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OIT replaces campus printers over break

Kristen Durbin | Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As the spring semester kicks off this week, students who use campus printers may notice some new improvements and upgrades.

During winter break, the Office of Information Technologies worked with Xerox to remove all 35 Xerox Phaser 3600 printer models from residence halls, DeBartolo Hall, Jordan Hall of Science and several other buildings, Brian Burchett, manager for Technology Enhanced Learning Spaces, said.

“Our main focus was on residence hall printers because they were being taxed by the volume of printing being completed, so we replaced them with Xerox Phaser 4510 models,” Burchett said. “These printers have a larger monthly duty cycle, meaning they have the capacity to print more pages per month.”

More specifically, the 4510 model can handle 25,000 pages per month, whereas the 3600 model had a duty cycle of 8,000 pages per month and were being used to print 12,000 to 15,000 pages per month in most of the residence halls on campus, Burchett said.

“Students were obviously running the printers harder than they were intended to run,” Burchett said. “In addition to having a larger duty cycle, the new printers print PDF files better than the 3600.”

Burchett noted many students previously experienced difficulties in printing PDF files on the residence hall and other 3600 model printers, but he is confident the number of problems will decrease because the 4510 model handles PDF files better than the 3600 model.

In order to print to the new printers, students must update the print queues on their computers, and peel-off sheets with basic instructions for completing this update are attached to posters that are located at every printer release station in campus residence halls, Burchett said.

“We changed the print queues on the print servers, so now there is a print queue that we think students should use when printing PDFs, which should solve some of the problems we saw previously,” Burchett said. “There’s also a print queue for all other printing.”

Burchett said students who have trouble installing the new print updates should first rerun the installer and call the OIT Help Desk at 631-8111 if they experience further difficulties.

Another common printing problem that Burchett hopes the new printers will resolve is the incidence of paper jams. He explained many paper jam issues were related to the duplexing hardware on the 3600 model that allows documents to be printed double-sided by flipping the sheet of paper inside the printer.

“Our testing of the 4510 model shows that paper jams will probably be reduced significantly because it prints double-sided much better than the 3600,” Burchett said. “But we can’t test it as well as 10,000 students can.”

Burchett also said fall humidity could have caused paper to absorb moisture, which could have contributed to jammed printers during the fall semester. However, he is confident the number of problems with residence hall printers will decrease dramatically this semester.

“It’s early to tell how it’s working out, but in a couple weeks we should be able to compare the number of problems during the first few weeks of this semester with the number from last semester,” Burchett said.

Burchett said OIT saw a 50 percent increase in student printing last semester, so more students are expected to run out of print quota than they did last year.

Students who run out of print quota will be able to purchase additional print quota for five cents per sheet this semester, as opposed to the usual 10 cents per sheet.

Student government also requested that a color printer be added to LaFortune Student Center and that a black and white printer be installed in O’Shaughnessy Hall, and Burchett said these printers should be installed toward the end of February.

Additional information about the printer upgrades can be found at oit.nd.edu/print.