View Full Version : I think my HP1200 LaserJet is possessed!!

Billy T
12-09-2002, 11:30 AM
Hi Team

I have a couple of niggling and irritating problems with my HP1200 laserjet printer.

Firstly, when I pack up for the night, shut down and turn off my computer, the printer waits until I have turned off the lights and headed upstairs then starts printing. Usually it will print just one page which is blank except for two little right angle thingies (alt 0172 from system character map) in the top left corner of the page. Sometimes it will print two pages, in which case the second page will have four characters printed, but different to the first page. Then it will go to sleep.

Very occasionally it gets really hyper and starts non stop printing until the paper tray is empty, which is a real bugger if it was full of letterhead and I don't hear it start. Note that all of this happens with the computer off. It appears to be caching some kind of instruction but where do I start? Is it possessed ]:) Do I need an exorcist ?:| or should I stuff it full of garlic then hammer a stake through the toner cartridge :|

Secondly, once in a while it refuses to print and bringing up the printer status box on screen shows the document sitting there but no action. It appears to be a frozen driver type of issue because the entry cannot be deleted or purged. Closing all programs leaving just the normal windows desktop some times clears it and printing will proceed as normal (after I re-open the document and select print of course). Other times a reboot is needed.

The first problem is the one that causes most grief because of paper wastage and the effect on my nerves hearing a disconnected printer start up of its own volition. Running on Old Faithful with Win98 and is shared on my network but no other computers are on at the time.

Funny really, I've just noticed that my problems are a mirror image: prints without a computer when I don't want it to, and won't print with a computer when I do want it to. X-(

Could it be something I've said ?:|


Billy 8-{) :D

Oh yes, nearly forgot, it also burps occasionally during the day which is also quite disconcerting. It sounds like some sort ot mechanical reset similar to an inkject carriage adjustment. Makes me jump every time it happens. Susan, can you please review my meds? Maybe you should up the dosages. :p

12-09-2002, 12:06 PM
Is the printer networked via a print server, or parallel port connected?

If the parallel port is used, is the printer cable IEEE 1284 compliant? Wonder if it gets glitched in the shutdown process and also when printing.

I have seen some odd things with non compliant cables, particularly with the higher clock speeds computers now use.

Billy T
12-09-2002, 12:49 PM
Hi God


1) No server, it is parallel port connected to Old Faithful.

2) Re IEEE 1284 compliance, I don't know but it is a recently purchased cable that does all the bi-directional thingies and allows printer/scanner coupling etc.

It shares with my Scanjet 5100C (which is off when the printing occurs as I have a master power switch that turns off all computer accessories except my inkjet and laser printers).


Billy 8-{)

12-09-2002, 12:58 PM
All cables are not created equal. I would suggest that you beg borrow or steal 2 compliant cables, as this now mirrors the case I had.

As the scanner is in the loop, the cable length becomes an issue with non compliant cables. In the case I was involved with it needed both the cable to the scanner, and from scanner to printer replacing. Really strange things were happening to the printer, and that cured it. Possibly you would get away with it if the scanner was not in circuit?

Another alternative is a cheap ethernet print server and network the laser (thats what I do here with a 2100 laser)

12-09-2002, 02:40 PM
Believe it or not but your experience is not unusual

See http://www.dustbroom.net/sketches/upd/arclight/archive/000075.shtml

"When good electronics go bad - I swear my printer is possessed."

"The Printer Demon:

The first of all the demons I've encountered...*nostalgic sniffle* I would say what it possessed...but I think you can figure that out. I hope. Anyway, it tried to kill Bery and I once, when we were working on a project in seventh grade"

Billy T
12-09-2002, 02:40 PM
Hi God

Networking via a server will come soon, when Old Faithful gets put out to pasture. (Sorry, had to whisper there, the old girl doesn't know of my plans for her retirement)

Now, I know you are omniscient and all that, as proven by your hit rate on strange and ephemeral faults, but can you explain to me why or how a cable type or length could affect a printer and cause it to spit out pages when all associated devices are completely powered down ?:|

Unless of course you are addressing only the print failures, in which case I can see that you could have a point. However, I only buy cables from Pudney & Lee, and I have no shonky or cheap n' nasty products in use. I also buy short cables for multiple hook-ups to keep the net-length to a minimum, so unless somebody can point me to a source for guaranteed IEEE 1284-compliant printer cables I am reluctant to go out and buy any more.


Billy 8-{) :D

12-09-2002, 03:37 PM
My thoughts on that would be that the glitches (cross talk?) that *might* occur at power-down could be buffered in the printer, the printing could be the result of a time-out process within the printer?

Only clutching at crucifixes, admittedly

Billy T
12-09-2002, 05:15 PM
Well I dunno ?:|

If you clutched at your crucifix real hard God, do you think you could convince me that random glitches could produce the same ASCII characters every time? (Alt 0172).

I go with the time-out for the printer theory though, so how are your water wings feeling today?

Would you like to deliver a theological dissertation on:

"The ecumenical significance of random glitches on non-IEEE1284 parallel cables in the presence of contradicting power influences in conjuction with pseudo-random ASCII character generation".

It's a thought, if you haven't yet decided a subject for your Ph.D.


Billy 8-{) ]:)

Susan B
12-09-2002, 06:26 PM
Nay, I think I'll leave your meds dosage alone Billy, it seems to be Just Right.

You have to admit that you're long overdue for PC problems. Your printer is just doing me a favour and forcing you to provide me with MY medicine - it knows that no one comes close to Billy when it comes to entertaining PF1 with PC or printer hiccups. ;-) :D

Graham L
12-09-2002, 06:32 PM
I suppose that the scanner is first in the chain, and uses a DB25-DB25 cable from the CPU. Is that cable an IEEE 1284 one?

It's an odd one ... I once worked with a papertape punch which made a lot of noise (punching all nine holes at 110 cps) when the CPU went down ... the drivers were not open collector, and went TTL low when the power went off them. The punch logic was active-low. :-(

But I guess that most of the logic levels on modern interfaces would be pretty indeterminate when the power is off ... they might use TTL levels, but it's not TTL hardware. That could mean that the lines are floating at one end, and although the 1284 cables are twisted pairs the drive and recievers are unbalanced so they could be good at picking up noise. But noise which is that consistent ... ?

That symbol is the "not" symbol, I think. It's the printer saying "NOT NOT", it's someone else's fault that paper is being wasted. ]:)

12-09-2002, 06:57 PM
Sorry Billy, my Thesis is being read now, so I cannot take up your kind offer.

I have to ask, why do you not power down the printer with the PC?
A multi-outlet power strip, fitted with a triac and optocoupler, driven from the PC USB works a treat.

Susan B
12-09-2002, 09:05 PM
> Sorry Billy, my Thesis is being read now, so I cannot
> take up your kind offer.

Can you send it to me? I've never read a thesis before. :-)

Billy T
12-09-2002, 10:34 PM
Hi God

Might have known that you would have an authentic ecclesiatical opo-electrical switching system. You are a deity after my own heart :D

I have a very secular arrangement. When I wired my office I put in two four-way outlet plates and linked those and a couple of other double outlets together on the one feed. Then I put a master switch on the wall. The laser isn't on it because it shares an outlet with a Canon inkjet, and if you turn those off and on you wait ages every morning for them to initialise and it wastes a lot of ink (or at least that was Canon's advice).

I guess I could shift the LaserJet over to a switched outlet and see what happens, it's easier than changing IEEE 1284 cables ad infinitum.

Of course, I was hoping for a miracle, or at least a couple of rosewater tears. ]:)


Billy 8-{) :D :D

12-09-2002, 10:44 PM
> Can you send it to me? I've never read a thesis
> before. :-)

If I thought it would help me pass, yes.
I will have the results around Xmas. If I fail, perhaps I will take up the offer that fills my inbox, a qualification from a non-accredited university...
Or perhaps not, I dont want a job in TV...

Or the other offers, to increase some vital dimension or other?

Susan B
12-09-2002, 10:58 PM
:-( <mutters uncharitable words about godfather's meanness>

> If I thought it would help me pass, yes.

But how do you know that I don't actually know the examiner? ]:)

12-09-2002, 11:20 PM
Because by accident, I know who is reading it...
and they appear quite sane, therefore I draw the conclusion they know nobody here?

Also, a thesis on "The Social Pathology of Forum Posters" would not be of any interest to you...even though you feature in it to a large extent.
Names have been changed to protect the guilty. Movie rights have been sold ($0.50)

Billy T
13-09-2002, 10:41 AM
Hi Team

This isn't fixing my printer problems but what the heck :^O

It's a lot more entertaining and I've almost forgotten about whatever it was I was worried about.

BTW Did you see in the Herald this morning that the weeping Virgin was exposed as just another scam?

There are none so gullible as those who would believe, be it alien abductions, religious fanatics (sorry God, you are excluded), Bulldogs fans, subscribers to Nigerian scams, or Mac users :p :p :p


Billy 8-{) :D :D :D

Susan B
13-09-2002, 11:20 AM
Hiya Billy,

I've kicked myself in the past for not suggesting obvious things to you that someone else later did and got the acclaim for, so I'll stick my neck on the line and do it this time (even though it took a week to sew my head back on after Mike chopped it off last time).

You have exorcised those demons with a driver uninstall and reinstall, haven't you??

Has the printer only recently started doing this or has it always been so contrary?

A couple of months ago my boss bought a new Brother printer that kept doing a similar thing, ie wasting paper everytime we printer something. Brother NZ was totally useless at suggesting fixes for it and in desperation the boss phoned up the shop it was bought from to tell them it was coming back. Wait! they said. Brother printers are actually made my HP now, so try the HP such and such a driver and it should go.

It did! We were gobsmacked, especially since Brother NZ didn't even tell us that.

So maybe you could try a Brother printer driver? ]:) :D

godfather: Well, your examiner is obviously not the one I know if your one appears quite sane. But do remember that it takes one to know one and you are not really in a position to judge that are you, if your examiner knows no one here.

I do have to say though, I am rather miffed that I didn't even get an opportunity to be interviewed before you concluded your thesis. You would be very surprised to discover the background reasons to my Social Pathology of Forum Participation and it would have influenced your thesis in a big way. No matter, I am sure the examiner won't know that I have previously been abducted by aliens either.

Looking forward to seeing the movie. :-)

Billy T
13-09-2002, 01:10 PM
Kia ora Susan

Problem has been there since new and the drivers are presumably up to date as this is a new model, however I will go looking for an update.

I think the problem could be caused by residual data held in the printer memory and activated after the printer loses its connection to the computer. The easiest solution is to power the printer from the controlled power outlets, then it will be turned off before it can start printing. It takes 15-20 seconds to start after I hit the kill switch.

Did you see my comments on the Farmers DVD deal? There really is nothing to choose between the various brands at the average consumer level of use and my electronic experience also tells me that many lower cost DVDs will share common electronics and DVD drives anyway. Have a look at the review site that I posted on that thread.

I'm saving my heavy money until recordable DVD players come down in price so that I can retire my VCRs.


Billy 8-{) :D :D :D

PS I reckon God is being mean by not letting you read his thesis. He's probably afraid you might recognise family members, or worse still, not recognise them ]:)