I feel a little dated saying this, but I don’t think a lot of people realize just how good HP printers were before She who must not be named.

I present to you an HP LaserJet 3050 printer that I bought in 2005, from HP’s Refurbished section of their online store (with 10 years of dust on it).


She’s looking pretty good!  From a visual inspection, if you ignore all the dust that’s mostly from the construction across the street, you’ll notice that all the parts are still on the printer.

This is especially important as I’ve hit or knocked off the ADF’s (Automatic Document Feeder) output tray a few times.  But it always snapped right back on.

There’s very little yellowing which I’m sure a lot of people who own those expensive looking white plastic goods will soon discover:  Just like silver, those expensive plastics do “tarnish” in their own way.

All the buttons work, they all still have that “snap” feel to them giving you vital physical feedback that a button was pushed – thanks to these wonderful little tactile micro-switches like which I remember HP used everywhere:


It’s not unusual for these guys to be spec’d for millions of presses.  So if you had an annoying little snot nosed brat pressing this button all day long (once a second), then that’d be a warn out snot nosed brat about a week and a half later.

The LCD panel, being a segmented LCD, is still as good as when I got it.  The usual signs of degradation are not there – such as bits of the “crystal” part of the Liquid Crystal Display leaking out of their segments, or segments no longer working.

[![Example of "fading" with Segmented LCD's](http://res.cloudinary.com/dr8ejumps/image/upload/v1436546261/F8xZS_S00_intro_tiwwxz.jpg)](http://mrmodemhead.com/blog/fluke-8x-faded-lcd/)Example of “fading” with Segmented LCD’s
Click through to the linked image above to see [someone else’s more detailed post about LCD’s degrading](http://mrmodemhead.com/blog/fluke-8x-faded-lcd/) over time.

Anyway, back to how I got this printer…

At the time, I was starting to dabble in other areas and found myself in need of an all-in-one type office printer & fax.  I at the time needed to send and receive faxes; make copies of set of documents (eg needed a document feeder); and it had to print fast.

After a little bit of research, I came across the HP LaserJet 3050.  It has a document feeder, a built in copier, a fax, number pad, auto-dial, decent input capacity, and it didn’t need to be attached to a computer for it to perform all of its functions.  SOLD.

I’m pretty sure that the mech was designed at HP’s Vancouver Campus, since that’s where they did officejet (ink and laser I believe) mechs.  Literal ocean of cubicles full of engineers pouring their hearts and souls into their respective responsible parts… be it sheet metal, plastic, etc… I think we all in some way at HP had a nasty habit of over-designing and over-spec’ing.  But those were the good ‘ol days.

I ended up picking this guy up from the HP Refurbish bin.  For those who don’t already know, a lot of computer and electronics companies that sell direct from their websites also have refurb sections.  You get essentially the same thing for much less.  And a lot of times, they’ll carry the exact same warranty as a new machine.

Luckily, I found that about 10 YEARS (an decade) later, this guy still works.  It still scans; the document feeder, while mis-feeding once every blue moon, still works, and I’m sure if I just took it apart and cleaned the rollers and separation pads, it would work like new; it still prints without streaking (see following Usage Page photo), and the input feeder is flawless.

The thing rarely jams.  It’s on its 3rd toner cartridge, yet I’ve printed and scanned reams of documents.  I was able to do this because I found a “Conserve Toner” option on the printer way back when I first set it up.  I’m guessing it writes the setting to nvram somewhere because that setting has stuck across reinstalls and power cycles.

That setting is also no longer available anywhere (not even on the printer’s physical UI)… but the net effects are obvious:  it’s helped to make the printer last 10 years and only on 3 toner cartridges.

According to the printer’s usage stats, after 10 years:

  • Total pages printed: 10620
  • Total pages jammed in printer: 15
  • Pages mispicked in printer: 0
  • Total Documents Scanned in Doc Feeder: 872
  • Tota pages jammed in scanner: 6


Well anyway… I’m now bidding this guy farewell because as we’re preparing to move onto the next phase of our lives, we’ll need something much more compact… and this guy, while it delivers on so much, it unfortunately also delivers too large of a footprint.

This is an old reliable friend that I’m hoping to pass on to another enterprising soul who may need a dependable office laser printer that’s also a fax and a copier.