Up to this point, our main computer printer has been a HP Photosmart D5360 inkjet. It is a very nice printer, but as you probably know, the price of ink is outrageous. I refill my own ink cartridges, which helps; but, that is a pain, and the whole deal is still expensive.
99 percent of what we print, does not need to be done with color. My boss bought an old laser printer from the state surplus, and it works great to print those everyday things that don’t have to be in color. Yesterday, I went to the monthly state surplus garage sale and picked up a huge behemoth old HP Laserjet 4Si laser printer for twenty bucks. It also included a new toner cartridge that was still in the box. I figured, if it happened to work, it was a steal with the extra cartridge included. I found prices for used Laserjet 4Si‘s on the Internet for $400 to $550 dollars refurbished, depending on what accessories were included. This printer has the duplex module, and high speed parallel interface modules included, along with 8 megabytes of RAM.
I got some help putting it into my car. When I got home, I used a hand truck to haul it into the house, and into our “library” where our family compter is located. I dug around my junk box and found a centronics style parallel printer cable (since this computer interfaced with a parallel port), and plugged it in. The printer seemed to power up correctly, and my hope rose.
I do not run the Windows operating system on our home computers. They run on Ubuntu Linux. I ran the printer configuration utility on Ubuntu, and it immediately recognized the printer as an HP Laserjet 4Si, and downloaded the proper driver for it. Wow, “it just worked”!
I ran some test pages, and the printer ran perfectly. Other than the paper cost, now my kids can print the stuff they want to print, and we have enough toner to last the life time of the printer.
I found the user manual on the Internet. This printer prints on both sides, has slots for two paper trays. I have two “letter” size trays and a “legal” size tray that will fit in it. It has a slot for hand fed items like envelopes. What a deal! We have a small table with a lamp on it next to our computer operating desk. The printer fit nicely on the floor under the table.
Now, we can print all the stuff we want to, and use the more expensive inkjet printer when we need a nice color report or photo. If you need an inexpensive printer for day to day printing, consider one of those old laser printers you see at that garage sale or auction. If you can get it working, it will be well worth it. John.