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HP ePrint down; Some Can't Enroll in Instant Ink

February 25, 2022. If you buy an HP printer to take advantage of ePrint and instant ink, you might be disappointed. Instant ink is the HP subscription service that monitors your ink and usage levels and sends new ink just in time. ePrint is the HP service that is supposed to let you Email photos (e.g. JPG) or documents (e.g. PDF) to the printer's address@hpeprint.com and have it print a few minutes later.

Alas, many people are finding that the printer won't spit out the Email address necessary to sign up for instant ink (; Jljslu88. 2022. HP OfficeJet Pro 6975 Email Address. HP Community, Feb. 10. (Hp OfficeJet ... Address at Archive.org.) Unable to sign up for instant ink because the printer 'acquiring Email address' never completes. Jmoquin. 2021. Stuck on acquiring Email address. HP Community, Oct. 13. (Stuck on acquiring email address at Archive.org.) Unable to sign up for instant ink for a HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 because the printer 'acquiring Email address' never completes. ). Many who have had service in the past haven't been able to ePrint since 2019 and the HP Community forum still only offers every support short of help (). Cgriff01. 2019. Is ePrint Service Down? ePrint not working at all. HP Community, Mar. 19. (Is ePrint Service Down at Archive.org.) This begins a thread where 66 others have the same question, 14 replied, and no solutions were ever provided.

In August 2021, I was able to sign up for instant ink for an HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 I bought from HP, but ePrint no longer works. Before you say that ePrint was retired, you should read the announcement, which declares that only the website was retired. The services were to remain available via the printer control panel -- expressly including ePrint (). HP. 2016. 'HP ePrintCenter is Retired', HP Customer Support (Australia), May 28. Date is the earliest found at Archive.org. (HP EprintCenter retired at Archive.org.)

The control panel access fails. Pull down on the top bar, press the gear, select web services setup. If you select 'Print Info Page', you're rewarded by 'Downloading from the Internet. Review the page for important information', but nothing happens. It times out after two minutes. If you select 'Display Email Address, you're rewarded by 'Acquiring Email address...' but it just hangs there indefinitely.

Is my instant ink still working? I don't need to worry yet. The current four cartridges are now 1/3 to 1/2 full. And though I already had a box on standby, HP recently sent me yet another which also contains four replacements. But one can't help but wonder if this invaluable service is going to fail when people buying new printers can't even sign up for it anymore.

I still have my account at hpsmart.com. It shows the printer's Email address and confirms that instant ink and ePrint are enabled. Indeed, when I Email an image (JPG/PNG) or document (PDF, word) to the printer's address@hpeprint.com, I even get a confirmation Email from hpeprint.com they received the job and it should print shortly. But it never does.

The local functionality is not impaired.

  1. From my browser, I can visit the embedded web server (hereinafter EWS) and get a scanned document right in the browser. No drivers are required.
  2. At the printer, I can scan documents directly to a USB memory stick. No drivers are required.
  3. At the printer, I can send a multipage fax over my VoIP phone line and it usually works. If you think fax is obsolete, you have never had to deal with a government agency or financial firm where Emails are secret or refused or junked but signed faxes get action. That the printer can usually fax successfully over VoIP (currently Google Voice via an OBi200) is truly impressive. I think setting slow speed (9600) and turning error protection off helped.
  4. At the printer, I can make black and white or color copies. (Dollar bills can't be copied thanks to the EURion constellation. Fiddle.)
  5. I can print from my Android SmartPhone using the Mopria print app. The phone doesn't even need to join the wifi network to print. It immediately finds my 'Wi-Fi Direct-8A-HP G620Jupiter' printer, tells me it's located in the library, and how much ink is in it, and when I ask for a printout, out it comes. The requires that the EWS wifi direct section be set to 'automatic' mode, which means the password is 12345678. That does mean that anybody within about a block can print to my printer. But choosing another password switches to manual mode in which printouts have to be accepted at the printer within about 60 seconds. That's way too inconvenient. I'd have to get out of bed.
  6. I can print from my Windows laptop over wifi using the driver OJ6970_Basic64_40.12.1161.exe, an unadorned crapware-free printer driver obtained from somewhere in the HP kingdom.

Security considerations

The printer is adequately secure for all practical purposes, provided that you set things up correctly. Most people don't, and in that case, there can be glaring issues.

HP's Puzzling Abandonment of Retail Users

There's a huge amount to like about this and similar HP printers. But as the notes above show, a great many retail users are not even able to sign up for Instant Ink. But HP practically gives the printers away. They make their money off of Instant Ink. Why isn't fixing the signup problem a number one priority?

What about ePrint? This is a major marketing advantage. How could you possibly irritate people more than to promise the ability to Email to print and then not deliver? One disappointed customer is sure to tell at least ten other people. It surely must be depressing sales. Why isn't fixing this -- or ceasing the marketing of it -- a top priority?

Is it a technical glitch? The router clearly shows that there is a persistent connection established between the printer (port 29314 currently) and xmpp004-ext-prod-az1.inc.hp.com:5222. That resolves to Ping shows that connectivity is fine (64 bytes from 120ms, 130ms, 110ms, 130ms). Still, it never prints.

Is it a firewall problem? If you look up HP and ePrint, you can't find any information about what origin ports, destination ports, or protocols (TCP/UDP) ePrint requires. Almost all home user WiFi routers use network address translation (NAT). A fair number of Internet providers do too. Could it be related to that?

What it is not are the sort of things that HP suggests trying. We know that there can be only one Email in the to line; that there can't be a cc line; that there must be a subject line; that there can't be a URL in the subject line; that images must exceed 100px in at least one direction, and so forth. But you can ensure that you comply with all the rules and still nothing happens.

Do not adjust your computers, routers, or firewalls. The problem seems to be on HP's end. If I'm wrong about that, I'd dearly love to know the fix.

cc: HP Inc.; 1501 Page Mill Road; Palo Alto CA 94304, via postal mail. It's unheard of to copy a web page to a company, but I think HP is entitled to a chance to set me straight.

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