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Old 21-07-2010, 17:24   #1
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Printers Onboard

Recent product development has wandered away from the collection of portable printers introduced a dozen or so years ago. A search of this site turns up a few comments on using laser printers, but it doesn't seem there is any new solution for the occasional printed output on a cruising sailboat.

I would like to hear your suggestions and objections to on board printers! What is right or wrong about ink-jets, lasers, portables, or multifunction systems et al>?

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Old 21-07-2010, 20:25   #2
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The problem I've always had with Inkjets (I've had several, from Canon, HP, others I can't remember) is that the cartridge always drys up when I need to use it, even though it's got lots of ink, so I had to replace the cartridges. I finally bought a relatively cheap color laser from Samsung for $300. It's toner is pretty expensive, and doesn't hold all that much, but it lasts forever. The downside is that the laser uses way more power, and there are problems running it off a modified sine-wave inverter.

I don't know that there's one good answer!

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Old 21-07-2010, 21:16   #3
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I get the cheapest ink jet printer that is available wherever I am in the world. I don't know what I would do if I had to make professional output from a printer on a regular basis. I would probably take my files to shore to have them printed in a commercial establishment.
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Old 21-07-2010, 21:42   #4
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My last laser printer did not like humidity, and would not run on the inverter. My cur rent ink jet has no such problems
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Old 22-07-2010, 08:24   #5
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I use a Hewlett Packward 460wbt portable ink-jet. I haven't had any problems with ink drying out. Battery life is pretty short, but I can just turn on the inverter and plug in. Very happy with it. On the rare occasions I need something printed that is really spiffy I have found a copy center nearly everywhere and when I can't I e-mail a PDF to a Kinko's in Annapolis and have the product drop-shipped to the recipient.
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Old 22-07-2010, 10:16   #6
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I've used a HP 1018 laserjet for two years in the Eastern Carribean. I bought from Staples when a new model was being introduced for under $70.00. It works just fine with my 1500 watt modified sine wave inverter. I store it in a large plastic bag when not being used because of the high humidity. I figure that I have between 3 to 7 years of toner left.
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Old 22-07-2010, 10:33   #7
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I have a Hewlett Packward 460wbt also, been using it intermittently for about a year and a half with no problems. I love the small size, I keep it tucked away in a locker when not in use.
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Old 22-07-2010, 13:50   #8
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We’re using a Cannon Pixma iP100 inkjet printer, with the optional battery attachment . We’ve found it perfect for our on-board printing needs, (although we don’t really do that much printing), and we really appreciate the compact size.
I've sent in my application to the Real World. So I'm hoping to hear back from that....
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Old 24-07-2010, 16:23   #9
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I think Inkjet would be your best bet. I believe they use less power and today's models tend to be ok with the ink not drying out.
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Old 24-07-2010, 17:38   #10
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Ink jet ink is usually water soluble

The ink used for ink jet printers is generally water soluble.

The disadvantage is that in most cases, things you print will run if they get wet. (Some inks are better than others - IIRC the HP inks tend to be a bit more robust).

The advantage is that, if the cartridge sits too long and gets dried out so it won't print, sometimes you can carefully use alcohol and/or water and a paper towel to wipe the business end of the cartridge, soften the dried ink and get going again. It doesn't always work but I've done this many times. In general, printing out something that requires a little bit of each of the colors, once every week or month can usually keep things flowing.
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Old 25-07-2010, 03:00   #11
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G'day, mate. Been using a Canon 80 series Ink jet for 12 years and the only thing I have ever had to do was replace the ink cartridge holder about 2 years ago. Runs fine on 12 volts or can use the power cord with the inverter. Also use the scanner cartridge with no problems. Cheers.
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Old 25-07-2010, 03:16   #12
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We use an extremely compact portable Canon photo-quality color inkjet (an IP100). It runs off a 12v laptop adaptor so we don't need an inverter for it. It prints documents on regular paper as well as photos on photo paper.

Inkjet prints are not ideal on board because of the humidity and spray -- they can run. Plus the cartridges can dry up as someone said, when left unused for a while. But all in all those drawbacks are worth taking on board for all the other great advantages. Mainly I wouldn't know where to stow a laser printer.
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Old 25-07-2010, 14:34   #13
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Thanks all! I'm going shopping for a fast portable inkjet or a tee-tiny laserjet.
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Old 25-07-2010, 22:18   #14
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G'Day all,

We've used inkjet type printers for some years now, and indeed have found that with our infrequent usage the cartridges do dry up. Our cure for this came from an early refill kit. Theysuggested boiling up some water, pouring a bit into a jam-jar lid (or other very shallow dish) and standing the cartridge up in the hot water with just the print orofices submerged. Let stand a few minutes, then carefully blot the bottom with a paper towel. Run the cleaning routine and it is likely that all well be well again. It has worked for us MANY times!


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Old 25-07-2010, 23:26   #15
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Thanks for the tips on dry ink cartridges. This year we've had this problem for the first time.

We used to have a pixma 90, but we dropped soemthing on it. We then decided that we wanted a scanner integrated into the printer (we'd had it seperate) and now have a rather larger HP. We don't often need to scan things but it can be incredibly useful - eg we can get emailed a doc, print it out, sign it and rescan for return, which can save a lot of time and hassle. We can also photocopy, eg for copies of boat papers, pages from books etc.

We do need to print for business purposes so it's worth it, but the pixma (tho slow) was also good enough for this. None of all this activity happens very often, but it's really worth it when it does. We do not print for navigation purposes, but if we did, the pixma would be the way to go.

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