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Repairing your printer

January 23, 2006 by Frank

These days, is it worth repairing your printer? The answer is usually no. This is the case with all low end printers. These printers, usually marketed as suitable for small office, home office (SOHO) or home use, are built as cheaply as possible and are not worth repairing. They have plastic or very lightweight steel chassis and are built to be put together quickly. Usually if you attempt to open them up you will see that there are no screws holding them together, just plastic clips. The printed circuit boards are very thin and even some of the joins holding parts onto the chassis are just plastic soldered on. Don’t believe for a minute that printer manufacturers make a loss on selling printers with the intention of making it up from selling cartridges! The manufacturers make a profit selling printers, so if you pay $100 for a printer you can be sure it was made for a lot less.

Basically you could say that cheaper printers have inbuilt obsolescence, so they are designed to be thrown out and upgraded when they break. Manufacturers encourage this by selling parts (if they are required by law) at prices that are high enough to discourage repairs. Of course this may not be intentional on the manufacturers’ part, as it is a very expensive business running spare parts inventories, especially for superseded models.

To a large degree the more expensive printers are worth repairing – because they are quite robust and also because they are built so that parts are easily swapped out and replaced. It is also worth investing money into maintenance and repair when the amount is but a fraction of the purchase price, whereas parts and labour for a repair on a cheap machine will cost more than the machine originally cost!

So what to do? The best bet, if you are buying a SOHO or home printer is to buy one with the longest warranty – for instance Samsung has a 3 year warranty on some products. Another option is to purchase an extended warranty, most manufacturers will offer this as an option (and certainly HP, Epson, Canon and Lexmark do). The only other option is to resign yourself to the fact that if you buy a cheap printer you will have to throw it out if it breaks and buy a new one.

If you have any experiences with repairing cheaper printers, please leave a comment by clicking the comment button below!


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