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So Frustrated

January 5th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’m so frustrated right now with my stupid HP printer (a Photosmart C5550 All-in-One, for anyone that cares). Yesterday I went and got my ink cartridges refilled at Costco, since it costs only a third as much as a new cartridge. So far so good. I got home, plopped them into the printer, and everything is great. Awesome. I then proceed to print something like 10 full-page photos with no problems. Great, right? Well, here comes the problem: all of a sudden my printer claims that the color ink cartridge that it’s been happily using for the last hour or so is suddenly “not intended for use in this printer.” Bull. So I take the cartridge out and reseat it, but to no avail. I clean the contacts. No dice. Power cycle? I wish.

I searched the web for a while to try to find any hint of how to get around this issue. Nada. As far as I can tell, there’s just no way to make this cartridge work again. Grrr… It looks like I’ll either have to plunk down the change for a new color ink cartridge (thus supporting the very ink cartel that put me into this mess in the first place), or I need to upgrade my printer. (Incidentally, HP was nice enough to design the printer such that I can’t just leave the color cartridge out entirely and just print in black and white, despite the fact that that would be perfectly reasonable.)

Anyway, in my various button pushing frenzies while I tried to get the printer to do something useful, I did discover some interesting — if unhelpful — things about the printer. I’ll write them down here in the hopes that someone might find them useful someday:

  1. If you press Cancel and OK at the same time you’ll be given a prompt on the screen that reads: “Mfg Commands / Enter Special Key Combo”. Sounds promising for some basic hacking.
  2. From here, hitting Cancel (in my case) went to a cartridge alignment screen, but pressing OK on the alignment screen seemed to put the printer into an infinite loop state.
  3. From the special key combo screen, pressing OK three times brings up an even more cryptic screen that reads: “uiaux / FW Comp Menu”, which seemed interesting, but I was never able to find anything that would cause the printer to do anything useful from this screen (although the printer isn’t locked up).
  4. There is a small silver card in a depression underneath the flip-up screen. Prying this out revealed that the underside has a couple of bar codes and a number. It looks almost like some type of access card, but I wasn’t able to figure out what it was for.

If anyone finds out more about these or discovers some other key combinations I’d be interested to hear about them. I have to imagine that there are some things there that were built in for testing or servicing the unit, but as to how much can be done from this interface I couldn’t say.

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  1. jose
    October 10th, 2012 at 18:34 | #1

    press right arrow – ok – left arrow, and enter the menu

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