As part of the Black Friday sales, I saw a company advertise refurbished/secondhand printers (Thanks OzBargain). Always looking for a deal, I browsed through what they had on offer and after finding this, I knew I had to try it. I tweeted (or X’d or whatever Elon’s living fever dream comes up with next) that it would either be amazing, or e-waste. Read on to find out the result!
Konica Minolta Bizhub C3350i 33ppm A4 Colour Multifunction Laser Printer (Second Hand – Used) – $66AU + delivery = $90.75AU
From what I can tell, this printer likely first came out in 2019, at around $7kAU and is still available for sale today. After purchasing and wondering how much I’d regret the purchase – and a few weeks, a giant HP box turned up on my doorstep with images indicating I’d need 3 people to open the contents.
Using the strength of 3 people, I moved the box inside and remembered I hadn’t actually ordered a HP printer (despite the box containing manuals and CD drivers for a certain HP printer), but instead a bunch of broken up foam and the Konica Minolta bizhub 3305i. After removing from the box, I found the power cable with it didn’t fit (It was a L shaped IEC plug from a HP printer that had no physical possibility of being able to be pushed into the plug hole), so I used one of my own and the device powered up:
Getting power and a working display screen was a good start. I also thought the display itself might be burnt out or the touch flaky. The printer appeared to be in good condition, with only 1 annoying problem – the display tips forward 90o as designed, but won’t stay in place. Any pressure applied to the touch screen (for example, pressing a touch screen button!) the screen will move backwards into it’s flat upright position again. I don’t know if there’s a way to tighten this mechanism, but if that’s the biggest problem I have I can live with it.
The display gave me an easy way to test some functionality without any config – Copy. I fed some paper into the tray and started having flashbacks to my days of providing support to printers. It was at this moment I wondered why I’d decided to buy an enterprise printer knowing how many years of pain these devices had caused me and so many others in the IT industry.
Shaking off the regret, the copy function happened within a second or so, and the paper that spat out had a few marks:
Not terrible but not great, a fair few spots and a weird squiggly line. I cleaned the glass plate inside the printer and tried again, with slightly better results but still that weird squiggle. It was at this point I realised someone had drawn the squiggle on the white plastic part that goes down onto what should be a piece of paper on the flatbed scanner. I put a blank white piece of paper in there and scanned again – results pretty good for only a few tiny spots:
It was time to get this device on the network so I could try printing. The printer didn’t come with a wireless option, so I plugged it into my network, found the IP, added the printer by IP (it wasn’t auto discovering – a problem to work out later) and then needed a driver. Waiting for the very long ‘Windows Update’ option to find a driver never completed, so I instead found the driver myself and added it as there was no ‘Konica Minolta Generic’ type driver that I’ve seen other brands have, such as HP or Canon. After being installed, I was able to print a document which spat straight out the printer. Hooray! Quality was great in both black & white as well as colour
OK, so I can copy and print but I wanted to get into the configuration of the printer and see what was possible. As with most enterprise printers, administration settings can be done either on the printer itself (often a smaller subset of the full options) or on the web interface for the printer.
The admin page for the printer required a password which didn’t come with the printer. I spent the good part of an hour looking up ways online of getting into the printer – default passwords (amazingly it wasn’t set to the default!) and maintenance modes – I could get into the maintenance mode by doing a completely unguessable series of touch screen presses, but still could not factory reset or get into administrator mode. Calling the company who sold me the printer during business hours revealed the password they’d set on the device (why they didn’t communicate this to me I have no idea, surely every printer they sell would cause a support call?) but I was finally in and could start fine tuning the device.
To say there are a lot of options is somewhat of an understatement. Menus within menus with a bit of logic applied, but often options hidden in a place you wouldn’t expect is a norm for the printer industry. I was relieved to at least see a function search which seemed quite usable.
I’d noticed the printer was going to sleep and waking up a lot despite just sitting idly, so to find the Power options was easy with a search. I would not have guessed that the location for Power Settings was under Maintenance > Timer Settings > Power Settings and this search saved me a lot of clicking around.
After chaning some options that sounded like they’d work, the printer now does got to sleep after 20 minutes and wakes up when something’s actually happening.
I started going through the many other options of the printer, and started to realise this printer had not been reset from it’s previous life. It contained email addresses, the name of the medical practise it had lived at, and a bunch of other information that I’m sure the company would not have wanted left on their printer – so I deleted everything I could find that referenced it. This included saved FTP details to a certain health insurance’s server which I dare not test. This would be one of the chapters in the book of ‘Why IT People Hate Printers’ on the absolute lack of security applied to the device itself and all practises around it – the entire industry. Even the drivers of printers have been such a security hole, Microsoft is trying to finally end printer drivers with a plan that will take many years to come to fruition.
Anyway, one of the things I wanted to do was scan to email. This was going to be a tricky one because ‘security’. Microsoft do have quite a nice writeup of somewhat acceptable options to try and accomodate a printer: How to set up a multifunction device or application to send emails using Microsoft 365 or Office 365 | Microsoft Learn – but for home use where I don’t have a static IP ($5AU a month I could get one for but can’t bring myself to pay!), no relay mail server – so the business type options that may work for this can’t really help. What I did find though, was my ISP lets me create up to 5 email addresses, without MFA.
It worked, but it’s still a terrible idea. I might use this if I have something I completely don’t care about, but also just knowing I ‘control’ an email account that uses pure username/password auth is unsettling. The service at least doesn’t save emails sent to the sent items, but it’s just a disaster waiting to happen. I turned it off again, deleted the email account and instead tested scanning to a USB. When plugging a USB in it nicely prompts you if you want to print something off the USB, or scan something to it – so although a bit painful, at least I can control where my documents sit.
Coming back to the network discovery aspect, X user @judgementus_vw kindly offered me some support via DM. That was fixed by going into Network > DPWS Setting > Printer Settings and enabling an option called ‘Print Function’. As to why it’s called ‘Print Function’ and how I was supposed to connect that to discovery when searching for a printer who knows… but it worked!
With print, scan, and
These occurred while the printer was sitting in an idle and standby state. Now, I’d love to update the firmware on this device, but Konica Minolta don’t let regular people off the street download it – so I have no idea how outdated/buggy the current version might be, or a way to get new firmware.
I’m hoping the errors are minimal – I haven’t had any when actually using the device, no paper jams or other wackiness.
Also, the black/colour levels with the printer I received are between 25% and 50% – which is fine when a black toner for this printer does 13,000 pages and 9000 for colour.
Would I recommend getting a second hand enterprise level printer?
No. Unless you work with these devices frequently enough, know all the tips and tricks on how to wrangle them, and have access to firmware + troubleshooting resources, this is definitely not what you should have at home. If anything goes wrong you’re screwed. Because I got it so cheap, and it’s so fast to use for printing and copying, it’s going to be useful to me for as long as it stands up. I’ve managed different model printers in the past and it wasn’t overly fun to get paid to manage them, let alone try to do it for free at home!
Also if you are someone who really wants to tinker and spend the time learning about the crazy amount of options these devices have, it’d help you get a helpdesk job anywhere that has a printer management requirement! But it’ll still be difficult to find others online to help you through this.
There’s also OH&S considerations about sitting anywhere near a printer that’s designed for a more open space office environment, as well as the warm air it blasts out when it’s working hard.
For reference, here’s all the default passwords for a Konica Minolta bizhub C3350i:
Admin password: 1234567812345678
Service password: 9272927292729272
HDD encryption password: 12345678901234567890
To get to service mode screen:
Go to home ( copy, scan, user box). Press counter (top left) Press keypad, the press STOP 0 0 STOP 0 1 (stop is the red button on the screen)
To run a full diagnostics:
Turn off the printer by the switch on the bottom right, and while holding the reset button on the left of the screen, turn the power switch on.