31 December 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Running for the perfect print!

RunningI received the coolest gift this Christmas.  It’s a watch that syncs with my smart phone so that I can see what messages and calls I have received without pulling out my phone.  Of course it displays the time and also has several other functions that I think would be useful, but the function that I think would be the most useful is that I will be able to monitor my time when I run.  I have just started using the GPS function on my phone, when I run, to track my time etc. but the only problem is that I can’t see the face of the phone because I have it strapped to my arm when I run.  Otherwise the watch is a perfect solution. Anyway, I got this new watch for Christmas and soon began to set it up to work with my phone.  I read the instructions, which I believe were written in Greek, and followed them as closely as I could.  I ran into one problem after another and soon became very frustrated with the whole process.

There were two problems that I was having that made this process so frustrating.  First, since this is my first attempt to use this type of device, there was no familiarity with the language or process to get the watch working properly.  Second, after several attempts at trying to get it set up, I began to suspect that watch was actually defective.

I was thinking about all this when I was trying to figure out what today’s blog topic would be.  Of course having worked on laser printer for the last 20 years, I know the language and processes for them very well.  But, it occurs to me that the average user could, at times, feel the same frustration with their printer as I felt with the watch.  So, I thought I would try to shed a little light on printer malfunctions that may one day take out some of the frustration when you have an issue with your laser printer.

Printer problems can usually be divided into one of three areas.  There are either paper movement problems (jams or false jams), image formulation problems (bad print), or inaction (the printer doesn’t print when you send a job).

When your printer has a paper jam, most of the time you look in the printer, find the piece that is stuck somewhere, usually under the cartridge, remove it and get on about your business. But, what is going on if you can’t find a piece of paper. More to the point, what is going on inside your printer so that it thinks that it has a paper jam?

Well, here’s how it works. Inside your printer are three to five sensors that tell the printer when a piece of paper has reached the sensor and when it has exited that area of the machine.  When we think about a jam, we usually envision that the paper is somehow stuck in the area governed by that particular sensor. As a matter of fact though, the problem could be that the paper has not reached that sensor in the allotted amount of time.  What makes things more interesting is that the way today’s printers print so fast is that is often more than one piece of paper in the machine at a time.

What we usually end up doing is to listen and observe the printer as it prints to narrow down the jam to one particular area.  If that fails us, the process becomes less scientific and we simply check out each area of the printer starting with the pickup rollers and follow through all the way to the exit assembly. Here’s one little hint though.  If you send a job to the printer when it shows READY and it acts like it is going to print the job but instead only gives you a paper jam signal but there is no paper in the printer that is jammed, you probably need new pickup rollers.

I hope this helps you to at least understand how the paper movement process works. Next time I’ll discuss the other two printer malfunctions. In the meantime, if this information is useful, I sure would like to hear from you.  In fact, if you get this far into the blog, email me and let me know and I will put your name into a drawing for a 25 dollar gift card to the restaurant of your choice. Put “blog reader” in the subject box and email me at tim@aoslaser dot com.  We’ll have a drawing on January 7. Thanks again and Happy New Year.

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