Getting my printer replaced

One of the reasons I have this blog is for my personal benefit, so I can remember when I purchased items of kit, when they broke down and what I replaced them with.

After my current printer, an Epson XP-8500 started having problems, I realised I hadn’t blogged about getting that printer back in September 2018.

I bought the Epson as a replacement for a Canon printer I had, which itself had been a replacement for a wonderful Canon printer, the MP600R, that had lasted ten years….

I bought the Canon MP600R back in 2006. This was a somewhat expensive printer, but it had separate ink cartridges, a scanner, memory card slots (remember those) and could print printable CDs and DVDs.

The scanner was pretty decent, and it could print some excellent colour prints, if you used Canon paper and Canon inks. Compared to modern printers it was quite slow, but speed wasn’t always a key issue for me, picture quality was. I didn’t like the fact that you had to use Canon paper, but it was quite easy to get hold of, at local stationers and Amazon.

I was saddened when the print head failed  in May 2016.  The cost of repairing the MP600R was prohibitive, I would have been happy to replace the print head, but the cost of a replacement was around £150 and even then I wasn’t sure if it would have fixed the issue. So I recycled the Canon printer and replaced it with the Canon MG7752. I thought at the time that was an excellent replacement for the MP600R and hoped it would last as long as the printer it replaced.

Canon MG7752

Alas it wasn’t going to be and the MG7752 failed after two years in 2018 (just out of the two year guarantee period). Though I was happy to buy another Canon, in the end we went with the Epson XP-8500 in September 2018, which we got from John Lewis as they offered a two year guarantee and a good price.

Perfect for photography enthusiasts looking for exceptional photo printing and great all-round performance, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 will print, scan and copy to a high standard. The XP-8500 uses six individual inks for high quality colour prints, and features a large LCD touch screen and wireless printing functionality for easy use throughout your home. This compact and stylish printer has a small footprint so it’ll fit neatly into your set up.

I much prefer separate inks, as I think they are more economical than purchasing a combined colour ink cartridge. I wanted to print photographs, and also wanted to scan stuff as well. I also liked the fact it was wireless so I could Airprint from the iPad or the iPhone.

I was impressed with the photo printing which was quite fast, yet still excellent quality.

There were a few issues that I didn’t like. Now and again the printer would get lost on the network and you had to go through a process of power cycling the printer, cancelling the print job and printing again.

Over the last few months, I started to have issues with the photo paper feed, so much so that within the last month it stopped working altogether. I followed all the troubleshooting guides, but to no avail. As it was in lockdown, and we still needed to print, I decided to wait, though I did check it was still within the two year guarantee period.

I have been scanning a few photographs and other documents, and noticed that the quality in some areas was quite poor and blurry. It wasn’t the whole image which was blurred, just part of it.

So having a little time I phoned the John Lewis technical support line.

The end result was that due to the age of the printer, I could either have a replacement or a refund. At the time of calling there was very small range of printers in stock. So I initially decided to wait until later, as we could still print to A4, but I wasn’t sure how long that was going to last. In addition if I had refund, we would have to return the printer, so we wouldn’t be able to print. Also I had just forked out for a complete set of replacement inks which was about £90… 

Later that day I checked the printer range at John Lewis and was pleasantly surprised to see they must have had new stock come in.

They had the Epson Expression Photo XP-8605 which used the same cartridges as the XP-8500 and looked to be an upgraded version of the printer we had, but in white…

Perfect for photography enthusiasts looking for exceptional photo printing and great all-round performance, the Epson Expression Photo XP-8605 will print, scan and copy to a high standard. The XP-8605 uses six individual inks for high quality colour prints, and features a large LCD touch screen and wireless printing functionality for easy use throughout the home. This compact and stylish printer has a small footprint so it’ll fit neatly into your set up. You can print double-sided onto A4, and with dual paper trays you can feed A4 paper and photo paper at the same time.

To be honest the description and functionality was almost identical.

So I ordered the printer and phoned John Lewis back, who were really helpful. I could drop off the old printer at our local Waitrose and at the same time pick up our new printer.

I was slightly sceptical about ordering virtually the same model, but I wasn’t too sure that if I ordered a Canon, whether I would have the same issues I had with the MG7752.

I think I really miss the reliability of the MP600R.  In a similar story, I had in 2011 bought the HP PhotoSmart B110a in the main so I could print direct from my iPad using AirPrint, this was to complement the Canon. However just over a year after purchase and as I replaced the inks, the print head failed.

So here’s hoping that I get some decent life out fo the XP-8605.

Time to replace the ink

Back in July I posted about my new(ish) printer, in which I wrote:

…by posting this post I hope to have some kind of record of how long the cartridges last.

Well I now need to replace one of the replacement cartridges.

The first setup cartridge to run out was the double sized black cartridge which is used for black and white output. This lasted from the end of March to the beginning of July, just over three months.

The replacement XL version lasted from July to January and is still going, so lasted over six months.

I have replaced all the cartridges over the last six months and it looks like the XL cartridges are on target to last as long as the XL black cartridge.

Going through the ink…

Though modern printers are cheap as chips, the ink costs are usually astronomical. My new printer is no exception, though one reason I did purchase it was because it had separate ink cartridges rather than the usual one black and one colour that lower end printers have.

The Canon MG7752 printer comes with, what are called, setup cartridges, I have no idea how different these are to the regular ones, but having got the printer at the end of March they started to run out this month, July.

Canon MG7752

As well as regular document printing, it is also used quite a lot to print photographs, the second 6×4 paper tray makes that simple and easy to do from either the Mac or from the iPhone.

The printer has two black cartridges, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and also uses a specialised Grey cartridge too.

The printer can take regular cartridges, which I am assuming contain more ink that the setup ones. There are also XL high yield cartridges which according to the marketing hype deliver twice the pages of a regular cartridge.

The first setup cartridge to run out was the double sized black cartridge which is used for black and white output. This lasted from the end of March to the beginning of July, just over three months. The colours started to run out in the third week of July starting with the Cyan, followed by the Magenta, then the Yellow and then the Grey. The other black cartridge still has ink in.

I bought XL versions of the colour cartridges so it will be interesting to see how long they last. Challenging to measure effectively as the printing usage patterns in the house vary quite some bit. However by posting this post I hope to have some kind of record of how long the cartridges last.

The printer is dead again…

Canon MP600r

After ten years service, my Canon MP600R finally had to be retired after the print head failed. Back in 2012 my HP Photosmart printer failed for a similar reason.

I liked the MP600R for many different reasons, printing photographs, fast printing of documents, printing CDs and DVDs. It was a decent scanner (not the fastest) and I also liked the ability to print direct from the Compact Flash memory cards that I used in my Canon DSLR.

The main symptom of the failure was the main black cartridge would not print. Despite replacing the cartridge, cleaning the print head, both using the printer utility and even following some obscure guidelines from YouTube washing the print head under the tap as a last resort.

I would have been happy to replace the print head, but the cost of a replacement was around £150 and even then I wasn’t sure if it would have fixed the issue.

So in the end decided that the only real option was to replace the printer.

Looking over what printers were available, I started to make a list of features that I wanted and needed when printing. I realised that my printing needs have changed quite a bit since I bought the MP600R.

For example, printing CDs and DVDs which was quite a high priority back then, is still an useful feature, but not as much as a priority now for me.

Whereas AirPrint or the ability to print from iOS devices, which at the time I got the MP600R we didn’t have the iPad or even the iPhone. Today using those devices much more for communication means the ability to print from my phone or iPad is now a key feature I need from my printer.

I certainly wanted wireless printing (and scanning) for other devices too.

Looking over the products available I in the end went with the Canon MG7752 all-in-one Wireless Printer.

Canon MG7752

This had the key features I needed as well as some nice features that I didn’t. It has two paper trays, one for A4 paper and one for 4” x 6” photographic papers. It also had NFC capability, which I believe works great with Android phones, but not with iOS, typical! I also managed to get £30 off too, which was nice. Oh and yes it is that colour too!

The printer was much easier to install and configure than MP600R and I was even able to do that from a mobile device. It was also really nice to be able to install the printer on a range of Mac and Windows devices around the house.

The only issue I did have was that the Canon My Image Garden software wouldn’t work with the default OS X Canon print drivers, even if the printer would print. This means you can’t easily scan or print printable CDs and DVDs. The solution is to install the Canon drivers from the Canon website, once done everything worked as expected.

Print quality was excellent as was speed of printing, so much faster than the MP600R.

Overall the Canon MG7752 is an excellent replacement for the MP600R and I hope it lasts nearly as long as the printer it replaced.

Printing from Parallels

Now printing documents from Parallels should be a simple affair. The Windows VM should just print and go…

Parallels installs the following printer…

Which then should be delivered to the printer attached to the Mac, which in my case is a Canon MP600r.

The print job does read the Canon print queue… However the Mac decides to HOLD the print job and when you try and RESUME it, I get the following error.

The error says:

pstopdffilter/pstocupsraster failed with err number -31000

Now at this time I have no idea how to resolve this, except to either print direct from the VM to the Canon (as the Canon is wireless and on the network) or to use one of my printer sharing tricks.

Would be nice to know what’s causing the problem though and initial searches through Google don’t seem to resolve it.

Adding the printer…

I had been putting off adding my Canon MP600R to my new iMac, as the process on my 10.5 iMac was not simple.

Well things have improved with 10.6 as it was very simple and much easier than with previous versions of OS X.

The key though was to have some patience as it can take a bit of time for the printer to appear in the printer list.

Once though it “appears” then it is quite easy to add the printer like any other USB, network or Bonjour printer.

Once added though, run Software Update to get the most up to date drivers from Apple.

Next job to be able to scan from the printer.

Centon Flash on the EOS 400D

I realise that I don’t write about my digital cameras much on this blog, I have talked about other cameras, but not mine.

I originally had a film Canon SLR and about six or seven years ago I got a Canon EOS 300D Digital  SLR which back in 2007 I upgraded to the Canon EOS 400D.

One of the original reasons for going for the Canon DSLR was that I hoped to use my Canon accessories with my new camera. The lenses seemed to work fine, but I could never get my Centon Flash unit to work with my Canon EOS 400D. I just put it down to new camera, old flash!

Today I was going through a box and I found the Centon Flash and I thought, why not have another go, so I did and yet again it didn’t work.

So… I know lets use Google!

Found this blog entry which though talking about a different Centon Flash unit made this useful comment.

I had to tape over the four communication pin contacts on my 400D with electrician’s tape – it won’t fire the flash otherwise when it is mounted on the hotshoe.

So using a bit of tape I taped over four of the contacts and tried the flash…

It worked!

Simple.

When you know how.

You’re starting to annoy me…

My Canon MP600r is starting to annoy me.

Every time I try to print from my iMac, the printer can not be found on the wireless network.

If I power cycle the printer, it “magically” appears and I can print!

The same more often then not for scanning.

Now I have no real idea what the problem is, whether it is a wireless, printer or some other issue.

I do need to do some further testing. Things I may do including connecting the printer by wire to a wireless WET54G and see if it is a printer issue.

If it is a wireless issue I may connect the printer direct to the iMac by USB and share it across the network.

Canon MP600r

More soon…

Borderless Printing

Printing from Indesign CS2 using my Canon MP600R can be fraught with difficulties if I want to use borderless printing.

Even if I think everything is fine, the print which pops out of my printer has a white border… another (expensive) sheet of Canon’s Photo Paper Pro heads for the bin!

Part of the problem is the InDesign print window, which can be confusing and doesn’t always pass on what you ask to the printer.

Printing

The other part is that the Canon Mac printer driver won’t let you do borderless printing unless you are using one of their special papers.

As a result you can change the paper to borderless A4…

As a result you can change the paper to borderless A4…

But as you haven’t changed the paper in the Quality & Media of the print setup, the paper will default back to non-borderless A4 as you can’t use borderless printing with Plain Paper!

But as you haven’t changed the paper in the Quality & Media of the print setup, the paper will default back to non-borderless A4 as you can’t use borderless printing with Plain Paper!

Even if you now change the media to some posh (and expensive) Canon paper and print (what you think is borderless), your printout will still come out with white borders.

The key is to change the paper quality before you select the paper type.

Don’t mind me, I just need to go out and buy some more expensive paper…

Why can’t I print?

So today I needed to print some documents for work tomorrow and would my Canon MP600R print? No it would not!

It was only while I was doing the washing up that I remembered that my Canon MP600r was wireless and of course I had only recently changed my 802.11g wireless network.

So of course I had to reconfigure the MP600R to join the new wireless network. Alas you can’t do this wirelessly, nor using the control panel on the printer itself. You need to connect via USB and then configure (on a Mac) via Printer Setup Utility.

Though usually this is a straightforward process, I had real problems today. Though I could change the settings I could not actually add the printer. In the end it actually froze my iMac and I needed to hard reboot. Once this was done I found I could add the printer.

Then of course I now need to check I can print from my other computers.