Printer Problems, How to fix them

 In this article I'm going to explain common printer problems and their solutions. Before we go into the details, following advance checks must be made. Check to see if:

  • The power supply voltage meets the specification.
  • The power supply is properly grounded
  • The printer shares the power supply with any other machine that draws large current intermittently (air conditioner, elevator etc).
  • The installation site is environmentally appropriate: high temperature, high humidity, direct sunlight, ventilation, etc.
  • Levelness of the installation site.
  • Correct paper is being used for printing.
  • The units, parts, and supplies used for printing (developer, PC drum, etc.) are properly replenished and replaced when they reach the end of their useful service life.
  • Toner is not running out.
Printer problems can be divided into two categories:
  • Hardware Problems
  • Connectivity Problems
To determine the problem type, print “status page” from the printer control panel. If it prints without any problem then problem is in the hardware. 

Hardware Related Problems.

Below is a list of common hardware problems. Printer troubleshooting, especially hardware repairing should always be done by a professional, however simple problems can be solved with very little efforts by end-user.
  • Incomplete Characters
Incompletely printed characters on laser-printed transparencies be corrected by adjusting the print density. Always use recommended printing material to obtain good print quality.
  • Ghosting
Ghost images appear on the printed page because of bad cleaning blade or improper charging of the drum unit. Ghost images appear on the next printed page if cleaning blade does not clean the drum surface. Drum/ photoconductor is very sensitive to light, so special care should taken while pulling it out.
  • Creased Pages
Most common cause of paper creases is damp paper. If the creases are noticeable, replace the paper, if problem persists check all the potential causes of misfeeds, paper jams and skewed prints. No hardware solution exists for this problem. This is simply a side effect of the process.
  • Black Pages
A broken charging unit causes a totally black page print. Try removing and reinstalling the print cartridge or photoconductor unit, the electrical contacts between the removable unit and the main part of the printer may not be connecting properly, otherwise replace the print cartridge/photoconductor unit with a new one.
  • Spotty Print
If spots appear at regular intervals on the printout, the printer’s drum may be damaged or toner is stuck onto the fuser rollers. Try wiping off the fuser rollers. Check the drum for damage. If drum is damaged, you must get a new toner cartridge.
  • Vertical White Lines
If you find you have white stripes throughout the printout, then the transfer corona wire is most likely the problem. There may be a problem getting the charge to the paper, resulting in toner missing on the page in areas. Otherwise there is blockage in the developer unit preventing a small area on the developer roller from receiving toner. Clean the path between the developing roller and the “doctor blade” with the corner of a sheet of paper if developing unit is user removable part, but this is not possible on printers using print cartridges.
  • Paper Jams
A misfeed occurs if the printer fails to feed a sheet of paper from the paper feeder. Misfeeds are generally caused by paper which is unsuitable for the printer, either because it is too light, too heavy, or too smooth, however misfeeds do occur with the correct paper. Old or dirty feeding rollers may cause misfeeds. Clean the feeding roller rubber with water and cloth. 
  • Garbled or Corrupted output
If you experience corrupted output, it is possible that the driver has gone corrupt or that you have wrong driver installed. One of the best ways to find out if you have a bad driver is to print a test page. To print a test page go to the "Control panel" in Windows, open "Printers and Faxes", Right click the printer, choose properties, and click "Print test page". If test page is not printed correctly than you should try to reinstall the driver.
  • Fuzzy Print
Low quality or dump paper may effects sharpness of the printed image or the characters. The problem is not the printer, but the paper. Always store paper in a dry place to avoid this problem. Avoid paper that is too rough too smooth. Paper that’s too rough interferes with fusing of characters and their initial definition. If the paper is too smooth (like some coated papers, for example), it might feed improperly, causing distorted or overwritten characters.
  • Blank Printouts
There are two main caused of blank printouts in inkjet printers:
    1. Low ink level
    2. Clogged nozzle of the ink cartridges
If the ink is at an acceptable level, the nozzles have probably become clogged. To unclog the nozzle, dip a cotton swab in denatured alcohol and gently wipe away any dried ink. In laser printers a broken corotron wire may cause no print out.
  • Light Ghosting and Dark Ghosting
A variety of problems can cause both light and dark ghosting, but the most common source of light ghosting is developer starvation. If you ask a laser printer to print an extremely dark or complex image, it can use up so much toner that the toner cartridge won’t be able to charge enough toner to print the next image. The proper solution is to use less toner by using low resolution, changing the pattern and printing a completely blank page prior to the page with the ghosting image.
  • Confetti Printouts
Printouts with ink speckles, or confetti, always indicate an ink problem. Over time, ink can escape into the body of an inkjet printer, eventually finding its way onto subsequent printouts. To fix or prevent speckling, clean the insides of the printer with a damp cloth. Wrong Colors in Printouts Sometimes, a inkjet printers produce printing using the wrong color. Low ink may cause it, it the color cartridge are full than try to clean the nozzles with a cotton swab dipped in denatured alcohol.  
Smudges on Printouts
Smudges on printouts are most often caused by the user touching the printout before the ink has dried. So be aware of it. You may also face this if printer is dirty or nozzles are worn-out. You must replace the worn-out nozzles because they can't be repaired.

Connectivity Related Problems:

Before troubleshooting connectivity related problems, make sure that
  • Your printer is the selected printer in the Print dialog.
  • Select it from the Printer pop-up menu if you do not find it listed.
  • Take care that your operating software is up-to-date.
  • Ensure that you are using the manufacturer's latest printer driver.
  • Try deleting and then re-adding your printer through the Printer Setup Utility.
  • Check the cable connections, line voltage etc.
  • The printer is "Online".
  • Wrong paper size selection in printer driver may also be a cause of print failure.
  • Printer and PC network cards should be able to communicate with each other to complete a print job. Check connectivity between both printer and PC. (see How to).
  • Spooling function saves the print job to hard disk of the printer in a queue eliminating delay in print jobs. Check the properties of the printer and ensure that spooling is enables.

1 comment :

  1. I've spent many hours cleaning out the overflow of ink from the cleaning pads and "spitoons". My own printers get a yearly cleaning that involves cleaning these areas, so I never have garbage on my printouts. Most of my printing is of documents and articles for later reading or reference. I use black and colored ink refills for these printouts and reserve a good non-refilled cartridges for photos. There are many tricks to use to fool printers and cartridges about refilled cartridges and some can be pretty elaborate and even beyond the average users skills.