Printer failure

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Re: Printer failure

Postby Kellemora » 12 Nov 2013, 11:16

As you know, I have exotic birds. Currently down to one bird.
Birds are the most susceptible to airborne pollutants.
With all the printing I do, I've never lost a bird yet, from breathing problems.

Both frau's have caused some expensive cookware to delaminate or bubble.
Leaving them on the stove empty, or allowing liquid to run out.

It was not uncommon for me to print anywhere from 250 to over 300 pages per day.
And more than triple that on Friday's before the weekend.
I had one-dozen Lexmark ink-jet printers lined up on a shelf, each run from a print server.
I couldn't afford to use them if I couldn't refill the cartridges.
On this model printer, the print heads were integral with the cartridge.
And most could only be refilled three or four times before the little burners in them burned out.

I also owned a large commercial crash printer. Actually, I owned it first. It was the workhorse that all of our orders were run on. My business relied on getting my work out on time. So if this one printer broke, it was usually down for a week, waiting for parts and the service man to show up. When this happened, I had to get the owner of our local print shop to come in and handle my work for me. This cost more than my profits from those orders for that week.

Ink-jet printers were just way too slow to be feasible. And the cost of ink cartridges was higher than my total price for doing these jobs.
However, I had a boy working for me who could write computer programs. And work on printers.
He convinced me, for less than one-third of what it cost to repair the crash printer, he could set me up with ink-jets.
And we could increase our production speed at the same time. And have ZERO down time.
I laughed at him, because I knew it was totally impossible.
He spent his entire weekend, writing up a proposal, showing all the facts and figures.
Plus how he would set up the system to be super fast.
I studied his notes and figured it wouldn't cost me all that much to give his idea a try.
However, I did cut his plan in half at first. No sense in going whole hog as an experiment.
He spent the next week writing the program and setting up a print server.
The following Monday, he comes in with six new Lexmark printers, four gallons of ink, a lot of small tubing, hanging racks and shelving. He sets everything up, then proceeds to cut and drill holes and slots on these brand new printers.
I cringed big time. Why couldn't you just remove the lids? Don't worry, you'll see!
Come Wednesday, I'm still waiting to see his test run. And he's telling me he needs a distribution box for the server.
He can only run two of the printers without it. But he set up a run to show me.
He said, now no matter how many copies you need, only send ONE to the print server, then a window will pop-up asking me how many copies and which printers to use. I can use one or all of them, after we get the distribution box.
We sent the print run to the first two computers. Twenty-five copies to each, for a total of fifty.
The print server sent the first twenty-five to the first printer, it started printing, then the server sent the next twenty-five to the second printer, and it started.
While they were printing, he said if we had that distribution box, all six printers would be running at once.
Bottle of ink were high on the wall, with little hoses running down from them, four hoses to each printer.
Some other type of bottles were on the wall midline in the hoses. These are to adjust the ink flow, think chicken waterer to get the concept of how they work.
OK, I don't care how they work. Just that it works.
I fork over the money for the distribution box. He obviously knew I would buy it, so he had the shop order it back when I first gave him the go ahead. This box could handle up to twelve printers. So he ordered smart.
He ran and got it, had it up and running on Thursday.
We ran all of Thursdays orders on this line of six printers.
Everything came out perfect, and was only slightly slower, to do the whole run, than the crash printer.
He said, if we got those six other printers, they could run the orders faster than the crash printer.
After seeing how well they did, and how little ink they really used, doing it from a master feed system.
I gave him the go ahead.
Everything ran fine the first two weeks, we made good use of the ink-jets.
But we got a really huge order, we needed to run well over 2,500 pages before Saturday night.
It was his day off, so I chose to use the crash printer I was familiar with. At about 1,800 pages, it broke again.
I knew this time it would take well over a week to get fixed, as I heard it grind inside when it stopped.
As he instructed, I sent only ONE copy to the print server. The screen popped up as it should.
I wasn't sure of what all the info in the box meant, so I just said send 10 copies to each printer.
Nothing happened. I forgot to select which printers. The little drop down box only went from one to six, because he had not had time to add the other six printers to the program yet.
I tried to send 117 pages to each printer. I didn't know the limit he set in the program was only 50 pages.
Everything locked up. Needless to say, I was getting furious. All these printers and nothing is working.
I called him on the phone. He wasn't home. I left a message. Two hours later, no word back from him.
Talk about dumb luck. He left a gift for someone in the closet, and stopped by to get it.
He reset the server and told me to only send 50 pages to each printer and to only select the first six printers.
Don't change any other settings. I'll be back in two hours and set up the rest.
He didn't leave before all six of the printers were running like a Swiss watch.
They started in sequence as they should, and ended in sequence, one right after the other.
Sure enough, even running only six printers, they were almost as fast as the crash printer.
I ran the next fifty pages to each, they finished.
I only had to send 17 pages to five printers to finish the job.
One of the printers acted up. Was printing garbage.
No problem, I just sent the last 15 pages I needed to print to the first printer.
The job completed, my helper sticks his head back in the door.
Well, what do you think boss. Once I learned how to work your system, it went well.
Printer five is printing garbage.
He takes one of the new printers, that he had not yet destroyed, swaps the lids and takes it to the store.
Comes back with a replacement and slips it into it's place. Runs a test. There ya go boss.
I'll get the rest going tomorrow.
Friday, our busiest day, he don't have time to cut and chop on the lids, so he just removes them and sets them aside.
I liked the looks of the machines much better without the lids in place.
Saved him a bunch of work also.
He adjusted the computer program so we could send up to 100 pages to each printer, but altered it so I didn't have to go through those steps. Now, all I had to do was enter the total pages I needed to print, and how many printers to use to run the order. The program would divide the work up equally among the printers. This was great, and I understood it, hi hi...
He showed me how to unhook a print cartridge from the system, install a new one, he previously prepared, and run a couple of pages for it to stabilize. Easy enough to do, but I still got ink all over everything, hi hi...
About three months later, one of the printers flat out died. It's like everything under the sun went wrong with it at once.
He was there when it died.
He turned to me and said, if this was your crash printer, you would be out of business for a week, now wouldn't you.
With my system, you have only lost 1/12 of your system. Then he grinned a huge grin.
He reaches into the closet and pulls out a brand new printer. Pops the lid off, and sticks it on the shelf.
Transfers the cartridges from the bad printer to the new printer and hits the start button.
It came on-line and began running that part of the order designated for that printer.
He said he would adjust the program again, so if we didn't have a spare handy, it would just redistribute what was sent to this printer, to the others, without having to resend those pages.
With all twelve printers running, the work was finished much faster than our LONE high speed crash printer.
And I learned a very valuable lesson. Don't place all your eggs in one basket.

This is why I have keep more than one computer, extra keyboards and meeces, and an extra printer on hand in my personal office. I even have two KVM switches, extra Lan switches and USB switches. The only thing I don't have a back-up for right now is another Router. I had one die and did not replace it yet.

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Re: Printer failure

Postby Ice.Maiden » 12 Nov 2013, 12:55

That was great, and the guy actually showed some acumen, didn't he?

We have a few computers and printers in the house, including laptops, but I only use this one, in the main - not being trusted with the others, most likely! : (

I pass on some of the work to someone else, and everything gets done on time, but you've run a different type of business, which required lots of copies, and you're also a lot more savvy than me when it comes to machines. I couldn't set up half the stuff you've mentioned!

Pity you don't live down the road, sort of thing. I have a spare working router you could've had, and it's not a bad one either. Cost me about £90 ... and then I threw the box away, and don't know what model number it is!! : )

In the main, I leave all the techie stuff to others, but because our internet was down for so long, and then the printer driver was missing, blah blah, I tackled it myself and managed to get everything just right again - after I'd found the disc for Microsoft office Suite/ Word. I didn't want to fork out on another one, as they're stupidly expensive, but I used Word a lot, and get on with it, so knowing it was here SOMEwhere, I went on a hunt and located it. I'd never installed it before, but it was fine to do. I must be improving slightly, but don't want to repeat the exercise, although Yogi helped me out, and then I found that it wasn't so complicated after all! : )
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Re: Printer failure

Postby Kellemora » 13 Nov 2013, 11:55

Don't feel bad Icey
Technology has shot past me so fast, I feel like I'm in the dark ages.
Even though at one time, I was a chip level service tech.
Today, I don't even attempt to replace a memory stick.
If my computer breaks, I take it to the shop.
They know me there, and no I won't throw good money after bad.
And that unless it is a standard computer case, I would opt for a new case as well.
So they don't even call me with estimates or do I want this or that instead of doing this with this.
They basically know ahead of time. Use what you can from the bad one. But if it is a proprietary cabinet, it's OK to change to a new standardized cabinet. In the long run, spending 40 bucks extra, saves 80 bucks in labor, messing with proprietary cabinetry. Also, a new cabinet comes with all the little extra pieces they could spend an hour hunting for in their junk drawers. That don't mean they always use a new cabinet. Only if necessary and if it makes the bill less.
Their knowing the type work I do, and how I do it, saves me a bundle too.
The guys are great. When they first see me each trip, their opening phrase is always "You don't need!"
They talk me out of the expensive stuff I say would be cool to have. Because they know it will not benefit me.
They did make a machine for me with four gigs of memory. But when they checked my logs, I had never used even close to two gigs. So when they built me another machine, they told me to bring my working machine in and they would pull two of the memory sticks from it. Saved me 160 bucks.
They will build me an 8-core, 32 gig machine with SD and HD drives, if I insist. But always ask why I wanted something I would never use 90% of. They will up me to 4 gig memory on my next machine, just because things now could use more.
But I really doubt they will give me a four-core CPU since I get by with the faster dual-core. But I won't know what they do until I have them stick another new machine together for me. I can't complain, I never have problems and they keep the cost usually under 300 bucks for each new machine. I'm sure that will be higher, due to inflation, when I get the next machine.

But when it comes to computers. I'm like Shultz. I Know Nothing! Anymore that is.

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Re: Printer failure

Postby Ice.Maiden » 13 Nov 2013, 13:39

:( I'm SUPPOSED to know .. but don't. I shudder at the thought of anything technical, but very thankfully have one or two people who can usually help me out. I ask Yogi when a problem's imminent, because I know that he understands these matters, although maybe doesn't quite understand what I'm trying to portray! :lol: Even so, he's helped me out several times, and I was grateful for that, because left to my own devices, I'd be more hopeless than I am already!

It's embarrassing really. No disrespect to them, but sometimes older people can be just as clueless, because they weren't really brought up around computers and such. There are still plenty of middle-aged to retired folk over here who've never owned a computer and who probably never will, but I did IT at school and've been around such machines for the rest of the time. I simply have no interest. So long as they do the simple tasks I require of them, then that's enough, and when they go wrong, it feels like a catastrophe! :shock: This's why it's embarrassing, because people've laughed at me or given me pitying looks when I've explained a problem, but it's still not embarrassing enough that it makes me want to understand computers for my own benefit!

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Re: Printer failure

Postby Yogi » 16 Nov 2013, 11:16

I think the discussion of printers has run it's course. Time to move onto the next topic.
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