Why you need to setup an Ethernet network in your office

25. September 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Ethernet Hub Many companies route printing jobs from office computers to a shared printer. One of the simplest ways is by using an Ethernet network. In this blog post, you'll learn how easy it is to set up. Plus, you'll discover why you would want to use an Ethernet network instead of more high-tech options like wireless routers.

What is an Ethernet Network?

First, an Ethernet network simply connects multiple computers to your printer using cables. Some may find this solution to be low-tech in today's wireless world, but these types of networks have some significant advantages.

What are the advantages of using an Ethernet network?

1. Reliability

A system with fewer parts is less likely to fail. That's why an Ethernet network is so reliable compared to wireless routers. Reliability, or up-time, plays a key role in most organizations' decisions to use cable-routed networks over wireless. However, there is another advantage.

2. High Speed

Ethernet cables and hubs allow data to transfer at speeds much higher than even the internet. Data travels from computers to printers much faster. Ultimately, the high speed translates to increased productivity in the office. It also means fewer maintenance calls, less waiting around the printer and absolutely no interference with other wireless equipment nearby.

3. Low Cost

Finally, Ethernet networks cut less into the budget than other options. The equipment is minimal and relatively straightforward to understand. It installs quickly and tucks easily out of sight when properly set up.

How to Set Up an Ethernet Network for Printing

1. Purchase Equipment

Begin by purchasing equipment. You'll need a hub and Ethernet cables. Be sure you don't accidentally buy crossover cables. Ask for help if you're not sure. You'll need a cable for every computer you connect plus one for the printer.

2. Designate a Location for the Hub

The hub isn't very large, but you should locate it in an area where people are less likely to disturb it. Typically, it fits well behind the printer, under a counter, in a server room or any area where traffic is minimal. Keep in mind, it's better to locate the hub near the printer for the sake of speed.

3. Route the Cables

Route cables to avoid tripping hazards. Normally, you'll want to route them up and overhead as much as possible. String them along poles or support beams of the building. Most cubicles and desks now come with routing holes and plugs to make this task easier.

4. Plug in the Cables

With the hub in place and the cables strung, you can now connect everything together. First, connect the cables to the computers. Leave slack for near the hub. You don't want excess cable dangling underneath desktops. After that, plug cables into the hub. Start with the printer's port. It is usually the last one on the right-hand side in the row. Some hubs will separate the printer's port for easier identification. If in doubt, look for a label above the port that says, "Link" or "Out." The other end of the computer cables can typically plug into any port.

5. Test Each Computer or Device

Finally, you're ready to test the new Ethernet network. Try printing a test page from each computer and make sure it works. If so, congratulations. You're done. If not, then check the cable first. It's usually the first culprit. And that's it. You now better understand Ethernet networks. You know why you'd want one, and you could set one up if you need. It really is simple once you know how.

Before buying a printer, make sure to understand the paper path.

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

Among the many important features of any printer is the physical path taken by paper through the machine. Printers have three standard paper paths: straight, U-shaped and L-shaped. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, making different types of printers well-suited for different uses.

Perhaps the simplest of the three is the straight path, which passes media through the printer in a straight line. Laser printers commonly use this path. Feeding media straight through the machine provides unparalleled printing speed; indeed, laser printers using the straight path can print almost twice as quickly as those using other paper paths. Furthermore, the straight path eliminates paper jams almost entirely, since there are no twists and turns inside the machine in which paper can get stuck.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the straight path, though, is versatility. While other types of printers can only print on flexible paper, straight-path printers can print on thicker, stiffer media types such as cardboard and plastic. Some printers with this paper path can even print directly onto CDs. On the other hand, straight-path printers typically take up more space than L-shaped and U-shaped printers.

The U-shaped paper path is a popular option for inkjet printers. Typically, this type of printer stores paper in an input tray; the machine pulls sheets inside and upward, making a U-shape, and then deposits them in an output tray that sits directly above the input. The tray system makes it easy to store hundreds of sheets at once and retrieve the printed documents easily, making U-shaped paper paths ideal for high-volume printing.

Unfortunately, the U-shaped paper path generally does not allow printing on thicker media. Printers using this shape also tend to be fairly bulky and do not print as quickly as straight-through printers. Nevertheless, its ability to handle high volume makes the U-shaped paper path popular for office use.

Like the straight paper path, the L-shaped paper path is typically found in laserjet printers. The user loads paper into a tray that sits above the printer; the machine pulls paper down, passes it through an L-shaped space and deposits the printed documents in an output tray on the other side. The L-shaped paper path lends itself to building compact and portable printers because the small input and output trays can be folded in to save space when the machine is not in use. This makes the L-shaped path an excellent option for home printing.

Because of the wide range of options, it is very important to consider the paper path when choosing a printer. Each of the three paper paths has its own advantages and disadvantages. Keep the intended media, location and volume in mind when choosing a printer and select the best paper path for the job.  For more information on the 3 paper paths, read more about paper paths.

Why do printers need RAM and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?

18. September 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

If you think your printer simply relies on your computer's memory, think again. Modern printers are equipped with memory (RAM) of their own. In some cases, they even have their own hard disk drives (HDD). To understand how your printer works and make the most of its capabilities, you need to understand RAM and HDD. RAM refers to random access memory, and HDD refers to a hard disk drive. Both components are found on computers, but they are also found on printers. The amount of RAM that your printer has can have a profound effect on how well it performs. Whether or not it has its own HDD plays an important role too. Learn more below.

All About RAM

Memory Chip (RAM) When you print a document, the file that needs to be printed is sent to your printer. In the old days, it was sent in small increments because the printer had little or no RAM. These days, most printers have a decent amount of RAM. For that reason, most reasonably sized documents can be instantly transmitted and stored onto a printer, which allows them to be printed quickly. You don't have to wait for the file to be sent, which can be very frustrating.

The key thing to know about RAM is that it is designed to store files temporarily. That's the case with computers and with printers. As soon as the file has been printed, it is erased from your printer's RAM. Similarly, files that are stored in a computer's RAM are erased after the machine is turned off for the day. In the case of a printer, you will need to resend the file if it doesn't print properly the first time. This usually isn't a big deal because the file can be zipped over again quickly. However, it also means that you should never close a document without saving it. You should never assume that it will print properly.

HDD and Printers

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) On a computer, HDD refers to the hard disk drive. It's also known simply as the hard drive or hard disk. This is where files go when you actually save them to your computer. Files that are saved to a computer's HDD can be accessed again later. They aren't erased after the computer is shut down for the day. The same thing holds true for HDD on a printer, but a hard drive isn't a standard part of a modern printer. Entry-level models don't usually come equipped with hard drives.

Printers that do have hard drives are useful because they reduce the risk of losing a print job entirely. You should still be careful about making sure that the document has printed properly, but you will be able to access it again and print it again if something goes awry. This is an especially useful feature for very large documents, and it comes in handy in offices and other places where multiple users send print jobs to a single printer. If someone's print job doesn't print, they can find it again on the printer's HDD and print it.

A Word of Caution

If you elect to purchase a printer that has an HDD, make sure to wipe it clean before disposing of it or selling it. If you don't, the next person who owns the printer will be able to access its files. Confidential or sensitive documents could fall into the wrong hands.

With these points in mind, you should look for a printer that has a decent amount of RAM. A hard drive is nice, but it typically isn't necessary. Whether you need one or not will depend on how you're going to use the printer.   

Why Pocket Printers are great for photographers

15. September 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Pocket printer next to a phone The world of photography has experienced some truly incredible advancements in recent years. Not that long ago, the only way to see the photos that you took with a regular camera was by having them developed at a local store. Thanks to digital cameras, all of that has changed. It's now possible to instantly see how a photo looks. You can also edit it, delete it or share it in a heartbeat. One piece of the puzzle has been missing: creating physical prints of digital photos while on the go. That's changing quickly too. There are more pocket-sized printers on the market than ever, like the Brother PocketJet. Learn more about these innovative products below.

Sharing Digital Photos

Whether you snap a photo with a digital camera or a smartphone, sharing it online is easy enough. In the case of smartphones, you can instantly share your photo on popular social networks; you just have to click a button. It's also a breeze to share digital photos via email, so that's a popular option as well. Now that reliable and affordable pocket printers are here, it's finally possible to share actual prints with people immediately after taking a digital photo. This development opens up many exciting doors.

Digital Photography

If you're just concerned with snapping quick photos while on the go, a smartphone should more than suffice. If you're more concerned about producing professional-grade photographs, there are digital SLR cameras out there that are sure to do the trick. In either case, the digital photos that are produced can be edited and tweaked from just about anywhere. Once you have exactly what you want, you don't have to limit yourself to sharing it on Facebook or through an email. With a pocket printer, you can print out a physical copy of your photo in just about a minute.

How it Works

When you think of traditional printers, you're sure to be puzzled by the concept of pocket printers. After all, standard printers require ink, toner and legal-sized sheets of paper. How on earth will all of those components fit into a pocket printer? The answer lies in the innovative technology that is used in these pint-sized printers. With a weight of just about eight ounces, the standard pocket printer is far too small to include ink or toner. These remarkable printers use thermal printing technology instead. The results are every bit as vibrant as those that you would enjoy with regular printers.

Special Paper Makes it Possible

You won't have to worry about buying ink or toner when you use a pocket printer, all that is needed is special paper that has dye crystals embedded in it.  It only takes about 60 seconds to produce a small photo. As a result, you can snap a terrific photo with your digital camera or smartphone and print out a gorgeous copy of it in no time.

The Possibilities are Endless

Connecting a pocket printer to a digital camera or smartphone is a breeze. In most cases, the two devices can be connected via Bluetooth or through a PictBridge port. With that in mind, you can easily slip your pocket printer into your camera bag, purse or backpack. Once you've given it a try, you're sure to be hooked. People are always tickled to be presented with actual photos while out and about, and the technology is still new enough to surprise people.   

What are picoliters and how this determines the quality of print?

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

Inkjet printers are prized for their ability to produce high-quality prints. As long as you're not too concerned about speed, you can rely on inkjet printers for the best quality and resolution. Not surprisingly, there are different levels of quality among modern inkjet printers. In other words, all inkjet printers are not created equal. How are you supposed to determine whether an inkjet printer offers the quality and resolution that you need? The easiest way is by keeping two important factors in mind: DPI and picoliters. DPI refers to dots per inch while picoliters are units of measure that refer to the size of those dots. Learn how these factors affect inkjet print quality below.

What is a Picoliter?

As you may have surmised, a picoliter is a smaller subdivision of a standard liter. It is extremely small and undetectable to the naked human eye. Extremely small drops of ink produce clearer and crisper results. The smaller a drop of ink is, the more drops that can cover a single inch of paper. As a result, small droplets of ink produce more dots per inch, which results in higher resolution. It is therefore very advantageous to choose an inkjet printer that dispenses very tiny droplets of ink.

How Large is a Picoliter?

It's almost impossible to fathom how tiny a picoliter is. For instance, a single droplet of rain contains hundreds of thousands of picoliters. A picoliter is roughly one-trillionth the size of a standard liter. One liter equals about one cubic decimeter, so a kiloliter equals a cubic meter. Therefore, a picoliter equals a thousand cubic micrometers, or one-millionth of a meter. These proportions are truly mind-boggling, but they exemplify why it pays to choose a printer whose droplets are measured in very small picoliters.

Smaller Droplets Equal Higher Resolution

Extremely tiny droplets of ink are capable of producing much crisper and more vibrant results. As you look for a new inkjet printer, pay attention to information about the size of the droplets that it produces. Ideally, they should be measured in very small picoliters, which means that more dots per inch will be printed onto each page. This is the simplest way to gauge the overall quality of the prints that will be produced by an inkjet printer. Of course, it also pays to keep the type of inkjet nozzle technology that is used in mind as well.

Inkjet Nozzle Technology and Print Quality

The vast majority of inkjet printers use thermal nozzle technology. In this case, the ink is heated up until it bubbles. When the bubbles burst, the ink is forced through the nozzles and onto the paper. The process is extremely efficient, and the technology is very affordable. The other option is piezoelectric technology, which relies on vibrations instead of heat. Electrical charges cause crystals to vibrate, which then forces fine droplets of ink out of the nozzles. In either instance, the size of the droplets that are produced is measured in picoliters.

Which Technology is Right for You?

Don't let the fact that there are two main types of inkjet nozzle technology confuse you. At the end of the day, the important thing to know is that the droplets that are produced in either case are measured in picoliters. By taking a closer look at the DPI of a printer, you will be able to tell just how tiny those droplets are. If quality trumps speed on your list of priorities, you can't go wrong with an inkjet printer. If you'd like exceptional quality but want an affordable price too, an inkjet printer that uses thermal nozzle technology is sure to work perfectly.   

Are your prints dirty? Clean your printer rollers.

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

How long has it been since you cleaned the rollers on your printer? If its print quality is suffering, there's a very good chance that its rollers simply need a good cleaning. Don't be intimidated by the idea of cleaning your printer's rollers. It's actually quite simple, and that's true about virtually any type of printer, whether it is a HP, Brother, Samsung, Dell or any other brand. Even if your printer's print quality is fine, you should make a point of cleaning its rollers preemptively. By taking a proactive approach, you should be able to ward off print quality problems and enjoy crisp, smudge-free copies well into the future. Step-by-step instructions for cleaning your printer's rollers are highlighted below.

How to Clean Your Printer's Rollers

 

  1. Turn Off Your Printer - Use the power button to turn off your printer. After it has successfully powered off, unplug it. You don't want any power coming into the machine while you are cleaning it.
  2. Let it Cool Down - Even if you haven't printed anything recently, you should still let your printer cool down for a few minutes. While it's on standby, it can build up a decent amount of heat. The last thing you need is to burn yourself while trying to clean its rollers.
  3. Remove the Paper Tray - In most cases, you will need to remove the paper tray in order to gain access to the printer rollers. This is usually as simple as pulling it right out. You will have to remove any paper that is in it first. If you're unsure about how to remove the tray, refer to your owner's manual. Don't force the tray out of your machine. You could inadvertently damage it by doing so.
  4. Remove the Ink Cartridges - This step isn't always necessary. If the ink cartridges stand between you and the rollers though, you will have to remove them. Simply remove them as if you are going to exchange them for new ones.
  5. Have Your Supplies Ready - You probably already have what you need to clean the printer rollers. A lint-free cloth is a must, and water will generally suffice. If you'd prefer, you may also use isopropyl alcohol. However, you should wipe the components down with water after cleaning them with the alcohol. If you don't, an oily reside could be left behind, and it could have a very negative impact on print quality.
  6. Clean the Rollers - Now it's time to get down to business. Lightly dampen your lint-free cloth with water or alcohol. Squeeze it out to ensure that it's not too wet. Hold the cloth in one hand and press it lightly against the first roller. With your other hand, gently rotate the roller until you have cleaned it all the way around. Be extremely careful. Do not use too much pressure. You might have to run it through a few times to remove all of the residue.
  7. Repeat for Each Roller - Simply repeat the same process for each printer roller.
  8. Get Ready to Print - Once you're satisfied that the rollers are clean and dry, replace the ink cartridges. Replace the paper tray and load it with paper. Plug the machine back in and power it up again.

How to replace the image drum and toner cartridges in the HP LaserJet 2840

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

The HP LaserJet 2840 is an exceptional all-in-one printer. It is extremely well-designed, so maintaining it is generally quite simple. Although you won't have to worry about it for awhile, you will eventually need to replace its imaging drum. From time to time, you'll need to replace the toner cartridges in your HP LaserJet 2840 as well. People who own this machine are often at a loss about how to replace its drum and toner. The main problem is that these components are largely hidden from view. They are located beneath the scanner assembly. Don't worry though; it's actually simple to replace the imaging drum and the toner. In-depth instructions are highlighted below for your convenience.

How to Replace the Imaging Drum on an HP LaserJet 2840 Printer

 

  1. Open the Scanner Assembly - There is a scanner-release button located prominently on the machine. Just push it to open the scanner assembly.
  2. Open the Top Cover - This step is self-explanatory. It will give you access to the machine's imaging drum and cartridges.
  3. Prepare Drum for Removal - You can't simply pull the drum out of your HP LaserJet 2840. Before doing so, you need to locate its handle. Rotate the drum until the handle is pointing directly up at you. You may have to use a little extra force to rotate it around properly. Don't worry; this is perfectly normal and won't damage your printer.
  4. Remove the Drum - Now that the handle is pointing straight up, you should be able to pull the drum out with ease. You shouldn't have to use a lot of force to get it out of the printer.
  5. Avoid Toner Spills - You should have a plastic bag or a sheet ready for the old drum. Place the old drum immediately onto the bag or sheet. By doing this, you should be able to keep spills and other mishaps at bay.
  6. Prepare the New Imaging Drum - Place the new imaging drum on a flat, steady surface. Remove all of the plastic and various labels that are affixed to it to keep it safe during shipping. Look for a shipping lock and remove it as well. The drum won't fit properly into the machine if the lock is in place.
  7. Install the New Drum - Installing the new drum is easy. Simply line up the arrows on the drum with the arrows on the printer. Lower the imaging drum carefully into the machine. Press it firmly into place. You'll know it's properly installed because you won't be able to shake it loose.

How to Replace the Toner Cartridges on an HP LaserJet 2840

 

  1. Open the Scanner Assembly and Top Cover - Follow the same process that is outlined above.
  2. Find the Right Toner Cartridge - Spin the carousel around until you find the toner cartridge that needs to be replaced.
  3. Remove the Old Cartridge - Squeeze the two blue tabs on the old cartridge and pull it out of the machine.
  4. Remove Packaging from New Cartridge - Packaging may include plastic and tape.
  5. Install New Cartridge - Squeeze the levers on the new cartridge and slide it directly down into the printer. It should snap securely into place.

Start Printing

With a new imaging drum and toner cartridge installed, your HP LaserJet 2840 should work like new. You can easily find really great deals on these essential printer supplies from us and you'll be able to save a lot of money.

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