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Five Tips to Make Your Printer Last Longer

Today’s technology and manufacturers’ marketing savvy have made printers, especially inkjet printers, indispensible in any home office. Over the years, these printers have transformed into lightweight, durable, quick and efficient equipment. Many models even serve multiple functions, from fax machine to copier and scanner.

Despite the versatility of printers these days, one thing still does not change about them and that is the fact that they are still fragile tools that must be handled carefully. Sure, these machines have become so cheap in recent years that many of us would not bat an eyelash at the thought of buying a new one just because the old one broke down. However, it is unseemly to be wasteful, especially in the light of the current global economic crisis and especially when there are ways to make the life of your printer last longer.

In fact, here are five tips to extend the life of your printer so you can enjoy its use for years to come.

1. Clean your machine regularly. There are two advantages that you can get from a printer that is clean inside and out. First is that you can have less incidences of paper jams if your machine is clean. Second is that you will continue to have pristine prints whenever you use your printer. So, wipe the insides and the outside of your machine at least once a month with a lint-free cloth.

2. Always remember that your printer is fragile. Your machine may look like it is solid through and through, but what you may not be aware of is that it has little screws and nuts and bolts and other parts inside that are easily damaged when rattled. Thus, handle your machine with care all the time.

3. Avoid paper jams. Paper jams are just one of the leading causes of printers bogging down. You can actually avoid paper jams by replacing the rollers in your printer when they start to look shiny and worn down, and by not fanning the sheaf of paper that you will put in the paper feed tray.

4. Avoid grounding and static electricity. Static electricity is another cause of printer damage. It also hurts to touch anything that is grounded. So, make sure that the wiring on your machine is safe and properly installed. Again, do not fan the paper that you will put in the feeding tray because it also contributes to static electricity.

5. Get a hold of the user manual. Printers always come with a user manual prepared by its manufacturer. However, it is always likely to be misplaced. In case you do misplace it, buy a replacement copy or download it for free from a reliable source. Having the user manual around is always useful whenever you see the printer error message or bogs down out of the blue.

Whatever kind of printer you have, whether it is a laser printer or an inkjet printer, it is always good to take care of your machine. Taking good care of it will make your machine last you a very long time and save you money.

Most Popular Samsung Printers of 2009

Printers are amongst the many other electronic products that Samsung is making it mark in. In keeping with the competition, Samsung has a range of new printers set to take 2009 by storm. Most of these are already on their way to becoming very popular. Here’s what you can expect.

The Samsung CLX-3175FW

This new wireless printer is 4 solutions packed into 1. Printing, scanning, copying and faxing is what it is designed to do. Matte black in color with a very elegant design, it is guaranteed to look good in any kind of office space. The wireless feature of this printer makes it an ideal network printer as well. Besides being wireless, the CLX-3175FW comes with Ethernet capabilities as well. The laser printouts from this machine are sharp and crisp and free from smudges. Its printing resolution can go up to 2400dpi x 600dpi and its capacity for paper is 150 sheets. Along with these features it also comes with a memory of 128MB and a process speed of 360MHz.

The Samsung SCX-4500W

This multi-functional printer is by far the most compact All-in-One printer in the world. This feature also makes it the smallest printer in its category that is network ready. Like its counterparts, it too comes equipped with Ethernet network capabilities and laser printouts of excellent quality. The Samsung SCX-4500W is built with a memory of 64MB and a process of 360MHz. It can hold up to 100 sheets of papers and has sensor panels that are soft touch and button less.

The Samsung SCX-4826FN

This new multi functional printer is making its mark on the printing industry as well. With its small size and high performance to its advantage, it is an ideal buy for an office. It comes equipped with a user panel that is simple and easy to use with an LED display. This printer not only provides the functions of copying, printing, scanning and faxing but PC faxing as well. The SCX-4826FN can print up to 30ppm and is designed so that you don’t have to worry about paper jams. It also comes with a memory of 128MB which can be expanded to 384MB and a cassette that can hold 250 sheets. This feature is optional. You can also print and scan from a USB drive directly.

The Samsung ML-2855ND

This mono laser printing machine is designed so that it can increase the productivity of a workgroup. Packed with a memory of 64MB that can be expanded to 192MB and with a process of 400MHz, this printer can print up to 30ppm taking not more than 8 ½ seconds for the first print. The Samsung ML-2855ND also comes with a built in technology called duplex printing that saves paper and toner cartridge and offers cost effective solutions to business and small offices. The printer also comes with a cassette that can accommodate 250 sheets along with a multipurpose tray that can hold 50 sheets. The printing output of this machine is 1200dpi x 1200dpi and it connects via USB 2.0.

Proper Printer Maintenance Can Extend Your Machine’s Life

If you want your printer to perform at its best levels and to last for the years to come, it is important that you conduct proper printer maintenance on a regular basis. Taking good care of your printer is definitely going to make your printer a lot easier to use.

How do you conduct proper printer maintenance? Proper printer maintenance is actually a day-to-day task. You can take care of your printer in many small ways, and the right printer usage also helps a lot in extending your printer’s life.

Here are some tips to make your printer last longer through proper printer maintenance.

1. Keep the insides of your printer clean. A clean printer means a surface clear of dust. It also means its insides are free from dust and paper debris. Make it a habit to wipe the insides of your printer with clean, lint-free cloth at least once a month. This will prevent paper jams as well as remove any residue that will mar the quality of your prints.

2. Handle your printer with care. Your printer is fragile, so you should handle it carefully. Do not slam its lid or its trays shut, and do not push or drop it. You may end up with loose threads and with the little parts broken off. Also, keep the manual feed tray closed if you are not using it.

3. Prevent paper jams. Preventing paper jams from happening is an integral part of printer maintenance. Paper jams can lead to damage inside your printer. To keep paper jams from happening, avoid printing on torn or folded paper and use the paper grade that meets the minimum requirements of your printer.

4. Avoid static electricity. Static electricity greatly affects the performance of your printer. You can actually avoid that from happening. One such way of doing so is not to fan the sheaf of papers you will load into the printer. People believe it loosens the paper to prevent paper jams, but it actually contributes to static electricity. Storing your paper in a cool and dry place also helps with this as well.

5. Replace worn-out rollers. If your printer uses a roller, part of regular printer maintenance is checking whether it is already worn out. A worn-out printer contributes to paper jams because it has become too slippery to feed the paper into the printer correctly. Once your printer’s roller has come to look glazed, buy a replacement.

6. Buy a service manual. Error messages on your printer flash because of a reason, and these errors must be corrected as soon as possible. So that you would be able to address the error messages that your printer may show you, buy a service manual. If you already have a service manual, keep it where you can make a quick grab for it.

Proper printer maintenance is not that hard to do. It is a simple, day-to-day task that just calls you to watch your printer usage whenever you can.

Top 5 Small Multifunction Home Office Printers in 2009

The small multifunction home office printers were developed to cater to the market known as SOHO, meaning small office home office. This generally includes individuals operating from home, small businesses and small divisions of large companies. These multifunction printers normally have the functions of printing, scanning, photocopying, faxing, and e-mailing. The major brands supplying this segment are Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, and Xerox. Manufacturers like Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Oce, Okidata, and Olivetti also operate in this market with negligible shares. Let us compare the top 5 small multifunction home office printers in 2009.

Brother MFC-685CW

Brother MFC-685CW is a pure multifunction printer and also inexpensive. The footprint of the machine is very less, with 18.4” width, 14.6” depth, and 7.1” height. The 10-page document feeder is flush with the lid of the scanner, thus saving lot of space. The PictBridge USB port and the 2 memory card slots are mounted in the front. A rare 3.3” widescreen color LCD control panel is provided in this machine to preview pictures on one side and information on the other side.

The message center allows you to play back or erase voice messages. The fax panel lets you preview, pause/redial, hold, and operate the speaker phone. The corded handset enables manual phone calls. The paper tray could hold 100 plain papers, while the dedicated photo tray could contain 20 sheets of 4×6 photo paper. The black ink tank provides about 500 pages, while the cyan, yellow, and magenta tanks offer about 400 pages each.

The multifunction printer comes with a scanner, copier, and fax functions, apart from a built-in answering machine. The fax options are highly sophisticated in this low-priced machine. The machine is network-ready, having Ethernet and Wi-Fi. This printer is ideal for homes and small offices, if you do not need very high printing quality and incredible speed.

Canon Pixma MX700

Canon Pixma MX700 is a printer with fast operations and high quality output. The 1.8” color LCD panel is not fully sufficient for photo previewing but it is alright for other menus. The front paper input tray could hold 110 sheets of plain paper. The rear tray is recommended for photo paper or thin T-shirts. PictBridge port and memory cards are not provided in this printer. Further, the limited fax functions, as well as the other limited task speeds, make it fit only for light printing needs.

HP Officejet J6480

HP Officejet J6480 comes with lot of high-end hardware like autoduplexer, optical character recognition scanner, wireless setup, etc. Still, the machine does not have PictBridge support and fax functions are limited to three. The printer is slower and larger in size than other similar models. The trays do not fold into the body. If you need a very rugged multifunction printer that you would not move around very much, then you could opt for this machine.

Epson Artisan 800

Epson Artisan 800 is a machine for high quality photo prints and documents. The footprint is reasonably small and the output speed is the maximum, compared to other similar models. However, the software in the machine has got lot of bugs and work is continuously disrupted. The output tray is made of flimsy plastic and the input tray is also quite delicate and is prone to frequent paper jams. Pricing of the machine is also quite high. It is not the ideal printer in the market.

Kodak ESP 5

Kodak ESP 5 comes with functions of printing, scanning, and copying. The photo editing software is a watered down version and not suitable for professional photo edit jobs. The printer also suffers from various mechanical errors and problems. The print speed is average and the graphics quality does not have high definition. Price is high for such a poor model.

Most Common 10 Printer Problems That You Can Easily Fix Yourself

As in the case with the most of mechanical devices, printers can also cease to work or many produce inconsistent or unexpected results. Though there are many variants and each can develop a separate kind of fault but there are some common faults which if you know to fix can easily save the cost of calling repair service provider.

1) Fuzzy print
Sometimes we notice fuzzy print, letter or graphics on pages and we think that something is wrong with the printer or printer ink cartridge. But this is not the case. Fuzzy print is caused due to printing on a damp paper. The paper which is stored outside has the tendency to absorb moisture.
Solution: Print of unwrapped paper.

2) Paper Jams
Paper jams is one of most common problem which one encounters. A paper jam can occur due to variety of reasons like wrong selection of paper, dirt on rollers or paper.
Solution: Try to use right kind of paper. If problem still persists, open the lid of the printer can clean the rollers. If rollers have worn out you can get them replaced.

3) Ghosting
When you see lighter copy of image somewhere else along with the original image, this is termed as ghosting. The reason for the same can be problematic power supply or faulty drums.
Solution: Check the power cable by plugging it in other printer to see if problem still persists or not. If it persists, replace the power chord. If it doesn’t, this can be caused by drum or imaging kit which needs to be replaced.

4) 50.4 error message
While printing with many HP printers, 50.4 error pops up. This error message indicated that something is wrong with the power supply.
Solution: If printer is on UPS, remove it from there and plug it in main supply. As an advice, a laser printer should never be plugged in the UPS as it can damage the printer.

5) Printer picking up all pages instead of one
For this problem, pad which separates the paper is responsible.
Solution: You can easily replace the worn out pad.

6) 79 error message
This error message is shown due to some fault in network print server.
Solution: First make sure, no printing jobs are pending. It can also crop up due to add-on component. For this, first remove all add-on components and then insert them one by one to see where the fault lies.

7) Envelopes
Sometimes it becomes impossible to print on envelopes correctly.
Solution: Use those envelopes which are around 20-lb in thickness and weight. Adhesive used should also be of good quality which can easily withstand the heat.

8) Rubbish print
Sometimes meaningless lines get printed. This is caused due to communication errors.
Solution: Check cable which connects system and printer. If it’s connected well, reset the printer and again print the work.

9) Split images
Sometimes you get images broken in two pages and most likely the reason is lack of inadequate memory.
Solution: You need to add additional memory if error crops up many times, or can check for memory errors with self test function.

10) Faded Print
Sometimes, the print is faded.
Solution: Either the toner is getting empty or print density is set to low, or economic mode is one. For last too options, print density can be increased to see if problem doesn’t persist.

Troubleshooting Common Dell Printer Problems with Ease

It happens to each and every one of us. Whenever we are rushing to complete a project for school or a report for work, somehow our printers just seem to fail on the last minute. No printer model is free from this, not even Dell printers. Having to troubleshoot your Dell printer may be the last thing on your mind when you are rushing to meet a deadline. But there is no reason to panic. Many of the common problems Dell users face are actually very easy to fix and would only take a few minutes. Here are four of the most common problems that Dell printer users commonly face and how to fix them.

Paper Jams

In your rush to print out your report or project, many times we find ourselves merely shoving the paper into the paper feed. When you have opened a new ream of bond paper, the paper tends to stick to each other causing your paper to jam while printing. Another reason for paper jams to occur is when the paper fed is not smooth. When this happens, stop the printing session and then slowly pull the jammed paper from the printer. Make sure that you are able to remove the entire paper jammed in your printer. If it tears, turn off your printer and then carefully remove any remaining paper pieces. Before restarting your printing session, make sure that you first loosen the remaining sheets of paper in your paper feed.
Poor Printing Quality

If you notice that there are lines on the printout, or there is nothing printed on the paper, this could mean that your printer nozzle is clogged up with dried ink. To remove the white lines from the printout, run the clean option in your printer and then test the printout first before proceeding. If there is nothing printed on the paper, get a cotton swab and moisten this with alcohol. Run the cotton swab carefully under the printer nozzle to loosen out all the dried ink that has been clogged up in the nozzle.

Paper Feed

Another common problem faced by Dell printer users is having problems when the paper is fed into the printer. This would result to your printout to become lopsided. This is commonly brought about by something blocking the rollers that feed the paper into the printer. Inspect the printer and free it from any blockage such as torn up paper resulting from a paper jam.

Ink Cartridges Not Recognized

In order to save up on money, some Dell printer users would have their Dell ink cartridges refilled rather than buying new cartridges. Unfortunately, most Dell printers come with a program that would allow you to check the ink status in your ink cartridges. While this can be useful to most Dell printer users, the downside of this is that once the program recognizes the ink cartridge is empty, it can no longer be used even when it is refilled. One way to prevent this from happening is to have your ink cartridge refilled once the program advises you that the ink level in the cartridge is low. This way you can deceive the program into allowing you to use your refilled ink cartridge.

To Lease or To Buy Your Large Copier at Your Workplace

In the workplace, you may find that having a large copier is going to be the best choice for your printing and copying needs. However, making that kind of purchase is sometimes beyond the budget of a business owner, especially an owner who is just getting started. Of course, buying outright isn’t the only option when it comes to business equipment. You might want to consider choosing to lease that large copier instead. Below are some advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of Leasing

When you lease business equipment, the best advantage is that you do not need a large upfront sum of money. You may need to pay a deposit or the first month’s leasing fee right away but that’s a fraction of what you’d have to pay if you went to the store and made the purchase in full.

Another advantage is that when you’re leasing the copier is normally delivered to your business for you at no extra cost because the company wants to protect their property. If you purchase the copier otherwise, you may have to pay extra for delivery and set-up.

With leasing, you are also normally able to buy a more expensive printer because you can spread the costs out over a longer period of time. Plus, you can upgrade at any time during your leasing agreement so if a new and improve model comes out three months after you’ve gotten the copier in your office that won’t be a problem in most cases.
Disadvantages of Leasing

Despite the benefits listed above, there are some reasons to buy instead of lease. For one, if you lease you’re going to end up spending a lot more money in the long run. The payments may be lower than buying the copier outright but by the end of the leasing period you’ll have more than paid for the unit.

Another disadvantage is that you never own the property. In business, that means you can’t include the depreciation on your taxes nor can you count the copier as part of your company’s assets. If anything happens to the copier while it is in your office, you could also be held financially responsible by the leasing company.

Repairs: Another Consideration

Before you decide whether to buy or lease, you should think about the repair issue and toner cartridge cost. Copiers do have a tendency to breakdown easily – it’s in their nature. Sometimes even small paper jams require a call to technical support. If you’re leasing, you can usually count on quick service from a technician and you may not have to pay anything extra for this service. However, if you purchase the copier and don’t pay extra for the extended warranty you may have to pay for all those future repairs on your own.

Final Decision

If you’re trying to find the middle ground between leasing and buying, consider doing both. Lease a copier you’re considering purchasing so you can try it out on your own. If you like what you see, make the purchase.

How to Fix Common Dell Inkjet Printer & Printer Cartridge Problems

When you have to print an important document for work or for school, the last thing you want to experience is a problem with your Dell inkjet printer. Unfortunately, that does happen even with the most reliable printers and cartridges. The good news is you don’t necessarily need to throw out the whole printer or spend hours with tech support on the phone to fix the problem. Instead, the fix might be easier than you think.

Paper Jams when No Jam is Apparent

One of the most frustrating problems you can encounter is the paper jam. In most cases, you only need to locate the offending piece of paper and remove it by pulling it out in the same direction the paper would normally move in the machine. However, sometimes you may not be able to find the paper jam. In that case, a problem may be present with the rollers in the printer. Sometimes the roller has just come loose and may be able to be fixed by tightening it up. If that doesn’t help or if the roller has come completely loose, you may need to have the printer fixed by a professional.

Failure to Print When Everything Else Works Fine

If you have one of those all-in-one inkjet printers from Dell, you may find that the other features may work fine even if you can’t get the printer to start printing. While you may be worried that your printer has stopped working, the most common cause of the problem is that the printer ink cartridge is too clogged up with dried ink to work. You can use a cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol to clean away the dried up ink so it can flow again.

Paper Feeding Problems

With some Dell supplies like printers, you may encounter a problem with the paper feed. While these problems can take a few forms, one example is that the printer will only take in paper from one side. While it pulls in the paper from one side, the other side remains still in the tray. As a result, a paper jam occurs. If you have this problem, you most likely have something blocking the paper path. You can fix it by turning off the printer, unplugging it, and gently shaking it so that whatever is in there will come out. If that doesn’t work, take a piece of stiff plastic and gently move it inside the paper path until you pull out the problem. These two methods work about 99% of the time.

Printing Won’t Work After Cartridges Refilled

When you’re using Dell ink cartridges and doing refilling, this is going to happen sometimes because the company has taken steps to make things more difficult on customers who choose this option. The best advice is to prevent the problem by doing the refill as soon as you are notified about the low ink status. Waiting until you are almost out will make this problem more likely.

How to Fix Common HP Inkjet Printer & Printer Cartridge Problems

We have all been faced with this scenario: we need to print something for work or school only to find our HP inkjet printer isn’t cooperating. The good news is many of the common problems that may be preventing your print job from going through can be easily corrected. Below are some tips that can help you next time you’re facing this type of scenario.

Paper Jams

By far, the most common problem affecting any type of printer is paper jams. These can happen for any number of reasons but are often just a consequence of the construction of the machine. Different HP inkjet printers have the rollers in different locations so you may have an easy or difficult time reaching them in order to remove the offending trapped paper. No matter where the rollers can be found in the machine you should always remember to pull out the paper in the same direction as the normal printing path. Pulling it backwards could do damage to the printer.

Unable to Find Correct Printer Driver

If you want to be able to use all of the functionality of your HP printer, be sure to have installed the appropriate printer driver for the machine. Otherwise, some features might not work correctly. You may find some drivers are more difficult to find online than others but doing a search for the brand and model is one way to track down the printer driver you need. An easier way is to go to a site such as PrintCountry.com, which will email you the driver you want for free.
Faded Ink after a few Print Jobs

What if you’ve printed several jobs after changing the hp ink cartridge then the ink starts to look faded and too light only have a handful of pages have gone through. If you have this problem, first clean the heads of your HP printer. Check the manual for the specific details on how to do this for your machine. If the improvement from this is only temporary, you should return the cartridge. The problem occurs when the cartridge is not providing a steady supply of ink. This can happen because the cartridge has been on the shelves for a long time.

Refusing to Print

If you try to print and get an error message each time, you should always check the simple problems first before assuming there is a problem with your HP printer. Check to make sure your printer is probably connected and is turned on. Also check your printer settings on your computer to be certain that you have selected your printer from the menu. This is not always done automatically.

If your HP printer is connected to your system via a network, you should make sure those connections are working as well. Finally, take note of the error message or number then do a search at the HP site or via Google for information on what the problems means so you can fix it.

How To Deal with Paper Jams

It seems to happen every time that you are rushing to print out a document. Out of the blue, the paper suddenly jams into the printer. Here are a few ways to overcome your paper jam blues.

What causes paper to jam?

The following are the primary causes of paper jams:

  • Thickness of the paper. Printer manufacturers often specify the kind of paper material and paper thickness that can be used on a specific printer model. Using a paper material that is too thick or too thin can cause the paper to eventually get caught and jam in the printer.
  • Paper sticking together. Sometimes, paper that is bought in reams tends to slightly stick to each other because of static. As a result, instead of the printer feeding only one printer at a time, multiple sheets of paper are eventually fend into the printer, making this thicker and increasing the likelihood of the paper to jam into the printer.
  • Crumpled or folded paper. Improper handling of paper can cause creases to be left on the paper itself. This may lead to problems when the paper is fed into the printer rollers.
  • Accumulation of dust and other materials. Over time, dirt and dried ink or toners would accumulate within the printer, including the printer rollers that feed paper into the printer. If the printer is not regularly cleaned, it may cause the printer rollers to become sticky and cause the paper to eventually jam.

Getting Out of a Jam

If your paper gets jammed inside the printer, try turning the printer off for a few minutes and then turn this on again. When the printer warms up, it sometimes is able to free the paper jammed inside the printer. If this still fails, follow these simple steps carefully:

  • Turn off your printer and remove any loaded paper on the printer tray.
  • Open the printer’s door to expose the toner or ink cartridge.
  • Remove the toner cartridge.
  • Carefully pull the paper jammed in the printer to make sure that the printer head does not get damaged in the process and the paper does not tear.
  • In the event that the paper does tear, carefully rotate the printer rollers to free the torn portion of the paper.
  • Replace the toner or ink cartridge.

Frequent Jam Problems

If you experience frequent jams when using your printer, it could be that the printer is dirty and would need to be cleaned. This could be easily done by using a moist (not wet) cloth with alcohol. Over time, dirt, dust and dried toner and ink tend to accumulate on the printer rollers. This would eventually cause the printer rollers to become sticky and cause the paper to cling on the printer rollers, causing it to jam. This could also happen if you have just recently printed out adhesive labels in your printer. Sometimes, printer labels can get detached. When this happens, the gum adhesive can be transferred onto the printer rollers causing paper materials to stick as well.

How to Prevent Paper Jams

  • Use paper that is free from creases and folds
  • Adhere to the paper thickness specs provided by the printer company
  • Regularly clean your printer rollers