InkJet Printer Help

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So many people get frustrated when their printer messes up, and end up just buying a new one. Here are some tips to help you keep your printer humming along in perfect shape.

  • Check the ink. Many printer manufacturers have made it very easy to tell which ink goes where using a variety of numbers, colors and shapes on the ink cartridge and its caddy. Yet even the best of us have been known to put them in wrong. Check to make sure the color cartridge is in the color caddy and the black and white one is in its proper caddy. Make sure it is for the proper printer model as well. But one thing people fail to realize is that ink cartridges DO go bad and have expiration dates printed on them. I discovered this was a real issue when many of the departments at my school decided to save a few bucks by using recycled and refilled ink cartridges exclusively. When many of our Ink jets started functioning strangely, I checked the ink after exhausting all other efforts. Sure enough they were using recycled ink in a cartridge that expired 2 years ago! I popped in a new, brand name (albeit, pricier) cartridge and the issue was fixed.
  • Do the power hokey pokey. I developed this routine over time to the point where many of my users now know it by heart and can fix the issue themselves, though I am still trying to work it into a song. Sometimes, an ink jet (or any printer for that matter) just needs a good reboot. In the same way that rebooting your computer seems to fix almost anything. Hold the power button down on the printer while it is on. While holding it in, unplug the printer’s power. Once the printers power is unplugged, continue to hold in the power button for 5 or 6 seconds. After about 10 or 15 seconds of doing nothing, plug the printer back in and press its power button. This solves an amazing amount of issues. An even easier solution that works many times in certain situations is to just unplug the printer from its power source and plug it back in. Some buildings (like the one I work in) are grounded very poorly. After a good southern thunderstorm in an Alabama summer, it seemed like half of my ink jets simply didn’t turn on no matter how hard one might press the power button. Unplugging the printer and plugging it back in seemed to discharge some sort of mysterious static electricity “bubble” that prevented it from getting power. I can’t explain this in anyway, I just know it has worked many times.
  • Learn to speak printer-eese. Many times, the printer simply tells you what it wrong with it with a series of lights. You just need to learn to decode the message. Most printer manufactures list what these lights and their blinking sequences mean on their website. Finding out what these lights mean can help you realize that the problem may be nothing more than a sheet of paper jammed up inside the printer. The website will also tell you or even show you illustrations on how to correct the issue.
  • Saving the worst of last; Reinstall the latest printer drivers. Yes, it’s that age-old trump card than any computer tech throws down when all else fails. But seriously, printer drivers can become corrupt for any number of reasons, and uninstalling your printer and installing the latest drivers (found at the manufactures website) can do nothing but good things for you, even if this doesn’t fix the problem at hand. Many times the problem can be fixed just by popping in the CD that came with your printer. If your CD ROM is set to auto play, the CD should give you the option to uninstall or even reinstall the drivers. You won’t get the latest drivers, but you will get the original drivers your printer came with, and the ones it was using when it worked properly.

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