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Designjet 5000 General Information

Posted by Bob Wert on

I found your website by doing a search for a problem an out of state acquaintance is experiencing with his printer.  It got me to thinking about a printer for myself and after reading what he posted about the HP Designjet 5500PS 42” printer.

Please correct me if I’m wrong but this printer seems like a workhorse that has minimal problems if properly maintained.  It also seems like it will print on a wide variety of medias. 

In fact they are said to be so good that HP is giving a $1500 credit towards a new printer if you send in the motherboard from the 5500PS.  This tells me that it is a good printer and HP just wants to get them out of the field.

I’m a small time sign maker and armature photographer.  My wife is a talented artist who works with colored pencils.  We recently had some of her artwork photographed and printed out.  the cost of having 3 pieces done was $290.00 for that price I could find a good used 5500ps and even if I had to put a few dollars into it. I’d be ahead of the game.

My reason for contacting you is to get your opinion on the HP designjet 5000 5500 5000ps and 5500ps and to ask if parts are readily available for them?  I understand that the PS versions have a built in heater to aid in drying the ink.  How available is the HP inks, are print heads still available?

One of my concerns is that if the printer isn’t used for a period of time the ink dries in the heads and creates problems.  Does the Designjet series have a maintenance program that flushes the heads every so often to keep this from happening?

I haven’t seen any prints made from these printers but have seen some from the Roland’s, Mimaki’s and Mutoh’s which are so crisp and sharp that they don’t look real.  Those printers are way out of my price range but I’m wondering how they compare to the HP?  

I have watched your videos on replacement of the belts and ink supply tubes.  They are very informative and easy to follow.  You sell a quality product that’s made here in the USA.  You also seem to be very knowledgeable about these printers and I value your opinion.

Thank you for your time.

Doug Pulver  

Hi Doug,

The Designjet 5000 series is one of the best ever built by HP, in my opinion.  They are a well thought out machine and have a lot of built-in self repair abilities. 

HP still makes ink for the plotters and a company named LexJet also makes very good quality ink for them.  All the 5500 series have an output heater.  I don’t see any advantage to that unless you are a high production shop, so you could probably save some money by buying a 5000.

HP has stopped making parts for the plotters but LPS makes or refurbishes the parts that wear out most frequently and we stock virtually all the other parts.  It’s our niche.

The die ink version output will fade rather quickly in direct sunlight.  The UV is more durable, but has a flat finish – not suitable for high gloss media.  The newer plotters use ink with a different chemistry and will not fade no matter what (HP says). 

All inkjet printers have the problem of print heads drying out.  The 5000 series does have a print head recovery procedure in the Utilities menu and usually brings them back to life.  I recommend running a print head calibration twice a week if you are not printing to keep the heads healthy.

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