With Apologies to Tom Hanks

Posted on November 12, 2009


If I were a on a deserted island right now, I’d be running around like a maniac yelling, just like Tom Hanks in “Castaway”. No, I didn’t make fire. I fixed the laser printer!


No, this is NOT where my library is located : )

Yes, I actually did run a lap around the library yelling “I fixed the printer” and did a little happy dance. This is a $1000+ HP laser printer we’re talking about, that sees heavy use every day. Just to get someone out to look at it would have been $150; that didn’t even count the actual repair.

When the problem first popped up, I received a message on the display telling me the print cartridges were not engaged. So I turned the machine off, unplugged it to be on the safe side, and removed all the cartridges.

I waited 10 minutes, then reinstalled them, plugged it back in, and turned it on. Same message

Second step: the excellent HP troubleshooting and support website. I’ve had good luck with their site before, but not this time. None of their suggestions fixed my “baby”.

Third step: Get the school tech person to come check it out. She did all the same steps I did, with the same result.

After that, it was off to LM_NET to post a query regarding the problem. I received several helpful responses, one of which included removing the cartridges and cleaning the print heads with isopropyl alcohol. I’ve done that before with other printers, and thought perhaps this was it. No luck again.

So at this point I was ready to give up and try to live without this wonderful machine. I happened to mention it to my husband. His response? “Try exchanging the printer cartridge. That’s happened to us before.” (He works for a printing and copying company.)

Off to the local Office Depot, for a nice pleasant return (and a wave at the Tony Stewart standup: GO TONY!) and it was back to work. I was almost afraid to try this, but I gathered my courage and opened the new cartridge box. Quick switch and then I plugged the printer back in and turned it on.

I just knew I’d be disappointed yet again, but I went to the nearest computer and set a short document to print. Before I could return to the checkout desk to get back to another ongoing project, I heard the MARVELOUS sound of printing! It worked! Hence the victory lap and dance. If I could’ve done a burnout or spun a donut I certainly would have.

Now I have a different problem. Should I keep the $150 service call fee, or split it with my husband? ; )





Photo courtesy of:  Heinz Albers.  Used with permission under the terms of the GNU Free Documentaion License.

Posted in: Lesson Plans