atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

Parts Car

Today I stuck a battery into the parts car.

Everything immediately switched on, even though the ignition switch was in the "lock" position. I cycled the switch a couple times, and nothing changed.

Ergo, the electrical system is screwed up, somehow.

I think the ignition switch is screwed up. The steering column appears to have been apart, and the steering wheel doesn't lock when the switch is in the "lock" position.

I'm going to have to double-check the wiring on the switch, and then on the starter. I don't see how a bad starter could result in everything always being on, unless someone pulled the starter and put it back in wrong.

Anyway, the first order of business will be to pull the air bags and put them in a safe place. After that, I'll worry about the ignition system. If the electrical system is all fouled up I won't feel so bad about stripping the car, though.

Blank Media

I'm running low on DVD+Rs and CD-Rs, so I checked the Sunday ads. OfficeMax had Memorex blank media on sale: 100-disk CD-R spindle, or 50-disk DVD+/-R spindle, for $15 each.

I could have paid $30 for a 50-pack of OfficeMax brand DVD+Rs and gotten a second spindle free--but that would have ended up being the same price as the Memorex, anyway, so why bother? Besides, I don't like buying off-brand disks. My brother has had problems with the durability of the off-brand disks he's bought.

I looked, once again, at a Brother laser printer. 20 pages per minute! When I first got started as a computer technician, in 1990, you had to pay $5,000 to get 17 pages per minute--that was back when the now-venerable Hewlett-Packard LaserJet IIIsi came on the market.

17 pages per minute is pretty fast, but printers are getting faster. 20 pages per minute from a $80 printer is the norm these days, rather than an exception; even the inkjet printers are getting into double-digits.

I would like to get a new printer. I've got an old laser printer here, a Brother HL-8e. It's a Canon SX engine printer; it uses the same toner cartridge as, and shares many parts with, the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet II and III. I spent many hours in the early 1990s repairing these kinds of printers, so I'm an expert on repairing them. This printer is still usable today because of that expertise; I've rebuilt its fuser at least twice, and replaced other parts as they wore out. Since they are tanks, they just go on and on forever; with proper maintenance they just don't break at all, and when they do, the parts are pretty commonly available. And there are no symptoms this printer can have which I can't diagnose and repair.

The only conceivable thing that could go wrong with it, making it unrepairable, would be if the formatter board blew. If that happened I'd have to either find an HP Laserjet III with some issues and use this printer's parts to fix it, or spend $$$$ on a new formatter board. Instead I would probably just buy a new printer...but it would be a sad occasion.

The Canon SX has a top speed of 8 pages per minute--a cheap inkjet is faster than that, these days--and a resolution of 300 dpi. It is, in short, obsolete. Despite that, I just can't seem to give up on this thing. I want a new printer, but this one has the charm of a classic car.

Well, the time is coming. If I ever see a printer in my price range which can duplex (print on both sides of the paper), this one will get retired. I'd really like a color laser printer which can duplex print--that would be awesome, and they're rapidly coming down in price.

A note: whenever you shop for a printer you must always look at what the consumables cost, not just the printer itself. For example, a typical Lexmark inkjet printer can be had at OfficeMax for $40. The ink cartridges, however, run $30 each. It's slightly more expensive brother requires different cartridges which cost only $22 each. Considering that you'll average about 300-500 pages per pair of cartridges (depending on what you print, of course) the cost-per-page can get quite high. On the other hand a laser printer typically gets 5,000 pages from a toner cartridge. The cart may cost $60, and the printer may cost $200, but the cost-per-page is still much lower than it is for an inkjet printer.

Also you must make note of what kind of paper it requires. Some inkjet and dye-sublimation printers require very expensive paper for optimum results. If you want to print photographs--and you want them actually to look like photographs--expect the paper to cost a dollar per page. I prefer a laser printer which uses cheap, recycled paper, myself. ;)

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