I have always wanted to do this, in every office job I had…

a pictures's worth a thousand words

I’ve had this printer for more than 10 years, it was ratty when I got it, and it became increasingly reluctant to print on the other side of the paper without screwing it up if I fed it through again. Further investigation after it jammed all the time¬† showed the paper jam to be mid-printer, and applied either to the manual feed or to the tray feed.

I have repaired printers before, but anything involving the paper feed seems to be so finely balanced between running right and jamming that I figured I had zero chance of success – the fault wasn’t obvious, like something broken off or loose. Getting spares for something 10 years old isn’t that likely either.

So I extracted the memory and jetdirect network card, and took the opportunity to vent thirty years of frustration at recalcitrant office equipment by taking the bugger outside and smashing it on the ground, then laying into it with a spade. I do recommend taking the toner cartridge out first :) Yes, I did end up with a lot of small pieces to sweep up, but I felt so much better. And it all fitted into the bin after smashing it up too.

In every office job I’ve had I’ve wanted to do this to the printer when the damn thing jammed with some report that was meant to be in yesterday, and now the itch is scratched. Office printers seem to have a knack for knowing the most inconvenient time to break down and a perverse dlight in using it.

Funnily enough the HP Laserjet 5P that I originally bought in the last century for ¬£600 (!) is still in service after more than 15 years with only one roller kit replaced. What will take that sucker down is the fact it only has a Centronics parallel port, and I haven’t seen one of those on a PC for years…

13 Feb 2013, 4:50pm
by Robhwales

I can relate to this so much. I too have a very old HP laser jet which is still going strong while I work my way through multiple shoddy colour ink jets that fail just out of warranty. Proof enough why HP is a dead man walking.

The solution to your centronics is of course a parallel to USB cable – works great

I could feel the release of years of pent up frustration from here:-)
It’s photocopiers that make me want to take a mallet to something!

Yes. The lack of Centronics parallel port is a real problem at work when the PCs get replaced but NOT the Printers! So I still got a old computer on the desk whose sole purpose is to connect to the Printer, despite how worn out the computer is.

Now I wrote this comment, I realises that there is likely an cable and there is one for USB to Parallel Centronic. So such things do exist! But does it work is another question entirely.

@Rob, Joe indeed, I didn’t realise there were enough of these old printers out to justify a solution, but it seems to be a common problem – a wifi print server w 2 USB and 1 Parallel Port would allow me to share both the old 5P and a R300 to both Mr and Mrs Ermine, and a USB to Centronics cable for three quid is hard to beat! I used to use one of these Netgear PS101 Mini Print Server with it and it worked okay until I isolated my LAN from the router with WiFi after a lightning surge canned two network cards

@Romany yes – it feels good to have got this heap of junk out of my life, along with all the bad karma :)

Aren’t you supposed to take something that big to a WEEE site?

@Luke Probably. But I’m not going to drive it three miles to the tip.


Picked up the link to your blog from Monevator. Not yet read much of it but like what I’ve seen so far.

I seem to be pursing a course somewhat similar to your own as I’m ‘down-shifting’ from IT in The City and have moved to the Yorkshire Dales to be nearer my wife’s family (and out of the south-east!).

Anyway, the real point of the email is I saw your piece on ‘printer rage’ and remembered a video clip I was sent years ago. 1.6MB office safe AVI lasting 1:26 http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23287149/OfficeLife.wmv Hope the link works!

Live long and prosper.

Regards, Phil

Ha! My equipment of choice would be a smart phone – I used to dream of smashing it into small pieces or throwing it in the Trent on a daily basis.

Did it go something like this (a bit of bad language)…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4HqI1s8Xgs
From that great movie Office Space!

Haha I don’t own a printer anymore, and have scanned my signature so I can apply it and scan back when people ask me to “print and sign”. I can imagine the cost of ink cartridges as well for such an old printer… I saw a service in the UK that offers to print and post a letter for you, you just have to send them a PDF, sounds like a nice thing not to worry about printers anymore.

haha thats brilliant you smashed up your printer, you go for it! Ink costs a bomb nowadays, if I print anything I get a friend to do it for me at work. ;)

[…] have to fax over a document to about ten groups of people in different companies. A fax machine has all the evils of a computer printer together with some pathologies all of its own, this was an early 1990s world without Internet […]


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