I do some IT consulting and computer repair. Maybe you found out about me on Craigslist (I am in Nashville and Huntsville). I got an email request from a potential client this morning and I think my replies to him might be helpful to anyone with an Ink Jet printer.
He specifically has 2 Epson stylus C88+ inkjets that are less than 2 years old and an Epson Perfection all-in-one copier that has not been used for about 3 years.
From his description of the Epson Perfection I can only guess that he was referring to the CX4450. This is a very inexpensive printer. And 3 years is an epoch in "PC speak".
Before I did any research, here is a copy of what I wrote to him:
Dear potential Client,
Just as a side note, printers these days are less expensive than the cost of the parts to make them. IF you paid close to $100 for it the rule of thumb is this:
if you bought it close to a year ago (and a lot of these units are not built to last more than a year, unfortunately) it has depreciated to zero so the cost of buying a new one is always lower than fixing it.
That said here are the caveats:
Ink jet ink is very pricey so always try to get laser, the toner costs less than the ink. It is almost better to buy a new printer than to but new cartridges. That was a big wakeup for me. I filled my own for a while and then gave up.
(NOTE FOR the Wizard of IT BLOG: the refilled laser carts work fairly well - maybe 90% of the time with very little left over when the printer stops working due to low toner. The refilled Inkjets - whether you bought them refilled or you refilled them - leave as much as 15% in the cartridge on a good day. I have had them crap out after one page of printing. I vowed to ALWAYS buy the manufacturers ink; no matter how expensive, there is just no comparison.)
When it comes to all in one printers the printer part will wear out or break down before the fax or scanner. Don't recycle the whole thing yet. You should be able to use it to send faxes and scan documents. Receiving and printing faxes will still be problematic depending on the brand; you often can't get the received fax into a computer to print elsewhere.
The good news is that the price of the scanner was just about zero when you bought the thing. So you are making out.
The downside to these units is really the cost in waste (as long as you do not take into consideration that some working in a third world factory made pennies for assembling it for you and that the country where it was made – likely China – subsidized the materials so the factory makes out like a thief at the expense other manufacturers in the US and around the world). You should try and responsibly recycle the carcass of these units when you retire them. Please don't just throw them into the trash.
Still, I don't mind looking them over. There may only be something simple wrong with them.
Costco and Sam's usually have amazing deals.
Keep in touch
The Wizard of IT
A note about recyclers:
You can find good ones and bad ones. I have heard that some guys just chuck the stuff in a landfill after taking money (from someone? Who?) to recycle the equipment. I don't have any direction for this so it would be a good thing to comment on.
I heard on NPR that there is one recycler who you can watch, on line, while they crush up your computer. This article also talked about the ethical removal of data from a hard drive. I suggest reading it! How To Erase Old Hard Drives Without A Drill Bit
After a little research (so I don't look too stupid posting this to the world…) You can still buy the Stylus C88 for $107.81 before tax and shipping from Tamayatech .
Ink actually costs about $8 to $12 per cartridge - which is way better than the HP or Lexmark machines I have owned (making some of my off the cuff rant a little premature, but not by much - read on…).
But I am still a fan for a laser printer any day. Still - coverage is very hard to estimate.
Epson Perfection CX4450 can be had for $45 reconditioned from several distributors including Amazon. Ink is similarly priced but really, do you want to pay $40 for in for a printer that costs, well, close to $40?
(Gaak - I just found it new for $47.50 at MACMALL!) See my point?