What does the cleaning cycle do on an inkjet printer

31. January 2012 11:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Nearly every inkjet printer has a cleaning cycle, but most printer owners don't know how the cleaning cycle works to keep a printer working properly. Some people find cleaning cycles to be loud and annoying, but regular cleanings serve an important purpose in keeping a printer working properly.  However, if you have used a refill kit (learn about why you should not use a inkjet refill kit) instead of a new or compatible cartridge, cleaning may not fix your issue.

The main function of the cleaning cycle is simply to keep the printer heads from clogging or drying out. Ink must pass through incredibly small passageways to make its way to the printing heads, and in order to keep a printer in good operating condition, these passageways need to be free of obstructions. Small clogs occur fairly often on most printers as the printing heads are exposed to air and left to dry and severe clogs can occur due to mechanical issues or when a printer isn't used for an extended period of time.

Clogged printing heads can have a serious effect on the quality of printed pages. A printer with a severe clog might stop printing entirely, but in most cases clogs will simply cause certain colors to print incorrectly. Pages might have visible lines or colors might look excessively bright or dark. A clogged printing head might make lead some printer owners to believe that their cartridges are out of ink, and while replacing the ink cartridge might solve the problem on some printers, it's far less expensive to regularly maintain the printing heads via the printer's built-in cleaning cycle.

The cleaning cycle varies from printer to printer, but most devices use the same basic technology to prevent and remove clogs. During the cleaning cycle, printers shoot a small amount of ink through the tiny passageways that lead to the printing heads, breaking up dried ink along the way.

Ink is also applied to the heads themselves with a wiper blade. Modern printer inks have a solvent quality, so by keeping the printing heads coated with ink, the printer can avoid clogs and loosen any dried ink clumps that might be preventing standard operation.

Some printers have also have suction pumps that play an important role in the cleaning cycle. The pumps sucks air through the printer's ink passageways after the printing heads have been moistened. However, suction pumps are usually only used when a severe ink clog has been detected.

Printers often perform their cleaning cycles automatically once or twice per day. It's important to check whether a printer needs to be cleaned manually, however, and to configure automatic cleaning cycles to keep it running smoothly. Printer owners can also prevent ink clogs by regularly using their printers, as the most severe clogs occur when a printer is ignored for a week or longer. By regularly cleaning and using a printer, it's easy to avoid most printing head clogs and to get the most out of every ink cartridge.  This article applies to cleaning your inkjet printer, for laser printers read How to clean your laser printer.

How To Choose Between A Two-, Four-, Six- And Eight-Cartridge Ink Printer

26. January 2012 09:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

For household use, an inkjet printer is the most popular choice, but consumers must make a decision regarding the number of cartridges within the device. Inexperienced users often choose the least expensive model without considering their needs. With cartridge ink printers, there are variable costs in regards to replacing the ink. When choosing the right printer, it is important to consider how the device will be used on a regular basis. Some ink cartridge printers are great for printing text documents while others perform better when printing photographs and other graphics.

Many computer users choose the two-cartridge systems because they only have to worry about replacing two components; however, this is not always the cheapest option. Two-cartridge printers contain one cartridge for black ink and another that is tricolor. The latter cartridge holds three separate reservoirs for magenta, cyan and yellow ink. While it may seem economical to purchase a three-in-one cartridge, these multi-color systems often waste more ink than single cartridges. Two-cartridge printers work best for printing text documents. These devices have the ability to print color images and photographs, but they do not produce the highest quality results. The color cartridge is designed to make the black ink last longer. When the black cartridge becomes low, the colors combine to produce that same dark shade. Casual users who do not need to print graphics will do fine with two-cartridge printers. One disadvantage of the multi-color cartridge is the amount of wasted ink. Typically, when one color runs out, the printer will not function properly until the entire cartridge is replaced. This is not a significant issue when only printing in black and white.

Canon i9900 ink cartridgesCurrently, four-cartridge printers are the most common type for households. These printers have separate cartridges for black, magenta, cyan and yellow inks. The separate cartridges increase the efficiency of the printer while reducing the amount of ink wasted. Four-cartridge printers are better at printing graphics and photographs than those that use tricolor systems. When one color runs out, only that cartridge needs replacing without affecting the other colors. Printers with a four-cartridge system are ideal for everyday use and standard quality graphics.

Six-cartridge printers contain the same colors as the four-ink systems but add light magenta and light cyan. Users will receive higher quality graphics with these printers. This type of printer also offers greater accuracy and precision. Consumers who wish to print photographs and graphic illustrations on a regular basis will benefit most from a six-cartridge system.

Generally, only professionals will require eight-cartridge printers, like the Canon i9900 ink printer, that offer additional colors like red, green or light gray depending on the model. These printers produce the highest quality graphics that are life-like. Many professional photographers and illustrators use these eight-ink systems. Printers with more cartridges are typically more expensive, but businesses will benefit from the high quality results.

Serial vs. Parallel vs. USB vs. Ethernet vs. Wireless Printer Connections

22. January 2012 09:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Early computers connected with most peripheral devices, including printers, through the use of a serial port. This limited the speed of the connection because the data could only be sent one bit at a time. Finding a new printer that allows an old style serial connection is very unlikely. Although there are old printers still in use that connect through the RS-232 standard, the connector is no longer a feature on new devices. To hook up this type of printer to a modern computer requires a special adapter. There may still be times when a standard serial connection is preferred because it is possible for the printer to be up to 1000 feet from the computer and still function reliably at a speed of 115 kilobits per second.

Canon PIXMA MP560 ink printerIn 1970, Centronics introduced the parallel printer interface. It replaced the single wire of the serial port with eight wires which allowed it to operate at a much higher speed because it could send eight bits of data at one time. While serial interfaces were used for connecting many kinds of devices, the parallel port soon became known as “the printer port.” It was for decades the standard of the computer industry because the multi-wire configuration allowed it to transfer eight times the 115 kilobits per second at once. While most printers today have moved on to other methods of connection, there are new printers available with parallel connector capability.

Since the introduction of the much faster Universal Serial Bus (USB) in 2000, both the standard RS-232 serial connector and the parallel “printer” port have become almost extinct. Although standard USB cables are only 15 feet long, it is possible to connect several together with hubs for a total distance of up to about 80 feet. USB also has the advantage of being much simpler to install. However, USB printers are not always easy to share with other computers across a network. For networking purposes a better solution is an Ethernet or Wireless interface.

An Ethernet cable with an RJ45 connector will allow a printer to connect directly to a Local Area Network (LAN). While there are many types of USB to Ethernet adapters available, most of the better printers come with both USB and Ethernet ports. At 54 Mbps, Ethernet is about four times as fast as USB and an Ethernet cable can be as much as 300 feet long without the use of hubs.

The latest printer connection option is wireless which is available on many models like the Canon MP560 ink printer . This can be accomplished with either a Wi-Fi Router or through a Bluetooth adapter. While wireless printers are fairly new and the less expensive models will not offer built-in Wi-Fi, a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the printer’s USB port can present a viable alternative in many cases. With the growing trend toward the use of portable devices instead of desktop computers, a wireless printer setup will become more common.

Explanation of Inkjet Printer Modes

17. January 2012 09:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Epson Artisan 700 print quality modesPrinter users can save money while getting printing results appropriate for the occasion when they fully understand inkjet printer modes and how they are designed to increase the versatility and usefulness of a printer.

While the mode names vary (Epson ink printer modes shown in the image to right) somewhat by printer and operating system, inkjet printers generally print in at least two or three different print qualities. Here is some information about deciding when and how to use each print quality mode.

By default, printers often print in standard or normal mode. In many cases, this could be the only print mode users ever need. Normal mode uses ink as sparingly as possible while still creating documents that rival laser-printer quality. For most printing situations, this mode is the perfect choice.

Users who create several printed drafts of documents so they can review and edit them by hand can save a substantial amount of ink by changing the print mode to draft quality for their early printouts that no one will ever see.

With most operating systems and printer, changing the mode is as simple as opening the print dialogue box, looking for a quality tab or button and choosing the desired mode, then clicking “apply” or a similar confirmation box. The selected print quality can also be made the default mode by making a similar change in the printers section of the control panel, in many cases. For some older printers, it is even possible to select the print quality using buttons on the printer itself.

Draft quality is perfect for printing documents that do not have a great deal of detail and are for personal use only. When users share documents with others, choosing normal mode assures maximum readability, but draft mode uses so much less ink that it is a better choice for almost any document that will not be seen by others.

Some printers also offer a “best quality” option. Because this option is much slower and places much more ink on the page than normal-mode printing, it is best used for only the most important documents like certificates and name badges, for example. It is important to test this mode before using it extensively because it may place so much ink on the page that it can take a long time to dry, making it susceptible to smearing before it is fully dry. Best-quality printing also uses a lot of ink, so it is far from an economical choice.

Choosing the right print quality mode for the project is an important part of smart inkjet printer ownership that can dramatically reduce ink costs over time. While draft mode is great for personal use and normal mode is good for sharing, best-quality printing is best reserved only for special print jobs where perfect print quality is required.

How to Choose a Fax Machine

14. January 2012 09:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Fax MachineFax machines are still a staple of the traditional office setting, filling a role not yet replaced entirely by advances in telecommunications technology. Fax machines should be chosen in line with the machine's predicted volume and necessary quality requirements. The wide range of models and capabilities means fax machines can be found to cater to nearly any atmosphere. Many machines on the market today perform several key functions to complement their fax capabilities, further enhancing the buying experience for shoppers who could use new printing or copying tools. Ultimately, there are some key questions and considerations that will benefit anyone in the market for a new fax machine.

Fax machines are the fastest way to handle and share documents when the written form or a signature is preferred. Passing these back and forth electronically saves time and money, eliminating the need for overnight shipping. When shopping for fax machines, one way to eliminate some of the field is to determine exactly what role the machine will play in an office environment. For those looking to spend less upfront and who are in need of nothing more than a basic fax set-up lacking the bells and whistles of an all-in-one or 3-in-1 system, like the Brother MFC-490CW ink printer. In addition to the lower cost of a fax machine that does nothing more than fax, training employees on such a machine will also be simpler than the extensive walkthroughs and tutorials an office manager may need to complete on a more sophisticated piece of technology.

Breaking down the necessary technologies, one must then consider whether ink or laser would be beneficial for their operation. Between the two, inkjet fax machines offer good quality at a lower cost. Inkjet fax machines are typically targeted when the expected volume of faxes is going to be less than 40 in a business day. Laser fax machines use toner to create higher quality images than an inkjet fax. Additionally, laser fax machines can handle a higher volume at faster speeds. Although laser fax machine cartridges cost more up front, the number of copies they produce is far greater than a replacement inkjet cartridge.

The majority of the printed documents handled in an office setting will be 8.5" x 11". As the most common size required for faxing and printing, most fax machines on the market with one tray will boast a tray to support 8.5" x 11". Law firms commonly use fax machines to get signatures on legal documents and present information to necessary personnel. It is possible that a legal team will want a fax machine that offers capability to handle 11" x 17" documents. Fax machines equipped to handle legal documents will sport two paper drawers: one for standard sheets and one for legal-sized documents.

When choosing a fax machine, budget will almost always be a concern. Buyers who hope to incorporate printing and copying functions into their fax machine are going to be faced with a higher price tag than those purchasing a fax machine to do nothing but fax.

Indicator Lights on a Xerox Phaser 700 series printer

8. January 2012 20:09 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Xerox Phaser 750nFinding reputable information about Xerox Phaser 700 series printers can be a challenge, and dealing with all those indicator lights can be difficult without appropriate information on what they mean. In some cases, however, it isn’t necessary to understand the lights at all to fix a printing problem.

Before trying to deal with the indicator lights on a printer that has been functioning well until recently, check to make sure the printer has a properly installed cartridge and paper. Adding paper or replacing the cartridge may be all that is needed to solve the problem. Turning the printer off and back on after doing one of these things is necessary in some cases.

Obviously, if the power indicator light is off, the first step is to try to turn the printer on. The light may go off and stay off, however, if the machine has been damaged or has detected some kind of error that cannot be fixed by the user. If the light is off and the printer does not seem to turn on, there is no choice but to seek service from a technician.

If the power indicator light is blinking, this means that the printer is processing a job, actually printing something or that someone has pressed the front panel’s menu option. This does not usually indicate a problem, and the light will stop blinking when all jobs in progress finish or the user exits menu operation.

If the error light is on, closer examination is required to see exactly what kind of error exists. The most common problem is that the printer is low on Xerox toner. Once the cartridge is replaced, the light should clear.

When the error light is blinking, the printer has ceased because of a correctable problem of some kind. This condition is often as simple as an open door or a paper jam. The front panel usually indicates the exact error in detail, but if it does not, pressing the “Info/More” choice will usually provide all the necessary information.

An error code may also be displayed, and the printer owner’s manual explains the meaning of error numbers in detail.
While indicators lights and the front panel do not always fully explain what kind of malfunction is stopping the printer from completing its jobs, making sure the printer is stocked with paper and toner and free of jams is the first step toward getting a Xerox Phaser 700 series printer back in service, no matter what the lights say.

Remanufactured toner explained

2. January 2012 11:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Remanufactured toner cartridges are a viable and cost-saving alternative to new toner cartridges from the original manufacturer because they are thoroughly tested and contain new, high-quality printer toner. Even better, remanufactured toner cartridges are an ecologically responsible way to reduce the impact a company or individual has on the environment.  The truth about remanufactured toner is that print quality and page yields are equivalent to genuine name brand cartridges, however the defect rate out of the box is slightly higher than the genuine cartridges. 

The most important thing to remember about remanufactured cartridges is that the toner itself is brand new, and it is made to standards that often exceed the manufacturer’s requirements. New toner cartridges are made of sturdy plastics and other materials that have lots of life left in them once the toner supply is exhausted. These well-made and hard-wearing materials can easily be used again, so smart and innovative companies have learned how to refurbish these shells and fill them with new toner.  Highly trained technicians carefully open empty cartridges, clean them thoroughly and if necessary, replace parts that are too worn to reuse. Then, the cartridges are filled with new toner, placed in packages that helps prevent drying and decaying of the toner and offered for sale to consumers who like to save money and who find value in reusing things that are still in good condition.

Cartridges that have been remanufactured in this way, like our HP toner products, meet or exceed the original manufacturer’s specifications, and because they have been professionally examined and tested for quality both in the original manufacturing process and again by the remanufacturing company, they have been through more testing and quality assurance processes than an original-equipment cartridge.

Customers can be sure that the new toner placed inside remanufactured cartridges is of the highest quality because the company that rebuilds the cartridges stakes its reputation on each one. Its leaders know that skeptical consumers are ready to judge the company’s products harshly if they don’t perform as well original replacement parts, so these respected companies take extra care to make sure their toner is of the highest possible quality.

Remanufactured toner cartridges often cost much less than new cartridges, but because they perform the same as new cartridges, there is no negative impact to the daily operations of the company or individual that buys them. With remanufactured cartridges, it is possible to shave a bit off the bottom line with no reduction in service.

Add in the positive environmental impact from reusing good parts rather than sending them to a landfill, and switching to remanufactured toner cartridges from 247inktoner.com is an easy, intelligent and obvious decision.

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