How long can you store toner cartridges?

31. March 2012 04:59 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Say you've bought several toner cartridges in bulk for your business or home office because of an offer you just had to take advantage of. Or you happen to be in possession of a stash of printer cartridges that have been sitting around for a while. You don't know how long you'll need to store them before you'll be able to use them. "How long can I store these toner cartridges?" is naturally a question that you would ask yourself.

The good news is that toner cartridges can be stored for long periods of time without going bad. They can last for several months and still work just as well as if you had just purchased them yesterday. The bad news is that these toner cartridges do indeed have a shelf life. In fact, most manufacturers recommend these cartridges to be used within one year of purchase or else the quality of printing using the toner will suffer. The performance of the toner will severely worsen if it sits around for too long.

Toner cartridges do not last forever, and neither do they store well after one year. The cheap toner in the cartridge is a fine powder that the printer binds to paper using heat. The toner will not work well if it is heavily subjected to long exposures of unfavorable temperature, humidity, or light.

There are some ways you can put off the deterioration of your toner cartridges. To guarantee the best results from the cartridges, make sure to keep them sealed in a bag until they are to be installed into a printer. Do not keep them lying around without being covered or surrounded by a bag. Keep the cartridges at room temperature in a dry location and avoid exposing them to extreme humidity, cold, or heat. Various weather conditions could make the toner, a fine powder, clump together or otherwise fail.

Some specific conditions to consider when storing your toner cartridges are:

  • Do not store your discount toner in temperatures in excess of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) or lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). These are numbers that generally apply to most cartridges.
  • Keep your toner cartridges horizontal. Do not store your cartridges vertically.
  • For long-term storage, keep the toner cartridges in their original packaging (cardboard box and sealed bag).
  • Try to keep the relative humidity where your cartridges are being stored between 45 percent and 80 percent.
  • Do not store your toner cartridges in any place that experiences rapid and extreme fluctuations in temperature or humidity.
  • Avoid subjecting your toner cartridges to direct sunlight, even for short periods of time.
  • Avoid storing or keeping your toner cartridges in places that are dusty or where dust may gather.
  • Do not store your toner cartridges in your car or vehicle – not even the trunk – for long periods of time.
  • Do not store your toner cartridges anywhere corrosive gases may be present.
  • Toner cartridges can be affected by salty air. Try to keep your toner cartridges out of air that may have high saline concentrations.

If you follow these guidelines, you will likely keep your toner cartridges in working condition whenever you choose to use them, maximizing their life spans. Buying in bulk can be a great way to cut down on shipping costs as you stock up on necessary supplies. If you don't store your cartridges correctly, you risk sacrificing your savings and wasting lots of money on your stockpile of cartridges that have become ineffective or can only work for a shortened period of time.

What is Piezo printing technology?

25. March 2012 06:57 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Epson Micro Piezo TFT HeaderPiezo printing technology is one of the two technologies that drive modern inkjet printers. Rather than using heat to vaporize ink into the paper , like the Canon MP620 ink printer, a piezo printer uses pressure to force ink onto the paper. While piezo inkjet printers are more expensive to manufacture than thermal inkjets, they have a number of benefits.

Piezoelectricity is an electric force created by placing mechanical stress on certain components. Conversely, piezoelectrically sensitive components can also be made to change shape by being placed under an electrical charge. In a piezo inkjet printer, a small bit of ink is put into a chamber that, when charged, changes shape, generating pressure and forcing the ink out through the nozzle. The other popular inkjet printing technology, thermal printing, heats the ink to expand it so that it forms a bubble that pops onto the paper. Since thermal inkjets do not require the use of special piezoelectric components in their print heads, they are cheaper to manufacture. This is why most consumer inkjets use thermal technology.

The piezo printing technology is especially popular in commercial printers, such as those used to print the "drink-by" dates on cartons or bottles of milk. The technology's extreme durability and low cost of operation make it very suitable for commercial print applications. In addition, the fact that it does not need to use a volatile ink that reacts to heat makes it usable with a much wider range of ink formulations than thermal inkjet printing. Piezo printers tend to also be much less susceptible to clogging due to ink residue build up. In addition to commercial printers, both Brother and Epson, who makes both consumer and fine art printers, use the technology.

For most end users, there is only one discernible difference between piezo and thermal inkjet printers that can be linked to the technology. Piezo printers typically have permanent print heads while most thermal inkjet printers either have replaceable print heads built into the ink cartridge or periodically require separate print head replacements. As such, ink cartridges for piezo printers can be a little bit less expensive than cartridges that also include the print head.

Piezo printers have every benefit that any other modern thermal inkjet printer offers. They are quiet and fast with excellent print quality and the potential for stunning photographic printing. Where they differ from other consumer printers is in their potential to last slightly longer with less need for print head maintenance.

Why are name brand/genuine toner cartridges more expensive than compatibles?

22. March 2012 04:45 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

One of the most expensive costs of owning a printer is the ink toner. If you print many pages per month and are constantly buying new Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges, you feel the pain. When the opportunity to save some money on ink or toner comes along, it’s only smart to take advantage of the savings.

OEM cartridges for laser or inkjet printers are very costly. There are several reasons for the high price. The brands made a considerable investment in research and development to design a cartridge that fits well, doesn’t leak and will not smudge your prints. These companies also advertise heavily on television and on the Internet. Those costs have to be recouped somehow. That’s why their cartridges can cost you an arm and a leg.

There are two types of cartridges you can buy to defray the cost of ink toner for your laser or ink jet printer. The first type are compatible cartridges, and the second are remanufactured cartridges. Both will provide high-quality printing results for far less than the OEM cartridges.

Compatible cartridges are brand new replacements designed and built to work perfectly with your OEM equipment. Of course, these cartridges can’t violate any copyright or trademark laws, so they may be slightly different from the originals. They will still provide the same quality of printouts you’re used to getting from OEM printers. Compatible cartridges can save you up to 80 percent over the cost of OEM cartridges. When compared to remanufactured cartridges, they are not quite as environmentally friendly. Some people argue that compatible cartridges suffer a higher failure rate than OEM cartridges, but the rate of failure is actually not that much higher than the OEM versions.

Remanufactured toner cartridges are the second alternative to buying brand new OEM ink cartridges. Remanufactured cartridges are basically recycled from used cartridges. Some are made from OEM parts, and some are made from compatible parts. The reused cartridges are fully refurbished and worn parts are replaced. You’ll save a considerable amount of money by switching to remanufactured cartridges. You’ll also do your part to help the environment by recycling the original cartridges. The print quality is the same as OEM versions, and the failure rates are not that much higher. The main difference is the cost and the recycling effect on the planet.

It’s important to check the packaging when you buy either compatible or remanufactured cartridges to make sure they’re the correct parts for your printer. The packaging will not resemble the trade dress of the OEM cartridges, so you may need to look a little harder. The savings are well worth the time spent searching. The remanufactured or compatible cartridges aren’t packaged in fancy boxes. That’s another reason they cost less.

Before you spend any more hard-earned money on printer toner, try a remanufactured or compatible discount toner cartridge. You probably won’t notice any difference, and you’ll find more money in your pocket.

What is secure biometric printing

16. March 2012 06:40 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Biometric Finger ScannerSecure printing is usually a term reserved for such high-security jobs as printing banknotes, identification, passports, and financial certificates, but many businesses print documents that have just as much a need for security measures as any of these. Secure printing does not simply mean printing documents so they cannot be forged, it also means printing documents so that they do not fall into the wrong hands. Printing is one area where security is often lax. Firewalls and network security only protects data from unauthorized computer-to-computer transmission. It does not stop someone from simply printing documents and walking out the door with them.

Too many businesses in high-security industries such as finance, healthcare, government and education perform their printing on standard printers with no security measures in place. Most of these businesses should be doing just the opposite by rigidly controlling who can operate printers and what information can be sent to them. The best way to accomplish this feat is through secure biometric printing.

The Need for Secure Biometric Printing
Printers are often the largest security gap in companies that store sensitive data. Data security experts estimate that up to 30 percent of documents that are sent to the printer are left there and available for anyone to gather. In addition, most printers are left unprotected, so anyone inside the company can change their settings and reroute sensitive documents to accessible printers. Another way data is stolen from printers is from the printer memory. Oftentimes, recent print jobs are stored in printer hard drives and can be accessed by anyone.

Allowing secure documents to fall in the wrong hands has a number of consequences for a business. At the top of this list is legal liability. Lawsuits are won each year against companies who could have prevented data theft. In some industries, companies who let sensitive data slip out are subject to government fines for industry violations. Many businesses could also lose thousands or millions of dollars in profit if corporate secrets, customer databases or marketing strategies fall into the hands of the competition.

The need for secure biometric printing is real and can be monetized. Protection from losses caused by security breaches is available today at very reasonable prices.

How Secure Biometric Printing Works
Secure biometric printing is not a solution within itself, but it is part of a full secure printing system. Secure printing begins with standard security protocols. Restricting physical access to printers, securing local area networks, requiring passwords and encrypting sensitive data are all strategies that can help secure printing, but much more is still required.

Even if security protocols are observed, it is still necessary to secure printing hardware. Multifunction printers are notorious for their lack of security, but they can be buttoned down by making sure they are coupled with devices to control who can access and use them. Some companies use password access, while others use security cards. However, passwords can be broken, and security cards can be lost or stolen. The only fully secure method of controlling access to printers is through biometrics.

Biometric security is the use of unique physical traits to control access to devices. Biometrics can include DNA matching, face recognition, voice recognition and eye scans. However, the simplest form of biometric security is a standard fingerprint reader. Secure biometric printing using a password and fingerprint combination is seen as the most practical form of printer security currently available. Fingerprints cannot be forged, making them very secure, and fingerprint scanners are among the most affordable pieces of biometric equipment on the market.

Once the hardware is installed, all that is necessary for secure biometric printing to work is to scan the fingerprints of those who are cleared to use the printer and enter their passwords. After setup is complete, only the people whose fingerprints and passwords have been loaded will be able to use the printer for any purpose.

Why should I buy high capacity toner versus standard capacity

13. March 2012 06:37 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

When buying toner cartridges for your printer, you need to make several important decisions. Among other things, you must choose to purchase standard or high-capacity toner. There are only a couple of major differences between these two types of printer toner cartridges:

  1. Standard toner cartridges cost less than high-capacity units. For example, HP charges $79.99 for its standard Q2612A black toner. The high-capacity equivalent's model number is Q2612X. It costs nearly $105. Affordable generic versions of these cartridges are available.
  2. High-capacity toner cartridges enable the user to print more pages. The above-mentioned Q2612X cartridge yields about 3,000 pages. On the other hand, the Q2612A prints only 2,000. These are merely estimates. In general, high-capacity cartridges will print 30 percent more text and graphics.

There are a few reasons why you might choose a standard cartridge. If you're working on a tight budget, you may not be able to spend the extra money on high-capacity toner. Occasionally, a coupon or special offer will even make standard cartridges cost less per page. Standard toner is also preferable for people who don't use their printers very often. If you only print a page every day or two, a high-capacity cartridge may expire before you take advantage of its additional output. By the page, it might cost more to use. You may also want to avoid high-capacity cartridges if your printer is on its last legs. If the printer fails and cannot be repaired, you might not be able to use the remaining toner. With standard cartridges, you won't risk losing as much money.

However, high-capacity toner is the better option for most people. Although this type of toner requires a larger investment, it normally costs less per page. You won't have to order as many separate cartridges, so it also reduces shipping costs.  Another advantage of this toner is that it causes less harm to the environment. An office can print the same number of documents with 20 high-capacity cartridges as it prints with 30 standard units. This substantially decreases the amount of packaging material. A final benefit of using high-capacity toner is that it saves time. Printer users don't need to stop printing and change the cartridge as frequently. This reduces the chance of accidentally damaging the printer or a cartridge. You also won't have to buy toner as often.

Description of the different USB interfaces

7. March 2012 03:27 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Universal serial bus (USB) technologies allow the rapid transfer of data from one computing device to another. The USB standard was designed through a cooperative effort by seven of the largest companies in the computing and electronics industry to standardize data transfer formats and allow for more uniformity in the connections and interfaces used to link devices to computers and to each other. USB connections were designed to replace some of the serial and parallel connections previously used in computing hardware and continue to evolve to meet the needs of manufacturers and consumers in the expanding electronics marketplace. USB devices typically feature plug-and-play functionality; this means that they can be connected and disconnected from the computing device without requiring a shutdown of the system. In some cases, USB computer connections can also serve to charge devices using the on-board power source of the computer system.

USB version 1
The initial release of the USB standard in November of 1995 had significant flaws and was not immediately adopted by consumers and electronics manufacturers. It called for data rates of 1.5 megabits per second for low bandwidth applications and 12 megabits per second for full bandwidth usage. It was not until the release of USB version 1.1 almost three years later that USB technologies became widely accepted, available and popular in the U.S. The first USB devices were mostly limited to portable disk drives and user input devices like keyboards and joysticks, but as the USB format became more popular a wider range of devices began implementing this industry standard.

USB version 2
The second iteration of the USB standard was introduced in April 2000 and represented a major advance in speed and sophistication. A new, higher level of bandwidth was supported that was exponentially faster than before at 480 megabits per second. Referred to as hi-speed USB, this upgrade allowed data transfers of up to 60 megabytes per second and paved the way for higher speed file transfers; it also introduced a number of new connector formats including Mini-A, Mini-B and Micro-USB cables and connectors. Because USB 2.0 provided higher speed and increased bandwidth functionality, it became practical to use USB connections for printers, DVD burners and players, MP3 players and other digital storage devices, expanding the market for these versatile connections.

USB version 3
Released in November of 2008, USB 3.0 is the fastest and most advanced standard for data transfer and can manage speeds of up to 625 megabytes. The standard is designed to be both backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and to allow upgrades for newer advances in USB technology. Along with the increase in speed, USB 3.0 consumes less power than previous versions, making it a green-friendly computing solution. USB 3.0 devices include high-definition video systems including webcams, video recorders, cameras and Blu-Ray players and drives. These high-end electronic devices perform better with USB 3.0 than the previous version and take advantage of the higher bandwidth and lightning-fast speed of the USB 3.0 interface.

Interface types
USB Interfaces DiagramA variety of physical connectors are used in order to allow devices to interface using the USB protocols. These connections are defined as male or female; generally the male interfaces are used on the connecting wires while the female connectors are integrated into the electronic devices, but this is not always the case. Interface types include:

  • Standard-A – Along with the Standard-B connector, this connector type was introduced with the release of USB 1.1 and continues to be the most common type of USB plug on the market. It is designed to fit into a computer or hub port and to transfer data and electricity simultaneously, allowing devices to charge while in use.
  • Standard-B – Commonly used for printer or digital camera connections, this connecting plug also provides power and data transfer simultaneously, but usually fits into a device port rather than a computer port.
  • Mini-A and Mini-B – The advent of cellular phones and devices and their increasing popularity led to the introduction of the Mini-A and Mini-B USB connectors to fit these smaller devices.
  • Four-prong Mini – Designed specifically for mini-USB digital cameras and other devices, these specialized USB connectors have mostly been abandoned in favor of the newer Micro-USB interfaces.
  • Micro-USB – Available in A, B, and AB varieties, Micro-USB connections are fast becoming the industry standard and are compatible with a wide range of newer digital and personal computing and communications devices.

USB Interfaces PhotoThe future of USB
While USB 4.0 has yet to be announced, experts have speculated that the next generation of USB connections may use fiber-optic technologies to provide even more speed and greater transfer capabilities for business and personal use. Regardless, the USB standard has served the electronics industry well and is likely to remain in place for years to come.

What do the different lights on the HP LaserJet P2010 mean

1. March 2012 03:17 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

HP LaserJet P2010 PrinterThe control panel of the HP LaserJet P2010 features six lights from top to bottom with a button beneath them all. The six lights and the button, from top to bottom, are:

  • Light 1: The Jam light. Looks likes two circles with a Z.
  • Light 2: The toner light. Looks like six black balls inside a box.
  • Light 3: The Paper Out light. Looks like a page of paper.
  • Light 4: The Attention light. A triangle with an exclamation point inside it.
  • Light 5: The Ready light. Looks like a circle with a small gap in it.
  • Light 6: The Go button. A large circle with a diamond inside it.
  • Button: The Cancel button.

Here are the various light statuses that involve different combinations of lights illuminating or flashing:

Go, Ready, and Attention lights (lights 4-6) all flash one after another
Message and Solution: The printer is starting up and initializing. This sequence will also occur when the user requests a reconfiguration of the printer through one of its special initialization procedures. Additionally, these lights will cycle if the printer is processing a job cancel request. Upon job cancel, the printer lights will return to a Ready configuration.

Ready light (light 5) on
Message and Solution: Printer is ready for use with no job activity.

Ready light (light 5) flashing
Message and Solution: Printer is currently handling the receipt of data or a job request. While the Ready light is flashing, pressing the Cancel button will cancel the job request.

Go button (light 6) illuminated and Attention light (light 4) flashing
Message and Solution: The printer is experiencing a manual feed error. This type of error could have to do with a memory configuration problem.  To print anyway, press the Go button. The printer will either successfully print the job request or go back to the error state.

Attention light (light 4) flashing
Message and Solution: This means that the print-cartridge door is open. To stop the Attention light from flashing, close the door.

Attention, Ready, and Go lights (lights 4-6) illuminated
Message and Solution: Fatal error. Turn your printer off and on with a 10-second delay. If you cannot resolve this issue, contact HP support.

Attention, Ready, and Go lights (lights 4-6) flashing together
Message and Solution: Accessory error. Press the Go button to access additional information about the error.

Toner light (lights 2) illuminated
Message and Solution: Toner Low. It does not matter if the Go, Ready, or Attention lights are on or off. To resolve this error, order and install a new HP toner cartridge.

Toner light (light 2) flashing
Message and Solution: Toner Missing. Insert the toner back into the printer. If the toner is already inside the printer, take it out and put it back in again. If the error is still showing, contact HP support.

Jam light (light 1) flashing
Message and Solution: Paper Jam. Check to make sure the loading tray is not full or loaded incorrectly. Remove any paper or paper particles that may be jammed around the printer's cartridge area, output bin, input tray, or the straight-through output path.

Paper Out light (light 3) flashing
Message and Solution: Paper Out. There is no paper in the input tray. Add more paper or other stationery for printing.

Paper Out light (light 3) flashing and Go light (light 6) illuminated
Message and Solution: Paper Mount. The type of paper or stationery in the input tray is not supported and the printer cannot print on it. You can override this warning by pressing the Go button or check to make sure you have loaded an accepted type of paper or media.

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