Almost fixing my printer

I had a lot of printing to do this afternoon, and was planning to pick up an spare laser printer from a friendly company. This would have been an hour round-trip, so I instead decided to have another go at fixing my Canon iP4000, which broke after I tipped assorted metal objects down the paper feed. So I sat on the sofa with it on my lap, trying to find a way in. Printers aren’t designed to be user-serviceable. At all. But that’s never stopped me before, and if all else failed I knew service manuals were available online, for a price.

After much twisting and turning I discovered a combination of flaps that let me see directly down the paper feed tray. At which point I spotted this:

I see the problem

A screw was firmly lodged at the back of the tray, and much prying with the torch revealed two more. They would not come out the same way they went in. It took two hours, two knives, a nail file, two tweezers, blu-tack, at least eight swear words and a lot of lying on the floor at strange angles, but I finally got them out. I’m pretty sure I totalled the secondary paper feed tray – one of its removable parts was held by two springs which pinged inside the unit at first touch, never to be seen again – but it worked! A test page fed through without a problem. I was very happy. The drivers informed me that four of the five cartridges were empty, so I went out and bought replacements, along with labels and paper I needed for the job.

The print-head is broken. I don’t know whether it’s age, or if I somehow broke it while messing around (I was nowhere near that side of the unit, but it’s always possible) but it won’t print black. After all that. It won’t even fake it with the colours, such are the limitations of the drivers. I’ve tried blasting the print-head with hot water, but it hasn’t made any difference. A replacement print-head is £60, which is more than a new (lower quality, admittedly) printer, and I can’t afford that at the moment.

This took up most of my day, and I was a bit pissed off about it for a while. Still, learning experience and all that. I’ve picked up the laser printer this evening and it should do the trick (please don’t let it run out of toner anytime soon) although I’ll have to make do with black-and-white. I’m not sure where I’ll plug it in, mind – does anyone know whether it’s still a bad idea to plug modern laser printers into extension cords? This always used to be a big no-no, but I haven’t heard it for a while. I guess the cartridges are a write-off, unless I can sell the whole unit as ‘broken’ on eBay or something, but do you think ‘inkjet’ labels that specifically say they shouldn’t be used with ‘dry toner’ really mean it? I’m guessing so, but I’d like to think not…