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An inexpensive investment for your office that pays for itself in weeks and helps save trees!

Years ago I bought a used network printer for our office. This was a large office printer intended to be used by lots of people and it can easily handle large print jobs (150,000 pages per month duty cycle). After I got it I realized that one with a stapler and that could print on both sides would be nice. I researched the stapler and found I had to buy a large output tray attachment that had a stapler. They were not cheap so I stopped there. However, we have been printing a lot of four and six page instruction sheets and I wanted to easily print them on both sides of the page saving paper. I discovered that the duplex accessory, a device that stores the page and sends it back to be printed on the other side, was only $40 including shipping. I bought it from CompuVest Corp. and it arrived in about 10 days extremely well packed. Since the printer is an Hewlett Packard (HP) I was able to find installation instructions on the Internet. All I had to do was slide the duplex unit in. Navigate the menu on the printer to tell it to use duplex unit and then do the same on the printer drivers on each computer using the printer. It now works and will pay for itself in paper savings very rapidly and this is also good for the planet! (Less paper consumed!)

More about the printer

It is an HP 8150N monochrome printer which we bought used about five years ago. It has printed lots of large jobs and had no problems with no maintenance. In fact the printer's configuration page says it prints 350,000 pages between maintenance and we still have 135,000 till it needs maintenance. Maintenance kits for the machine are inexpensive.

All we have had to do so far is replace the toner cartridge which includes a drum unit. I just found one for $45.90 including shipping and it is good for 20,000 impressions. That comes to $45.90/20,000 or .2295 cents per side. That is a LOT less than most desk top printers cost per page. This printer does take a while to warm up and if is not being used regularly you have to wait on the warm up cycle. This is the one advantage of the desk top laser printer they warm up fast but because they do, they draw a lot of current when warming up and should be on separate power circuits. In fact if you have one on a circuit with a computer it might cause data problems or void your uninterruptable power supply (UPS) warranty. (The UPS will be constantly making up for the power losses created by the laser desk top printer.)

The HP 8150 printer series has a envelope feeder accessory and by selecting the proper output path you can print on a straight paper path. This is handy for printing envelopes with the: address, return address, permit postage and a little ad copy to get the recipient to actually open the envelope! You also have to lift two levers by the fuser or the envelopes do come out with a small crinkle and you have to remember to put them down when you are done.

The 8150 printer also comes standard with two 500 page input trays (two full reams of paper) so you are not constantly adding paper like you have to on small desk top printers. It also comes with a two line character display which clearly communicates problems so you do not have to decipher the blink lights found on some desk top printers. (I keep a blinking light key chart by my desk top printer. Is that a fast or a slow blink?)

We have used this printer to print a lot of promotion! It prints at 31 pages per minute and 13 pages per minute when printing on both sides with high quality resolution (1200 x 1200 dpi). You can get it used for about $400 with a network interface card. The 8150 series was released in 2000 and discontinued in 2006 being replaced by the 9000 series (50 pages per minute). At some point in the future parts and toner procurement maybe a problem for the 8150 but that seems to be a long time in the future.

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