The HP P4014 and P4015 printer model offers the same great quality we’re used to when we think of the 4000 series printers produced by HP. These machines offer fast print speeds, high print volumes, few service calls, and inexpensive parts making repairs cost effective for customers. In this article I’ll point out a few of the minor problems with the 4014 and 4015 models, discuss a little about the differences between the two models, and why end users, techs, and sales representatives should be cautious when making buying decisions.
Unfortunately, these printers were first introduced at the time of the stock market crash in 2008 and 2009. Companies were downsizing. Large companies found themselves with extra printers or budgets that didn’t justify replacing a printer when their old faithful 4200 or 4250 could be repaired for a third of the cost of a new machine. And the market became flooded, and still is, with slightly used 4200 and 4250’s with low page counts that look brand new and are available at a low cost.
I’ve found that many large companies like the fact that they have several printers that use the same toner cartridges, making ordering and supplying more efficient. When they can find an almost new printer that matches their existing machines, which they already know are great, they see little point in upgrading given the noticeable decline in the quality of new machines in the market place. With that said, this year with the economy rebounding (at least until recently) and a lot of the older 4000, 4100, and 4200 series models reaching the half million mark or more, companies are ready to upgrade. We’ve seen a steady rise in printer sales and it’s noticeable when I walk into service customers. I’ve seen a lot of new HP P4014 and 4015’s in the field.
Which to Buy
When your customer is ready to buy a new printer, which machine should you sell? There are really only two differences between the 4014 and 4015; the price and the fact that the 4015 accepts high yield cartridges.
The P4014 sells for around $600 and the P4015 for $1200. At first glance, one would think the P4014 sounds like the better deal. Six hundred dollars is a big difference and HP, like every other manufacturer, knows most buyers are all about the satisfaction of thinking they’re getting the best deal. Of course, lowest purchase price is not always the best deal. Let’s do the math.
The 10,000 yield standard HP cartridge sells for around $170, averaging 1.7 cents per copy. The 24,000 high yield HP cartridge at $300 averages 1.25 cents per copy for a net difference of 0.0045 cents. As you can see, the P4015, which can accommodate a high yield cartridge then costs about half a cent less per page to run. Doesn’t sound like that much right? Wrong!
If you multiply the difference in purchase price ($600) by the difference in per page print cost (.0045 cents) you get 133,333. What does that number mean? It means that after 133,333 pages your HP P4015 has saved the company $600 dollars over the P4014. The printer has just paid for its higher cost. At 266,666 pages, the company has saved another $600. The printer has just paid for itself.
When buying a new HP P4014 or P4015, consider the amount of pages you plan on printing. Most customers replacing their worn out HP 4000, 4100, or 4200 series have about half a million or more pages on their existing equipment. If your customer plans on using the new printer for 5 to 10 years and will print somewhere around a half million pages or more, it makes sense to spend a little more up front and save on supplies costs over the long run. On the other hand, if your customer feels they need a high speed, big printer but will only print four or five pages a day, then recommend the HP P4014.
Something to think about
I have a customer that has purchased about 25 of the P4014’s to replace their old 4000’s, which have a million pages printed. At the same time, they are cutting company costs by cutting hours of their employees. I’m not going to do the math here but when you think about that, many machines printing that many pages at a loss of a half cent per page the number is huge. Probably not the best business decision. It’s your job to help your customers when buying new products so do your research first and then decide on the best option for their situation. Help your customer to see the bigger picture and not necessarily base their purchase decision on the printer’s acquisition price alone.
Common Issues with the HP P4014 and P4015
One thing I will point out is that this machine is noisy. About 10 or11 years ago, one of HP’s selling points was that their printers were so quiet. They even bothered putting decibel ratings on the box. I guess noise quality was substituted for speed. I don’t really know how much quicker we need these printers to print so maybe in the near future they can once again focus on some noise issues.
Perform User Maintenance|
Here’s the problem; your customer calls you to perform a PM on the machine per the maintenance message. You go out to perform the PM, clean the machine, pack up your bag, fill out your paper work, and after a few test pages go to reset the counter. You hold down the check button during the memory cycle and no Maintenance Counter Reset. What’s going on? It’s a firmware issue. If you update the firmware you should be good to go. If you’re unable to update the firmware you can roll back the maintenance counter manually. But because these printers have gone through several firmware updates, the customer should be notified that the update couldn’t be performed and they should do the update at their earliest convenience.
Processing Job Message
Here’s the problem; your customer calls you and tells you that their printer is constantly saying “processing print job” or their machine is printing extremely slowly. Your first thought is they are having a network, cable, or driver issue. After discovering that this happens even on internal test pages you think formatter or DC controller. The dead give away here is tray 1. Typically this only happens when printing from tray 2. So if you run into this issue try loading tray 1 (MP tray) and see if that works correctly. If it does then we know we have a DC controller/fuser problem. Why does tray 1 work on not tray 2? Tray 1 prints at half the speed of tray 2. The error is a result of a power and timing issue between the fuser and DC controller. Generally, as fusers age, they draw slightly more power and take a little more time to warm up to the correct temp. Given the error situation it seems the fuser temp is just outside its printing temp as the DC controller tries to print putting the machine in a continues loop. Tray 1 works because it prints more slowly allowing the fuser to reach it correct temp before the DC controller starts other processes in the machine. Replacing the fuser should fix the issue but there is also an upgrade to the firmware on the DC controller so both should be done at the same time.
The swing plate assembly has been updated from previous models giving customers and tech’s some relief in the fact that, hopefully, this issue will be resolved. I, personally, haven’t run into any issues with the swing plate in these models but I have heard others complaining about the issue. The good thing is that the reported problems have been on machines with large page counts. At this point the complaints are so few that it’s hard to justify making this a common issue just yet. However, it is something to keep an eye on and keep in the back of your head when customers call about noise issues.
The HP P4014 and P4015 model was introduced at an inopportune time, but with the market recovering and older printers needing to be replaced, this machine should be an obvious choice for those considering new machines. This machine has very few problems, most of which were firmware issues. New printers being sold right now have the firmware updates already in them so those issues are a thing of the past.
I look at this printer like I do the Brother fax 4100e, 4750 or other HP 4000 printer series models; a machine I can put in a customer’s office and walk away from with confidence that in a few years from now when I ask them about the machines performance they will thank me over and over again for a dependable fast machine with very few problems other than general maintenance issues. My only warning here is to sell the right model for the job. Prepare yourself with questions to ask like print volumes and stats to show your customer why the more expensive machine will save them money in the long run.
Kevin Gumpp is a certified printer technician and freelance writer for Market Point. If you have a question for Kevin regarding this topic or have any other printer repair related questions or topics you would like more information on, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.