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Author Topic: z3100 Support goes bye bye  (Read 8115 times)
Charles Gast
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« on: April 08, 2008, 01:49:25 PM »
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I've been working on some problems with my z3100 for two or three weeks now. Sheet feeding problems, error codes etc.  They sent me a formatter board which I replaced over the weekend and new problems have come up. I purchased the printer on April 8 of 2007. I call now to continue troubleshooting and I am getting someone in India or South America and they are not.. um .. technical. I can't get  in touch with the technician (Brad) I was working with these past weeks.  I am wondering if because it is now April 8 2008 they have taken me out of warranty technical assistance to send me to the "is the printer plugged in? is there paper in the tray?" tech dept.
Anyone else have this happen?
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nemophoto
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2008, 03:28:58 PM »
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. . . . . Anyone else have this happen?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=188015\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

 All too often with just about every company -- hardware and software -- I've dealt with. This is especially the case with the larger tech companies, not so much with the smaller ones. I had some serious software issues with WinXP, dealt with mutliple people in India (though there name was invariably John or Jeff or Paul) when I called Microsoft. After weeks, I never resolved the issue and finally instaled Vista. With Adobe, any activation issues go to India. Ironically, all Epson people I've dealt with are American. (Probably because Epson is a Japanese company.)

Sad commentary on tech support these days -- there really isn't any.
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Charles Gast
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2008, 04:57:35 PM »
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The good news;
I emailed Ben at HP and he has already been in touch.  He did not address it specifically but at this point I suspect my offshore support was the result of going out of warranty or extended warranty coverage. I can't see spending $1500 on another two years coverage since the printer cost $3000. Before 2 years is up an upgrade will likely have replaced this model. I'll definitely go with the $800 one year extension though. The formatter I just replaced under warranty probably would have cost more than $800.
Since I am working with an ongoing issue that came up while under warranty he assured me it would be resolved.  He said I should be hearing from the support folks I had been working with.  

Charlie
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Tim Anderson
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2008, 08:04:42 AM »
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Charles,

I wonder if your service downgrade has to do with someone at HP not receiving timely notice of your purchase of a care pack?

The care pack is promoted as a continuation of the next business day service that is included in the price of the printer for the first year.  I don't see how next business day service jibes with being placed in an off-shore tier 0 (Did you plug the printer in?  Why no, that never occurred to me, I thought it would run off of USB power!) support queue--you will easily waste a business day making the support person understand that the problem is not that the printer is unplugged.

This topic is near and dear to me because I just bought the two year care pack myself.  In the end my decision was based on my satisfaction with the output from this printer, reasonable ink consumption and simply not being able to conjure up a glaring shortcoming with the output from this printer that would make something likely to come on the market in the next two years a compelling, must have upgrade.  

For my purposes printer technology has matured to the point that I feel safe jumping off of the upgrade cycle treadmill; instead I can focus on wearing out the printer that is already bought and paid for.  

Tim

Oops, re-reading your message it looks like you have not yet bought the care pack?  That makes me feel a little better about the situation....
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 08:07:32 AM by Tim Anderson » Logged
Charles Gast
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2008, 08:31:23 PM »
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Tim,

I am told by the salesman at IT Supplies that I can buy a one year care pack any time. It is $800 for one year. The three year care pack which actually only gives you two additional years of service is 1500 so since I just put 800 down on APS I dont actually have the money to do two years or even one at the moment.   The HP  has been in touch with me nonetheless and I am very very happy with their response to my questions. When they found that my problem started while still in warranty they jumped right in to help.
I am going to try to image the hard drive on the formatter card after APS is up and running. If that hard drive fails the printer calibrations and custom papers have to be started all over as all that data is lost.  The hard drive is what failed on my formatter card. It runs unix so I am hoping an image of the hard drive will work as a backup. The boot sector is the only possible thing I can see norton ghost missing since it is primarily made for windoze.
I am very much looking forward to having the APS runnning on my machine

Charlie
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jhein
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2008, 10:36:29 PM »
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My warranty runs out on 5/11.  I decided to NOT get the extended warranty.  Instead I enrolled my Z3100 in my business Visa card warranty program.  This essentially doubles the manufacturers warranty.  

Basically  the Visa program works like an insurance program.  You pay whatever the cost that HP charges you for your repair.  You then file a claim with Visa.  4-6 weeks later you get a check in the mail.

I did this with my monitor.  It failed about six months after the warranty expired.  I had it serviced and the bill came to about $200.  Filed the claim and Visa sent me a check.

So I would check with your credit card and see if they offer the same program.  Almost all Gold/Platinum Visa cards offer this.  Not sure about any others.

hope this helps
Jim
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Tim Anderson
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2008, 08:34:18 AM »
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Interesting ideas here, both the imaging of the hard drive and using the insurance offered by credit card providers.  Should have used the Amex to buy the printer, live and learn.

Charles, good to know HP did the right thing with your Z3100.

Did you happen to notice the form factor on this hard drive and the electrical interface used (parallel ata, sata, scsi, etc)?  I use Acronis for all my workstation backup needs and it can do a sector by sector copy of any hard drive, storing the result as an image file.  There are also a number of Linux tools that can do the same thing.

Knowing that the printer relies on a hard drive that never seems to spin down does indeed make a backup strategy seem like a good idea.

--Tim
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Charles Gast
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2008, 09:54:58 AM »
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Tim,

It is an ata drive.  I want to just get a spare drive and image it over so if the drive fails I just pull the formatter and swap drives. I don't have a linux machine now so I hope to find an app that will run on windows but replicate boot sector and all a unix hard drive.
I guess I'll be on the phone with Visa today w/regards to the warranty!
Great tip.
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SeanPuckett
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2008, 10:44:56 AM »
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I have also not chosen an extended warranty for my Z, purchased new in March 2007.   I typically print canvas and art papers and haven't had any hardware problems other than matte black ink droplets caused by excessive idleness after a traumatic move (I cleaned the heads and tray and it has not recurred).  The satin photo paper I use generally doesn't show noticable marks.  I would be um upset if anything were to happen at this point, but the machine is proving reliable so far.  And print quality is always customer-pleasing.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 10:45:27 AM by SeanPuckett » Logged

neil snape
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2008, 01:39:29 AM »
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Interesting ideas here, both the imaging of the hard drive and using the insurance offered by credit card providers.  Should have used the Amex to buy the printer, live and learn.

Charles, good to know HP did the right thing with your Z3100.

Did you happen to notice the form factor on this hard drive and the electrical interface used (parallel ata, sata, scsi, etc)?  I use Acronis for all my workstation backup needs and it can do a sector by sector copy of any hard drive, storing the result as an image file.  There are also a number of Linux tools that can do the same thing.

Knowing that the printer relies on a hard drive that never seems to spin down does indeed make a backup strategy seem like a good idea.

--Tim
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=188705\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


It's a simple 2.5" hard drive, quite easily replaced. It lives on the communication card where you plug in the Ethernet RJ 45. I'm not positive but it is probably ATA, the HDs are 40 or 80 GB. I Don't think there would be much difficulty in cloning the disc with Terminal or command line in Unix/Linux. Now, maybe the suggestion of having a back up of the disc is going to have to be sounded to HP.  
Simply swapping the old driver for a new one won't work as the license codes are all on the disc with MAC addressing.
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alanmcf
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2008, 05:43:29 PM »
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Charles,
I face no warranty in June, and probably will go for the $800 for peace of mind (or as much as I can get with a flaky printer that often works quite well . Btw I was told when I asked about it that I could buy that extended warranty even months after my original had expired?!?

But my real question is how did they downgrade your support. When I call in I say "Designjet" then "Z3100" and I end up with a support person who then asks me for my name, etc. I did not get asked for my name before getting a support person.

Thanks, Alan
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peteh
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2008, 08:27:02 PM »
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Charles,
I face no warranty in June, and probably will go for the $800 for peace of mind (or as much as I can get with a flaky printer that often works quite well . Btw I was told when I asked about it that I could buy that extended warranty even months after my original had expired?!?

But my real question is how did they downgrade your support. When I call in I say "Designjet" then "Z3100" and I end up with a support person who then asks me for my name, etc. I did not get asked for my name before getting a support person.

Thanks, Alan
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190855\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
At the prompt on the phone the MAGIC word is: Designjet Ink
That will get you to Canada in BC. That is the word from here in CA.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2008, 08:28:25 PM by peteh » Logged
Tim Anderson
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2008, 07:25:49 AM »
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Hi all,

Thanks for the info on the hard drive.  My day job, you know, the one that pays for ink and paper?  It has left me with little time to fool with the Z so I have not opened up the machine to have a look at the hard drive.  

Having just purchased a two year extension of my warranty the health of the internal Z hard drive is less urgent an issue, but consider this potential hack:  Newegg now offers a 32 gig compact flash card for $140 US.  The adapter that re-reroutes a few control lines to enable PATA interface compatibility costs $5 US at full retail.  I would bet that by the time most of our onboard hard drives are at the end of their service life there will be 64  or even 128 gig CF cards on the market and we can all quit worrying about spinning platters and flying RW heads.

--Tim
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jhein
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2008, 11:08:27 PM »
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More info on the Hard Drive:

It is a standard issue 2.5 inch Western Digital 40Gb EIDE 44pin drive.  Intended for laptops.  I pulled mine to try to read it and guess what?

HP PUT A PASSWORD ON IT!  (Yes I am shouting).  

You can not read the drive with any commercial package like Norton Ghost.  You have to enter the password at boot up time (regardless of your OS such as Windows, OSX or Linux) otherwise your computer will simply act as if the drive doesn't exist.    

Your only alternative is to remove the password.  This can only be done by buying a hardware device that will "crack" and remove password.  (Google is your friend).  There is also an online service that claims they can "crack" it remotely.  http://hdd-tools.com/products/rrs/

Once this is done, there is no guarantee that the HP software on the Z's will function.

heavy sigh
Jim
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rdonson
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2008, 07:49:15 AM »
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More info on the Hard Drive:

It is a standard issue 2.5 inch Western Digital 40Gb EIDE 44pin drive.  Intended for laptops.  I pulled mine to try to read it and guess what?

HP PUT A PASSWORD ON IT!  (Yes I am shouting).   
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191135\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Niiiiiiice.    HP if you're reading this please provide a utility that at least allows us to back  up the drive (encrypted or otherwise).  It will be a pain in the %^& to start all over again when the drive fails (usually around 3 years in my experience).
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Regards,
Ron
SeanPuckett
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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2008, 07:57:39 AM »
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I suspect that the the difference between the PS and base model Z series is the software loadout on the hard drive.  There's certainly no obvious mechanical or electronic difference needed.  If you could trivially create a PS machine from a $50 120G drive and a disk image, I'm not sure they'd sell as many PS machines as they do.

That said, I'm not happy about this issue.  Since the drive is a likely point of failure in my machine, it would be nice to have a backup image of it.  It is perhaps another sad case of the jealous guarding of IP that harms customers more than it benefits producers.  On the other hand, has anyone here ever had a drive fail in a Z?
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mballent
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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2008, 12:10:47 PM »
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That said, I'm not happy about this issue.  Since the drive is a likely point of failure in my machine, it would be nice to have a backup image of it.  It is perhaps another sad case of the jealous guarding of IP that harms customers more than it benefits producers.  On the other hand, has anyone here ever had a drive fail in a Z?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191198\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Now to be fair ... Would you feel the same if it was your IP? I am sure that you guard your copyright for your images    There is a lot of IP theft out there I cannot blame them for trying to protect it.
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Charles Gast
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2008, 01:54:00 PM »
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They could should have keyed the PS options to the mac address on the motherboard instead of encrypting the HD.  Just another "if only"
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neil snape
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2008, 02:35:37 PM »
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It's not only the disc that has license codes and passwords, it's also the card communication ports to the main board. I guess I should have said it's possible to clone the disc, and change it but only with  command line instructions for setting parameters like passwords, and port configs, license codes. I had this done on my Z and know it can be done on a service call. I also know you would want to have all the right info to do so which is at this point not  public release.  Again I think users should press HP for a utility to change out the disc at a reduced or fair price as surely the HD will fail in time. Maybe all is needed is a password for cloning the disc if it is installed in the same machine which shouldn't open up problems for wrong usage.
I will if ever I get a chance put this issue high on my list  of question and or follow up with HP. It was one of my priority items to have the potential of a user changeable HD and cloning possibility with full recovery of the current op sys.
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neil snape
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2008, 02:37:10 PM »
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More info on the Hard Drive:

It is a standard issue 2.5 inch Western Digital 40Gb EIDE 44pin drive.  Intended for laptops.  I pulled mine to try to read it and guess what?

HP PUT A PASSWORD ON IT!  (Yes I am shouting).   

You can not read the drive with any commercial package like Norton Ghost.  You have to enter the password at boot up time (regardless of your OS such as Windows, OSX or Linux) otherwise your computer will simply act as if the drive doesn't exist.   

Your only alternative is to remove the password.  This can only be done by buying a hardware device that will "crack" and remove password.  (Google is your friend).  There is also an online service that claims they can "crack" it remotely.  http://hdd-tools.com/products/rrs/

Once this is done, there is no guarantee that the HP software on the Z's will function.

heavy sigh
Jim
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Jim,  is it the standard version of the drive or the drives with an extended warranty / MTBF rating?
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