Oh Brother!

Just this past Thursday I was waiting on a fax to come through with a BOL (Bill Of Lading) for a package that I needed to get shipped out ASAP. I got a call back from the trucking company dispatcher that she was getting "no" as a reply to their faxes. "No", I asked? "That's what it replies with", she said. Well, I was about 1/2 hour away and was on my way back, so I told her I'd check it out and get back to her.

Upon my arrival to my shop, I looked at the fax machine -- a Brother Intellifax 1820C -- it said "Machine Error - Code 41 -- Unplug machine and call Brother". So, I unplugged the machine and let it sit for about 10 minutes and plugged it back in -- with the same results.

That's when I hit Google up for some answers. A simple search for "Machine Error Code 41" produced all the answers I needed. The error is caused by the printhead -- which is not sensing a quick enough voltage change during it's initialization. A real quick explanation of it is, the machine uses voltage to heat the ink to the proper temperature before/as it is "sprayed" through the ink jets -- if that doesn't happen, the ink doesn't flow properly.

If you do enough reading on the problem, you will quickly find that Brother is completely aware of this problem and has extended their warranty times on the printheads to 24 months without a bill, and 30 months with. The strange part is, Brother didn't improve the printhead (well, not for quite some time after anyway). They produce "crap" printheads (from the mouths of their own techs) that should be fixed, with ALL EXISTING printheads covered under warranty!

How can you have a product that has a known problem, yet you decline warranty on the item because of a date issue? Arrggggg! It is my opinion that if a company is aware of the problem, then they should warranty the product -- period. I'm not asking for a recall of all products, as most of the products may never fail -- but those that do should be covered -- period. But that's just me.

So, I'm reading that the printheads are about $30 (this was from posts in 2005 and in USD, so I'm not sure what they are now) + labour to install, and I'm soon in need of ink, I decided that the money to fix and reink was not worth the effort.

So, knowing I need my fax working tomorrow, I went looking. Here's a couple of tips for you; 1) Best Buy doesn't carry JUST fax machines -- you have to buy an "All-In-One" and 2) Wall-Mart -- no fax machines either. Just trying to save you some time! :)

I ended up picking up an HP 1040 Plain Paper Inkjet Fax for $109 at Staples. Well, at least it has a much better review!

So far, so good -- I've run some copies through it, and a couple of test faxes and it looks good. For what I need the machine to do, it's perfect. It's your basic fax machine, without all the bells and whistles, but still has enough features to give you a very good bang for your dollar. Now, we'll have to see how we do with ink consumption! It comes with a 14ml cartridge, while the replacements are 28ml.

Which brings me to my final point -- extended warranty. I say to the salesman - because I know you have to ask me three times if I want extended warrnty -- no, no and no. The machine costs $109 -- I might buy 1, maybe two cartridges for it and, a year from now, probably find something else on sale for $79 with ink included. If it weren't for the 14ml cartridges to start, they'd almost be disposable machines.

Actually, I guess my final, final point would be -- the reviews say "don't buy Brother", "stay away", "bad product", "evil" and all kinds of nasty other stuff -- although I didn't buy Brother (simply because I don't believe they have fixed the problem from what I have been reading), I really have no complaints -- the machine worked out to something like $5.25 per month that I owned it (ink is another story, but I have to buy ink for the new one too) -- it did it's job.