At Last I Can Print Again!

My Problem

Several years ago I decided to replace my regular printer with an all-in-one network device.  As it was a network device, I could put it in my office and use it from any PC at home.  Great stuff.  Furthermore I could scan some papers, and even make copies without touching a PC.  That device was a HP Photosmart 3210 All-in-One.

HP Photosmart 3210 All-in-One: not the smartest on the block I was fairly happy with it (except for a few issues with the accompanying software).  But some months ago the device decided to become stubborn.  It started moaning about ink cartridges being outdated.  And it refused printing!  If there’s one thing that I can’t allow my devices to do, that is to have them refuse performing their main function!

According to HP, this has been built in to protect the printing system and ensure print quality.  If the device would still have been under warranty, I could live with that (although it’s really on the limit – I am the owner of the device so I decide how to use it, right??).  But the warranty is gone for many years, I don’t care about possibly damaging the printer or the quality of the printouts.  I just want to get it to print!

Further according to HP, you can override the warning.  Except, what’s written on that webpage doesn’t seem to reflect reality.  I could not find any way to get it to ignore that message, except for hacking the hardware by erasing its memory through removal of the CMOS battery.  Which I didn’t try.  In fact, not only could I not print anymore, the thing was totally useless as it even refused to scan!

So HP, well done, you’ve lost one more customer.  How smart is that Photosmart now, huh?

The New Device

Epson Stylus SX510W: outsmarting the Photosmart The requirements for the new device were:

  • network device
  • all-in-one with possibility to copy without a PC
  • colors all in separated cartridges

My HP had five colors plus black.  After some review reading, I decided that the additional two colors are not worth the extra cash.  So that was one requirement less, three colors plus black is sufficient for my needs.

So a couple of months ago, I have replaced the HP with an Epson Stylus SX510W.  The installation was simple.  Hook it up to the network, install the software, and test.  Well, a step to install the cartridges was also needed somewhere before the test phase.

One small remark about the printer’s general use: it generates quite some noise while printing.  In my case that’s not an issue, the device is located in my office, not in the children’s bedroom.  But I can imagine that it might be a problem for some people.

It all worked perfectly until lately I had been having some printing issues.  When I printed something, on PC it looked all just as before.  But the printer wasn’t doing anything, it wasn’t printing.  As you can imagine, that is a fairly annoying problem because printing is the main reason that I’d bought it.

Today I have found the solution, so I’m happy to share it with you.

Investigating The Issue

I’ve got the printer hooked up to my router through a fixed cable.  So far so good.  I can see the printer in the list of devices, and I can even ping it!

So network is not a problem then?  Well, one would think so but apparently that’s a wrong assumption.  On my router I’m using dynamic DHCP.  And that’s the cause of the printing issue!  Because my router gave my printer a different IP address compared to when I first installed it, it cannot communicate anymore with the driver on my PC.  Ouch, and then to imagine that software quality was one of the reasons why I deprecated my HP device.  Hopefully this is the first and last issue that I encounter with this printer.

Short-term Fix (not recommended)

Now you’ll probably want to know how this can be fixed?  Well, the first step is to find out the new IP address of the printer.  One way is to log on to your router and look at the list of connected devices (make sure your printer is switched on when you do that).

Please note that my home PC is running Windows 7, so if you’re encountering the issue on a different OS, the next steps may differ.

The next steps involve changing the TCP/IP port on which the Print Server is connecting with the printer.  To start, open up the Devices and Printers control panel through the Start menu.

You should see your device appear in the list:

Epson SX510W Series highlighted in the list of devices

Then select the device and click the Print server properties button in the button bar above.  On the Ports tab of the Print Server Properties you should see the Epson printer appear in the list, with an IP address next to it.

Print Server Properties: EPSON SX510W Series standard TCP/IP Port

Select the item and click the Configure Port button.

Configure Standard TCP/IP Port Monitor

In the Configure Standard TCP/IP Port Monitor window, you will see the old IP address of your device.  Change the value for Printer Name or IP Address to the new IP address assigned to your printer.  That should solve your problem.

For some reason it’s not possible to change the Port Name value.  Oh well, at least it works.  For now.  What happens if your DHCP router decides to give your printer yet another IP address tomorrow?  Well, then you’ll have to repeat this fix.  Over and over again.  Let’s find out another way to fix this once and for all.

Long-term Fix

We actually have two options here.  The first is to configure the router so that the printer has a fixed IP address.  I will not go further into detail on that option.

Another option is to enter the printer’s name in the Printer Name or IP Address box.  You already know where to enter it, all that remains is finding out what name your device has.  And that’s fairly straightforward too.

On the printer, locate the button with the tools drawing on it and push it.  That opens up the printer’s settings.  You will find, and have the option to change, the printer’s name under the General Settings.

There you go, problem solved forever.

Happy printing!

Valentino.

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  1. Bleh’s avatar

    I cannot describe how much I hate this HP All In One 3210 printer. There is nothing in this world I hate more than this printer. I have decided that I will not buy so much as a pencil from HP in the future and will not let any opportunity unseized to express my disgust on how HP operates its printing business.

    I had full printing cartridges but the printer refused to print. The expired cartridge was the blue one.. it refused to print in black. The warranty was long gone. I was willing to “take the chance” of killing the printer by printing with expired cartridge within the printer… but no. …And what is the issue with the ink just expiring?? …its fu#$%#$ my chance to take… hp is just wasting my money, the printer is locked up – wasting my time and investment… I was on the brink of sending this printer through the window of the shop that sold this useless piece of crap to me.

    I sent this useless piece of junk to the junkyards… DONT buy HP printers, buy EPSON…or something else. Boycott printers that have to policy to lock you in with expiring ink and brand-encoded cartridges.

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