I called around and found the cost of a professional belt replacement was going to cost more than $500. I found a new belt online...I assumed that the repair was something I could manage myself. Some internet research told me that the whole machine would need to be taken apart, screw by screw, piece by piece. Only three days later, I had a new belt on my HP Designjet 650C! I didn't fail...the machine didn't beat me. Hooray! Now I could continue with my wide format graphics project.
I was bragging about how clever I was when a friend offered to buy my newly repaired plotter. I sold it and bought another. The next machine had a persistent "Check Paper Path" error message. More research and I found five potential resolutions. In a week I'd figured out how to fix it, performed my newly learned tricks and had a lovely Designjet 450C ready to plot! I restarted my wide format graphics project and finished it. The husband wanted his home office floorspace back, so I listed it on Craigslist. After this plotter was sold I kept getting calls from others who wanted to find a low cost plotter.
I bought another. And so the story goes...I now have had the pleasure of refurbishing virtually all models of Designjets. I've been asked which one is my favorite. Easy answer: the one I'm working on at the time! These are like my children, there's not one I love more than the other, as each does the job and makes an amazingly clean and reliable print after I've worked my magic. Each gets a total strip down and rebuild with the belt replaced, rollers and wheels cleaned, gears greased, carriage removed and totally cleaned -- especially the media sensor, and finally the plotter is set-up with new cartridges and paper. This process ensures that any plotter being sold is ready to perform for the buyer as soon as they load the driver that I also provide for them.
The moral of the story is: Don't buy a HP Designjet plotter from someone who tells you that it worked fine, the last time they used it but it has now been idle for a couple of years. If you do, you are likely to waste your hard earned dollars and have the belt break in the first few days of use. These wide format printers are about 12-15 years old and just like a car that old, the rubber is starting to crumble and needs to be replaced. Buy from someone who can assure you that the belt is good and don't hand over money until the seller can prove that it prints (plots).