Keeping Your Printers In Working Order

When was the last time you ran tests to make sure your printer was in good working order? If you said spring, it's probably because we wrote about the necessity of spring cleaning. If you have cleaned your printer since then, great! If not, now is the time to make sure your printer is in good working order, particularly if you use it only occasionally. The longer you wait to clean your printer, the more likely it is to require maintenance you cannot perform at home. More...

An Easy Guide to Cleaning Your Laser Printer

17. June 2013 08:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

While your home office laser printer does not to be cleaned on a weekly basis, printers should be cleaned at least twice a year. The frequency of how often you should clean will vary depending on how often the printer is used. While you may look at the outside of the printer and see some dust bunnies gathering, cleaning a printer doesn’t just involve an exterior scrubbing. With that said, it’s important to understand why you should bother cleaning your home printer. If a printer is operating for a while without being cleaned, you may notice a difference in picture quality which doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your toner cartridges. It could be due to resin build up within the printer. Another common reaction from lack of cleaning can be the rollers will not run as smoothly as they should.  Cleaning is just 1 of 4 things you can do to make your printer last longer.

Before you get started, it’s important to know what parts of the printer will require cleaning. While some printers may be larger in size with multiple trays for paper input, most printers regardless of size are generally made up of the same components as seen in the image.

Here’s the list of the most important parts of the printer you’ll need to clean: More...

Introducing “8 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Your Next HP Laser Printer: A Buyer’s Guide from 247inktoner"

Whether you’re shopping for your home or office, buying the right HP printer can seem like an overwhelming task at first. With so many choices available, how do you find what’s best suited to your needs? It can be hard to distill mountains of information down to what you really need to know. On top of that, industry-related lingo can leave you feeling like you’re trying to decode an alien tongue.

If you’ve always wished for some help from a reliable source when it comes to investing in an HP printer, you’re not alone. Everyone wants to be a savvy shopper, but not everyone has the know-how. That’s why we’ve created a buyer’s guide that anyone can use.

Our brand new buyer’s guide lays out how to filter out the noise and zero in on the most functional, economic model for you in terms you'll actually understand. It includes definitions for key terms to help you understand each printer’s specifications. It also has a guide for model numbers. You’ll learn about the long-term costs of owning a printer versus the sticker price and how to save by reducing your printing across the board. Inside, you’ll find handy and easy-to-use price comparisons, surprising facts about printers and much more!

Empowered consumers make the best decisions for their businesses and homes, so make this buyer’s guide an essential part of shopping. Just enter your e-mail to receive a PDF copy.

You’ll be on your way to making sure you and your HP printer are a good match-- one that lasts a long time and keeps you feeling happy and productive, no matter what project you're working on!

Guide to Wireless Printing from Your Computer and Mobile Phone

While printing dates back to the mid-15th century, wireless printing has only become commonly used in the last two decades. Wireless printing is, as the name clearly states, the ability to use a printer without a wire or a cord connecting the printer and computer. This will allow you to print from any computer within appropriate range of the printer, which will most likely be anywhere within your home. The average distance for wireless printing is approximately 100 feet, but this can vary based on the manufacturer. This wireless technology allows multiple family members to print from their personal computers to the same household printer.

3 Ways to Set Up Wireless Printing

  1. USB Cable: Many wireless printers will come with installation software and a USB cable. If you connect the printer and computer using the USB, you will be prompted to follow the installation guide setup steps. Once completed, you will be able to remove the USB and print wirelessly.

    Printer connected by a USB cable

  2. Wireless Setup Wizard: Using this method, you can setup wireless printing directly from the printer itself using either its control panel or touchscreen. You’ll need to follow a few quick steps and enter answers for questions such as the name of your wireless network and password.
  3. Wi-Fi Protected Setup: Similarly to the wireless setup wizard, you can also use this method using the printers control panel or touchscreen. If your home already has a WPS router with a push-button, after following a few printer setup steps, you will be able to push the button to activate the printer wirelessly with your computer.

Printing from personal computers is the most common form of printing and has been around almost as long as the computer itself. This form is used in offices and homes worldwide and while the printing technology has remained mostly the same, printers themselves have gotten more advanced.

The printer supply industry generates over $100 billion dollars a year. This includes not just printers, but also the ink cartridges or toner cartridges supplies. However, since smartphones and tablets hit the marketplace, the need to print from all technological forms grew as well. Since this need was growing, different mobile applications created by each leading manufacturer such as HP and Epson began emerging for both tablet and smart phone use.

What are my Options for Wireless Mobile Printing?

Regardless of the tablet or smartphone you have, there is a surplus of mobile printing apps to choose from. A few of the options you may use include Bluetooth printing, Apple AirPrint, or manufacturer applications. Allow us to highlight a few of the options:

    Apple iPhone AirPrint settings
  1. Bluetooth printing: Perhaps a more outdated technology, Bluetooth printing is primarily used with mobile phones, yet unlike Wi-Fi, your phone must be used within a few meters of the printer. This is best for phones without a Wi-Fi connection that are enabled for Bluetooth printing.
  2. Apple AirPrint: This is a great option for anyone who uses an Apple device whether an iPad or an iPhone. However AirPrint only applies to software versions 4.2 or later. There are several printers that are compatible with AirPrint including many Epson and HP models. Just locate what you would like to print on your phone, locate the print button (no application download needed), and your phones software will find all AirPrint printers in range you can print from.
  3. HP ePrint settings
  4. HP ePrint: This application can be downloaded directly from your mobile phone. The app is not only compatible with most HP printers, but is also compatible with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, photos, web pages, and more. The easy to use interface makes it simple to print documents, images, or web pages. If you have the appropriate printer and the application downloaded, make sure your printer is stocked with HP ink cartridges.
    Brother iPrint&Scan settings
  5. Brother iPrint&Scan: This app can also be downloaded directly from your mobile phone and is compatible with most Brother printers. In addition to an easy-to-use interface, the Brother app also allows you to set up scans from your smartphone and send results wirelessly to your printer. Don’t forget to fill your office or home printer with Epson ink cartridges before sending documents to print.

Printer applications have now become mainstream for most large manufacturers and have become expected by consumers. In the future, we can expect that most new smartphones will come with already enabled printing features, making the setup and installation process easier and easier. 

 

Spring Cleaning For Your Electronics

spring cleaningMarch 20th marked the beginning of spring and, for many, the annual spring cleaning ritual. While most focus on cleaning out the car, tossing excess clutter, and carefully scrubbing every surface free of dust and dirt, most neglect one of the most important electronic devices-- the printer. Though it's difficult to tell just how dirty a printer might have gotten during the winter months, it's important to remove any excess grime and test how the printer is working to ensure the highest quality experience. Failing to clean out your printer can result in poor printing quality, especially for photographs or color printing.

Before printing, check your printer manual or contact your manufacturer for best cleaning practices.

Every printer, like every floor or counter, is designed differently and thus requires specific care. Whether you have an inkjet, laser or solid ink printer, your manufacturer knows the best ways to avoid damaging the delicate (and essential) components of your printer.

Always make sure your printer is off and fully unplugged.

Ensuring your printer is not connected to any power source eliminates the risk of electrical shock. At the same time, by allowing the machine's internal components to power down, you prevent potential burns to yourself, as components in laser printers can get especially hot.

Never directly spray any type of cleaning solution onto your printer.

Though you should check with your printer to see if there are particular solvents you can use to clean the exterior (body) of the printer, it's never a good idea to spray anything onto your printer. Moisture accumulating in any component of the printer can cause irreparable damage. A dry, lint-free cloth is recommended, though many companies now make electronics wipes for your printer's body.

Avoid cleaning internal components unless you have experience.

You can, and should, examine ink cartridges to ensure there is no spilled ink, leaks, or other debris that has collected. However, avoid unscrewing components or touchings parts (including the feed rollers) as these can be permanently damaged. Certain models have self-cleaning mechanisms that can save you the hassle of wondering which components to touch (or not).

Don't forget to print a test page at the end of the process.

When you've finished your cleaning process, be sure to print a test page. If it's been several months since you've last used your printer, inks can settle, adversely affecting print quality. If the ink isn't moving properly through your printer, these inconsistencies will show up, especially during color printing. If you are satisfied with the results, you've successfully cleaned your printer! If you are experiencing ghosting you may have a part that is defective; otherwise consult your manufacturer's website or contact an electronics specialist.

You might be ready for a printer change, so don't forget to recycle.

You might be feeling like it's time to get an upgraded printer or find one best designed for your needs. If that's the case, don't forget to recycle your electronics. Adding them to a landfill only increases the risk of environmental contamination from ink and other printer components. Best Buy is one of the retailers that offers a national recycling program and if you have 8+ empty cartridges that need to be recycled, we have a free recycling program that includes a prepaid return shipping label.

 

As always, spring is the best time to replenish those depleted ink cartridges! Feel free to share some of your favorite cleaning tips for electronics below or ask any questions if you're looking for that perfect new printer this spring.

Maximizing Your Home Photography Printing

inkjet photo printerAs digital cameras are now the preferred method for taking photographs, the business of photographic printing at home has grown. Often times, however, many who get home printers aren't aware of which printers are best to buy, the cost involved with printing photographs at home, and other important information on the subject. We wanted to provide that information both for those amateur enthusiasts and devoted pros. 

An easy place to start looking for photo-based printers is by browsing through technology blogs' best-of lists. For instance, CNET has a list of the best inkjet printers for photography. Inkjet pinters are preferred because they tend to save ink over laser printers, are more compact, and use technology where tiny ink droplets create a higher quality image. When considering specific inkjet models, it's a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much do I want to spend? Inkjet models can range from $160 to almost $500 depending on the features and manufacturer.
  • How big are my photos going to be? For images larger than 8 x 10 inches, you'll need to consult a professional printer. For those smaller sized photos, home printing can save a few cents per photo, and a lot of added convenience. This review of printing 4 x 6 inch prints showed the reduction in cost at home.
  • What else do I need my printer to do? While this seems like a no brainer, many neglect to consider everything they use their printer for. If you're looking for copy or fax ability, and to be able to print higher volumes in black and white, a multi-purpose inkjet is your best bet.
  • How much does the ink itself cost? Many don't take into account the cost of color ink, which can run $20-$50 per cartridge, depending on the model. Visit our website to do cost comparisons, and to find potential deals by buying ink cartridge packages for multi-cartridge printing.

Once you have considered the right model, it's important to consider if you want to do photo-editing. While most computers have basic image editing capabilities (including cropping, changing saturation or sharpness, and resizing), for those who need more advanced image-editing capabilities, you'll need to consider additional software. The most popular software is Adobe Photoshop, which costs $699. However, if you're not familiar with this software, it may require books or online courses to become familiar with all of the features, so it is only recommended for those devoted pros.

It's also important to be aware of two things while using these home inkjet printers. When printing with a high-gloss photo paper, you will need to give your prints time to dry, otherwise your image will smudge. While the ink cartridges sometimes clog, especially after periods where they haven't been used for a long time, they can be fixed easily, and many resources are available online to guide you through that process.

Now that you know the many advantages, minor disadvantages, and other considerations when choosing photographic printing at home, you're ready to go out and record those special moments you want to remember forever! Feel free to share your favorite photos or other home printing tips below.

Large Format Printing and Custom Wallpaper Murals

wallpaper mural

Sometimes your home printer just doesn't cut it for certain printing needs! For those larger scale,high-resolution jobs, it's wise to hire the professionals, who specialize in large format printing. This printing style, along with its photographic equivalent, provides up to 16 times the resolution of standard 35mm film, making it especially well-suited for wallpaper, banners, or other signage for businesses, restaurants, sports venues, or lobbies.

Large format custom wallpaper murals can range in size from under 100 square feet to over 250 square feet, meaning that no matter the size of the banner you need, these printers are able to make it for you. Typically pricing ranges from around $7.00 per square foot for the smaller jobs to around $5.25 per square foot for those jobs over 250 square feet. Though these wallpaper murals are an investment, because they're printed on fade-resistant UV inks, they can last indefinitely.

So how, exactly, are these wallpaper murals made? First, the customer needs to supply the digital image. Though the higher the resolution, the clearer the image quality, any digital camera larger than 6 megapixels on the highest setting will work just fine. Using digital imaging software, technicians reformat and retouch the image to ensure the sharpest image possible for printing.

Once the image is appropriately retouched for printing, a large format printer is selected that can accommodate the correct image size. If you look at these HP models, for instance, you can see that range in size and volume (how quickly the images can be printed). Often times these commercial printers can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the model.

As we mentioned above, by using UV-resistant inks, you can greater increase the lifespan of your wallpaper. By not using UV-resistant ink, it's likely that any signage in direct sunlight will fade in just a few months. The type of surface that the image is printed on depends upon your needs. If you think you might want to reuse or reposition wallpaper, selecting the removable wallpaper with an adhesive backing is a better choice. This can made out of either fabric or vinyl, the latter material being recommended when budget is a concern. For projects with heavy use of black ink, a smooth wallpaper requiring permanent installation will give the best results.

One of our friends, Mega Print Inc., is a large format printing company we'd recommend. They also use PVC-free wallpaper, which is more environmentally sustainable. Though PVC is one of the most commonly used sign materials since the mid-1900s, it is not biodegradable or recyclable, and is therefore not a material we would use in our large format printing needs.

If you have any other questions about large format printing, or want to share your best idea for a wallpaper mural, don't hesitate to enter your comment below!

How Printing Can Be Green

It's no surprise to most that home or office printing is not friendly to the environment. Beyond the obvious amount of paper waste, many types of printers use complex internal printing mechanisms and ink cartridges that produce a lot of added waste. As the two groups forming the Environment Industry Associations report, every year 300 million empty cartridges get added into the waste stream. Because it takes 1 gallon of oil to produce a single ink cartridge, the environmental impact is enormous.

eco-friendly

However, with advances made to printer quality, recycling, and awareness over printing practices, your printing experience doesn't have to wreck the environment in the process. Printing green also has an added benefit--efficiency. With more efficient practices, you'll save yourself money in the process. The following tips are intended to be starting points for thinking about what impact your home or office practices have.

  • Print double-sided on post-consumer recycled paper. It seems like a no-brainer to print on both sides of a sheet of paper, but surprisingly few people do it. By using double-sided printing, you instantly reduce your paper waste by half. At the same time, it's important to find post-consumer recycled paper, meaning the paper is made of recycled pulp from other consumer products. Many stores like Staples or Office Max will have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labels to indicate these practices have been verified.
  • Print on the lowest quality ink setting, except in necessary occasions. Factory printer settings typically aren't set up for the lowest quality ink setting, but unless you are printing professional color documents or photographs, there is no need to print outside of the 'draft' setting. You can significantly reduce how quickly you use up the existing ink in your cartridge.
  • When shopping for a new printer, consider ENERGY STAR labels and intended usage. Like the FSC labeling paper products, ENERGY STAR labels consumer and professional electronics and appliances on how effectively they use energy. When shopping, be sure to look for the distinct light blue logo. Thinking about intended use is a good consideration when making a printer purchase. One of the first questions to ask is, "Do I need to print only in black and white or color?" Monochrome printers use only one ink cartridge, reducing waste, whereas color printers can have four or more separate cartridges that can increase waste.
  • Recycle your cartridges! This is the single most effective way of reducing cartridge waste. When throwing out a cartridge in the trash, it'll likely end up spending decades in a landfill. With increasingly sophisticated methods for repurposing old cartridges, there is really no reason not to. Earth911 even has a search for companies that re-purpose cartridges by city.
  • Ask yourself, "Do I really need to print this?" While we are an ink and toner business, we also want to make sure you're printing only what you need. With new digital systems for reading, signing, and storing documents, printing out items, especially related to work, may not be necessary. Consider synching email, documents, photographs, or other items to your smartphone, tablet, or reading device to save on printing output.
  • Finally, and perhaps easiest of all, power off and unplug your printer when not in use. Unless you expect a busy day of high-use printing, having a printer on and/or plugged in uses a lot of residual energy. This will help reduce your monthly electric bill as well.

Though these are just some of the tips we have for printing in a more eco and wallet friendly way, there are many other tips we haven't included. Leave your favorite green printing trick below.

Case of the Fading Reds in the HP 2605DN Printer

The HP 2605DN Color LaserJet Printer currently retails, used, for around 290.00 dollars. While it markets itself as "an affordable desktop printer that lets you add brilliant color to your business documents," if you take some time to read the reviews, you'll uncover that what you bought might not actually be so reliable. After only printing a few hundred hundred pages, many reviewers have reported that the red/magenta tones have faded, even when the ink cartridge is not close to empty. Obviously when one ink shade malfunctions, your entire color document also suffers in quality.

hp 2605dn printer

If you have this printer, you might wonder what is causing the problem. Though some have reported that HP Customer Support has been unhelpful, support forums have diagnosed the problem as "a design flaw in the Canon engine used in some HP color laser printers: dust accumulates on the mirrors deep inside the printer and causes colors to come out poorly. Because the magenta cartridge's mirror is on the bottom in this model, it gets the most dust." Thankfully these same users have reported fixes to get those reds vibrant again, even when HP has been unhelpful.

If it's your first time opening up a printer to make some internal fixes, you will want to consult this step-by-step manual, ensuring that all screws and working parts are returned to the proper place. Failure to ensure these parts go back in the proper order can result in other issues with your printer apart from those annoying fading reds. For those who are seasoned veterans at printer repair, you will to do the following:

  • Remove the right, left and rear covers. Many of the screws are small and in hard-to-reach places, so be sure to have a 3-mm compatible screwdriver.
  • You'll have to remove all of the wire plugs from the for-matter and DC controller. If you're unsure which plugs you're not supposed to pull, please consult the step-by-step instruction manual.
  • You'll have to remove more internal screws to gain access to the scanner mirrors and lenses where the dust has accumulated.
  • When cleaning the internal mirrors and lenses, be sure NOT to use any cleaning solvents unless specifically necessary, as directly rubbing the optical surfaces may cause damage. Instead, try using dry cotton swabs and compressed air.
  • When returning all parts to their original position, be sure that all parts fit in firmly and in their correct slots before tightening screws. Misalignment can affect printer quality.

If the task seems too daunting or difficult (let's face it, not everyone is a mechanical whizz!), don't hesitate to take it to your nearest electronics repair specialist. Though it may cost extra, the price of having a working red/magenta ink cartridge is important if you want to have any success printing color documents from home. If you have had any luck making this repair on your HP 2605DN, please share your tips in the comments section below!

How to stop printing to the wrong printer

8. January 2013 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Nothing is more aggravating than trying to print a document and having it sent to the wrong printer. If the document is sent to a printer that's not even on the network you're currently using, you'll just get an error message and will have to click around forever to select the correct printer. If you use Windows 7, there's no need to put up with this. By adjusting a few settings, you can eliminate this problem once and for all. Learn how to stop printing to the wrong printer below.

Too Many Devices and Networks

These days, it's not unusual for a person to have at least one netbook or laptop computer. Many people have more than one, and some people have tablets as well. Throughout the day, you may connect to several different Wi-Fi networks. From school to work to home, it's easy to connect to a variety of networks in a single day. Every time you switch to a new network, your printer settings get thrown for a loop. Next to running out of ink, this is probably one of the most frustrating things about printing. Just as you can buy compatible ink to save money, you can follow a few simple steps to make this problem a thing of the past.

  1. Confirm that you know the names of the networks you use and the printers that are associated with each one. If you're not sure, you can find the names of all of the printers on a network by clicking on the Start menu and then clicking on Devices and Printers. The name of each printer will be prominently displayed. Write down the name of each network and the printers that are on each one to ensure the smoothest process possible.
  2. Go back to the Devices and Printers menu and select the icon of the first printer. A new selection of options will now appear at the top of the window. Click on the one that says "Manage Default Printers."
  3. On the Manage Default Printers window, you'll see a list of options with radio buttons next to them. Select the button for the option that says "Change my default printer when I change networks." That way, your computer will automatically detect the appropriate default printer regardless of which network you use.
  4. On the drop-down menu, select the first network that you'd like to add. You will then have to choose the appropriate default printer from the next drop-down menu. When your computer connects with this network, the printer that you select here will automatically be the default printer, so make sure to choose wisely.
  5. Go down the list and repeat this process for each network you use. You won't be able to test these settings unless you're connected to the network that you'd like to test, so you might want to wait until you are. Either way, you should be able to make all of these settings quickly.
  6. After you'd added all of the printers and networks, test your settings by printing a document. Before doing so, make a note of the network to which you're connected and of the printer to which your document should be sent. Send the document to be printed and see if it prints at the right printer. As long as it does, you can rest assured that the settings were made correctly.

If you're unable to test all of your settings immediately, make a note so that you remember to test them when you connect to various networks. You should see that your computer automatically switches to the right printer, and you shouldn't have trouble with printing to the wrong printer again.

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