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Need a Portable battery or USB powered A4 printer

Posted on 2010-09-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We have mobile working operatives who need to connect a portable printer to a laptop and be able to print off A4 documents.

The operatives visit housing properties which do not have an electricity supply.

Therefore they need to have a printer which is powered directly from a laptop via USB or powered by a battery.

I came up with the idea of using thermal technology as these printers may be sitting on the carpet / seats of a car and Ink tends to dry out.  Laser would be another good option but I guess powerwise it would not work.

I have found this printer which is almost perfect:
http://www.xomobo.com/planon-printstik-ps950-600dpi-portable-bluetoothusb-thermal-printer-with-charger-case-planon-ps950-p-2542.html

But i expect the paper costs to be too high and the 20 page limit is too little

Any feedback would be appreciated
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Question by:auraorange
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4 Comments
 
LVL 20

Assisted Solution

by:n2fc
n2fc earned 100 total points
ID: 33587513
You could solve your problem by tackling it another way...
1) Find a printer that works for your needs, but has low power requirements, even if A/C powered.
2) Use a 12V "gel-cell" battery... small, light and easily rechargeable (look for battery backups for alarm systems) Cost: around $25
3) Use a DC=>AC inverter to power the printer... Cost: around $25
So for about $50 or so you can have a small, lightweight, rechargeable battery supply for ANY printer that meets your needs... Size of battery will depend on time needed to power printer between charges...
Alternative:   Use a small UPS (basically the above components packaged in one box) that  is charged nightly to power the printer when AC power is unavailable.
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LVL 32

Accepted Solution

by:
aleghart earned 300 total points
ID: 33592363
We have a portable Canon color inkjet that's used for trade shows.  Has a battery pack.  Not sure how long it lasts, since they can usually get near an outlet.

The current model is here:
http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/printers_multifunction/photo_inkjet_printers/pixma_ip100

There is also a car adapter available.

Personally, I use an inverter from Wagan (APC and TrippLite make them too).  Plugs into the cigarette lighter socket and gives me up to 150 watts of 110VAC.  Enough for a small laptop and small inkjet.  They make them up to 300 Watt.  Higher than that and you'd overload the wiring and fuse, so you have to buy a kit to direct-wire it to the vehicle's electrical system.
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LVL 28

Assisted Solution

by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 100 total points
ID: 33593578
The Canon BJC-50, BJC-80 and BJC-85 are decent portable printers, though no longer manufactured by Canon.  They're not expensive, have internal batteries, the ink tanks don't cost a fortune, and are widely available on ebay.  They have the traditional parallel port interface, but $3 on ebay will buy a USB to parallel port adapter.

If they're going to be left in a car, avoid extremes of heat or cold.  Heat can permanently reduce the battery's life, and cold will reduce the battery's output until it's warm again.
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LVL 2

Author Closing Comment

by:auraorange
ID: 33595585
Thank you for the great feedback.

I'm going with the IP100 as this offers a complete solution for us.

N2FC your suggestion was well thought out and if it was my equipment thats the way I would go but as it's work and needs to be simple to setup and support the IP100 i feel is the best solution.

Thank you DrKlahn, i noticed some of the older discontinued printers do seem the best but i'd probably get shot buying second hand equipment without warranty for work.
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