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Hardware Thread, Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System? in Technical; I know this comes up about every 5 minutes on here but I need some advice. Background Primary School (fully ...
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    Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    I know this comes up about every 5 minutes on here but I need some advice.
    Background
    Primary School (fully networked), most printing goes to 1 OKI 5100n, which is nearly dead (3 yrs and 70k prints old). Last year it did 34000 prints (avg 2500 per month) of which 12000 were colour (avg. 500-2000 per month). According to the OKI software, this all cost £1600 (including paper).

    Dilema
    Option 1. So, do I just get another laser? Unless anyone else has anything to add, previous posters seem to think Samsung is cheep to run.

    Option 2. Look into Inkjets, using a continuous ink system? Poster ContInk says they are cheep but he seems to be the only one who mentions them. I was wondering if anyone else has any experience of them. It'd have to be a fairly heavy duty networkable inkjet (as they are cheeper to buy, we could afford to have more spread about the school) - perhaps the HP K550 (~£100). Although they claim to have a 5k/month duty cycle, the OKI had a 50K/month and it hasn't really lasted. I worry that the paper feeds will go and keep jaming paper or they'll end up falling to bits. On the other hand, I like the idea of being able to top up the ink tanks, so they never run out.

    Option 3. Continuous Ink for colour and cheep laser for black and white.

    Option 4. Refill toner cartridges ourselves. Sounds messy

    Any advice appreciated (including from ContInk - have you worked out any figures for cost per page?).

    Thanks.

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Hope you don't mind me coming in on this one too. We are running a 12 month old OKI C3200n Colour "Laser" (LED) and an OKI Mono side by side in our ICT Suite and using Print Manager to control the printing urges of our pupils and staff. The default printer for everyone is the mono!

    Even so the OKI Colour printer seems to eat toners. It also has bad habits and keeps dropping its network connection for no apparent reason (other than I'm usally not around to Confirm Connections when it does this - none of our other printers do this!).

    We need a second printer to install in another building. It will be heavily used by Early Years for all their photos and while the OKI makes a good job of it (they print them 9 to a sheet), I was wondering if anyone was aware of Colour print options that are cheaper to run and without any nasty habits!

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Have you thought about a small colour copier instead? http://imaging.toshiba.co.uk/cgi-bin....1.3.2.0.1.0.3 (hope that link works!) is a great copier, and normally very cheap to run and lease if you need to lease it. You also get a scanner and electronic document storage as part of the bargin so I find them a big winner.

    Edit the link doesn't work, so basically its the Toshiba E-Studio 281C, its a 21ppm black and 11ppm colour machine.

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Quote Originally Posted by eean
    Background
    Primary School (fully networked), most printing goes to 1 OKI 5100n, which is nearly dead (3 yrs and 70k prints old). Last year it did 34000 prints (avg 2500 per month) of which 12000 were colour (avg. 500-2000 per month). According to the OKI software, this all cost £1600 (including paper).
    If you have the Oki specification information on duty cycle for consumables (drum, fuster, etc..) and of course the toner I can plug the figures into my spreadsheet to get an idea if that's accurate-ish or more likely whether my spreadsheet is out of whack :P

    Dilema
    Option 1. So, do I just get another laser? Unless anyone else has anything to add, previous posters seem to think Samsung is cheep to run.
    Not the person to ask on that as I haven't spent too much time on high usage lasers.. but for black and white you can't beat a laser.

    Option 2. Look into Inkjets, using a continuous ink system? Poster ContInk says they are cheep but he seems to be the only one who mentions them. I was wondering if anyone else has any experience of them. It'd have to be a fairly heavy duty networkable inkjet (as they are cheeper to buy, we could afford to have more spread about the school) - perhaps the HP K550 (~£100). Although they claim to have a 5k/month duty cycle
    Right.. on the subject of the K550.. I have had some good and some bad experiences.. On the good side these printers are VERY fast and I've been able to pit them against 3x Epson C86/D88's and the K550 still manages to pull ahead. It's worth getting the DTN model (Duplexer, extra Tray, Network (wired)) and Misco have a deal on at the moment.

    On the bad side the K550, like most HP inkjets of the same ilk has problems with paper handling. So you need to fan apart the paper when you load it up. It's taken me a little while to get to grips with it but once you have the knack you can load over a ream of paper into the 2 trays and it'll run for a while before requiring more paper.

    The beauty of the K550 is that it's already a CIS printer (it's printheads move while the cartridges are static).. but instead of using their branded cartridges you can source a set of refillable carts, convert them to use a much bigger ink supply (I have mine with 500ml black and 250ml each colour) and just link them using some tube fittings. The cartridges have to have autoreset chips on them but it works very very well.


    Other printers you could consider are Epson D88's or possibly some R2x0 models.. But be warned.. Don't touch anything that uses the newest type of ink from Epson as they're a new style of chip that nobody has found ways round yet.


    I would heartily recommend you avoid the Canon printers though as I've discovered that CIS kits for those printers require a lot of care when it comes to installation and problems abound even if you get it right sometimes.


    I worry that the paper feeds will go and keep jaming paper or they'll end up falling to bits. On the other hand, I like the idea of being able to top up the ink tanks, so they never run out.
    Paper feeds will always get a bit worn out over time but there are ways to revive them and even if you do get a printer that dies after a lot of use you can always shift a CIS kit across to a new printer. When it comes to Epson C88's or even the K550.. so long as you're getting about 6 months of heavy duty out of it you're laughing...

    I can note that the C84's I bought for my first school are still going after more then 3 years now. Granted they've needed modifying to extend their service life (waste ink to an external tank) but 2 years and about 30,000 pages on each, full colour is pretty good for a £60 printer.

    Option 3. Continuous Ink for colour and cheep laser for black and white.
    More or less my recommendation

    Option 4. Refill toner cartridges ourselves. Sounds messy
    Not tried myself but someone is bound to have some insight on this. I have heard that it tends to be messy though as you suggest.

    Any advice appreciated (including from ContInk - have you worked out any figures for cost per page?).
    As I said, I've got a spreadsheet that does comparisons.. it's pretty much out of date at the moment as printer models have changed like teenage fashions this past year, but if you can give me some specific models and hunt out specifications (especially the pages @ 5% coverage data) then I can find some time to update it.
    I have an ink consumables spreadsheet (doesn't include paper costs

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    [quote="contink"]
    Quote Originally Posted by eean
    Option 4. Refill toner cartridges ourselves. Sounds messy
    Not tried myself but someone is bound to have some insight on this. I have heard that it tends to be messy though as you suggest.
    I have done this, best thing I can advise is BEFORE choosing a printer go to www.urefilltoner.co.uk and look it up in the list, see what type it is, most are very simple, I use them for refilling a lot of mine and its a very good site and very helpful people on the email if you have questions etc. Its also no quibble refund if you get the kit and think hmmmm this ain't for me just send it back and you get a refund (obviously un-used kit that is!)

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Oh and on the laser toner front... make sure you're not getting a printer that has chip protection (it's there to protect you of course *cough* *cough*) or if you are going that route, check that it's a printer for which alternative chips are available or resets, etc...

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    We've been successful on a few occasions covering over the chip contacts when our mono laser toners for he hp 4200 series can manage a few more prints, but YMMV of course

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    What ya cover them wiv Craig, just normal insulation tape? I have a few of these in offices and being able to run them for a bit longer is good when the genuine toners are expensive, and HP still don't make a Max capacity for it.

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    If you have the Oki specification information on duty cycle for consumables (drum, fuster, etc..)
    Fuser: 45,000 pages (£91)
    Black Drum: 17,000 pages (£58 )
    CYM Drums: 17,000 pages (£65 each)
    Black Toner: 5,000 pages @ 5% (£37 - £25 recycled)
    CYM Toners: 5,000 pages @ 5% (£99 - £45 - recycled)
    Transfer belt: 50,000 pages (£109)

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    On the bad side the K550, like most HP inkjets of the same ilk has problems with paper handling. So you need to fan apart the paper when you load it up. It's taken me a little while to get to grips with it but once you have the knack you can load over a ream of paper into the 2 trays and it'll run for a while before requiring more paper.
    Is it just fanning it required? Will staff manage this? Will it use the whole tray or does it keep needing topping up? We had problems with certain brands of paper. When we changed the OKI didn't like it (konica didn't mind) even though it was the same grade of paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Other printers you could consider are Epson D88's or possibly some R2x0 models..
    Would need to be networked and I'm not going down the printserver route! And I've never liked gravity feed. What about the other HP Buisness Inkjets? Some are more expensive, but have lower duty cycles and slower print speeds. Is there something I'm missing? There's one that's about £500. It has a bit more memory and twice the duty cycle. But at that price, you'd just buy 2 of the cheeper ones? What effect does only having 32MB of memory have. Will it put more load on the pc or the server?

    6 months of heavy duty out of it you're laughing...
    But it's the hassle isn't it. The time in between it's when broken and when you get a new one. If that's Jan, then I can't order anything till new budget comes out in April. And, of course, you'd never get the same printer.
    That's the problem with the OKI, it has too many consumables! Just as the black toner runs out, a few prints later the drum goes. It's a lot of stock to keep and staff just see it as "not working again". That's why I like the idea of CIS.

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    We've been successful on a few occasions covering over the chip contacts when our mono laser toners for he hp 4200 series can manage a few more prints, but YMMV of course
    Opening and shutting the door on OKI will keep it running for 2000 prints after it has run out! But you have to do it for every print job. It's credit to the printer that the door hasn't broken. But again, it's hassle and people always insist on pulling out cartridges, which causes a problem when the previous "fiddler" has unlocked it from the drum and toner goes everywhere (or they put them back in in the wrong order) -which can cause some interesting colour variations!

    Thanks for the suggestions and help. Keep them coming!

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Quote Originally Posted by eean
    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    If you have the Oki specification information on duty cycle for consumables (drum, fuster, etc..)
    Fuser: 45,000 pages (£91)
    Black Drum: 17,000 pages (£58 )
    CYM Drums: 17,000 pages (£65 each)
    Black Toner: 5,000 pages @ 5% (£37 - £25 recycled)
    CYM Toners: 5,000 pages @ 5% (£99 - £45 - recycled)
    Transfer belt: 50,000 pages (£109)
    Right.. I'll take a look at that when the tax stuff is all done.. self employment sucks big time this time of year

    Is it just fanning it required? Will staff manage this? Will it use the whole tray or does it keep needing topping up? We had problems with certain brands of paper. When we changed the OKI didn't like it (konica didn't mind) even though it was the same grade of paper.
    Fanning is a very simple process for anyone with any deterity but from experience you'll get staff just jam stuff in (hey don't they always).. but the good thing with this printer is that there's a lot of paper in the trays so it doesn't need loading too often.

    From the experience I've had to date, if you set the printer to auto grab paper from both trays (ie: whichever has paper) then it'll keep going until there's no paper left. It won't tell you one tray is empty though so you need to check manually.

    No idea if it's a specific paper brand or grade that's the problem but I'm using various 80gsm cheap brands and it works fine. The thing to bear in mind is that it's likely to have problems as the rubber on the roller pickups gets coated with residue from the paper so if you factor in regular maintenance to remove this you're likely to remove the problem.. I've not had to do this but I've seen kits around and plenty of advice on how to clean the rubber pickups.


    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Other printers you could consider are Epson D88's or possibly some R2x0 models..
    Would need to be networked and I'm not going down the printserver route!
    On that front I can agree but having switched to HP 3700en printservers that I got cheap from makingitgreen.co.uk I'm converted.. The only pain with the D88's is that paper needs to be loaded every few minutes when it's under heavy load.

    And I've never liked gravity feed.
    Ah.. Oh well.. it's something to bear in mind for medium usage areas that you don't want to have to visit where they can look after themselves.

    What about the other HP Buisness Inkjets? Some are more expensive, but have lower duty cycles and slower print speeds. Is there something I'm missing?
    You'd have to give some examples but in truth to save you some time (at least in waiting for answers from me) I don't have a huge amount of experience of the HP inkjet printers as I was unaware that they had a built-in CIS system as the 1100 and K550 do.. There are other printers (2230?) that use the same approach but I've not looked at them with a view to this sort of thing as my R&D budget is pretty much exhausted.

    There's one that's about £500. It has a bit more memory and twice the duty cycle. But at that price, you'd just buy 2 of the cheeper ones? What effect does only having 32MB of memory have. Will it put more load on the pc or the server?
    In a lot of ways buying a couple of reasonable spec but cheaper ones is generally better as you have a failover if one breaks, jams, etc.. As to the memory issue, I honestly couldn't say but you can probably get some stats/info by googling.. I'd imagine it affects queue management and allows a server or computer to hand-off print jobs quicker but that's just a guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    6 months of heavy duty out of it you're laughing...
    But it's the hassle isn't it. The time in between it's when broken and when you get a new one. If that's Jan, then I can't order anything till new budget comes out in April. And, of course, you'd never get the same printer.
    There is that... If you were talking about a D88 or something similarly cheap I'd warehouse a printer or two so that you can swap them in and just make them part of the budget but that's obviously something that requires a little persuasion with management.
    That's the problem with the OKI, it has too many consumables! Just as the black toner runs out, a few prints later the drum goes. It's a lot of stock to keep and staff just see it as "not working again". That's why I like the idea of CIS.
    Makes sense... For myself the CIS's work very well in terms of keeping a printer running... Primarily my experience has been with Epson C84's -> D88's and in the last year I've spent a lot of time with Canon pixma printers from the iP4000's to the multifunction MP500 and MP830's.. (which as I said, really require a lot of luck and a deft hand). The HP printers are a new experience that I intend to expand on but so far the K550 is a winner so long as you are aware of the paper feed issue. From what googling I've done it seems to affect a lot of their printers so bear that in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    Thanks for the suggestions and help. Keep them coming!
    No worries.. and just out of interest, whereabouts are you based?

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Right.. I'll take a look at that
    Just worked it out quickly, Colour sheets are 8.6p full price or 5.1p with recyled toners (based on each one of the colours putting 5% on). Black and white is 1.5p original or 1.2p recycled.

    No worries.. and just out of interest, whereabouts are you based?
    Maldon, Essex.

    I think I'm going to get one to trial it (HP) before the laser completely dies. Where do you recommend I get the CIS from?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Quote Originally Posted by eean
    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Right.. I'll take a look at that
    Just worked it out quickly, Colour sheets are 8.6p full price or 5.1p with recyled toners (based on each one of the colours putting 5% on). Black and white is 1.5p original or 1.2p recycled.
    I'd hazard a guess it's more expensive than that if you factor in consumables but I couldn't know without looking at your calculations so if you did.. my bad :P I'll sort it later tonight though as it's got me interested.

    No worries.. and just out of interest, whereabouts are you based?
    Maldon, Essex.
    Bit out of the way for me then (North Yorks here)

    I think I'm going to get one to trial it (HP) before the laser completely dies. Where do you recommend I get the CIS from?
    Well the only place I've found one is from this eBay seller here:
    http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/cis.supply.hk/

    ... but the reservoirs on the CIS's are pretty useless so you'd be better getting the refillable cartridges from the same seller and making up your own CIS. That and he doesn't sell the inks you need which is a problem.

    SO... as a suggestion.

    I'm buying in a few sets of the necessary cartridges for my own kits and already have the tubing, fittings, glue, inks (oh and skills) etc.. needed to make them so if it would help I can create you a kit with all the necessary inks for a single unit. It'd help me too as you can cover some of the postage costs for my next ink order and the cartridges.

    I figure you'd like to avoid as much hassle as possible so if that works for you let me know.

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Thanks for the offer, it's an absolute pain for me to buy anything (over about £25!) that doesn't go through our LEA invoicing, so it is usually much easier to go with a company. A quick bit of Googling found ContinuousInk (£79) or continu-ink(£56). Both include ink for each colour. Quite a difference in price, but didn't know if there was a difference in quality. (Continuousink's ink is also twice the price of the other). Don't know the size of these companies, so the invoicing issue could be the decider.

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Quote Originally Posted by eean
    Thanks for the offer, it's an absolute pain for me to buy anything (over about £25!) that doesn't go through our LEA invoicing, so it is usually much easier to go with a company. A quick bit of Googling found ContinuousInk (£79) or continu-ink(£56). Both include ink for each colour. Quite a difference in price, but didn't know if there was a difference in quality. (Continuousink's ink is also twice the price of the other). Don't know the size of these companies, so the invoicing issue could be the decider.
    Know what you mean about the invoicing.. I don't do VAT invoices yet (will be doing that from next month) so that could be a pain but just a couple of things on the point above.

    1. Those CIS kits include the "wonderful" balanced pressure reservoir systems. They're a gimmick frankly and prone to leaking if they're one of the poor quality control batches that you hear about. You're better off just getting some standard bottles with dip tubes in. More capacity and no fuss refilling.

    2. 100ml is not exactly CIS when you consider the K550 cartridges are 17ml (colour) and 65ml (black).. If you get a K550dtn you can easily fit a kit with 500ml black and 250ml on each of the colours. (The key thing here is that the bottles maximum ink level is never higher than the printhead which, with the paper tray extension, is easy to ensure) Talk about fit and forget

    3. As for ink, well the HP's are all using more or less the same ink and have done for a long time, so you can get it most anywhere. After spending years on the issue, I've found a supplier that sources from Image Specialists (USA) and not China. I could go on for hours but quality ink is a nightmare to get hold of as my ink stained workbench proves :?



    Anyway, your call.. feel free to pm me if you want some more info or to talk terms

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    Re: Printing (sorry) - Continuous Ink System?

    Quote Originally Posted by john
    What ya cover them wiv Craig, just normal insulation tape? I have a few of these in offices and being able to run them for a bit longer is good when the genuine toners are expensive, and HP still don't make a Max capacity for it.
    A good tip that I picked up from someone else here - was on some HP lasers - you can go into diagnostic mode and switch off cartridge checking - we get loads more out of our 4600s after that!

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