Xerox Phaser 8200 Solid Ink Printer Observations


G

Guy Owen

I have been using the Xerox 8200DP Solid Ink Printer for over a year,
now, and thought the following observations might help potential
buyers or users trying to make a decision on this unit.

1) As reported elsewhere, setup is incredibly easy.

2) Output is very nice, indeed, but does not compete with the
Photographic Quality of other color lasers. In fact, this is more like
an inkjet or BubbleJet than a laser, so it shouldn't really be put
into the laser category.

3) Xerox owns the technology so it should be the only company you can
buy this type of printer from.

4) Main benefits include ease-of-use and the finish look (if it
appeals to you). I have a screenprinter associate who dearly loves the
output. Professional photographers may not / will not. This printer is
very good for brochures and fliers, but is not for archival-quality
imaging.

5) Since it can do Double-Sided printing, pre-printed sheets should be
able to go through for a second pass at a later date -- but there is
one small drawback. The second printing will cause the first side to
take on a different finish quality. Both sides will not have the same
glossiness.

6) I would NOT recommend third-party off-brand ink. Although I have
used them successfully, I had some real scares with this ink. I think
the biggest problem is two-fold -- even if the printing works
successfully. a) The cheaper wax units typically have a lot of flaking
and breaking problems. Clean them thoroughly by wiping with a cloth
before inserting them into the cavities while refilling this printer.
If flakes get down into the printhead area, the result may appear to
be clogged heads when, in fact, they are merely blocked by debris. I
was successful in using a can of compressed air to remove much of
this. b) Even if you have no flaking, it was very evident after using
these inks that they rub off or can be far more easily scratched than
the original Xerox inks. If durability is important to you, don't use
them.

7) Wax inks can actually be "polished" to some degree to get rid of
blemishes after printing. If you get a slight scuffing on your image,
a soft tissue will bring back the gloss, and hide the defect. Rubbing
too hard may show the paper underneath.

8) Add-in memory from third-party manufacturers DO work in this
printer. In my opinion, you are unwise to pay $500 or $800 for
Xerox-branded memory modules when you can look up a perfectly
compatible module at Kingston.com and pay as little as $57 online for
an additional 128MB of RAM. Installation is very easy. I got this
advice from a Service Tech at Xerox.

9) The add-in Hard Drive option may be different. I have not tried
buying anything that is supposedly compatible.

10) In a book written by Harald Johnson, called "Mastering Digital
Printing", he states that Xerox claims the fade-resistance of the wax
output from this printer is ONLY "a year or more" with office lighting
and "over several years" with dark storage. Do NOT, then, consider
this unit for printing archival-quality images.

11) This is a true piezoelectric inkjet, defined by its design
characteristics -- except for the fact that its ink is resin-based.
Instead of smaller printheads for each color, the printhead extends
across the entire width of the sheet -- 88 nozzles in each row of 4.
However, the ink does not go directly onto the paper -- it first gets
applied to a rotating drum, then gets transferred to the paper in a
single pass. Therefore, it has an advantage in faster print speed over
almost all lasers, which typically print each color separately using
four passes. And the alignment of colors is more reliable with less
moving parts. Also, the ink is independent of the media since there is
no wicking or absorbing that takes place. Hence, the colors are a lot
more vibrant than most anything else. It really resembles
screenprinting of heavy ink onto the substrate instead of airbrushing
applied to a porous material.

12) I have NOT had any jams in over a year of printing. My earlier
Minolta color laser drove me crazy with jamming.

13) The special features of my DP model have proven to be VERY
comfortable and usable -- especially the Double-Sided Printing
ability. I have loved working with this printer far more than any
other that I've owned. The ease-of-use makes up for the pitfalls. Ink
seems expensive at first blush, but try buying 4 cartridges of toner
for a Lexmark or Minolta color laser and you'll be SHOCKED at the cost
of feeding those beasts. Then add in the $400 or so you'll need for
drum replacement in those machines, coating rollers, etc. This is a
PERFECT color printer for a small business needing to create
promotional fliers, letterheads, etc., but is NOT a particularly good
choice for a professional photography or design studio. This is NOT --
in my experience as a graphic artist -- a good choice for Color
Proofing. No other printer uses this technology, so what are you
hoping to "compare"??

14) This unit will NOT print a full Legal-sized page in color. The
print area is restricted to 12 inches of the 14 inch dimension.
Bummer! That is because of the size of the drum and the process it
uses to print in one pass. In the old days, they didn't tell you this
in the literature. But if you look closely, you'll see the maximum
printing area defined for each sheet size that the printer will
handle. Stating that it will print on a Legal sheet does NOT mean the
same thing as stating it will print a full page of image area on that
sheet.

15) I have NOT been able to get the "Booklet" feature of the driver to
work, even wih the Memory maxed-out to 256MB. You may need the
expensive Hard Drive Option to utilize the Booklet Feature of its
driver. However, you can also simply buy ClickBook for a lot less
money, if you wish. I have the DP unit, so the Booklet feature
supposedly works, but I have not found the secret, just yet.

16) In my experience, all is NOT necessarily lost if you clog this
with third-party inks. It just recently happened to me, while trying
to complete a Christmas Card project for a friend. But you may go
through 8 or more ink cartridges of every color while getting the
clogged jets to clear up. My procedure involved turning it completely
off for 4 hours to cool. Then restarting it, which runs the full purge
cycle. Then immediately running a cleaning cycle. Repeat about 6 times
over as many days. You might as well use up that third party ink,
anyway -- because if you survive this carnage, you'll never buy them,
again. I did not have a single instance of clogged jets until the very
instant that the new, cheaper ink hit the printheads. After that, the
clogging was instantaneous. I was fortunate in that it eventually
cleared. The friend immediately noticed that the new ink flakes off
the paper and is far more easily scratched than the original ink. So
in my humble opinion, it simply isn't worth it to chance destruction
of a $2,000 printer.

I hope this helps!

Guy Owen
USA
 
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C

Charles Christacopoulos

Guy Owen wrote:

Thank you for your most useful comments. I have an 860DX (including
hard disk, duplex etc, and supposingly free black ink for life). It was
bought primarily for office type printing so the (glossy) surface it
produces is impressive :)

One comment. Have you had Cyan ink being burned and turn to a green
brown colour? (It is a feature of the 860 if the printer is not used
enough. It takes about two stix [sic] of inc to clear it and approx.
200 A4 pages of pure cyan colour.
I have been using the Xerox 8200DP Solid Ink Printer for over a year,
now, and thought the following observations might help potential
buyers or users trying to make a decision on this unit.

1) As reported elsewhere, setup is incredibly easy.

2) Output is very nice, indeed, but does not compete with the
Photographic Quality of other color lasers. In fact, this is more like
an inkjet or BubbleJet than a laser, so it shouldn't really be put
into the laser category.

What other lasers do you have in mind here? I am thinking of
photographic type printing.
3) Xerox owns the technology so it should be the only company you can
buy this type of printer from.

Given the limited range available, ie. 1 model, and the fact that the
phaser name is used on *other* xerox laser printers, it might be coming
to an end.

10) In a book written by Harald Johnson, called "Mastering Digital
Printing", he states that Xerox claims the fade-resistance of the wax
output from this printer is ONLY "a year or more" with office lighting
and "over several years" with dark storage. Do NOT, then, consider
this unit for printing archival-quality images.

About 6 months is our experience (office + natural lighting).

<snip>

All said and done ... I have now needed a couple of times an A3 printer.
They are expensive :-(

Charles
 
G

Guy Owen

In answer to your questions below...
No, I have never had any burning issues that I've noticed. Certainly
nothing like what you describe -- in fact, I'm amazed even that amount
of printing would clear such a situation. And my printer has sat
unused for a few weeks at a time. Of course, you do need to leave it
on all the time as directed by Xerox. I wonder if the latest
downloadable Firmware Update might help in your situation?

As to "Photographic" lasers, everything is obviously in the eye of the
beholder. The latest Xerox lasers are reportedly very good for
photographic output, but I don't think any of them compare to the
latest top-end inkjets -- and none of those create as good of a "photo
look" as does, say, a HiTi 630PS or 730PS Dye Sublimation unit. But
those restrict you to smaller image sizes. In my opinion, a
toner-based color laser comes closer to photographic than does my
8200, but the finish on the 8200 is remarkable compared to
toner-based. The only other unit I'm familiar with that had any
control over the finish was the retired Lexmark Optra C. It's Contone
setting was remarkable, but there were some engineering snafus with
that unit and it would lose its quality as time went by. Of course, it
cost $7,000 when it came out! Ouch!

Guy

Charles Christacopoulos said:
Guy Owen wrote:

Thank you for your most useful comments. I have an 860DX (including
hard disk, duplex etc, and supposingly free black ink for life). It was
bought primarily for office type printing so the (glossy) surface it
produces is impressive :)

One comment. Have you had Cyan ink being burned and turn to a green
brown colour? (It is a feature of the 860 if the printer is not used
enough. It takes about two stix [sic] of inc to clear it and approx.
200 A4 pages of pure cyan colour.
I have been using the Xerox 8200DP Solid Ink Printer for over a year,
now, and thought the following observations might help potential
buyers or users trying to make a decision on this unit.

1) As reported elsewhere, setup is incredibly easy.

2) Output is very nice, indeed, but does not compete with the
Photographic Quality of other color lasers. In fact, this is more like
an inkjet or BubbleJet than a laser, so it shouldn't really be put
into the laser category.

What other lasers do you have in mind here? I am thinking of
photographic type printing.
3) Xerox owns the technology so it should be the only company you can
buy this type of printer from.

Given the limited range available, ie. 1 model, and the fact that the
phaser name is used on *other* xerox laser printers, it might be coming
to an end.

10) In a book written by Harald Johnson, called "Mastering Digital
Printing", he states that Xerox claims the fade-resistance of the wax
output from this printer is ONLY "a year or more" with office lighting
and "over several years" with dark storage. Do NOT, then, consider
this unit for printing archival-quality images.

About 6 months is our experience (office + natural lighting).

<snip>

All said and done ... I have now needed a couple of times an A3 printer.
They are expensive :-(

Charles
 
G

Guy Owen

UPDATE 12-24-03:
Xerox responded today concerning my problem of not being able to do
Booklet printing. It has nothing to do with having an Internal Hard
Drive in the Printer (as reported or surmised in some other postings).
Assuming you've download and installed the latest driver (particularly
the Postscript driver, according to Xerox -- but I haven't tried any
others) -- the real culprit seems to be Adobe PDF file format
problems. Simply selecting File / Print / Properties / and choosing
Booklet in the Pages Per Sheet selection box should work. If it does
not, find the Advanced Button in the initial Print Dialog Box, and
change the printing choice to "PRINT AS IMAGE". This DOES work, and
very well, at that.

Again, you could also buy ClickBook or some other composing software
utility, which should give additional controls to this process.

Guy


Charles Christacopoulos said:
Guy Owen wrote:

Thank you for your most useful comments. I have an 860DX (including
hard disk, duplex etc, and supposingly free black ink for life). It was
bought primarily for office type printing so the (glossy) surface it
produces is impressive :)

One comment. Have you had Cyan ink being burned and turn to a green
brown colour? (It is a feature of the 860 if the printer is not used
enough. It takes about two stix [sic] of inc to clear it and approx.
200 A4 pages of pure cyan colour.
I have been using the Xerox 8200DP Solid Ink Printer for over a year,
now, and thought the following observations might help potential
buyers or users trying to make a decision on this unit.

1) As reported elsewhere, setup is incredibly easy.

2) Output is very nice, indeed, but does not compete with the
Photographic Quality of other color lasers. In fact, this is more like
an inkjet or BubbleJet than a laser, so it shouldn't really be put
into the laser category.

What other lasers do you have in mind here? I am thinking of
photographic type printing.
3) Xerox owns the technology so it should be the only company you can
buy this type of printer from.

Given the limited range available, ie. 1 model, and the fact that the
phaser name is used on *other* xerox laser printers, it might be coming
to an end.

10) In a book written by Harald Johnson, called "Mastering Digital
Printing", he states that Xerox claims the fade-resistance of the wax
output from this printer is ONLY "a year or more" with office lighting
and "over several years" with dark storage. Do NOT, then, consider
this unit for printing archival-quality images.

About 6 months is our experience (office + natural lighting).

<snip>

All said and done ... I have now needed a couple of times an A3 printer.
They are expensive :-(

Charles
 
B

boghosian

Thanks for the observations, they are very helpful.
Can you or anyone who has used this printer tell me what is the
SMALLEST size of paper that the printer can print on? I use a black
laser printer from Xerox right now, and when I feed small index cards
through it, it gets jammed every time.
Thanks very much.

- Boghosian
 
R

Roger Theriault

boghosian said:
Can you or anyone who has used this printer tell me what is the
SMALLEST size of paper that the printer can print on? I use a black

The Phaser 8200 can only print on exact, specific dimensions, which are
listed somewhere in their marketing materials on the Xerox website. It is
NOT possible to define any custom sizes on the 8200, and if you try to print
on paper that does not match exactly the expected dimensions it will refuse
to print. (It does not want to leave any wax ink on the drum, 'cause that
will wind up somewhere on the next printout and that's not a good thing...)

However, the 8400, which is the newer, replacement model to the 8400, is a
better choice. You can define custom paper sizes although you will have
margins of about 1/2 inch all around. The marketing materials on the site
list the largest and smallest dimensions that can be set up (smallest is
3x5), as well as the maximum paper weights supported (in my experience, this
is somewhat conservative because it is just based on paper weight, but if
you exceed the specs they won't support you in resolving the problems, and
you may be damaging the printer). It has a setting for 3x5 index cards
already, so you will have smaller margins around the edge, and I've printed
on index cards on my 8400 without any problem. Also, with the "offset" style
printing method, you should be able to print on just about any type of paper
stock that can take the heat from the drum (try www.macpapers.com), you will
not need to buy special "laser" or "inkjet" paper. (Note: very slick
laminated or UV coated paper stock or postcards may slip on the drum and
cause jams)

Also, because the wax is applied to the paper using heat, you should not try
to print over top of the same printed side, the drum will pick up the wax
etc.

I recommend that you visit the Xerox website http://www.office.xerox.com/
for all the details on the 8400, including copies of the manuals. They cover
custom paper sizes and paper weights in more detail.

Roger
 
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A

Arthur Entlich

I also wish to thank Gary on this conmprehensive review of the
Xerox/Tektronix solid ink technology. I thinkit will be very helpful for
people considering these types of printers.

However, I'd like to comment on this statement below:



This statement is, I suspect, based upon some outdated experience with
inkjet printers. State of the art inkjet printers today quite exceed
the quality of the vast majority of color laser printers on the market
today. In fact, almost all current inkjet printers do. With proper
paper types, it would be hard pressed for even the well-trained eye to
distinguish between a lab quality silver based color photograph and a
color inkjet print. It is color laser printer quality that now has to
bring itslef up to inkjet printer quality.

Art
Thanks for the observations, they are very helpful.
Can you or anyone who has used this printer tell me what is the
SMALLEST size of paper that the printer can print on? I use a black
laser printer from Xerox right now, and when I feed small index cards
through it, it gets jammed every time.
Thanks very much.

- Boghosian


<cut>
 
B

boghosian

Thanks very much for this thorough detail Roger. In your response you
mention "offset" style printing. Can you explain what that is? Thanks,
- Sasha
 
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R

Roger Theriault

boghosian said:
Thanks very much for this thorough detail Roger. In your response you
mention "offset" style printing. Can you explain what that is? Thanks,

The complete description is quite detailed, you'll find resources at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offset_printing
and you may want to Google for "offset printing". Essentially it's a method
of commercial printing where ink does not do directly from the printing
plate to the paper, but instead is transferred to a drum (usually rubber)
that applies the ink to the moving paper.

If your question was how the Phaser solid ink printers are related to offset
printing, the Xerox web site has a Flash demo called "So how does solid ink
work?" (look on http://www.office.xerox.com/perl-bin/product.pl?product=8400
for the link) . To compare it to offset printing, the ink is transferred to
a steel drum that has a light coat of oil on it. As the paper passes over
the rotating drum, the hot waxy ink is transferred to the paper. The ink (or
toner) does not require a static charge like a laser, nor does it require
absorbent paper like an inkjet. I've found that my output is extremely
consistent from page to page, and it doesn't seem to matter what type of
paper I use.

Roger
 

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