Best practices for cleaning your laser printer

12. November 2011 09:15 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

If you want your laser printer to produce high quality prints and function for many years, basic maintenance is required. The following supplies are needed:isopropyl alcohol

  1. Lint free cloth
  2. Small soft bristle brush
  3. Can of air
  4. Cotton swabs
  5. Isopropyl or ethyl alcohol

The first thing you should do is shut-off the printer and unplug it from the wall. Laser toner printers burn the powder into the printed documents, so the interior of the printer will be extremely hot. Once the printer has cooled down, approximately 60 minutes, you will want to carefully remove the toner cartridges. Using the lint free cloth, wipe down the interior of the printer and use the soft bristle brush and can of air to get toner off of other parts in the small nooks of the printer.

The next thing you will clean is the paper feed rollers, which come into regular contact with the paper. Clean rollers ensure the printer has no problem grabbing the paper. You can clean the rollers with a swab coated with either of the alcohols listed above.

Finally, wait 10 to 15 minutes for the alcohol to dry/evaporate on the rollers then re-install the toner cartridges.

By cleaning a laser printer on a regular basis, you will find that the quality of the prints will stay at the highest possible level. In addition, the printer will stay cooler, which can extend its life and will keep the working area a little cooler.

What to do when the paper jams in your printer

8. November 2011 09:07 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Paper jamOne of the most frustrating things that you can experience when printing a document is a paper jam. This problem always seems to occur at the most inopportune time. People typically try to yank the paper out of the printer or cancel the print. The problem with yanking the paper out is that it can make the situation even worse, especially if the paper rips. The next time paper jams in your printer, follow these steps.

The first thing you will need to do is to determine how much of the page has made its way out. If a good portion of the paper is showing, you can try to gently ease the page out manually. It is important not to rip the paper. If this does not work, you should shut-off the printer and allow it to cool down for a few minutes. From there, you will want to open the printer's lid, remove the toner cartridge and paper tray and see if you can remove the jammed paper. Typically, once the lid is open the paper will be showing enough to easily pull out and there may be some levers you can lift to release the pressure on the paper. Once the paper is out, you will want to ensure that there are no other sheets jammed or little pieces of paper stuck in the paper from a prior jam. Also, inspect all of the other sheets in the paper tray to ensure that they are not bent. You should also not fill the paper tray to capacity, because this can lead to a paper jam. Lastly, make sure the type of paper is supported by your printer. If the paper is too thick and you have a U-Shaped paper path, this may be the cause. The printer paper path varies by printer and typically dictates the type of paper supported.

While it is extremely rare, some jams may actually be a hardware issue, which would require repairing the printer. If the printer is a home or small office printer, many times the cost of repairing the printer is more than purchasing a new printer.

When you should replace your toner cartridge

5. November 2011 10:02 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

High capacity black HP 1320 toner cartridgeEveryone who owns a printer realizes that it is very important to change the toner cartridges at the proper intervals. A toner cartridge may start producing less than premium quality once it starts to run out of toner. In addition, once the cartridge runs out, people will no longer be able to print. If a cartridge runs out because people failed to change it, they may not be able to meet important deadlines, whether it be for a school research project or a major sales proposal. If people follow a few recommendations and guidelines, they will never have to worry about low-quality prints, nor will they ever have to worry about missing key deadlines.

The first thing that people should analyze is how long the manufacturer claims their cartridges will last for. For example, the high capacity compatible HP 1320 toner has a page yield of 6,000.  This assumes a 5% coverage, but more often than not the  coverage is more like 10% meaning the cartridge will probably only last 3,000 pages. One thing people will need to keep their own eye's on is the quality of the prints. If the print quality begins to appear faded, it is a good sign that the cartridge is running low. In addition, if it begins to take a longer period of time for the prints to start and finish, the cartridge is also getting low. People can visualize writing with an ink pen that is starting to run out, they shake it a few times and it writes a few letters, then they have to shake it again. When cartridges begin to run out, another common thing that a lot of people note is that a particular color is missing. This stands out when people print off a colorful document or image, only to discover that something looks a lot different than it did on the computer screen.

Keeping an extra cartridge on hand is our recommendation on how to ensure you never get caught with a non-functional printer. Toner cartridges have a shelf life of 2 years if stored in the proper conditions. If you do not know how to store your toner cartridge, read our informative blog post. Under worst case scenarios, toner cartridges can usually be bought at your local office supply, however you will pay a premium for that convenience versus stocking up ahead of time with us.

What to do when your toner cartridge is not recognized

3. November 2011 07:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Toner cartridges contain an embedded microchip that can cause problems with the printer detecting it properly. Oftentimes a “toner cartridge not recognized” error will appear when attempting to print. There are several reasons why a printer can fail to recognize a toner cartridge as described below.

Failure to Power-Down the Printer
Installing a cartridge without turning off the machine can cause a cartridge not recognized error. Affecting the main memory of the printer, this problem can be remedied by turning off the printer, removing the toner cartridge and unplugging the printer for at least five minutes. After five minutes has passed, reinstalling the toner cartridge will reset the printer’s memory and it should print successfully. This is the most common solution and has helped me resolve the error when replacing  my Dell toner on many occasions.  Many people fail to do this step because they do not think it will make a difference.

Improperly Connected Toner Cartridge
Certain brands such as the Lexmark or HP toner cartridge are created with the print heads directly on the cartridge. The cartridges make direct contact with electrical circuits connected to the print heads. One slight issue in the connection can cause the toner not recognized error. Removing the cartridge from the printer and placing it back in should fix the problem.

Smart Chip Problems
Toner cartridges contain a chip that communicates the remaining level of toner to the printer. Printers will often refuse to accept toner that has a particular kind of chip.

If the printer refuses to recognize the cartridge after following the methods highlighted above, try another cartridge.

What causes light prints on the side

31. October 2011 07:23 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

It is not fun to go and print something out only to notice that it didn't print out right. One of these problems is when light prints on the side of the paper. There are usually two scenarios where this can happen and it usually depends on what kind of toner cartridge the printer uses. If your printer's toner cartridge uses both the drum and the toner in a single unit, like many HP toner cartridges, then the problem is most likely caused by the cartridge itself.

When the cartridge is the likely cause of the problem, it is probably because the toner is not in its slot correctly. Light is then printed onto the paper because one side of the cartridge is installed correctly into the slot while the other side is not. It might be too far away from the paper while the printer is printing and this is how the light is printed on that side.

The best way to test for this problem is by powering down the printer. Remove the power cord from the wall or the printer as well. Next, open up the access panel of the printer. This will either be on the front or the top of the printer to expose the cartridges. Remove the cartridges and then reinsert them correctly according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once you have reinstalled, turn the power back on and see if this fixed the problem by printing a test page.

Another problem that causes light prints on the side of the paper is the drum itself. If your printer uses a separate imaging drum from the toner, then the drum is most likely the cause. In these types of printers, the laser toner is first transferred from the cartridge to the drum. Then the toner is transferred to the page that is printing. If the drum is dirty, oily or scratched, this could be the cause for light printing on the side of your paper. If the cause is your drum, it is best to replace it or have it cleaned by a professional. It is a sensitive part of your printer and it is not recommended to try and clean it yourself. Doing so can result in breaking it or causing damage to your printer.

How to change your printer settings

27. October 2011 06:17 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

There are many printer options that can change the entire look the paper you are printing. Learning how to change the printer’s settings is easy, but no one has to know that. It can be your little secret. The first step is to prepare the document for printing. Once the document has been typed and checked for errors, it is time to print it for use.

How to change your printer settings:
First click on the ‘print’ button in whatever program you are in, select your printer from the drop drown and click the Properties or Preferences button.  Click on the ’printer setting’ tab. This opens a menu with a variety of choices. The next step depends on what you want to change on the document.

Print Quality Settings
Documents can be set to print at differently levels to save on ink or toner usage. Included are ‘draft’, ‘normal’, ‘best’ and ‘maximum’. These settings determine the DPI setting. The higher the setting, the better quality of print received.  Click one of the buttons depending on which one you wish to use. A ‘draft’ copy will not use nearly as much ink or toner and the printing will be much lighter than the other settings. Use this if you just want a test run. ’Normal’ prints a quality copy that is geared for primarily text documents. The ‘best’ setting gives the best possible printing job. When using this setting, printing will take longer. If printing images, this setting gives the best outpu. The last setting is ‘maximum’. This setting puts the maximum amount of ink or laser toner on the paper and is generally not useful.

‘Orientation’ on a printer means which way the document is printed. If it is a letter, the paper should be printed in ‘portrait’ mode. If it is a graph or chart, ‘landscape’ works best. To change the orientation, click on ‘preferences’. Click on the scroll down button, and then choose the option you prefer. Click the ‘save’ button and the orientation is set.

Number of Copies
The number of copies you want printed can be changed from the first printer screen. It is on the lower right corner of the screen. You can use the scroll button to change the numbers up or down. The number can be typed in as well, which is sometimes much easier. This setting automatically returns to 1 after the requested number of copies have printed.

Page Range
If there are certain pages you want printed but want to leave out others, you can simply change the page range. If you want all the pages to print, you don’t have to do anything. If you want to change the range, mark ‘pages’. The page numbers must be typed in. For instance, if you want page 2-5 printed, type 2-5. To print on particular page, type in that page number. To print page one, type 1.

These few changes make it much easier to manage printing tasks. You will save ink¸ paper and time. All print jobs will come out more professional in appearance, which makes you appear more professional.

Why toner cartridge shipping seals are important

25. October 2011 06:03 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

When a new toner cartridge is opened for a printer, it should have a shipping seal. This is usually a strip of plastic that is wrapped around a main roller in the cartridge. It will have a little tab sticking out from the cartridge. Prior to using the cartridge, this tab must be pulled, thus removing the seal. Otherwise, the toner will not come out and your prints will be blank.

Just as it is important to make sure a jar of peanut butter has a proper seal before it is opened, a toner cartridge must have a seal. If the seal is lacking, return the cartridge for a replacement.  The seal wraps around the main roller in the cartridge which creates a gap between the application rollers, developer and doctor blade. This prevents any toner from being released and allows the cartridge to be shipped. If the seal was removed or there was a problem installing the seal during the manufacturing process, you will immediately know because laser toner powder will have dumped out into the plastic bag during shipping.

Another problem that is common with the seal, you are unable to pull the seal out of the cartridge. I have seen this issue happen on a number of occasions with brand new genuine HP toner cartridges.  If the seal is jammed, do not continue to tug on the seal. Instead, immediately call to get a replacement cartridge.

Printing from your Playstation 3

18. October 2011 07:20 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Sony Playstation 3 (PS3)The Playstation 3, beyond its primary function as a game console, is an excellent all-in-one multimedia device. It's one of the top Blu-ray players on the market, and can read virtually any movie file, music file, or, particularly, high resolution image files. However, a feature that is not so widely utilized is the PS3's ability to print images directly from its hard drive. We'll explain, step by step, how to make this happen.

HP C4795 ink printerFirst, you want to make sure you're using a printer that is compatible with the PS3. The PS3 supports HP, Canon, and Epson printers. You can usually check on the manufacturer's website to learn which printers are compatible, as well as Sony's website. Make sure your PS3 firmware is updated, as well.  I have my PS3 successfully connected to the HP C4795 ink printer via a USB cable.

Second, connect the printer to the PS3. You can either use a USB connection, or you can use a printer that is on your network. In this case, just make sure the printer is on. It's important to note that with some or all HP printers, the PS3 will not recognize them if they are connected via USB. You will have to have them connected on the same network to use them in this case.

Next, you will need to configure the printer. This can be done in the XMB menu, by first going to Settings, then Printer Settings, then Printer Selection. The on-screen instructions should guide you from that point on. If this step is giving you trouble or you're not seeing your printer in the options, try selecting Other (Network Standard). This should provide you with a list of all printers that are available on the PS3's system network, where you should be able to find your model.

At this point, you should be ready to print your images! This can be done by going to the Images category in the XMB, then selecting the image you want, pressing [Triangle], and selecting Print. It will then show your current print settings, which you can alter by pressing [Triangle] again. The settings can be different depending on the printer you're using. Select Print one more time and press [X], and your image will print. You can also print an image that is currently being displayed by pressing [Triangle] and going through the same steps.

If you need to check the printer's status or stop a print job, this can be done by going to Settings, then to Printer Settings, then Printer Manager. Also, if you have images stored on a DLNA media server that is being used by your PS3, you will need to copy them to the PS3 hard drive before you can print them. This can typically be done by having the image selected and pressing [Triangle], then selecting the Copy option.

This guide should make printing with your PS3 a breeze. If you need further help, check on the Sony website or the printer manufacturer's site, as they can provide more detailed information.

How to print from Citrix

10. October 2011 12:04 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

CitrixSometimes, an office’s printing set-up can become extremely unwieldy and difficult to manage. People running such an office may wish there was an easier way to manage all that printing to the variety of ink and toner cartridge printers. Thankfully, there is a way to accomplish this. This solution involves installing Citrix printing management services. By using a Citrix program known as XenApp, you can manage Citrix’s different services as well all the printers installed on a computer network.

An important part of using Citrix to manage your printing is setting up policies that determine how this management occurs. To do this, the advanced configuration settings of XenApp need to be used. By altering these configurations, a person can change the policy settings for a network’s printers. In specific, something known as CUP, an acronym that stands for Citrix Universal Printer, must be set-up and enabled.

The first step to this process is accessing your desktop’s start menu. From the start menu pop-up, access the “All Programs” section. Scroll down until you see the folder named Citrix. Open it and then click to launch Citrix itself.  Once inside, click on the link to open the menu named “Administrative Tools.” While inside this menu, search for the option that is labeled “XenApp Advanced Configuration.”

Inside this menu, there should also be an option labeled as “Policies.” Right click on this. You should now be able to see an option that is named “HDX Plug-n-Play.” You should click on this. Once you have done so, click to choose the option that is named “Printing” as well.

Within this printing menu, choose the link labeled “Client Printers.” Choose to set the program to “Auto creation.” Also choose to “Enable.” This option should be located below a heading marked “Auto Creation.”

You will also need to select more options to set-up your printing policies. One option you should certainly select is the one that tells Citrix not to auto-create a client printer. This option can be found in a drop-down list that is labeled “When connecting.”

Next, click on the option labeled “Legacy client printers.” After you have done so, make sure to click the selection named “Enabled.” The next option that should be chosen is the one that allows you create something called a dynamic session with private client printers. When you see this option, click on it.

There should also be yet another option labeled “HDX Plug-n-Play.” Choose this option by clicking on it. Near by, there should be an option named “Printing.” Choose it as well. There should also be a “Sessions Printer” section that can be clicked on. Do so and then choose the “Enabled” setting.

Lastly, you need to make sure this plethora of different settings and configurations is saved. You can do this pressing on the button labeled “Apply,” which should be located near the bottom. Once you have done that, click “Ok.” This will make sure all the altered configurations are indeed saved.

Once you have finished all these steps, your printing policies with Citrix should be set-up. You can now use Citrix to mange your computer or network’s printing capabilities.

What are printer firmware updates?

4. October 2011 07:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

binary computer codePrinter firmware is the program stored inside of a printer, which allows it to receive information from a computer and turn it into a printed image. Both ink cartridge and toner printers have firmware.  While most users may not consider it important to install these updates, installing these updates can help repair bugs in existing firmware, which could reduce printer life. Many updates also fix issues with printing speed on some types of files and increasing the number of pages per minute that can be printed. Not all models of printers support user updatable firmware, so searching your printer manufacturer’s website for your exact model of printer will be required in installing firmware.

Using a search engine, like Google, will often be the fastest method of finding the most up to date software possible for your printer. A typical search would consist of your printer brand + printer model + firmware.  Once you have located the newest firmware, save it to your computer and hook up your printer. Be sure all cables are securely plugged in, as disconnecting the printer's data cable or power during the process may cause your printer to have an incomplete firmware installed, making it impossible to print until it can be repaired. This repair may require professional help, so double check before you begin the process.

Run the executable file from your manufacturer, and follow all on screen instructions carefully. Most firmware updates will automatically detect your printer model correctly, but be sure to check twice when selecting any options during the installation process. Again, be sure not to disconnect any cables during the installation. Allow the firmware to fully transfer, and then restart your computer and printer to complete the process.

Once your equipment has restarted, you can confirm that the installation was completed by entering the Control Panel on your computer and navigating to the Printers menu. Double click on the printer you have updated, and choose “Properties” from the “Printer” dropdown menu and check the version number in the “About” tab on this menu. The version displayed should match the version of the firmware you download. If it does, you have successfully installed your new firmware. If not, ensure that you have downloaded the firmware for your exact model of printer and try again.

Month List