Saturday, August 12, 2006

Printer Gone Blind

The family printer is a 1993 HP Laserjet 4L that I bought used and which has served us well since January '03. Now it's broken down: it complains of a paper outage even though we load it with paper. After reading up a bit, I think I know what's wrong with it. It's gone blind and is too stupid to realise this. Anything the printer can't see doesn't exist to it, even if the reason is that its eyes have stopped working.

Printers and copiers keep track of the contents of their paper trays with photoreceptors, little electronic eyes. Our printer's eye has apparently broken, so it can't see the paper. I wish I could convince it that it's lost its eyesight. "Go ahead and print -- paper will be provided, honest!" Instead, the silly machine just blinks an orange indicator lamp at me. Obstinately. Ceaselessly. Infuriatingly.

Update 2 September: I feel silly now. I was going to try JHP's advice and hand-feed paper into the printer, when I discovered that... the printer... kinda... had a paper jam. The machine has only a few LEDs for communication with the user, and it blinks the same one for "paper out" and "paper jam". So forget what I said.

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Anonymous John Hewlett-Packard said...

Try using the manual feeder on the back of the printer.

13 August, 2006 02:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or look for info on how to short-circuit the photocensor to make it believe there always is paper in the printer.

16 August, 2006 11:01  

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