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When to replace a Network laser printer

Posted on 2004-08-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have this old HP network laser printer (LaserJet 4M Plus) that I am getting maintenance quotes for.  

How should I determine whether to purchase a new laser printer, or continue to perform small maintenance ($40 here, $40 there)?  Is there a percentage I should go by in choosing whether to purchase maintenance or buying a new printer, such as a percentage of what it would cost me to purchase a new laser printer?  

I don't want repeat maintenance fees to stack up on an old printer when spending $800 - $1000 on a new one might be a more cost effective option.  Can someone advise on this?
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Question by:cakirfatih
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LimeSMJ earned 300 total points
ID: 11936682
I just replaced one of these tanks in our office last December.  It was a great printer with very little problems.  The justification of buying a new printer was that the printer itself was well over HP's support cycle - it was discontinued in May of 94.  Support and parts were pretty expensive, especially since all the parts I got were remanufactured because HP wasn't making any more.  In addition, because the parts were not made by HP, the print quality dropped (a lot of bad toner, low duty cycle drums, etc).

Some other factors that influenced me was the sheer size of the thing, limited memory to do large prints, and also the printing speed - subjective comparison to our newer laser printers of course.  I loved how this printer dimmed the lights of the room that it was in while it printed or power cycled too - which is another reason why I opted to replace... used too much juice.  Newer printers are much more efficient.

Ultimately, the options and speed of the newer laser printers out there outweighed the reliability of that 4m.  In general, from experience, if you can squeeze out 700,000 pages from a printer, that's pretty damn good.
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by:cwisofsky
cwisofsky earned 50 total points
ID: 11938593
I use a ratio for most hardware of cost of a new printer divided by four years of service.  If the repair kits stay under about $300 ($1200 for new printer) then I continue to buy them until the annual cost exceeds that ratio.  If the user needs a new printer for features, just relocate the older printer to an area that can survive with the Laserjet 4 as their workhorse.

Also, I go 2 or 3 years in most cases between maintenance kits while HP's recommendation is to replace them annually or after the workload in sheets of the printer.  That gives me a very nice ROI and hasn't let any of my users down yet.

Last thing, don't include consumables like toner in any of these ratios unless the toner price really gets expensive.

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Expert Comment

by:mcp_jon
ID: 11939794
For that budget you could buy the new HP Laserjet 4200, which is fast enough, and not very expensive ! Also buy the Jet Direct and just plug it on your Network. Done !

This printer prints PCL as well as PostScript.

Best Regards
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by:Hammadian2
ID: 11939967
if the maintnance cost u'r talking about is spent on buying ink cartridges
then dont buy a new one for sure :)
as it will also need ink :))

Laser printers usually do not need much maintenance, if they need at all
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by:DJ_Zeratul
DJ_Zeratul earned 150 total points
ID: 11951261
I would also recommend the LaserJet 4200, we just bought a new one for our office and it has been bulletproof so far.

Anyway, to your question, I had to make the same decision, basicaly I use a 15% depreciation per year formula and then weigh the cost of a repair. If the repairs for a year cost more than the depreciated value, then I make a comment to our project administrators and they usually agree that it is time for a new piece of hardware.
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