I am experiencing a problem with my HP CP4025n color laser printer of which HP claims it's "normal behavior". I don't agree with them (of course) and I'm therefor seeking input from other color laser printer users - be it HP CP4025 users or users of other brands/models. I'm not after creating a "HP sucks!" thread or anything.
Allow me to explain the problem.
I bought this printer about a month ago. I already own several other (low end business) HP printers but needed one that could handle a slightly bigger print load. I looked around and soon decided for the HP CP4025n, which costs approx $1000.
The very first thing I needed to print on this printer, were business cards. I usually use one of my other printers for this task, but I wanted to shift as much tasks as possible from the old printers to the new. I loaded the appropriate document, printed it on the same card stock I always print it on, and put the printed sheets in my business card cutter. When the cards were cut, I noticed they were cut all wrong. Actually, they were cut properly but the print was all wrong. After some measuring, I found out that not only was the position of the print incorrect, the print itself was too big. Since this was a new printer, I thought I had simply set some setting incorrectly but I soon found out everything was setup just fine.
After many tests, I found out that only when you print something on plain paper, the position and size of the print will be correct. Print on anything else and the printer would print too big - and only in the print direction (so in the length of the paper). The printed width was as it's supposed to be. And the deviation was quite substantial. It ranged from 1mm to 2.5 mm (0.04" - 0.1"). That doesn't sound like a lot, but on prints where size matters, it is. The deviation was also constant for each paper type. So printing on 28 lbs paper, and the deviation is always exactly the same. Printing on 53 lbs paper and again the deviation is the same between prints, but larger than on the 28lbs paper.
To rule out driver problems, I printed the printer's internal demo page. First on plain paper, than on 53 lbs paper. Again, the print on the thick paper was too big and the deviation was exactly what it was when I printed something from my computer.
This effectively made this printer useless for me. For about 90% of what I use my printers for, a correct size is important. Very important. And now, I can't use my printer for printing
Business cards or labels, since I can't use the templates for the cards/labels,
Technical drawings or floor plans, since they usually have a scale which is now utterly useless,
Film (transparancy) for exposing photo sensitive material (think PCB), since the size will be incorrect,
Anything else where "size matters".
I called HP Support. They actually confirmed the problem. When they did the same tests I did on their CP4025n, they got the exact same results. Printing on anything thicker than plain paper and the print will come out too big. This was cause for the helpdesk to "elevate" the problem.
A few weeks later, I got a call from HP. They said that although they had confirmed the "issue" exists on all CP4025 printers (they avoided calling it a "problem"), the deviation was within acceptable operational parameters. They also advised me against using the printer for anything where a correct size was important(!). They effectively told me not to use the printer for what it's advertised for and only use it for things like letters, or other simple documents. You know, the stuff where I just as well could use my $40 inkjet printer for...
They hid behind the fact that the printer's technical documentation listed a maximum deviation of 1% lengthwise. Even though the technical documentation is not publicly available and in the consumer documentation, no such mention is made. They said it's because of rollers slipping over the paper and because the paper stretches when heated (paper with thermoplastic properties? Really?). When I told them that if that were true, the result would be prints that are too small, not too big, they shrugged it off by saying there were many more variables causing the deviation.
I of course did not accept that as a solution. The deviation is not variable, but constant and a direct function of a paper's thickness. I can therefor accurately predict the deviation if I know the paper's thickness. This points to a firmware bug: a simple calculation error or a wrong look-up table.
I have three other HP Color Laser Printers in my office alone: a CM1312nfi, a CM2025 and a CM2320nf. None exhibit this problem and all print exactly the size I tell the printer to print, no matter what medium I use. So if I tell those printers to print a rectangle of 10.0" long, they will print a rectangle of 10.0"- not 10.1". In fact, this is the first laser printer I have ever owned that does not print something in the correct size. And I've owned a lot.
I have spoken a few more times with a HP representative since, but HP will not change their position on this. They will not do anything about it because they say there's nothing to do anything about. It's normal behavior. And that I was the only one that has reported the problem. Later in the same conversation they actually said the problem has been reported by others as well, but as long as there's no threat of a class action law suit, they will not do anything about it.
to illustrate the problem, here are two (very bad but they get the point across) images:
Here is a ruler I printed on card stock on my CM2320nfi. The printed size is spot on:
And here is the same printed on the same medium on the CP4025. Notice the difference.
If you want to print out these rulers yourself, check further down.
Am I expecting too much of my $1000 printer? Is it indeed "normal" that a print is printed in the incorrect size?
If it is normal, do any of you know of a good replacement printer?
If it isn't normal, do you have any suggestions what I can do to get HP to fix this?
And lastly (and most importantly):
Is there a difference in size on your printer when you print a document on plain paper and on a thicker medium?
Please, if you don't have a professional ruler, don't just print out a single page and measure that with your ruler. I found out that most rulers you buy at your local convenience store, are very inaccurate. So please, if you can, print something on plain paper and on thicker paper and only check for a difference in size.
Of course, if you are able to accurately measure the size with a calibrated ruler for instance, then please by all means do.
Here are two PDF files that will print a ruler. If you are in Europe, download the "A4" version, if you are in the US, please download the "Letter" version.
I read this article/issue with interest and am surprised at the problem, but not surprised at HP's lack of interest. We have this printer at work and although we only print "standard" documents, are quite happy with it. I can see how this issue is a problem for you when you depend on the printer to accurately print your images as I have personally printed PCB layouts in the past (not on the 4025 though).
Unless you're a big fish with lots of clout, companies like HP simply won't pay any attention to you no matter how much they say the "care" for their customers. They clearly don't. Once you've handed over the cash they're just not interested no matter how much support they purport to offer.
I hope you find a resolution other than buying another printer.
HP's stance in this has utterly disgust me and only made me decide to never, ever buy another HP product again. This printer turned out to be the most expensive paper weight I've ever bought since I have not been able to use it for the things I actually bought it for (and it was advertised for).
I've since spoken ("off the record") with a guy who works at HP and he told me HP is fully aware of the problems with this printer, but are unwilling to fix it. It's an easy fix and can be done 100% in firmware, but it seems that by fixing the problem they admit it exists and apparently there's something "special" about this that they rather tell people it's normal behavior than admitting there's a problem.
I'm a small business and so far I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars on non-functioning HP printers (this is the fifth HP printer in a row that has some sort of problem). Well, no more. I simply can't afford it.