First, I will examine how to get free copies, and afterwards I will demonstrate how to completely destroy a copier or reduce its effectiveness.
Everything in this article will require getting into the "control panel." The control panel is where service men and installation men go to configure a copier, fix its problems, examine firmware, and look through error and jam logs. It offers complete control over the copier and its attachments.
You may think that it would be difficult to get into the control panel, or that it is password protected, but curiously this is not the case. Every Canon copier has an Additional Features or a "Guide" button - it has a asterisk on it, similar to that on the phone. To get into the control panel, in rapid succession, push the asterisk key, the 2 and 8 keys simultaneously, and the asterisk key again. If you did this correctly, you will see something like:
Sorter (if its attached)
(other attachments, like edit pads)
There are lots of fun things you can do in the Feeder Service Mode, such as configure it to jam every time a customer or employee puts a piece of paper in. This is for another time, and another place. Hit the "Copier" button on the touchscreen. On the top of the screen, you see:
Display I/O Adjust Function Option Test Counter
These are similar to "tabs" in a modern OS GUI; pushing one of them will bring up a series of push buttons below it, a menu from which you can access various parts of the copier.
You are, by default, in the "Display" menu. You will likely see a variety of nonsensical abbreviations and other meaningless garbage; since buttons have a 6 character limit, abbreviations have to be taken. Any copier serviceman who is worth his weight will be know nearly instinctively what each of these buttons mean; to us, it is just nonsense.
Getting Free Copies
The copy machines you are using are configured in a certain way to use a coin operated slot, key card, or service key (such as those that Kinkos has). Through an interesting "feature" in the firmware, if the copy machine is configured to accept coins or keys, and no machine is hooked up for this, it will give copies for free. Unfortunately, this isn't as helpful as it sounds; anyone with a remedial amount of intelligence who wants to get free copies will try unplugging the instrument first and foremost. As such, it is often impossible without a service key to unplug the apparatus.
Fortunately, there is a work-around. Go into "Service Mode" (using star-2 and 8-star), and push the "Option" tab. Underneath it, push "Acc". A new menu will pop up. Hit the "Coin" button, and enter "0" on the keypad. Once you are done, hit "Enter" or "Apply" (you MUST do this after you change any field; otherwise it will reset the next button you push). Once you are done, hit reset until you are on the main screen. Voila - free copies!
How to Absolutely Destroy Any Canon Copier
Get into Service Mode (star-2 and 8-star), click on Function, and click on Clear. You will see a list of various things you can clear:
Err - Sometimes, when you turn on a copier, it gives you a wrench, a cryptic error code, and information to turn off the machine and contact support. If you star-2 and 8-star, go to this menu, and clear the Error, it "solves" the problem.
Service - Removes the "Call For Maintenance" or "Call For Service" message that happens every 3,000 copies (or 3 months) (oil change joke, it is usually a large number of copies before it requests service).
Jam History - Every copier records the time and jam location for the last 255 jams.
Err-History - Same as Jam History, except for error messages.
E354-Clr and E355-Clr - I'm not sure what these do.
So far, its pretty boring. Now the fun stuff:
DC Con and R-Con - I'm not sure what DC and R actually stand for (they make an appearance in the Display and I/O menus as well), but pushing on these, hitting clear, and confirms it badly messes up the copier. How bad? It requires a serviceman to come out on-site and reload internal software/firmware. This is analogous to doing something to a computer that requires a factory restore (format c: for example). It also resets the hardware settings.
If you really hate a copy center, but want to do something a little drastic, try these:
The laser is the thing that scans each document. Like everything else in the copier, it is adjustable. In the service menu (star-2 and 8-star), go into the "Adjust" tab. Once there, hit the button on the screenpad that says "Laser." The first three entries are Delay, Pwr-A and Pwr-B.
Pwr-A and Pwr-B: This simply indicates how much energy from the capacitor to dump into the laser. It requires a number from 0 to 255. Putting both settings to 0 will give you a white copy (that is, blank sheet), no matter what. A setting of 255 will give you a (nearly) black copy. Note that this is completely independent of the lightening/darkening and print density settings that customers mess around with in the main (non-service) menu.
The best thing about this is that most customer's and employees will assume that they are doing something wrong, and spend a lot of time trying to troubleshoot it first.
Delay - This tells the laser when to "fire" when using a feeder. Setting it to 0 will scan even before the document feeder takes the page into the glass.
Other Laser Adjustments
The X and Y direction offset can be modified too. The offset just tells the laser where to "start" and "stop" scanning. Go into the Service Menu -> Copier -> Adjust -> AdjXY menu. It requires a number from 0-2970 for each X and Y direction (in some, there are an YS and S direction - I'm not sure what these do, and it wasn't readily apparent from experimentation). Setting both of these to 2970 makes the copier virtually unusable.
User Account Fun
The Canon's have an odd feature that most people don't use related to User Management (its part of their "Mailbox" system, which is hardly ever used). If there is only one user (that is, it doesn't ask for a username or password before copying), you can have fun with everyone that uses the copier.
Go to the Service Menu -> Copier -> Option -> User. You will see a 5-screen long list of things you can change. There are two worth mentioning:
Copy-Lim - This limits the number of copy sets the user can do. It typically takes a value of 1-999 or 1-9999. Setting it to 1 will prevent anyone doing multiple copies of an original - this is very annoying.
Copy-Tot - This limits the toal number of copies a user can do. Usually, this is turned off by default. Setting this to an arbitrary number, say, 500, will have the copy suddenly freeze, stop copying, and informing the customer or employee that s/he can no longer do any copies. Again, this is very annoying.
Once you are done with the copy machine, simply hit the "Reset" or "Clear" button until you are at the main menu again. As long as you hit "Apply" or "Enter" and confirmed for all fields in the control panel, your settings will be saved. If you got free copies, don't forget to change the settings back once you are done!
The Service Menu contains many legitimate and user tools that allow servicemen and knowledgeable employees to troubleshoot and fix problems with a copy machine. I didn't discuss any of them. It also contains a portal to laughter, and millions of dollars of lost profits. And free copies! I encourage you to use the techniques outlined in this article wisely and sparingly.