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Enter the, 4100

1 Oct, 2001 By: Steve Geishirt imageSource

Enter the, 4100

bold leap has been made; the 4100 enters the arena. Once again the market is
redefined. HP introduction of the LJ 4100 and discontinuation of the LJ 4050 is
a big change. Some of you may ask why, well there are several reasons. Many are
of benefit to the end-user, but all are important to us as technicians. These
new printers are not just running more pages per minute, but the added features
in hardware and firmware are all factors you should be aware of.


4100 replaced the 4050 printer moving to 25 ppm (pages per minute) from 17 ppm.
This was interesting when the 4100 was first announced due to the next model
down having a maximum print speed of 10ppm (LJ 2100). This seemed to leave a big
gap in the line; even the 1100 ran at 8 ppm maximum engine speed. The 3200
didn’t fill the gap either. It was more of a specialty machine for laser
printer/fax/scanner, at 9 ppm. But the mystery was quickly solved not a month
later when the LJ 2200 (replacing the 2100) was introduced, now at 19 ppm, 2ppm
faster than the 4050, and the LJ 1200 (replacing the 1100) now at 15 ppm. The
gap, if anything, seems to be at the bottom, but who wants fewer pages per
minute? Most of our customers want great print, and they want it NOW! Speaking
of great print, all three of these new printers have a maximum resolution of
true 1200 x 1200 dpi. This is a step up for the LJ 1200 as its predecessor, the
LJ 1100, which was 600 dpi max.


chart below shows progression of older printer types, replacement printers and
latest versions:



New LaserJet’s, ppm’s


Latest Model
















LJ 3200



















Specialty printers.



the changes in pages per minute here. The low end LJ 1200, for instance, now
prints more pages per minute than the older LJ 5 business class printer. To
boot, all of these higher pages per minute printers are available for around the
same price level as their predecessor, or less. Thus, the customer can get more
bang for their buck. Speaking of more bang for the buck, HP also made the bold
jump of building a duplex unit into all LJ 2200 printers; all of them are
“D” versions. 



the focus back to the 4100, one of the first questions people ask me, about the
new printer, is regarding the interchangeability of parts. The 4100 looks just
like the 4000 and 4050 so parts must be interchangeable, right? No, not
necessarily. Remember, we have moved to 25ppm from a 17ppm printer, so the parts
have to be different. I like to equate this to the 24ppm 8000 and 32ppm 8100.
Both of these printers look very much alike, even after the covers have been
removed. As soon as you start trying to move parts from the 8000 to the 8100 or
vice versa, you find out rather quickly very little interchanges, the same is
true of the 4000/4050 and 4100.



is interesting, however, is many accessories designed for the 4100 are also
designed to work on the 4000 and 4050 too. This includes the 4100 toner


below are the new accessories, and toner cartridges, designed for the 4100, as
well as the 4000 and 4050:


  • C8053A        
    Envelope Feeder

  • C8054A        
    Duplex Unit

  • C8061X        
    10,000 page toner cartridge

  • C8061A        
    6,000 page toner cartridge

  • C4124A        
    500 sheet feeder

  • C8055A        
    500 sheet feeder


that the C4124A 500 sheet feeder is the old 4000/4050 feeder unit that can
upgrade to the 4100. The other listed accessories cover all the standard input
and output devices. The 4100 also has the capability of stacking two 500 sheet
feeders to create a maximum paper input capacity of 1600 sheets verses the 4000
and 4050 max capacity of 1100 sheets. Even though the 4100 trays are designed to
be used on the 4000 and 4050 printers, the printer will likely not recognize
putting a second optional 500 sheet feeder on a 4000 or 4050. Remember, you
cannot stack a second 500 sheet feeder below the C4124A, 4000/4050 version 500
sheet feeder, as there is no connection on the bottom of it.



change is the new 4100 toner cartridge; it is now a “smart” toner cartridge.
In training or trade shows, people will often ask why their customers’ toner
gauge on the 4050 printers do not reset when a new cartridge is installed. I
explain that the end-user needs to navigate through the printer menu to find
“new toner cartridge” option in the configuration menu of the printer and
change it to “yes” for this to happen. In other words, the printer does not
know if a new toner cartridge is installed, and the toner gauge displayed on the
configuration page was done by mathematical calculation. The 4100 printer
actually checks the cartridge and resets the gauge itself when a new toner
cartridge is installed. This really makes a lot more sense, and I consider it a
great improvement. When the customer needs to take extra steps to make a feature
like the toner gauge work, it becomes more of a hindrance than a solution. This
checking on the 4100 is done via an antenna on the left side of the printer that
connects with contacts on the toner cartridge. This antenna sends information to
a memory controller board, which is located under the laser scanner. The memory
board keeps track of the toner cartridge information and relays it to the DC
controller, so the printer gets all this information. There is a second antenna
in this printer that communicates with a chip on the front of the toner
cartridge. This second antenna hangs down into the paper path so it meets up
with the chip when the cartridge is installed. This chip contains information
such as the toner cartridge manufacture date and serial number. The two of these
create the information displayed on the Supplies Status Page; found in
the information menu of the printer. An interesting note found in the service
manuals, that you will still find in the “New Toner Cartridge” option in the
Resets Menu of the 4100. This was put there for those customers who use
remanufactured toner cartridges that may not have the chip or cartridge
contacts. We removed the chip from the front of the cartridge and although the
printer recognized the cartridge, it listed it as non-HP and displayed much less
of the information on the Supplies Status Page.


Information and Fusing

good page in the Information Menu is the Usage Page, which lists
the different number of prints, per the paper type, duplex pages, and percent of
print coverage. This can be a handy tool to a technician when the customer tells
you they rarely duplex, but the Supplies Status Page shows otherwise.
This also gives the customer a better break down of the use of their printer, so
when they think they did not get enough prints out of their cartridge, they can
look at the percent of coverage to see if they are putting more toner on the
page and thus shortening the life of the cartridge. However, extra memory or a
hard drive must be installed for this option to work.

of the other valuable improvements of the 4100 pertains to fusing. There is now
a narrow media sensor installed in the paper path just after the registration (see
Figure 1) to detect envelopes, 3 x 5 cards, custom paper, etc.
The detection of narrow media is used in the fusing process. This fuser has 3
separate elements in the heater of the fuser film assembly. These elements are
used to heat different areas across the film. This allows the heat to be
concentrated where the media, is rather than possibly overheating the outer
edges of the fuser film where media is not. This helps to eliminate toner build
up on the fuser film in

these unused areas or 50 service errors caused by an over heated fusing
element. It is also good to know that when the narrow media is detected, not
only is the location of the heat changed but the printer automatically decreases
the printing speed. So, if your customer asks why it prints slower when they do
envelopes or other narrow media, you can tell them. This should also help to
better fuse the toner to the envelopes and other narrow media.


Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

 Figure 4



The 4100 fuser has been modified to create easier access for replacement. HP is also marketing the maintenance kit as user replaceable, but as with other “user replaceable maintenance kits,” we’ll see down the
road if
the maintenance kit is considered end-user replaceable by the end-user. The
fuser now
has blue lock levers like the 5Si fuser, so the screws are gone. The
catch is that the rear delivery tray still needs to be
removed by gently bending it (see Figure 2), this along
with the tray cover,
which has been molded with two small covers that have the arrows on them. This cover unclips from the printer when pulled up from the bottom (see Figure
). If a
customer is unable to reinstall the rear delivery tray, or even
worse, they
break it, then paper will deliver out the back of the printer with no
tray to catch it. Figure 4 shows the back of the printer with the fuser ready
for removal. The first time you do a
maintenance kit, you’ll notice one other change. The feed/separation rollers now have a thicker rubber coating on them. We noted that the 4000 feed/separation
rollers would work in a 4100 and vice versa, so they can be
interchanged. So, in a pinch you can use either roller for the 4000/4050
or 4100.


in all, the 4100 looks like a great machine.
also like how HP has been taking
technology and improving it via firmware,
new features and hardwareupgrades. In fact, these newer faster printers should
make a major splash in the hard copy



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