as you can see I'm new. I do IT and wiring for a small local shop but I never deal with printers.

I do a LOT of printing, and I'd like to stop spending as much money on it. On my local CL, there is an HP 8100DN (duplex network) printer for a very good price (and the toner is a quarter-cent per page). It has printed 200,000 pages and I don't yet know anything else about it. The model was released in 1999.

So my questions:

  1. What are the parts that tend to need service on laser printers? On ebay, I see fusers, rollers, DC power boards, and motors.
  2. What would you expect to replace soon at 200,000 pages?
  3. Are there any good "tests" to find out if certain parts are near failure?
  4. Is there any way of easily finding out if a certain part (like the fuser) has already been replaced, or how much it has been used?
  5. Do you have anything to say about the HP 8100 specifically?

The bottom line for me is that if there's any chance of repairs costing more than $100, it's not worth it for me.


I would tend to think that parts that are generally considered consumables by a printer technician would be the ones to watch for. Parts such as pickup\feed rollers and fuser rollers\assemblies. I've never seen a PCB or motor go bad in all my years of using HP printers. The documented duty cycle for that model is 150,000 pages per month so 200,000 pages in its lifetime sounds like it's barely been used. Here are the complete specs:

HP LaserJet 8100 Series and 8100 MFP Printers - Product Specifications

  • +1 - although the upvote hurts because it just puts you 10 more rep infront of me... sigh I'm never going to get to the magical 10k – Mark Henderson May 5 '10 at 23:59
  • @Wes: True enough, although I'm trying to forget that part of my career. Toner anyone? – joeqwerty May 6 '10 at 0:02
  • hey thanks joeqwerty! Here's an oddity: I found the "maintence interval" -- "the interval at which you should install a maintenance kit" (which is a fuser and rollers), and it is...350,000 pages. BUT, when I look at the specs for an HP 8100 fuser, it says the fuser has a life span of 150,000 pages. What gives? – themirror May 6 '10 at 7:14

Joeqwerty has already given good advice about the specific model, so I'll just add a little general advice.

When faced with the need to choose a printer I talk to the third party techs who service them for us. If the model has been out for a while I ask about the frequency they need servicing. I also ask what parts will cause the printer to be treated as a throw-away item and the normal life expectancy of those parts. e.g. A developer drum that costs nearly as much as a new printer and only lasts a few 100K pages makes me look for a different model. At the very least, find out what a service kit costs (and includes) before proceeding further with it.

  • +1. Good advice on your part as well. Thanks. – joeqwerty May 6 '10 at 1:39
  • This is good advice I managed to talk my C level execs into simply fixing our 8100 instead of buying a refurb. The refurb cost was slightly over 1000, the potential cost to fix was almost 1500. I wasn't buying into the techs story that the motor wass shot so after he took it apart and replaced a few rollers and gears the end cost was $600 – Jim B May 6 '10 at 5:29

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