When to upgrade your printer

28. August 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Old dot matrix printer In many ways, it's smart to keep using the same printer for as long as possible. While some people always need to have the latest features and swap old printers for new ones constantly, others are a little more frugal about things. If you fall into the latter category, you may currently own a fairly old printer. At some point, you're going to have to upgrade it. The question is when you should do so. How you go about doing so is important too. Learn about a few of the telltale signs that your printer needs to be upgraded and how to handle it below.

Signs that You should Upgrade Your Printer

If it's not broken, why fix it? The old adage is generally true, but there are limitations. In the case of a printer, an old model could eventually become a major liability. A few of the top signs that your printer needs to be upgraded include:

  • Replacement Inks and Toners are Difficult to Find - As your printer becomes more and more obsolete, finding replacement inks and toners for it can become a major issue. At first, finding affordable toners and inks is a snap. Eventually, you'll come to find that locating affordable supplies is extremely difficult. Before you know it, you'll be spending a small fortune just to keep your printer running. With a new printer, you'll be able to take advantage of the many compatible inks and toners that are available online. While you'll have to spend extra money upfront to buy a new printer, you'll save a huge amount of money to keep it printing legible copies in the future.
  • New Drivers are Not Available - At a certain point, new drivers and updates for your printer may no longer be available. Even if they are, they may be difficult to find. There's only so much that a new driver can do. When new updates become few and far between, or when they stop being available at all, you should probably consider upgrading your machine.
  • Print Quality is Poor - Many things can cause poor print quality on a printer. If you've run through all of the possibilities and still end up with smudges, smears and other problems, you should go ahead and fork over the money for a new printer. It's simply not worth it.
  • The Printer Vibrates Excessively or is Extremely Noisy - If your printer is far noisier than it ever was, or if it vibrates to the point where it's in danger of falling to the floor, you should plan on getting a new model soon. It's better to be proactive about the situation. Waiting for a major problem to occur is never a good idea.

Tips for Upgrading to a New Printer

If it's been awhile since you bought a new printer, you may be at a loss about how to proceed in finding the right printer. The first step is to set a strict budget. The next step is to jot down a list of the features that you absolutely need. From there, browse online shopping sites and familiarize yourself with what's available. Make sure to avail yourself of the many user reviews that are posted online as well. Once you have narrowed down the list of printers you are considering, look up the cost for the ink or toner and calculate a cost per page. Cost per page is calculated by taking the cost of the cartridge divided by the page yield. Choose the printer with the lowest cost per page, because the consumables is where you spend the most money.

When you have your new printer up and running, you'll probably wonder why you waited so long to upgrade it. As long as you invest in a decent machine, you should be able to go a long time before buying a new one.

Causes and Solutions to Ghost Printing

25. August 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Ghost Have you ever tried to print something and ended up with more than one copy of the image or text that you need on the same page? This phenomenon is known as ghost printing, or ghosting, and it can be extremely frustrating. While it often happens in older printers, it can just as easily happen with new ones too. If you're simply printing something for personal use, it may not be a huge issue. If you're printing something for more professional reasons, however, it can be a major problem. Learn more about ghost printing and how to correct the problem below.

How Does Ghost Printing Happen?

If ghost printing can happen with new printers and old printers alike, what's the common thread? The issue is somewhat scientific. Printing involves a series of electrical charges. These charges are generally controlled during the printing process, so the outcome is typically favorable. From time to time though, they go a little haywire and cause ghosting. The result looks a little like a stencil of the original image, and it can have a very negative impact on the overall quality of the document or image that you are trying to print.

Electrical Charges and Ghost Printing

The paper onto which you are printing something contains electrical charges. Similarly, the lasers inside of a printer have electrical charges too. The two charges are attracted to one another, which is usually a good thing. As paper passes through your printer, the lasers inside it etch designs, images or text onto it. From there, the electrical charge of the ink or toner makes it adhere to whatever is being printed. When the electrical charges don't work properly, the toner or ink may be replicated to produce a faded replica of the image or text that is being printed.

Causes and Solutions

At first glance, it may seem like there's little to be done about ghosting. Fortunately, that's not true at all. Whether your printer is shiny and new or several years old, you may be able to correct the problem quickly and easily. A few of the top causes and solutions include:

  • Dirty Drum - The drum in your printer may not be getting thoroughly cleaned as it rolls.  This can be a cause for ghosting.  Take the drum out to see if any residual toner is still on it.  If so, gently clean it with a lint-free cloth and do not expose it to light for any extended duration. 
  • Dirty Rollers - The rollers on your printer need to be clean if they are going to conduct electrical charges properly. Take a look at the rollers on your printer. Are they smudged and dirty? If so, refer to your owner's manual and give them a thorough cleaning.
  • Damaged Rollers - Rollers wear down and become damaged over time. If your printer is old, it may be time to replace its rollers. This could very well be just what is needed to make ghosting a thing of the past.

One final note: Take care when using water to clean the rollers in your printer. If too much dampness accumulates inside your printer, your ghosting issue could worsen. With these tips in mind, your printer should be able to start producing clear, crisp, legible copies once again.   

What is a large format printer and who uses them?

21. August 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

A large-format printer is a machine that has a bigger print width than a conventional printer. This type of printing can be done on an exceptionally large scale, and it is typically reserved for graphics or images that are used in advertising or marketing. There is a variety of uses for large-format printers, and choosing this method for creating signage provides numerous benefits.

Large format printer One of the most common uses for large-format printers is retail advertising. Whether an oversized sign is displayed at the point of purchase, on a shop door or outside a business, the larger images will catch the eye and make a bold statement. Wide-format printing is also ideal for business presentations, trade show displays, and promotional events. Essentially, any organization that needs instant visibility can use this type of printing medium.

Some popular displays for larger graphics include banners, posters and billboards. Many businesses also use wall, window or floor graphics for promotional or marketing purposes. Large-format printing is gradually replacing the more traditional processes like screen printing. Printer technology is continually changing, and the methods for producing text and images on bigger surfaces are becoming increasingly effective.

More and more individuals and corporations are discovering the convenience of large-format printing. One of the greatest advantages to using this printing technique is the cost-effectiveness. Many companies send their large projects to professional printers. This is not only expensive, it takes up valuable time. Businesses can now reach a significant amount of people for less money, and productivity within the company does not need to weaken.

Because many wide-format printers can produce multiple posters on one roll of paper, company owners do not need to wait days to see results. The speedy printing allows businesses to generate professionally designed, detail-oriented materials within just a few hours. Additionally, using large-format printing instead of outsourcing projects reduces the likelihood of errors occurring on each printout.

Another benefit to printing in wide formats is the conspicuousness factor. Posters displayed on a grander scale are difficult to miss. A business head can reinforce his or her brand and increase awareness by creating just one visually stunning, oversized advertisement. Because of the versatility this printing process provides, it’s one of the most effective means for acquiring public interest. 

Any organization can benefit from using a large-format printer. Regardless of how big or small a company is, successful advertising and marketing requires visibility. Posters, brochures and banners can be designed and printed out quickly and inexpensively with a wide-format printing machine. For individuals and businesses, oversized printing is a viable option.   

Understanding the nozzle types on inkjet printers

18. August 2012 08:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

If print quality is your top priority, you can't go wrong with an inkjet printer. While laser printers are designed to be as fast and efficient as possible, inkjet printers are designed with superior resolution and quality in mind. As long as you're okay with waiting a little longer for documents to print, you should be perfectly happy with an inkjet printer. With that being said, different types of inkjet printers rely on different nozzle technologies. Before investing in an inkjet printer, it's smart to have a basic understanding of the most common nozzle technologies. You'll be able to pinpoint the perfect printer at the best price more easily. Learn more about inkjet nozzle technology below.

Drop-on-Demand Technology

Drop-on-demand nozzle technology is the backbone of most modern inkjet printers. It is the preferred type of technology because it is affordable, reliable and efficient. This type of technology results in printed pages that are completely covered in tiny droplets of ink. Those droplets of ink are measured in terms of Pico liters. Smaller droplets produce more refined results while larger droplets produce copies that aren't quite as crisp. To an untrained or casual eye, however, most inkjet printers produce satisfactory results.

DPI Resolution

Another important factor that comes into play with inkjet nozzle technology is resolution. This is largely determined by the number of drops that are produced per inch. This factor is known as DPI, or dots per inch, and it is important to keep in mind when shopping for an inkjet printer. The print head in an inkjet printer can contain various numbers and types of nozzles. The more nozzles that are included on a print head, the higher the resolution, or DPI, will be. Not surprisingly, printers that have high numbers of nozzles tend to be more expensive.

How Print Heads Work

The ink that is used in an inkjet printer is stored in cartridges. On the print head, there is a chamber that is located behind the nozzles. With standard drop-on-demand technology, there is a heating element located in this chamber. It rapidly heats up the ink to make it bubble. When the ink bubbles, pressure is created. That pressure forces the ink out of the nozzles. This all happens very rapidly. It is an extremely efficient and reliable process. The majority of today's inkjet printers rely on this type of technology.

Piezoelectric Nozzle Technology

Although a standard inkjet printer is sure to suffice, you should also consider a printer that uses piezoelectric nozzle technology. In this case, the chamber behind the nozzles on the print head does not heat up the ink. Instead, it contains piezoelectric materials that generate a form of electricity. This electricity creates the pressure that is needed to force the ink out of the nozzles. Many people believe that the results are a lot more refined and crisp. However, this technology is also more expensive. It isn't standard either. You will only find it on certain Epson and Brother printers.

Which Inkjet Nozzle Technology is Right for You?

If you're looking for an inkjet printer that has a nice balance between affordability and quality, a standard drop-on-demand ink printer from Canon should be more than sufficient. If you're willing to spend a little more and insist on having the finest resolution possible, you may want to opt for an Epson or Brother printer that uses piezoelectric technology. In either case, make sure to use top-quality ink cartridges from 247inktoner.com. You won't break the bank with our compatible cartridges.   

Concept of the Circle Printer

13. August 2012 08:00 by Calvin Yu in Printer Reviews, Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Overhead view of the circle printer In a technological society that is all about making devices smaller and minimizing space, the printer stands out as one of the bulkiest computer peripherals. The unit takes up a significant amount of space, and paper trays require even more room to deliver printed pages. Designer Yang Jae Wook seeks to change these flaws with the concept of the Circle Printer. The idea is still in its developmental phase, but consumers and printer manufacturers are excited about its potential.

The goal of the Circle Printer is to provide the same functionality of a traditional device while taking up much less desk space. The technology inside the unit is the same as its rectangular counterpart, but everything is flipped vertically. The end design is a tall cylinder featuring an attractive casing that does not crowd a work surface. Yanko Design refers to the concept as a "courteous printer" because of its unobtrusive size and shape.

From the images and blueprints, it looks like there is a narrow compartment on top of the printer for the paper feed. While printing, the page wraps around the cylindrical drum and exits at the side of the printer. One impressive design feature is that there is no need for a paper tray that takes up more desk space. The designer also suggests that the Circle Printer will be quieter with fewer vibrations than traditional models.

Circle printer in the home

At first glance, the circular shape does not resemble a printer at all, but this design is part of the appeal. The Circle Printer combines style with functionality, and the basic mechanics remain the same for simple maintenance and troubleshooting. Reactions to the concept printer vary from complete acceptance to skepticism of the device's viability. Some consumers fear that the pages will come out with curled edges, and others have the impression that frequent paper jams are inevitable.

Overall, computer users are excited about the prospects of the Circle Printer and are eager to see mainstream companies utilize the concept. This device satisfies the desire for compact equipment without requiring complex machinery or technology to operate. Provided the development continues without any major hitches, businesses and consumers can look forward to seeing the Circle Printer on the market for all printing needs.

How to choose between a laser printer and an inkjet printer

12. August 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

A long list of features can come into play when deciding on a printer: color or black-and-white; multi-function or single function; wired or wireless. Is noise a concern? Do you need duplex capability? Should the paper path be U-shaped, L-shaped or straight? Before weighing those factors, though, there is one threshold question: Will it be laser or inkjet?

Printer manufacturers, of course, would have us believe that either option is marvelous. In reality, especially when comparing comparably priced machines, inkjets and lasers have clear-cut strengths and weaknesses. Should I buy a laser printer or an inkjet printer?

Cost

While there are high-end inkjets that cost more than low-end lasers, inkjets cost less as a general rule. Acquisition cost is only one part of the picture, though, and the difference in the ongoing cost of consumables can be significant. Toner, used by lasers, generally costs less per page than the ink that inkjets use.

The analysis is complicated by the fact that manufacturers charge different prices for consumables, so that an inexpensive printer may well require very expensive ink, but some of that expense can be overcome by using compatible inks and toners, readily available online, as opposed to buying consumables from the printer manufacturer. Some printers, especially at the low end, come with “starter” supplies that hold significantly less than standard replacements.

Quality

Both lasers and inkjets can produce crisp, high-quality text, especially in black and white. Lasers do a better job when printing tiny fonts and other highly detailed work. Inkjets, especially expensive inkjets, can manage those detailed jobs, but they generally do so at the cost of speed and ink consumption.

Although either option can produce acceptable color prints, either text or graphics, photographs are the province of the inkjet. Lasers can do the job, but not with the rich, bright color and the delicate gradients that inkjets produce. That strength has made inkjets the choice of professional photographers and has led inkjet manufacturers to develop dedicated photo printers.

Speed and Volume

Manufacturers tend to inflate speed numbers, but this is one place where there is a clear winner: Lasers are faster than inkjets. This is especially notable when printing black-and-white text, one feature that has made the laser the choice of text-heavy businesses.

The laser’s speed advantage, especially when combined with lower toner costs, also means that lasers are the better option for large print runs.

Other Factors

Both types of printers have their own paper requirements. Lasers, because they use heat to fuse toner to paper, cannot use photo paper and can cause other paper to curl. Inkjets apply ink to paper by spraying ink through a nozzle. As a result, inkjet ink is wet when first applied. It can smudge if handled before it dries and it can bleed into ordinary paper. On the other hand, inkjets can use a much wider array of paper than lasers, including specialized photo paper.

The fact that inkjet ink is wet can be a problem for people who rarely print. If an inkjet is left idle for long enough, its ink become so dry that it no longer works. A fresh cartridge solves the problem, but lasers, with their dry toner, do not share this potential point of failure.

Inkjets tend to be smaller than lasers, and they tend to be lighter, with comparable lasers weighing up to four times as much as inkjets.

Finally, inkjets are simpler machines, but they tend to have shorter lives. Perhaps manufacturers recognize that the laser is likely to be the office workhorse, but, in any event, the cost of repair is often prohibitive. With relatively modest prices for new machines, replacement is often the more sensible option.

If you ultimately decide on an inkjet printer, read our article on choosing the correct inkjet printer

What is the Brother Toner Save mode?

8. August 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Printing for businesses and home-use comes with variable costs for paper, toner and cartridges. There are several ways in which users can conserve resources in order to save money, including printing on the backs of pages and utilizing electronic copies whenever possible. By taking advantage of the toner save mode in your Brother printer, users can save money on their printing needs while benefiting the environment. Other printer manufacturers name the option economy mode or draft mode.

Illustration of how many more prints you can get when toner save mode is on The toner save mode can be activated or deactivated from the printer preferences or the print dialog box. Other printer manufacturers have a button that turns on the draft mode located directly on the printer. There is an option to set this mode as default so that every job users less toner when printing. By decreasing the resolution and using fewer dots per inch, the toner save mode consumes fewer resources. This mode cuts the dpi in half to produce lighter images that are still clear. Requiring less toner causes the cartridges to last an average of 15 percent longer. Cumulative savings add up to about $25 per year.

Since this mode produces clear documents that are still readable, the applications are plentiful. Electronic receipts, rough drafts, coupons and reference material can be printed using the toner save mode without making any sacrifices. High-resolution options can be reserved for final drafts, framed photographs and important business documents. Users will save about ten percent of their toner when printing single or bulk jobs with this economy mode.

Businesses and personal users will not have to replace the Brother toner cartridges as often, and this conservation of resources saves even more time by reducing the frequency of ordering replacements from us. The utilization of fewer resources also reduces the environmental impact of everyday printing. High-resolution images and darker lines are ideal when quality is an important factor, but for most other documents, the toner save mode is more practical and comes with the benefit of savings.

How to clean the corona wire in Brother laser printers

5. August 2012 08:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

The corona wire is an important component of a Brother laser printer, vital to the operation of the printer. The role of the corona wire is to transfer the toner onto the paper from the laser printer's imaging drum. It accomplishes this task by placing a charge onto the paper. The charge causes the paper to attract the toner to it, which allows you to complete your printing job. If the corona wire is not functioning properly, then the Brother laser printer will not work.

The most common signs of a dirty or malfunctioning corona wire include light printing jobs, illegible printing jobs or papers with spotty printing on them. The corona wire in a Brother laser printer should be cleaned whenever these symptoms appear or whenever the old toner cartridge is being replaced with a new one.

To clean the corona wire, first push the front release button on the Brother laser printer and, with the button depressed, pull the cover of the printer toward yourself. Once the cover is open, it will be easy to see the printer's drum and toner unit. Grasp the unit's black and yellow handle and remove it from the printer.

Corona wire on a Brother toner cartridge Next, slide the element's blue tab, slowly and carefully, to the far left side of the unit and then return it to the far right side. Repeat this sliding process three or four times. In certain Brother laser printers, the tab is green rather than blue, but this will not affect the cleaning process.

Another option is to use a small paintbrush to dust off the toner. Make sure that the paintbrush is clean and totally dry if you use this option.

You are now ready to insert the drum unit back into the laser printer. When you are doing this, be sure that the arrow on the tab lines and the arrow on the drum unit line up precisely. If the arrows do not line up, your next printing job could contain an unsightly vertical line.

To reassemble the printer, follow these steps in reverse order. This cleaning process will have your Brother laser printer and its corona wire working as good as new.

Common Kyocera-Mita printer error codes

2. August 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

Kyocera-Mita Kyocera-Mita printers and copiers are reliable machines, and they work well with our compatible ink and toner cartridges. Kyocera-Mita has installed a self-diagnostic system in most of their printers and copiers to help users and technicians determine what is wrong. When an error is detected, the diagnostic tool automatically runs and generates an error code. While different models use different error code schemes, the following codes are some of the most common.

Errors that begin with the letter C denote mechanical failures. Most of these errors require professional servicing to be corrected, but some may be fixed by users with intermediate mechanical skills. Error codes that begin with the letters E, OP or U are usually operator errors that can be easily solved.

Error Code Error Description
C037 The microcomputer system, engine board or main board is not functioning properly.
Solution: This error code usually means the printer has a serious hardware problem, and parts need to be replaced.
C0420 The paper deck or feed deck motor is not functioning.
Solution: See if the paper tray is fully closed. If so, pull out the tray and replace it.
C0640 The hard drive cannot be accessed by the system.
Solution: Check the hard drive connections. If the drive is connected properly, call a service technician.
C0920 Backup fax data could not be saved.
Solution: Make sure that the memory or the hard drive has enough free space
C10 The exposure lamp is not working properly.
Solution: Ensure that the lamp is connected. Replace the lamp if necessary
C210 The paper conveyer motor is not working.
Solution: Check to see if the paper is visibly jammed. However, most motor errors cannot be fixed by users.
C230 The paper feed motor is not working.
Solution: See C210.
C2500 This is another common paper feed motor error.
Solution: See C210.
C7300 The toner is detected as empty, but the level of toner cannot be determined.
Solution: Pull out the toner cartridge, and reinstall it. If the error continues, try a cold restart by following the potential solution for Installation Error Messages in our printer cartridge troubleshooting guide.  If a cold restart does not resolve the issue try a new cartridge
C7800 The humidity sensor board has malfunctioned.
Solution: If the board is bad, it will be replaced, but it may have been damaged by excessive humidity in the room.
C8140 This error means something is wrong with the main paper tray. It is often a sensor problem, but it could also be a problem with the paper tray motor.
Solution: Pull out the paper tray, and reinsert it properly.
C91 An error is detected in the printer network connection.
Solution: If the printer is connected by a hardline, make sure it is properly inserted into the Ethernet port.
E07 E07 – The paper in the tray is not the same size as the original document.
Solution: Change the paper, or use a different paper tray. Some printers and copiers may also allow you to adjust the magnification.
E70 E70 – The prior job did not finish.
Solution: Cancel the prior job. Also, check to see if a page is a jammed or if the paper tray is empty.
E71 E71 – The originals did not go through the feeder correctly, or they could not be read.
Solution: Reload the originals into the feeder for a second attempt.
E72 E72 – Originals are still in the document feeder.
Solution: Clear jams from the feeder, and make sure that the originals are loaded correctly.
E90 E90 – The job cannot be completed because the memory is full.
Solution: Clear the memory, or split large print jobs into two or more smaller jobs. 
OP1 – OP5 OP1 – OP5 – One or more covers or drawers are open.
Solution: Close the covers and/or drawers before operating the copier.
U00602 A document is jammed.
Solution: Clear the document.  The copier should have a manual clearing system.
U00603 Documents are not feeding correctly.
Solution: Clear any jams. The rollers may also need to be cleaned.
U00614 The paper is nearly empty.
Solution: Refill the paper tray.

U00615

The paper is empty.
Solution: Refill the paper tray.

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