Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Epson WorkForce 545 Multi Function Printer - Update

I finally got off of my ass and decided to set up my new Epson WorkForce 545 Multi Function Printer, the one I bought a few days ago. After helping my wife bring 2 of the dogs to the vet today, Roxie and Pepe, then picking up Roxie, the one they had kept for intravenous hydration (both have had gastric problems but the one they kept has been both upchucking and has had the runs for about a week now) and realizing I just paid the veterinarian well over seven and a half large (yes over $750 in fact over $775) I needed something to get my mind off of that shit. Wow, veterinarians sure make lots of money up this way, too bad Brendan changed his major from biology to sociology! Oh well, onto the printer.

I opened the box and everything was packed nicely and was easy to take out. Anything taped closed on the printer had taped that was folded over onto itself on one end, thus making it easy to lift, as if it had a tab on one end that said lift here. That was a nice touch. There was a quick setup sheet that told how to set the thing up. I followed all of the instructions and the setup took me about an hour. Once done, I clicked the button to print a test sheet and it came out fine. Well, I guess it came out fine since there was no preview to look at on my computer screen to show me what to expect! After that I hit the scan icon on my PC and tried to scan a photo and save it on my PC. No go! Tried again, no go and the printer display said there was no USB connection, but there it was, the same one I had just used during setup, the same one by which connection I had just printed the test picture. What to do. I changed USB cables to another USB2 cable. No luck. Then I tried an older plain USB, no luck.

So, I did what I figured was best, I removed the software following the Epson instructions on how they said to do that, then I reinstalled the software fr the printer. his time it said it was fixing an accessory program that had loaded first time around. It was not for the scanner but was related to the scanner, a program to change scanned docs with text to actual text docs, if I remember right. So that all took at least another 1/2 hour or more.

Once done, I tried a scan again and voila, it worked. I tried a second, third, fourth and fifth time and it worked each time, I made scans in both color and gray scale! By the way, when I reloaded the software this time and then connected the laptop to the printer, I used the plain USB cable and not the USB2 cable. I noted that the instructions just called for a USB cable. I don't know if using a USB2 cable was the problem the first time round or if it was that program that got fixed when I reloaded the software but now it seems to be working fine. Th pic of the cat was of our dear Cody about 18 or 20 years ago. He lived a long good life with us. He died, only a few years ago, and we still miss him sorely. I just found a few photographs of him a few days ago and figured why not scan one of them as one of my test photos. It came out nicely done or at least I think so!

So, there was a bug in the works that needed to be gotten out but once I reloaded the software with a plain USB chord, it seemed to work well. One thing I will say is that the printer is noisier than I thought it would be. For me to say that is kind of amazing because I really am hard of hearing since my last chemo session. That one seemed to change my hearing drastically within a few days to a week of the last treatment. So much so, that when I saw my mom last night, she asked me if I am hard of hearing and said she never remembered me being so. Pretty sharp for a dementia patient who has seen me only twice in over 5 months (because of my condition). So, what I am saying, with regard to the printer, s I expected to hear nothing from it. Why, well because I read review after review with folks really excited about how quiet this printer is in operation. That has got to be absolute balderdash because when my prints it sounds fairly loud to me even with my lousy hearing. It is also supposed to be a speed demon at printing speeds. I don't know about that. It seemed to print at a run of the mill speed to me but I will have to try simple text documents to see how it does, then a photograph to see how it does with them. All I printed up tonight were a few of the same Epson test sheet and that is a combination of text and graphics though not much of each. Like I said, the speed seemed sort of run of the mill.

As for the scanner, it is slow as molasses, or so it seemed to me, but then almost all flatbed scanners that I have used have seemed that way to me. It did do justice to my pictures for the most part. It kind of missed the yellowish almost light sepia tinge to one pic I scanned. It really was not a sepia tinge but was a B&W photo yellowed from age. The scan came out in gray scale with no sepia to it. I kind of liked that because it fixed it to what it should have looked like. I imagine a sepia print would need to be scanned as a color print to keep the sepia tone.

As for the fax, I have not even set it up, I hit the option to set it up later. I am not sure I will use that option but if I do, I will write it up later. I was happy to have the option to set that up or not. That was a good touch, a plus for the folks at Epson.

Now as for the copier, I have not tried that either. No, let me correct myself, I just tried it. It copies like a speed demon, that is for sure. I was surprised at how fast it copies. I just copied one sheet but wow, that was fast for a machine like this.

As for the overall construction, almost everything is plastic but what would you expect for a printer selling for $64.99 on sale! Nothing seemed extra strong but then again nothing seemed all that flimsy except for the outbound paper tray and maybe the auto-feeder paper tray. If you take care not to mess them up though, they will last for years is my guess, just like other ones on other printers I have had.

The control panel is laid out nicely. There is a 2.5"display screen off center to the left. There are numerous control buttons on the face of the panel but none are difficult to figure out. Of course you can also operate the machine remotely from your computer without touching one of those buttons on the panel. That is because you can set the printer up on your home WiFi network. I have not tried that yet since the Epson instructions for setup recommended doing the setup with a USB connection first, then later setting it up for WiFi too. I may do that tomorrow. Back o the control panel buttons for a moment; as far as I know, the screen is not a touch screen. I like that very much because all the touch screens I have seen on this type of multi-function printer have been pretty flimsy. I much prefer the control panel button as long as they are laid out as nicely as they are on this printer.

The printer itself is pretty big. It takes up almost double the footprint size of my last printer which was a simple ink-jet printer and not a multi-function printer. I have it on my computer desk right now and need to figure out the best position for it to give me the most room to work in. I wish it was smaller but many others are even bigger than this one. Epson has a smaller model, the NX430 but it only used up to high capacity ink cartridges and not the extra high capacity ones. That means a lot more money spent on ink and a lot more cartridge changes. I am saving big bucks by having bought a model that uses the extra high capacity ink cartridges.

Not much more I can think of right now except to say most of the regular things were in the box with the printer such as the power chord, a telephone connection wire (for the fax) an instruction manual on how to use it, a set up sheet, the software and ink cartridges. One additional nice touch is that Epson supplies full high capacity ink cartridges with this printer. Many other companies reportedly supply their new printers with only partially filled ink cartridges. One thing that was not included in the box was a USB cable - come on Epson - I would be willing to pay an additional few bucks that it would cost you to include one. An Ethernet cable was not supplied either, but you can also hook the computer to the printer with one of them if you prefer it.

I guess that is about it for now. I will report on how well it has done for me at a later date.

All the best,
Glenn B

1 comment:

jon spencer said...

Thanks for the review, I have been looking for a replacement for my all in one that has reduced itself to a scanner only.