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.   

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