Baking your board--now that's a new concept, but apparently an effective one so thanks for bringing it to the Design News community's attention.
One comment you made that struck me--that the $500 printer would likely be your last printer purchase ever. I don't think any one can say that about any product these days, particularly home office printers. These units appear to be so flimsy and designed for a very short shelf life. What have I heard folks talk about in this community--designing for planned obsolescence. I'd say this is a perfect example.
About "the last printer": there's another factor to consider. I do a lot of photography (grandchildren!) and some years ago (when I switched to digital exclusively, and bought a DSLR) I needed a really good photo-quality printer to replace my venerable HP855 (which died completely soon after). Since I also needed to do some larger-format printing, I chose a mid-high end Canon i9900 ink jet for about $400, as I couldn't afford the "best" design, dye-sub. It has served my purposes admirably, but it's quite expensive to feed: 8 ink cartridges, currently costing me more than $10.00 each (in a multi-pack, on-line). And, they don't print many high-res images (maybe a handful of 13x19 inch) before severeal need replacing. I did try "private-label" cartridges just ONCE; saved a couple of bucks but ended up having to buy a new $85 print head! Here's the REAL kicker: there are only a couple of sellers who even stock the full multi-packs or the two "unique" photo cartridges used only by this printer and one of its siblings. NONE of the many office supply chains stock these anymore and only a couple allow ordering, so I suppose it's only a matter of time before they are completely discontinued. Then this fine tool will become a museum piece, eventually finding its way to a recycling center, and I'll have to find a suitable replacement. This is a bit worse than "planned obsolescence," more like "forced obsolescence."
@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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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!
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.
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