NEC SuperScript 860
As the battle of the printer market's David and Goliath continues, Hewlett-Packard still seems to dominate the fight. HP's mentality has always been: "We can build it better, faster,
and cheaper than anyone else." And they have. When HP introduces a new printer, other manufacturers stand back and wait until the dust settles to see if David survived. What those same
manufacturers don't seem to understand is that while the dust settles, HP is already improving its machine to make another run at David. When HP introduced the 5P in March 1995, it produced 6 ppm and sold for $1,109. About a year later, HP introduced the 6P printer to the market with an increased speed of 8 ppm. With this change, the formatting performance increased by as much as 50% over the 5P. At a price of $799, it is reasonable to assume that the 6P is a lower performing printer; but it isn't. Once again, Goliath is rearing his head and making it difficult for other manufacturers to compete.
However, in May 1996, NEC introduced a printer that it hopes can withstand Goliath. The NEC SuperScript 860 is an 8 ppm, 600 dpi printer selling for only $499. The NEC SuperScript
860 looks like the 600 series, but has dramatic internal changes much like those of the 5P and 6P. The SuperScript 600 series uses PostScript, while the 860 uses a new controller and driver from Adobe.
According to the Hard Copy Observer, "PrintGear is a new Adobe print architecture that combines a new low-level print language with special printer ASIC to provide vastly
improved performance and print quality compared to PCL or other host-based print technologies." Finally, it seems that someone was watching and learning from HP. As for the battle of David and Goliath, don't count the underdog out just yet!
Unlike the 5P and 6P, which use the same toner cartridge, the cartridges for the SuperScript 600 and 860 are dissimilar. The handles on top of the cartridge of the 600 series differ from those found on the 860 cartridge. If you exchange the cartridges, the handle prevents the cover of the printer from closing. The drum found in the 600 series cartridges are weighted, as 3Si drums are. We were successful in switching the handles and installing the 600 series cartridge in the 860 printer. However, the cartridge made a loud squeaking noise when running in the printer, possibly because of the weighted drum.
The NEC SuperScript 860 cartridge is an all-in-one unit that holds about 170 grams of toner and yields 5000 copies at 5% coverage. It sells for around $149. The technology the
cartridge uses seems to be a cross between an IBM and the Epson 1000/1400. The toner hopper of the SuperScript 860 looks like it was developed by someone from IBM. Similar to the 4019, 4039,
and 4049, the casing of the toner hopper is clean. The cartridge uses a foam feed roller to deliver toner to the electrostatic (developer) roller. The toner is a nonmagnetic monocomponent type so there is no need for a magnetic roller. A specific aftermarket toner for this cartridge is still being developed. We have tested a few toners, but so far, nothing we have tried has been compatible.
Negative charge is applied to the drum utilizing the same technology as the Epson 1000/1500 cartridge. Instead of a PCR that "erases" the latent image from the drum while applying
the negative charge, the SuperScript uses an erasing lamp. This lamp, located in the bottom of the machine, "erases" the latent image. Then, a charging felt inside the cartridge applies the negative charge to the drum.
- Flat Blade Screwdrivers (large and small)
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Needlenose Pliers
1) To remove the two blue handles located near the drum shutter, press the prongs holding the handle to the side of the cartridge with a small, flat blade screwdriver (see photo 1).
2) Turn the cartridge over. Remove the two black SX-type pins from the plug side of the cartridge (see photo 2).
3) Rotate the cartridge 180 degrees. Remove the three screws holding the drum axle (see photo 3). Remove the drum axle (see photo 4).
4) Remove the two gray, SX-type pins located behind the drum axle (see photo 5).
5) Remove the two tension springs from the toner hopper (see photo 6). The tension springs are different from each other and must be replaced properly. The tension of the silver spring is greater than that of the black. The black spring must go on the gear side of the cartridge while the silver spring goes on the plug side.
6) The toner hopper can now be lifted from the rest of the cartridge (see photo 7).
7) Remove the black screw holding the drum axle on the opposite side of the cartridge (see photo 8).
8) Turn over the waste hopper section of the cartridge. Hold the drum shutter back and carefully remove the drum (see photo 9). Place the drum in a light-protected area.
Note: The spring-loaded drum shutter lever will come off from the small gear side of the drum. Once removed from the gear hub, remove the drum shutter lever from the shutter door.
9) Remove the drum shutter door.
10) Release the clip on the right side of the waste hopper to remove the charging felt (see photo 10). Lift up and to the left to remove the charging felt from the side of the waste hopper (see photo 11).
11) Carefully clean the charging felt with compressed air.
12) Using a Phillips head screwdriver, remove the screw holding the charging felt bias contact (see photo 12). Remove the contact (see photo 13).
13) Cautiously peel the tape from both sides of the wiper blade. Be careful not to damage the wiper blade end foams as you peel the tape from the cartridge.
14) Remove the two screws holding the wiper blade (see photo 14) and then the wiper blade. Dump the used toner from the waste hopper and clean with compressed air or a vacuum.
15) Check the recovery blade to ensure it is not wavy or kinked. If the blade is damaged, it must be replaced.
16) Reassemble waste hopper in reverse order.
17) Remove the clutch gear assembly on the gear side of the toner hopper (see photo 15).
18) Remove the fill plug and dump any toner remaining in the hopper. Clean with a vacuum or compressed air. Be careful not damage the foam feed roller while cleaning.
19) Remove the developer roller drive gear by releasing the two prongs holding the gear to the shaft of the developer roller (see photo 16).
20) Remove the small feed roller drive gear (see photo 17).
21) Carefully remove the foam pad on the gear side of the toner hopper (see photo 18).
22) The plastic end caps have two visible prongs located next to the developer roller. Using your flat blade screwdriver, pry next to these prongs to remove the developer roller end caps from the side of the toner hopper (see photo 19).
23) Remove the developer roller contact from the side of the toner hopper (see photo 20).
24) Remove the developer roller by lifting out and to the left (see photo 21). Remove the electrostatic shims and blow off the developer roller using compressed air.
25) Remove the three screws and nuts that hold the metering blade (see photo 22). The metering blade has four separate parts. Three of these parts are held together by the two foam pads on the top of the metering blade. It is not recommended that the three pieces be seperated. Blow off the metering blade with compressed air. The fourth part is a metal plate and can be left on the toner hopper.
26) If you are not sealing this cartridge, reassemble the toner hopper in reverse order.
27) As of this writing, no aftermarket seals are available. To seal the cartridge, remove the foam feed roller from the toner hopper. To do so, remove the two black end pieces from both sides of the toner hopper. Like the developer roller end caps, these pieces are held to the toner hopper by two prongs. To remove them, gently pry next to the two prongs with a small, flat blade screwdriver (see photos 23 & 24).
28) Carefully remove the foam feed roller by pulling it to the gear side of the cartridge, and lifting on the shaft of the feed roller on the plug side (see photo 25). Using compressed air, carefully blow off the feed roller.
29) Clean the toner hopper to remove any remaining toner with compressed air or a vacuum. Be careful not to damage the toner hopper retaining blade.
30) With alcohol and a Q-tip, clean the area on which the seal will be placed (see photo 26).
31) Remove the backing from the seal and install. The tail of the seal should be replaced under the seal foam on the plug side of the cartridge (see photo 27).
32) Fill the toner hopper with toner and reinstall the fill plug.
33) Reassemble the toner hopper in reverse order.
For further information, contact Craig Rummler at (800) 394-9900.
This article originally appeared in the March 1997 issue of Recharger.