About a year and a half ago, I decided to finally break down and buy a printer. I’m not one of those guys who prints out everything. I can even read large manuals in PDF form online. So my printing needs are rather modest. I didn’t really need color, but just about every printer targeted for the home user was color. So I decided on the Epson Stylus C82. Epson had a history of making good printers, and their products are usually well supported under Linux. I wasn’t planning on hooking up to my Linux machine, but that fact is still good karma for a company.

After first getting this printer, I had really liked it. The quality was decent for an inkjet, and the color was sorta cool, to boot. But I didn’t use it that much, maybe only a few times a month. And while I tried to turn it off when I didn’t use it, I would often just forget and leave the thing on. About 3 or 4 months ago (about a year old), it just stopped printing. The head would move, and it would feed the paper, but the pages always turned out blank. The Mac utility it ships with has the capability to clean the heads, which I tried a few times. In the past, this has always cleared up any spotty printing issues. Not this time. After reading the troubleshooting, I was told to try new ink cartridges. The ink was almost done, anyways, so this seemed like a good thing to do. I splurged $50 (at least) for 4 new cartridges, and still nothing got printed. Finally fed up, I emailed Epson technical support. Now they did get back to me rather quickly. Unfortunately their answer was “try cleaning the heads, and if that doesn’t work you’ll need to bring it in to an authorized Epson dealer for repair.” They also said the cause of the problem was dried ink in the heads, which occurs if you leave the printer on, but do not use it often. Apparantly, when you turn it off, the heads get moved into a “locked” position such that the ink heads are protected. Not so, if you leave it on. Now if the heads being protected are that critical, it should “lock” them in after a period of inactivity or something. They basically turned a crappy design issue into consumer error, probably to cover their ass on warranties.

At this point, I was pretty pissed. I just dropped $50 for new ink, and now I had to drop who knows how much on repair, due to my neglect. This $150 printer was turning into a money sink. I had always wanted to move the printer into my second bedroom to clear up room on my desk. I have an Airport Exteme which has the ability to turn any USB printer into a remote printer. Of course, this feature is really half-assed. You can’t, for example, check the ink levels or run the head cleaning remotely. That only works if it is plugged directly into a Mac. So I decided to not fix the printer and sink anymore money into it. I could just print stuff at work, for now.

In conclusion, this printer really turned out to be a dud. Not only was the quality shotty, it didn’t really fit my needs of remote printer. So I’d say, steer clear of this piece of junk. Any printer that can’t stand up to a years worth of use, is not recommended.