A customer purchased a HP M3027 multi-function printer (model CB416A) for his home office.
I was called, as he was having some problems getting the scanner to work.
I figured: how hard can it be? (famous last words…)
When I take a look, I can see that the printing part is setup (via usb)… fine… most people use usb.
I go to install the scanner software (the main reason this printer was purchased), and I get asked for the IP address of the printer…
But… its not using ethernet… its doesn’t have a meaningful IP address… why am I being asked for an IP address?
And I can’t hit next until I give it a valid IP address (ie the PC must detect a M3027 printer at that IP address).
Sorry HP, but to my mind, this is a major failure.
If you put a usb port on a multi-function printer, then you need to have full support for it.
I call HP, and they confirm that the scanner component cannot work over USB… the scanner must be on ethernet.
Since the customer only has 1 ethernet connection in his office, I provide a switch/router, so that the printer can also join in on the ethernet fun.
After that, I re-install the printer driver, and setup the scanner software… It installs without a hitch, but asks some unusual questions (like the username and password for the windows account on the PC… I can see some people being suspicious about this part, and not wanting to give out their PC details, when the software doesn’t explain why it wants these details…).
Once the software is installed, I do what anybody else would do: I go to run the scanner software… Except I can’t find it!
I find the software from the older scanner, but nothing that works for the M3027
Whats going on here?
After some head scratching, I realise that this scanner seems to have everything backwards:
You use the printer front panel to scan the documents, and also indicate the PC (and folder) where you want the scans to go.
Then it dawns on me: its not backwards… it actually makes sense (particularly in an office environment with more than 2 or 3 people).
Of course its overkill for my customer (a 1 person office)
If you want to scan a document, then you walk up to the scanner, put the document(s) into the scanner, and since you are already at the scanner, you might as well use the scanners touch screen to do the scanning.
Once you finish scanning, you take your documents back to your desk, and you auto-magically find the scanned documents sitting in the scanner folder on your PC… its a nice idea.
So, its becoming obvious that some salesman shouldn’t have sold this printer to a “sole trader” business.
Anyway, after this I find another problem:
I scan a document, but a zero (0) byte file (ie empty file) appears in the PCs scanner folder… after 10 minutes of waiting, its obvious that the document isn’t going to arrive…. but the scanner seemed to go through the motions of scanning the document.
So it looks like the document is “stuck” in transit.
Another call to HP, results in having to download a firmware update.
Of course the firmware executable doesn’t work (maybe its not vista compatible…).
So I need to download the firmware binary, install filezilla, and FTP the firmware file to the printer.
After about 20 minutes of “thinking”, the printer is ready to scan, using its new firmware.
Of course the original scanner folder on the PC no longer works, so I now need to re-install the scanner software on the PC, and create a scanner folder with a different name (because the original name is being used)… sigh…
Now, at last, the scanning works well !
There is NO WAY the customer would have had the technical knowledge to do all this work, and I’m sure it will have taken days of “telephone tech support”, to get everything working without my help.
So the bottom line is: If you want to buy this type of printer, make sure you have access to an IT “expert” to set it up.