Planned obsolescence, let’s repair our beliefs

Spoiler: Everyone knows that manufacturers deliberately design weak parts that they sell at a very high price to encourage us to buy new equipements. Could the problem be more complex than that?

While we had finally completed a criminal expertise, search for ShouldNeverExist images, tragedy struck…

The printer makes horrible black marks on the edge of all the pages.

Example of similar marks, photo by PoudreDePerlimpinpin @ reddit

The artistic quality of the photos we had to print does not really matters, but we can’t produce that kind of report.

Planned obsolescence?

To be honest, this is not the first time the printer made thos marks. But usually it was enough to open everything and clean them all.

This time, it’s not enough, the marks persist. And even if the printer works, it is useless. Technical knockout; it is out of order.

We then look at the warranty to see that we have been using it for exactly 3 years and 1 month. We are therefore outside the 2-year legal warranty, as well as the manufacturer’s 1-year extension.

We can just try to repair it.

We therefore dismantle the beast in the hope of finding which part would have a visible defect that would explain the marks.

Pressure roller in its den

All the parts appear normal to us except this colored tube whose wilting has exactly the same shape as the marks on our pages.

The Wilts

This is a pressure roller and the official versions of the myth’s photos found on the Great Internet do not have those marks, they are smooth.

Equipped with the printer references, all we can find to replace this roller is the fuser unit (it belong to) and it costs 150€ excluding taxes and shipping costs.

Even if the lead is promising, we are not sure that this part will solve the problem and at this price, 63% of the whole printer, the bet seems risky.

Above all, our report is expected in three days because the pretrial detention is expiring and its extension is conditioned, among other things, on our findings.

And given the type of photos we print, we can’t really outsource.

So, with death in our souls, we bought the same printer from a local merchant… 😥

Let’s repair our beliefs

Like everyone, we first railed against the global conspiracy of printer manufacturers who deliberately design elements that break down and cost almost as much as the new printer. So obvious, everyone’s talking about so it must be true.

Except that we were more thieves than them with our two identical printers (except the roller) one of which will provide the spare parts (except the roller) if a part of the new one breaks down in three years and a few days (except the roller).

Of course, 3 years and a few days is a long time. So, because we are not syllogomaniacs, we promise ourselves that we will repair it. Not right away obviously because we have too much important work to do but afterwards, that’s for sure.

But we must also notice that we’ll have to fight against the manufacturer who has set up a lot of pitfalls. The dismantling seems complicated and we are not sure how to put it back together afterwards. And all these small parts that we will have to handle can break. And the spare parts on the internet may not be compatible. If no one shows that it is feasible, it may be impossible! When in doubt, wait.

Then, no longer able to keep seeing this useless printer gathering dust, we (aryliin) finally asked ourselves the question of repairing it:

Do or do not!

And perforce, we chose to try.

Because the worst that could happen is that we fails at repairing it and it goes in the dumpster. But, since that’s what will happen if we don’t repair it, we might as well get started!

Fuser Disassembled

With courage and photos at each step we (aryliin) opened the beast, released the fuser unit, detached two small stressful springs (whose only obvious use is to annoy us) and finally extracted the pressure roller. Along the way, we discovered four small cleaning rollers which were also in poor condition.

Cleaning roller, supposed to be white and smooth.

The parts are detached but that doesn’t change the fact that we only find the fusing unit with our references. And given its price, we have to ask the question again…

Accept obsolescence or resist?

So with courage and taking notes, we (aryliin) bought pieces that had the right references shapes in the photos (expert technique known as by rule of thumb).

For 22 €, all taxes and shipping included, and after two weeks of travel, the parts arrive. Indeed, a pressure roller is smooth and the cleaning rollers are white.

Thanks to the notes and photos taken, we (aryliin) reassemble the beast, print a test page and see that the problem is now resolved 🎉.

THE test page.

And now

We are talking more and more about planned obsolescence. And it is very good to highlight these questionable practices which consist of designing tools that break easily and overpriced spare parts to encourage consumerism.

It’s a kind of learned helplessness. After experiencing helplessness in repairing an object (ourselves or by proxy), we resign ourselves and no longer try to jump the next low wall.

To be honest, it’s sometimes also an excuse to take the easy way out: we have to replace it since we can’t repair it, it’s the bad manufacturers’ fault. Except that every time we choose the dark side, we sink a little deeper into it.