Identifying Common Problems with Printers and How to Prevent Them?
Isn’t it frustrating to rush up to a deadline to complete in the nick of time, only to find out that your printer is giving you problems, further delaying your completion? Get to know some of these common printer problems that you may actually prevent if you know some of the basics.
Number one on the list, one of the most common problems with printers are no doubt, paper jams. Most of us would understand the pain of this problem because it doesn’t only affect your current prints, at worst, it will also cost you your entire printer! If your printer is giving you paper jam problems more than it should, here’s how to prevent it.
Firstly, you’ve got to understand why paper jams happen. It could be that your paper gets stuck on the printer’s roller (the device that glides your paper in one at a time). It could also be the roller dragging one too many sheets at one go.
Here are some reasons that causes paper jams on your printer (that could be prevented!):
- Papers were not inserted in the right manner.
- Papers were damaged, crinkly or moist (folds and water droplets to paper all belong here).
- Small objects like staple bullets, paper clips or even dusts bunnies that may have gotten into the paper tray (or even pieces of food bits if eating near the printer is your thing).
- Dusty paper rollers. Or even broken ones (although hidden inside, rollers do collect dust).
- Adding papers to the tray while printing is printing (yes, this is one of a common practice).
- Adding too many papers to the tray (take it easy, guys).
- The tray contains more than one type of paper (papers of different quality and/or thickness).
- Residue pieces of papers left from previous paper jams that are not removed completely (here is why one paper jam leads to another).
If you have prevented all the above and printing jam still occurs, be sure to contact your local printing store for a troubleshooting (it could be the printer hardware’s fault as well!). Be sure to have regular maintenance checks for your printers as well (even human needs regular checkups).
Is your Printer a Sloth?
How annoying is it when a slow car is hogging up a fast lane on the road when you’re rushing to catch a flight? Similarly, we could all agree that slow printers are a common problem in printers and can be painfully infuriating (and no, the story of the tortoise and the hare race doesn’t apply here).
What causes a printer to print slow?
- Printing at high quality all the time (if you are merely printing a simple word document, it is highly unlikely that you would require a high quality print. Switching it to lower quality setting at the preferences makes your printing job much quicker and uses less ink too).
- It needs a reset (sometimes printers are loaded with too many jobs, runs for a quite a while without much idle time, it could use some rest. Just disconnect the power cord for at least a minute or two before re-plugging it in, giving it some sort of a reboot could actually ramp up the speed of your printing).
- Driver/Firmware not up to date (pretty self-explanatory, if your driver/firmware version is old, there could be a latest, improved version out there that improves your rate of printing)
- Network issues (be it wired or wireless connections, the data transfer speed from your PC/Mobile devices could be the problem. Making sure the signal strength is not low and check around if there are any heavy downloads/streaming on the network that hinders with data transfer speed).
If all the reasons above are not part of your slow printer problem, it could be your printer’s specifications that are not able to cater to your expectations! (You may want to throw away your dinosaur aged printer and replacing it with a newer one). It could be more beneficial to invest in a better printer in the long run.
Low Ink Warnings, but prints anyway.
Another common problem with printers is on the ink levels. Every single printer user has encountered this, definitely. Your printer warns you of a low ink level remaining; you ignore it and print anyway. It still prints without any problem until you can no longer print, you replace the ink. Sounds like there is no problem right? Wrong!
Basically, it is true that when the printer warns you of low ink levels, the cartridge may still have ink remaining inside (some may have even half the cartridge left!). The printers nowadays all comes with a warning that comes early, just so you have sufficient time to get a replacement cartridge. You could technically still print, but you will need to beware and ensure that the ink doesn’t run out completely.
What happens when your ink runs out completely?
It will damage your printer and it could be as minor as merely replacing your cartridge, or as major as damaging your printer irreversibly.
- Overheating (the ink has two purposes, deliver the pigment, and also acts as a coolant for printer head. If printing continues with a dry cartridge, heat builds up, and it could damage the printing head)
- Breaking the Crystal Seal (some printers use a vacuum crystal system instead of a heating element. If the cartridge is dry, air is forced past the seal, breaking it and this causes an irreversible effect whereby replacing the cartridge will still yield bad printing quality)
- Drying of ink forms blockage (when the ink is dry, it forms a solid blockage on the printer head, which leads to bad prints.
The Deal with Expensive Ink
Another common problem we face today with printers is expensive inks. Printing manufacturers often sell printers at a very low margin or maybe even at a loss where they regain their profit from the ink cartridges instead. This scenario skyrockets the printing costs and is categorized as one of the largest problems with printers today. How do we solve this?
Preventing heavy printing costs
- Use laser printers (if your printing requires a whole lot of documents all requiring only black, a laser printer could often be cheaper for long term benefits)
- Don’t buy printers that come with a 3-in-1 coloured cartridge (if you’re printing with colour, it is more economical to get those with separated ink cartridges. If one of the colours are used up, you’ll only need to replace one colour’s cartridge instead of throwing away the remaining in those 3-in-1. What a waste!)
- Refill your own ink cartridge (it may be messy at times, but if properly handled, they could be a cheaper alternative to buying new cartridges. Printer companies discourage the use of these but in the end of the day, they often turn out just fine).
- Get refilled cartridges instead (Third party cartridges are definitely much more affordable compared to the original ones, and saves you from all the mess of refilling it yourself, so it may be a good alternative)
Hopefully with a little knowledge from identifying these common problems of printers and preventive methods, you can print much more effectively (also, you are now fun in parties). Happy printing guys!