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The Pixma iP5000 goeth into the night

2016 March 23
by Matt

Hard to believe it has been several weeks, now. It was the very end of January when an old friend left me…

…i.e., my inkjet printer died after more than 10 years.

Not just pinin' sadly

Canon Pixma iP5000, 2005-2016

Annoying though it is, I can’t help but keep thinking of that Liberty Mutual insurance commercial, because this printer left “Brad” in the dust. I bought it so long ago, I had to spend several minutes digging around through documents just to work out how long ago. The answer was “back in August 2005.” Since then I lost a job, worked in umpteen contracting roles, started a freelance studio, went through a couple of health crises, traveled the world (okay, a bit of Western Europe), moved three times, wrote three books…

All the while, an inkjet printer that I probably bought for a couple of hundred bucks has kept chugging away. I think every computer component around this veteran has been replaced at least once since then. You would expect so, certainly. Ten years!

So I am, even now, saddened a bit to see the iP5000 go.

I doubt that this printer will take a top place on any serious ranking of hardware longevity. I’m sure someone out there still has an Apple Stylewriter or even older device on active duty. Fair enough. But the iP5000 certainly deserves some kind of very honorable mention. It did its job, and did it well, and kept doing it with minimal fuss almost right up to the end.

This was a great printer in its day and long past its day. It made my life easier, particularly in comparison with the two printers that preceded it. (Neither was a Canon product fwiw.) It printed pages, nicely and reliably, and that’s what I wanted.

Looking back, I suppose there were signs of the end for a couple of years at least. Gradually, “standard” quality deteriorated more and more quickly after cleaning, and I had to use “high quality” more often. I could live with this, though. The software was orphaned quite a while ago; mostly it kept working anyway, then developed a big issue under El Capitan just a couple of weeks before the end.

The last few times that I ran the iP5000, it was clearly ailing, though. Printing kept pausing as the print utility reported an overheated print head… but, aside from the results being slower, it kept working. Until it didn’t.

I probably should have been more prepared for the end, but I guess I just couldn’t believe it. The printer had been getting old for years, and a little cranky, but it always kept calm and carried on. Each new problem that I got used to working around made it seem less and less possible that one of them would ever actually be fatal. Thus, when the end arrived, somehow it really took me by surprise despite and indeed because of all that had preceded it…

Remember that scene when the Bluesmobile finally gave out…?

It was just a bit like this, truly.

As Patricia Pierce wrote in Old London Bridge, “a time comes for every thing to have a rest.”

I think that time has arrived for the Pixma iP5000. For what it’s worth, right now, it’s still sitting in a corner because I haven’t gotten around to hauling it off for recycling. I did offer it up on craigslist, but got no takers for it, or a handful of unopened ink cartridges. I looked around online a bit, and I think the print head went out of production years ago, so if ever it would have conceivably have been economical to try repairing this printer it probably isn’t now unless someone happens to have parts and expertise already. If anyone has ideas in the next week or so, give a shout. Otherwise, I will probably commit this old friend to its deserved rest.

I have a new printer, already; thanks to buy-online-pick-up-in-store I got it the same day in fact. Had I not needed to finish something, I might have spent more time reviewing options, though I’m not sure I would have arrived at a better or even different choice.

I went with the Canon MG5620. It’s alright. The software works, and standard-quality pages look much better. It has various whizzy features that have apparently become standard since the last time I shopped for a printer; it recognizes wifi, the printer itself has a little color display, and a built-in scanner. Most of these don’t really interest me (I have a real scanner, e.g.), and all told I would rather have my old printer back in working order. Oh well. So it goes. I imagine that this new one won’t be around as long; it if serves half as long as its predecessor that will probably be entirely credible.

Farewell, my (non) stripèd friend.

2 Responses
  1. March 25, 2016

    That is indeed an impressive run! I don’t think I’ve ever had a printer last more than 2-3 years.

    Anymore, though, I don’t really even bother with them. Just about everything I do these days can be done digitally. On the rare occasion I do need something printed, I can send it up to the FedEx up the road.

  2. Matt permalink
    March 25, 2016

    Yeah, that’s similar to how I get by with just a regular inkjet printer. I like having that at home, but I don’t have a laser printer or a large-format device; whatever limited purposes the inkjet doesn’t cover I can get from someplace within cycling distance usually.

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