I'd be interested to learn more about lead-free solder and how the rest of the industry is dealing with it. When RoHS was first implemented, everyone had solder issues, but now all of our suppliers have what appears to be a stable process and rejects due to solder have dropped off the chart completely.
A very interesting series of comments and experiences with (mostly) HP printers, end-of-life(EOF), planned obsolescence, bad solder joints, et al. For my own part, I have had pretty good luck with HP printers. Our 'main' printer is an HP LaserJet 1012 which we have had for more than 4 years. We about 2 toner cartridge's a year for a mostly personal/small business - printing mailing labels, articles, etc. Printer has never given us a lick of problem.
We also have a Epson All-In-One color inkjet scanner/printer which we use mainly for photograph printing (on the printer side) and as a scanner (very handy). Cost a thumping $90 some 5 years ago, very lightly used and very reliable. We lose most of our ink to just age rather than use.
Frankly I would never buy a printer with the idea that it would be my 'last' printer and hence I would never spend very much on it. Darned market moves just too fast. I remember spending way to much money for a Diablo dasiy wheel printer - bit, bulky, slow - you name it. Finally just gave it away to a collector.
A note on color printing - you might want to consider the use of the many commercial outfits such as SnapFish. We use them (or someone similiar) any time we need multiples, specials, etc. Only takes a week or less and cost is usually quite low. Much less cost than trying to have a super printer around.
Re-flowing solder on a failed board has been done for video cards for several years now. the procedure is to remove anythng that may be damaged by the heat, make small balls of tin foil and place the board on a cookie sheet, spaced away from it by the foil balls on the screw holes in the board. Bake and test. It is hit-or-miss, but in most cases not trying it leaves you with a paperweight.
I've had success with the baking technique, not once but twice!
The first was a Lenovo Thinkpad T60 laptop with a graphics problem that made the display unreadable. Internet research confirmed that the cause was likely a solder connection problem with the graphics chip. Baking the motherboard got the computer running for a few more weeks, enough time to buy a replacement.
The second success was an XBox 360 with the dreaded "red ring of death", a well-known solder problem. It was out of warranty so I figured I had nothing to lose by baking the motherboard. Not only was it revived, it is still working six months later!
I have to admit I'm baffled by the tales of HP quality (or lack thereof). About 15 years ago, Design News gave its annual Quality Award to HP for their efforts in printer technology. A few years after, I started hearing horror stories of HP printers and their low quality. But I have two HP Officejet 5610 All-In-One printers that are both around eight years old (I think); I've never had a single problem with either one in eight years.
This article describes Planned (or Forced) Obsolescence as your comments describe, but also touches on a huge issue we haven't dug into – that being RoHS initiatives which were forced onto domestic manufacturers.This initiative was a painful learning experience for many major corporations as they struggled to learn the processing of the new Lead-Free solder.Many DPU's were accredited to Cold Solder Joints for a long period of time.I'd like to submit a short article on this, if anyone is interested in evolution of solder techniques...
That happened to me with a Samsung printer cartridge that I let sit too long. I wish i would've known, though I'm not sure how the oven would have reacted to the experience. (Microwaving would not likely be a good option :) I don't think obsolescence is so much the issue as it is that printers have the same short product life cycle as consumer electronics goods like cameras and iPods, yet most users intent to keep their printer for many years (until it breaks). Thus, during the life of the printer, replacement ink cartridges become progressively more expensive the further away you get from EOL (end of life) of the printer itself.
There is a locally owned camera store who develops film and does prints. It has proven much easier and cheaper to buy a nearly discontinued color printer from the big box store for $50-60, use it until the cartridges run-out (about a year in my house), printing photos at the lowest resolution, the buy another one. After making alterations and trial prints on my home printerl I find the exact picture I want, download the image onto a thumb USB drive, go to the camera store and they print the pictures with much higher density on the best printer available on the market and I don't have to buy ink cartridges. If I want a contact sheet I can print it at home without using too much ink. I just bought a $3000 plus color printer for work and had to replace the formatter board 2x and finally get a replacement printer under warranty. I'd guess HP is aware of the issue but is having trouble fixing it.
@Ratsky: Sorry to hear about your experience, but unfortunately, you're hardly alone. Actually your comment about forced obsolescence is probably a bit closer to what I was describing. Apparently, it's more common than one would think.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.