Monday, November 17, 2008

New Printer

I tried so hard to keep the old printer alive. It conked out about a month ago - started making a really funny tick-tick-tick-tick-tick - it was constant - and nothing would print. Couldn't copy, couldn't scan, and couldn't download pictures. NO! The printer can't die. We have twelve printer cartridges for it that I brought back from the States [they are a lot less expensive in the States than they are here]. Somehow I got it up and running again after "fiddling" with it for a couple hours. I unplugged and replugged cords. I took the back off and stuck my hand in it to see if something was loose [probably not my brightest idea - I should have at least unplugged it first]. I took the cartridges out and reloaded them. I pulled at some flat white cable inside it. To be quite honest I am not really sure what it was that I did that got it back up and running again. Thought for sure we were all set. That it would live at least long enough to use the ink cartridges we have. Nope. It was not to be. The printer died again and nothing I did could get it to work again. DH couldn't fix it. Nothing we did was going to make it work. Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick.

This morning DH and I went downtown to our "electronics superstore." Both of us were skeptical that we'd be able to find a 110 volt printer in a country that is wired for 220 volt. Our compound was built by Westerners and thus we are probably the ONLY place over here in the Sandbox that uses 110 volt electrical outlets. I think was a good idea in some ways, but not such a great idea in other ways. You cannot find appliances - like vacuums or food processors with 110 volt cords, here, they all come with 220 volt cords. However, all of the appliances we had in the States, are usable, here, since it is wired for 110. So it is both a good and not so good thing.

We got to eXtra and the parking lot was packed. Good grief - what's going on here? A sale or something? I don't ever remember seeing the store so busy. We go in, go straight to the printers and took a quick look at our choices. I so wanted to find a printer that takes the ink cartridges that we already have! Nope. Not a single printer there took the same cartridges. But of course, right?!? We had to hunt for a salesman - there are plenty of them working there - but they are all busy. Finally find a guy to help us and ask him what the power cord is - and if it is like our TV, which we got there, and can use either the 110 volt cord or a 220 volt cord. Did the guy have a clue what we were talking about? Nope. His English was the most basic - we had a communication problem.
He had to go ask someone else. I am not faulting him for not being able to speak English. This is after all an Arabic-speaking country. I suspect that if so many people here did not speak English then we would be speaking fluent Arabic by now. When you are forced to communicate that way - by immersion - you have no choice but to learn the language. I've taken three Arabic classes and my Arabic is as basic as basic can get. The salesman says that the printers are all 220 volt cords. Great. A new printer waits until we go to the States and gets packed in a suitcase and brought back with us...

As we were about to leave, I looked at the side of a box. It says "This appliance is fitted with a 220V SASO Approved plug. The customer is entitled to a free SASO approved 127V plug from the local dealer." I ask DH what "127V" is. He tells me that there is no such thing as 127V. Oh, really? Then what does this mean, and I show him on the box where it says 127V. Hmm... So we find another salesman. And we got lucky. He knew how to speak English and he knew about the printers - almost ALL of them have interchangeable with 220 and 110 volt cords. Glad I didn't just leave after the first salesman said that they were all 220 volts...

So we finally have a new printer and I can print, copy, scan and most importantly, download pictures again!


  1. I'm moving to Khobar soon and enjoy reading your blog. I know where I will be living has 110v too, so I think it's pretty common wherever expats live. It's too bad you couldn't get a printer with the same cartridges, but at least you don't have to wait until returning to the states to get one!

  2. Yay! It always pays to read the box. :>)

  3. You are in for a real thrill, Amanda! Let us know when you get here.

  4. As a "last resort," Dawn-Michelle - read the box! Kind of like written instructions for something - to be referred to only when all else fails...

  5. most of saudi is dual voltage. My inlaws have 110 and 220 lines in their house and their house is old. We had both 110 and 220 in every house we lived in here.

  6. Then why, NZ, is it so damn difficult to find 110 volt appliances? Do you remember five years ago there was a store behind the Oasis compound that had appliances? It was Home-something - not Home Center. It had a lot of 110 "stuff," and then without any warning or notice it just closed its doors. Finding 110 volt "stuff" is close to impossible.

  7. go to sacco they have loads of 110 volts. even extra has some 110 volts but their finding many of their customers are travelling from areas w/out 110 volts. So they are stocking more 220.

    I'm sure there are stores downtown that stock 110 as well. it is just a matter of getting out to the little guys which I don't find fun.


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