A few classic computer photos
classiccmp at philpem.me.uk
Tue Nov 3 18:04:04 CST 2009
Zane H. Healy wrote:
> The question that comes to mind is, is they guy a Fuji employee, or does he
> work for a third party support outfit?
He works for a third party. From what I've been told, most of the Fuji
machines that are "out there" are out on some form of lease agreement.
That is, you pay £x per year for the machinery, $y for all the
consumables, and $THIRD_PARTY sends out an engineer to fix it when
something goes wrong. AIUI, there aren't many Fuji Frontiers (or
minilabs in general) that were bought outright.
From what I've heard, the cost of a brand-new Fuji Frontier is
somewhere between £75k and £300k depending on the options you want. Most
of the minilab machines I've worked on were base-model or slightly above.
If you can live with something that's a little behind the tech curve and
has been refurbished at least once, think around £15k-£20k as a starting
price. If properly maintained, Frontiers are near bulletproof aside from
some really silly design faults. Specifically, on the 570 the cables
from the "CTL23" board are quite heavy and tend to pull out of the
connectors. These should have had clips, or better connectors.
On the 350, the distribution unit tends to get a little unreliable --
meaning you get paper jams every few minutes. You can disable the
distribution, but it slows the printing down from ~1 print per 5 seconds
to around 1 print per 15 seconds. Not really a good thing in a busy
The one thing that does annoy me is that the printing fault was declared
a "software issue" in July, and none of the three servoids thought to
check the cable that goes from the CTL23 to the backprinter module. It
took this cable slipping out far enough to disconnect half the pins and
trip the "loose cable detect" circuitry before it got plugged back in,
which fixed three faults in one shot (power-on error, not heating up,
I mean, seriously, aren't "loose cables" second on the list of things to
check, right after "is the power on?"
> The best was the device we got totally refurbished because of his
> incompetence. The only thing wrong was a switch, but he replaced *EVERY*
> major part before figuring that out! :-)
Well, we've got what amounts to a new backprinter in the Frontier. It's
not a major bit of kit, but it's nice to be able to read the filenames
on the back of the prints again. It's funny, if the centre row of a
9-pin DM printer is missing, 8s look a lot like 0s. Makes for good fun
when sorting and packing orders after they've been printed.
The full list of repaired bits -- from memory:
- Printer assembly (head and driver board)
- Backing pad (think "platen")
- Two print ribbons ("hmm, it's missing dots, must be the ribbon...
oh, they sent us a duff ribbon, better try another one... hmm, still no?
oh, I give up")
- Printer to driver-PCB cable
On the bright side, I doubt the backprinter will develop any serious
faults for quite some time.. :)
classiccmp at philpem.me.uk
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