

In the video, you can see the “type” on the print band.

Two things to know about these printers.

  1. They have the sound cover off the printer in the video, so it’s LOUD.
  2. Sound cover off = slow speed
    Sound cover on = high speed (2000 lines per minute)

State Bank Victoria used their 4245(?) band printer, to log all the ATM/EFTPOS between it, and all the other State Banks.

It was part of a system called State Bank Reciprocity.  It was kept rather busy.

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I’m not the only one annoyed with HP’s UPD print driver.

A month ago Nitin Kohli commented:

HP Universal Print Driver (UPD) works very well with Novell.
Please fidn the info on Novell Support site.…
Hope this will helps to all, who have issues with HP UPD on Novell environemnt.

No, it does not.  Let’s look at that Novell article I linked to in my blog post, and the same one you quoted back to me:

Does iPrint work with HP’s Universal Printer Drivers?

… While the functionality with the UPD and the iPrint Client 5.12 is better, there continues to be some limitations.  The ability to configure a UPD with iPrint’s Printer Driver Profile (PDP) feature will require drastic changes in the PDP creation process.   These changes have not been implemented yet.

iPrint cannot present the correct printer driver options to the administrator to configure the PDP when the driver is universal.  One consideration Novell is investigating is to change the PDP creation process to prompt the administrator to provide the IP address of the printer so the universal driver can present the appropriate configurable driver features specific to that printer model to the administrator. …

HP CP6015 Color Laserjet - still in the packaging crate“These changes have not been implemented yet”.

No, that’s because they are in UPD 5.0, which is due for release late June..

The situation we have at the moment, is that we can’t purchase and install new HP printers because of the UPD 5.0 requirement.
Even with iPrint 5.12 and UPD 5.0, we will still need to change our iPrint settings so we can have the privilege of using new HP printers.

How long have we been waiting?

Since February (UPD 4.7.2 release didn’t work for us), IF we’re being kind to HP.
JULY 2008 if we’re being bloody honest about it.

Seems I’m not the only person upset with HP.

My previous HP UPD posts have been:
HP lets buggy print driver lurk on web. (March 2009)
“Unable to store job at printer” (January 2009)
Still a pack of cheap bastards (December 2008)
HP still dragging their feet on the Universal Print Driver (November 2008)
HP Universal Print Driver – shame it doesn’t work with Novell Netware (October 2008)

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What DPI should I scan text documents at?

Answer: the best DPI you can afford.

But the problem of using more Dots Per Inch, is the more DPI you use, the more space it’ll take up on your hard drive.

I scan colour A4 documents at 150dpi, but that means an average output size of approx. 300kb.

So, I thought, let’s measure the scan quality for DPI settings of 200, 150, 100, 75 & 50.

The test document
Printout of a string of characters in the Times New Roman font from 4 point to 12 point.

The results:
50 DPI – Even the 12 point is getting close to unreadable.
50 dpi scanned text

75 DPI – 10 point is readable, 8 point is a bit blurry.
75 dpi scanned text

100 DPI – 8 point is much better.
 100 dpi scanned text

150 DPI – 4 point is just readable.
150 dpi scanned text 

200 DPI – 4 point is readable.
200 dpi scanned text

So in summary

DPI setting

Minimum readable font size

File size kb
(TIF file)

File size kb
(JPG file)






8 – 10








4 – 6







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