My “New” Behemoth HP Laserjet 4Si

The heavy and large HP Laserjet 4Si
The heavy and large (but inexpensive) HP Laserjet 4Si

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.

Our HP Laserjet 4Si in our Library
Our HP Laserjet 4Si in our Library

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.

3 thoughts on “My “New” Behemoth HP Laserjet 4Si”

  1. Happened to trip across this entry. I have a LaserJet 4siMX I bought for $25 in, um, 2006? Similar to yours except it has PostScript and an Ethernet port on the back as well. There is one thing in your entry that I think is incorrect, though. “we have enough toner to last the life time of the printer.” No you don’t. The 4 series saw the introduction of the 4MP, where “P” meant Personal; the first time HP even considered the idea that an individual would actually buy a laser printer for the home. The I, II, and 3 series were build for businesses, and most of the 4 series was as well. The 4si retailed for well over $5,000; they expected that buyers would pay extra for reliability. Even if you neglect the recommended maintenance, that printer will probably keep working for at least a couple more decades.

    So no matter how slowly you print, I think the printer will last longer than the toner cartridge unless you deliberately ‘put the printer out of its misery’ because your new bio-integrated brain-interfaced computer in 2043 projects all printed material in virtual space in front of your eyes, and you don’t need to print anything anymore.

    Oh, and if you’d like an Ethernet interface, I have found those are surprisingly common, and of course, practically free. In fact, I have three of them, even though the printer can only have two different interface cards plugged in at the same time.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Yes, I agree with you completely. I guess that I should have said, that I have enough toner for as long as I have the printer. 🙂 I’m sure the printer will outlive our use of it.
    – John

  3. Hello and I hope life find you well.

    Very interesting site and I couldn’t missed your 4Si page.
    Exquisite durable printer, build in time of different mentality concerning quality.

    And on that note, I wanted to kindly ask you a small favor, whenever will or time strikes you to do so.
    I would need for my HP archive models, if you could be so kind enough to just print me the test page from 4Si. Just general start page accessible from front panel. Then if you could scan the same in best quality you can, and send me via email.

    4Si is not that easy to come by, and I would love to have his test page.


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