I bought a 25-year-old printer & regret EVERYTHING

I bought a 25-year-old printer & regret EVERYTHING

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[inky jazz tunes play] [computer buzzes, beeps] [box plonks down, slides] - Greetings, uh [trepidatious chuckling] I might have just made a huge mistake! I've bought an inkjet printer. Not just any inkjet, a Canon inkjet from 25 years ago. "Small size. Big printing performance." Just what you want in your BJC-2000 Color Bubble Jet Printer from 1999.

Yeah, this is like I said, a quarter century old. It's silly to even buy a color ink jet printer nowadays because it's pretty much a ripoff, especially with ink. But to get one from the late '90s, I don't know what I was thinking.

I just kinda can't help myself. [laughs] I see the "right" type of listing on eBay sometimes and just like, yeah, it's in the box. Supposedly it worked or it's in decent-ish condition. The seller had never used it, at least. I don't know if I'd call it new, but decently intact inside.

I mean, I really just wanted to grab something like this to have something to pair with my desktop computers of the time period. I have a lot of late '90s machines, I do retrospectives on those and I sometimes just want a fitting printer to go alongside of it. Well, I have a lot of dot matrix printers and I have thermal printers and I even have some other inkjets, but they're either too new and don't look right with older systems or USB only and I want parallel or something's just broken and stupid because they're printers. [laughs] And you know, I don't expect this to be a great one.

In fact, it seems like it probably isn't from what I've looked up really briefly, but I was trying to see if "Bubble Jet" is any different than "inkjet" or if it's just some Canon trademarked version of inkjet, and that kind of seems like that's what it is. But some other conflicting information online and said, oh no, it is different. And it led me to this video on YouTube from 2003. That is just a delight. It is so oddly narrated.

It's like The G-Man from Half-Life is talking about color printing. Take a listen to some of this. - [Odd Narrator] "New Bubble Jet printer technology aims for the ideal combination of digital photo printing capabilities. Enhanced photo image quality and high speed printing performance. Precise, smooth and natural realistic photo image quality. Canon's new micro-fined droplet technology positions the heaters directly above the ink ejection opening."

[laughing] - I've heard some odd sounding tech video narrations but that's a special one. Anyway, a bit of a gem there on YouTube. Yeah, let's just see a little bit more about this real quick, dive into some context. For that kind of thing, I always start with some Google Books here and there's a scan of "PC Magazine" November 2nd, 1999. They have a personal printers review shootout with all kinds of different options for different things.

And the BJC-2000 is all the way down there. [laughs] At the low speed, low quality end. You know, you got something like the BJC-6000 with its individual ink tanks and higher quality, bleh. And then we just keep on going, eventually we'll get to our piece of crap BJ variant. BJC-2000 is $70. Text quality was excellent.

Photo quality, good. Overall speed, poor, they give it a D reliability grade. Well, at least it's not the very worst, the BJC-1000. Here we go, "BJC 1000 and 2000 offer virtually identical setup and drivers but the printers use different cartridges. Both offer a choice among standard photo and neon fluorescent inks." I had never heard of that.

And yeah, I looked that up real quick, too, and apparently fluorescent inks were a thing. And maybe they still are, I don't know. But black light affected inks you just print out, it's pretty cool. Remember those like, velvety felt blacklight posters you'd get at Spencer's or whatever? I used to love those. Anyway, "It comes with Canon Creative."

Another reason I wanted to grab this, not 'cause of that, specifically, but I did have a version of that and our computer we got in late 1997. It was a Canon BJC... I wanna say it was a 4300 maybe.

This kind of reminded me of like a cheaper version of that. Which on that note, the ink cartridges for this were $22 for one color one and $8.25 for a black one. And you get about 44 pages per cartridge, like 50 cents per page. Yeesh. Then basically double that for inflation. But this right here is another reason I wanted to pick this up.

Canon also sells a scanning cartridge option for $19 to let the BJC-2000 in particular double as a scanner. Something that they do mention right here on there. "Instantly becomes a color sheetfed scanner" with the optional IS-22 color image cartridge. [box thunking] And you know what? I had to! So yeah, this ink cartridge...

It's not an ink cartridge, it's a scanner cartridge. And it basically... Yeah it just goes, instead of doing ink, it's looking at whatever you run through it and then scanning one page at a time. Which very much reminds me of the ImageWriter II from Apple back in the day.

It was a dot matrix printer and you could grab the Thunderscan module for that. And I have that stuff, too. I just haven't gotten around to setting that up yet. I'll probably make that an Oddware video cuz that seems even more unusual to have that in the '80s.

And another, really kind of the final reason I wanted to grab this is because you can still get the ink cartridges, the BCI-21s very easily. And I just grabbed these on, I think it was just Amazon. They were just readily available in all kinds of places, but that seemed to be the easiest and pretty affordable. And yeah, BCI-21. [cartridge clacking] It's the same type of cartridge that my old Canon used in 1997, 98. I also found this amusing! The press reviews weren't exactly glowing, but my goodness, the customer reviews, they're pretty much all negative.

So this person in April of 2000 said that "a 100% rebate would not suffice," the worst printer they've ever seen. So we're gonna open this up. Try to set it up and see if it works. [box and things rustling] It actually has some original cartridges in here.

And that brings back memories, those exact stickers. No way, I forgot about this. [wrapper rustling] Yeah, the ink cartridges holder. That's nuts.

We had this on our desk from like late 1997 to probably 2007. [trays clattering] Some trays. Sealed user's manual.

There's a lot of unused looking stuff in here. Got a power cable. [paper rustling] "Extend your Canon service."

For all that's worth. And there we go, Canon Creative Home. Look at that. Here's how to quick start the printer.

Plug it in and do stuff. I don't know if this is parallel or USB. [laughs] I don't remember. I'm pretty sure it'd have to be parallel, right? We've got Windows 3.1 drivers. [bubble wrap unwrapping all bubbly-like] Yeah, that does not look used. Wow, so there's the parallel.

Have to go grab one of those cables from the dungeon of cable storage. But yeah, check that out. That is a compact little thing, indeed. [tape untaping] Might be a piece of junk but... feels special right now. [printer clacking] Nice.

[printer clacking] Yeah. [laughs] Well, isn't that just a delightful '90s thing? Speaking purely aesthetically, of course. You know what? I'm gonna try the originals just to see if somehow they hold up. That would be incredible if they do. Plus I think we have to get the little... Yeah, the little storage cradle anyway outta here.

[plastic ripping] Oh-ho-ho-hoo! [coughs] Shouldn't have smelled that! Hoo, that's gonna give me a bit of a head rush. Oh my goodness. The air, the aroma is extremely pungent.

So I mean that still looks very inky. Eh, it might be alright, let me double check the manual. Put it in there, na-nuh-nah... "And press the blue lock lever down."

I remember there being a little... Oh, I bet that's in the... Hm! ...Sure. [printer clacking] Well, alright. I am going to go and find a cable really quick and get it plugged into a Windows 95 or 98 PC. I don't know, we'll try 95 first.

See how that goes! I'm oddly excited for a 25-year-old inkjet. [jazz music fades] [jazz intensifies, cable being freed] Alright! That is a good sign. "Congratulations on purchasing your printer." "It only took you 25 years to install this." All right! [claps] Taking bets right now to see if this actually works. Test page.

Alright, so it says cartridge is not in there correctly. [printer door clunks open] I mean... Is there more to this? Is there some other part we're missing? "A BJ cartridge error has occurred. Install it properly and close the front cover." Well, that tells me nothing.

"Install it properly." I mean there are other parts in here, right? But it didn't... It doesn't say anywhere that I can find where to put these things. [manual rustling] Yeah, it straight up doesn't say anything about putting these extra pieces in there. Yeah, there's like springs and thangs poppin' outta here. [springs pop out] Oh, what the heck? I can see what's supposed to be happening, but this piece won't go in there.

It's supposed to like go into a point and then snap. It looks like it just... Yeah, it's not going in far enough at all. Like there's not enough space or something. This spring. Like it gets in there, sometimes it'll hold, but it'll just, yeah, pop right through like that.

So I can't get the pressure to both get that on there and then get this on top of it. I went through the service manual. It is not mentioned at all in here.

So I think maybe this is like something was wrong from the factory. Maybe this is a refurb or return unit or something. But here's the issue, this little piece with nothing else in place, it will snap in there. But you see how easy it comes off? It'll hold in place with this but it's not getting any pressure.

It's not really bringing it together when you add the spring that it needs to pull everything together. It just does not hold in place at all. The hole is too worn or like this part is just not holding in place.

I don't know, something is off by just the tiniest little bit. Yeah, it doesn't matter what I do to the spring. This piece is not gonna hold in place.

It's too flimsy. And yeah, I have looked it up to see if there is a a 3D printable version of this. I would just try that but no, haven't found that at all. Haven't found really anything for this BJC-2000 or related printers. And I don't have the skills or the will to do it myself.

[blows raspberry] Yeah, every time, same stupid error message. Which doesn't actually say what the error is. "A problem has occurred, unplug it, plug it back in.

If not, send it to Canon." I should... ...in a big [beeping] bag of [beep]! [printer whirring] What? Well it actually started pulling in paper that time and now it says an error again.

What is it? [laughs] I wish it would tell me. I'm trying one of these new carts. I don't even know. [printer whirring] Wha-what? What? No, don't do that! [printer whirring] [cartridge thudding] Take that out there, I don't even know. It's doing it again. It doesn't think it's closed but it is.

[printer clacking] So basically I just start tweaking this little spring. [printer clacking] [printer whirring] For whatever reason... [printer whirring] That'll do it. [printer whirring] Nah it just says generic [beep] error. That doesn't mean anything.

"Service call required." [printer whirring] [exasperated sigh] I wanted an authentic '90s printer experience. [cartridge clanking around] I guess I got it. [explosion] You know, I don't know what I expected. [chuckles]

Anyway, so this is like three weeks later. Things have happened since then. I kind of got desperate and actually ordered another one of these. Well not this one, a BJC-4000, which is compatible with the same ink cartridges.

And guess what? The problem inside is exactly the same on that one. I didn't record it because honestly it was so frustrating. It appeared just like a couple days later. After recording the last sections and I was just honestly pissed off. So I threw that in the trash.

About to throw this in the trash, or at least salvage it for parts. And I did an even stupider thing. I bought another one for some reason. You know what? This is literally the definition of insanity, I think. In terms of doing the same crap over and over and expecting or hoping for a different result. But this one was "tested working."

Ehh! I do know that it at least receives power but that's it. [printer whirs] So yeah, if the past two BJC printers in the series are any indication, that problem is pretty annoyingly normal with this lever not holding in place due to that black piece of plastic being pushed out by the spring. This appears to be intact in this one for the moment. Yeah, it feels loose.

It feels like it could pop off at any time but for the moment it's holding in place and it's already got its cradle in there. I just need to hopefully just swap out those ink carts. These are the new old stock ones that the other one came with. That I don't even know if they're good or not but we'll see. See, this is what the other one wasn't doing. I mean it was doing it sometimes when I cranked it in place, but we'll see if this actually does what it's supposed to.

It at least goes in the spot that it's supposed to. So it is detected in Windows 95 but so is the other one. So, at least it's not throwing up any errors. Let's just do "test print." Yes, start printing.

[printer whirring] [bemused chuckle] What was that? It didn't put up any errors that time but it also didn't print anything. [printer whirring] [paper rustling] Well perhaps the nozzles are just gross. So let's try the head cleaning. [printer whirring] I don't know what that did but let's just print a test file here. Some plain text.

[printer whirring] Yeah, it must just be gunked up or dirty or the carts just don't have ink in 'em. I mean, it's still pretty inky, you know. Maybe we can try it in just black. [printer whirring] Nah, nothing at all. [printer whirring] Alright, let's just try these actual newly-manufactured ones. See how that goes.

If not, I guess I'll just have to try and take that outta there without it breaking. [printer whirring] Straight up nothing. [printer whirring] Just gotta be a dirty head, right? [exhales deeply] Don't want to do this... I feel like I'm taking the plutonium out of the DeLorean. Okay, that doesn't look... great. Yeah, look at that.

All this gunk and just... Mm-hmm. [light plasticky wiping] [cartridge clacking] Huh, okay. Nozzle check pattern.

[printer whirring] Nothing. [printer whirring] [exhales deeply] It could just be like the little pads themselves that soak up the ink inside there. And I think if you add a little bit of water or something... I'll look it up real quick.

But I think you can re moisturize. I remember doing these kind of things back in the day, especially years later, you know, after having the printer for however long we had it and stuff gets gunked up and dries out and all that. You don't use it for a while. [paper rustling] [printer whirring] Hey, there is a little bit of something there. A little bit of something, just a little bit.

I bet if we just let it print a whole big page. [printer whirring] It's just these little bits of ink. [printer whirring] [paper rustling] 'Cause if we can just get the ink flowing out of these cartridges, I think we'd be alright. It's wanting to print.

Despite its nature of... being junk. All right, just using water. Ooh, yeah, oh my goodness. [laughs] All kinds of dry ink. Yeah, all right. That's clean. Much as I can, anyway,

without completely soaking the inside. It could be dried up inside, too. There's that little well that it goes into. So if this doesn't work, I do somewhere...

Yeah. This was from the one that was new-looking. Maybe this has never been used, I don't think it has. [printer clacking] Nope. [printer whirring] So let's try this other magazine or whatever you call it. [printer whirring] This ink holster.

[cartridge clacking] Oh man, nah, nothing. So that is with the new one of these thingies. And the actual new ink cartridges, newly manufactured anyway. [printer whirring] Which should be the best case scenario and it's just not doing anything. We've removed all obstacles.

There's nothing down the bottom of there. This is it, this is the whole thing. It's definitely really inky though, right? It's possible that this one that looked new, actually was, and like I said, because it was missing those parts, it seems like it was perhaps a refurb or something that got returned 'cause it wasn't working and then just put in in his box for, you know, 20 years and then sold to some sucker YouTuber on eBay decades later.

I'm just gonna let this run through a bunch of tests. This is just a full color, full page bitmap. [laughs] Just dumping ink through there. So it's either gonna clog like crazy or it's eventually gonna come through. Kind of a hail Mary or a hail Satan. [laughs] Oh, little signs of life, inky life.

Yeah, like little bits of blue. This right here is what I'm printing, by the way, or attempting to. It could be that only the blue portion of this is unclogged and you kind of see in there there's like three little pads. [printer whirring] One for each of the color and then one over here for black. All right, well we're getting some magenta coming through there.

So we have blue and magenta or sign of magenta. The yellow, I guess, isn't coming through at all. Maybe the black as well 'cause this is supposed to be kind of spotted with a black texture. Again, compared to this image here.

Even if I do get it fixed, this feels so flimsy and like prone to breaking, failing, dying at any time. Would it even be worth getting to work? Because the idea is that I could get a nice little printer set up for '90s machines to leave it set up with them and use them in different videos. But I wouldn't even want to use this even if it did work all the time. So I don't know what I'm doing.

If anybody has a recommendation of like, [laughs] I guess a laser printer from the '90s with a nice '90s beige aesthetic that's not an Apple one. And you can actually get toner for it still. In color, preferably, it's gotta be in color 'cause I have black and white printers. A color laser from the '90s you can still get supplies for, I don't know if that exists. Yellow is certainly not dry. I mean it's getting [laughs] my fingers yellow.

I mean all these are, you know they're moist. [printer whirring] [paper rustling] Yeah, just not getting any yellow, not getting any black. Yellow could understand. But the black... Nah that one's new and that is like flowing with ink. [printer whirring] [laughing] So yeah, this is what the same cartridges but the other holder again just to make sure and...

Look at this. Hard to see but there is the faintest of yellow coming through on that one. Just the faintest.

So ink is coming outta the cartridge. It's straight up this thing that is the problem. The BCI or the BC-21E. [finger thudding] [blows raspberry] I mean I could like. [laughs] I could try to find another one. By the way, Bird Feed LGR live stream is going each day over on the LGR Birds channel and now features a nest cam and we've got a robin.

She just laid a blue egg. [laughs] Anyway, I was gonna say is even if I were to get new old stock ones and there are plenty, they all come pre-installed with ink cartridges already in them. I mean you saw how it was in the printer box. New old stock, this is just how they were from the factory. They had ink in them.

I haven't actually seen a new old stock or unused just the the black magazine the holder part on its own. They all have ink in there already, which means they're probably gonna be suffering from the same issue of dried up ink. Like, here's one but, you know, it's been used, who knows if it actually works. Do I want to spend $36 on this thing that may or may not have the exact same issue as mine? - The answer to that is heck no. So I'm here in the 3D printer room 'cause it's already [laughs] smelling like fumes anyway.

And I'm going to try this old technique I found online. I was just soaking it in isopropyl alcohol overnight. I got nothing to lose at this point. [machine whirring] All right.

Let's see what that does. [laughs] I don't know. I don't know, who cares? All right, a couple days later I just let them go overnight and then kind of forgot about 'em.

That's what they've been drying off for another overnight. But anyway, they are about as cleaned out as I think they're going to get. Let's try the slightly better condition one first. [printer whirring] I'm seeing blue again [printer whirring] And yeah [laughs] sign of magenta. Same exact result as before. No black, no yellow.

It's mostly the black that's concerning. I will try this other color cartridge here just to be sure, but... And this is the one I think we were only getting yellow out of. [printer whirring] Yeah, exact same results or lack of results. I'm gonna go ahead and say this one's pretty much just too gunked up to save.

I mean, you know, I'll crack that one open just to see what's inside but... [wrapper rustling] Eh, this is both new inks here so... [printer whirring] [wrapper rustling] [laughing] We get even less color now. Well now I just don't know. Like maybe these new ones are bad. Okay, these are the old ones.

Yeah, you can see the individual holes there for black and your three colors. [printer whirring] Oh, are you kidding me? [printer whirring] Ah? Wow. All right, I mean we're still not getting yellow but there's plenty of ink in them.

This is the black that wasn't working. And this other one is now. [paper rustling] I am so confused and really annoyed and kind of fed up with it at this point. [laughs] It is... You probably can't see it but it's very clearly wet with yellow ink there.

It is going through, it is just getting like clogged at this point. Well if we can't print anything, can we scan anything? Alright, I got some software to archive if needed. IS-22. Same general type of deal as this here except obviously no ink.

But yeah, same connection but instead of an ink printer head we've got a little scanner. Put it in there, lock it down. Oh, "Slide the paper thickness lever to the center."

All right. [printer clacking] Let's see what we got. So do we just like jam stuff in here? How do we do this? This seems weird. "Place the image you wish to scan in the scanning holder." What is that? Oh, I missed this.

There's a bunch of other stuff in here. [laughs] Yeah, 'cause all I saw in there was this. I just thought it was packaging but yeah, we got some more paperwork.

Okay, here is the sleeve and I guess this is a calibration sheet. [paper rustling] [printer whirring] It doesn't tell me if it's doing anything properly or not over there. It's once again just great feedback from the software. So on the manual it says to use this plastic sheet every time you scan anything and to not scan anything without it. And if you wanna scan larger pieces then you can buy optional scanning sleeves. [laughs]

That kind of limits what you can scan here. So I'm just trying to find something that would even fit. 'Cause even this is too big. Okay, yeah, here we go. How about the Linux version of SimCity 3000.

[printer whirring] That's bizarre. [laughing] Feels like it's printing but it's not. Oh great, "Cannot communicate with scanner."

"Check status scanner driver will be closed." Why did it say that? [laughing] Of course this isn't gonna work either, right? I hate everything. I hate you, I hate you so much [printer whirring] But why? That's all it tells me. What the dick? [printer whirring] [exhales sharply] Well what have we learned today, class? Absolutely nothing. I knew going into this that it was idiotic to break the number one rule of a vintage computer collecting and that is never buy an old inkjet printer.

Even if it looks basically brand new and he got new cartridges for it and all kind... You know, I went against my better judgment. This is all a complete waste of time and everything is stupid about this printer and I don't recommend anything that I've done. Don't do any of this.

Please learn from my bone headedness. Don't do this. It's not worth it.

Genuinely though, if you do know of like a good '90s laser printer, I really just want a color printer that's beige and looks era appropriate for '90s machines. So I can like demonstrate printable things in certain programs. Like for instance, when I had my SimCity 2000 Retrospective, I was doing that and talking about like using the Urban Renewal Kit to create and print out cities.

I wanted to do a demonstration of that, you know, showing like a a '90s printer like this printing out how I used to do back in the day and then... And I didn't have one on hand that was aesthetically suitable. At least it printed in color. So they might be wondering, "Oh, what about your dot matrix color printer?" Yeah, I do have that.

The color right now is dried out and it's gone. I think I might have one more color ribbon for that, but you know, it's a dot matrix and it's... Again, it's not really era appropriate. I'm looking for something late '90s but whatever, maybe I'm just... It might just be a pipe dream.

It's such a crap shoot. I don't know why I'm filming at this weird angle. Anyway, if you're still watching, [laughs] thanks, I guess.

I hope that you enjoyed some part of my suffering or something. Let me know you're awful printer memories if you got 'em or perhaps you're lucky and you actually do have a very nice old color inkjet printer that still works and you can still get ink for it, and it's great and wonderful. It's never given you issues. Let me know what model that is. [laughs] That's all for this one.

This is an LGR thing, I guess. Thanks for watching.

2024-04-22 21:44

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