Some printers seem to have a kind of evil brain in the space between the sheet feeder and the output bin: they always start to print poorly – or outright stop printing – just when you need them most.
They seem to know when you are just in time to turn in a job or to get the bank statement just before the ladder meeting.
They print blank lines, spots appear that make the text unreadable or what was a beautiful Disney drawing for your child to color in is more like a Jackson Pollock painting.
Like almost everything in life, these problems usually have a solution, so we will see below the most common reasons why these printing errors can happen and how to solve them.
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When the printer misprints?
A large number of times the printer prints, but not with the quality that we want. Or directly the quality is non-existent from both smudges and blank lines. The main culprits in these cases are usually the ink and the heads, although for various reasons. Let’s discover them.
Lack of ink
Something quite evident, but if the printer prints badly, it may be because it lacks ink to do it correctly. Although years ago it was the main problem every time our printer printed badly, now it hardly happens.
This is because nowadays when the printer software detects that it is low on ink – or rather, when a certain number of prints passes by a lot of ink that it has left – it directly refuses to print, showing us a nice error in the printer or on the screen.
For this reason, it is unlikely that if you have problems when printing correctly it could be due to low or high ink: long before you run out of it, your printer will already be asking you to change cartridges.
With laser printers this does not happen and most of the cases in which the printer does not print correctly it is due to a lack of charge in the toner. In these cases it will be enough to change it for a new one.
This problem should be the first on the list, since most of the times that empty areas appear in our prints it is due to a jam in the heads, often caused by the accumulation of dry ink in them due to taking a long time unused.
Some printer models periodically perform head cleaning to keep the heads in perfect condition even when the printer is not in use. For the rest, if this happens to you, you will have no choice but to clean the heads yourself. All printers have a utility to perform this cleaning from their own printing software.
Remember: this way of cleaning heads consumes huge amounts of ink and if you do it a few times in a row you may run out of ink in the cartridges.
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If not even with these cleaning your printer comes back to life, you may have to do a more aggressive cleaning by hand. There are fluids to clean the heads that can be used as a last option.
If not even with these cleanings you can recover your heads, they may be damaged beyond any repair that you can carry out.
If your printer is still under warranty, take it to the technical service, and if it is not … Depending on the model, it may be cheaper for you to buy a new printer than to repair the old one. Bad luck.
Unlike the previous case, this one does have a solution. Sometimes when the printer is hit, due to a power failure or simply due to continued use, the heads can be slightly misaligned.
Although this misalignment is very slight in prints with a high level of detail, the failure can be noticed exponentially, emerging stripes where there should not be them, areas of color mixing next to completely empty areas and even showing an effect similar to “aliasing” appearing peaks and pixels in curves where there shouldn’t be.
Again the software of our printer will have the solution: it will be enough to pass a head alignment solution to correct the problem. You may have to “help” the printer to manually detect where the problem is, but you will simply have to follow the steps shown on the screen to regain a better alignment than Barça.
What is and how to do head alignment?
This problem is almost non-existent in “normal” printing systems, but if you use a CISS (or continuous inkjet system) it may be your most common problem. In the tubes that transport the ink from the containers to the nozzles, air bubbles can form that when they reach them they do not inject ink into the paper, so we will have a nice area without printing.
The solution is simple: get rid of air bubbles. These systems are usually very well insulated, so if bubbles appear, it is most likely because you have the ink containers and the printer at different heights. It will be enough to put them at the same level and carry out a couple of head cleaning so that all the air comes out (or suck it up with a syringe).
Dirt. Steps to clean a printer
More common in laser printers than inkjet printers, dirt buildup can significantly affect print quality. If this occurs in the drum of laser printers, areas with spots and smears will appear.
The solution is again simple: it will be enough to clean the drum gently to remove any dirt that may be stuck to it. And as a recommendation, change the role. You may be using one so bad that the cellulose “fluff” it releases eventually builds up in the drum. Sometimes the cheap turns out to be expensive.
If a printer is no longer in use and one is afraid that it will not work, it is a good idea to choose to clean it thoroughly before buying a new one. Thus, regular maintenance of the printer will lengthen its life and at the same time the user will ensure high quality prints.
However, keep in mind that each type of printer requires a different type of cleaning method. Reason for obtaining information on the guidelines for cleaning the make and model of the printer that each user who reads these lines is using and, in addition, strictly follow them.
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However, all devices share a series of common care, which we will now detail. First of all, to properly clean this appliance it must be unplugged. This eliminates risks, so in addition, the printer must be allowed to cool down for a few minutes before working with it again.
Next you have to start dusting the appliance. To do this, simply buy a can of air in an office supply store or a store, apply it inside and throughout the frame of the printer, so that the user gets rid of the new dust and that the dust accumulates. has already.
Second, the inside of the printer must be cleaned. How? Using a soft cloth and alcohol or an interior screen glass cleaner. There are other solutions, such as vinegar and water in equal parts. However, in none of the cases should you apply the liquid directly but first spill it on a cloth. This same solution also works to clean the rubber blades on the ink cartridges.
Next, the outside of the printer must be cleaned with another damp cloth and, once this step is done, clean the print head. In this case, it is cleaned after activating the program for each printer, going to the control panel and choosing printing preferences.
Finally, if the printer has the automatic cleaning option, it is selected and it is allowed to run its course. For most printers, this cleaning will be enough, in the event that it cannot be done, you should choose to use special cleaning sheets that make it easier to clean the printer rollers.
When the printer does not print at all
Lack of ink (this time yes)
Now yes, in modern systems when there is a lack of ink in the system, the printer will not start making bad prints with that color, but will refuse to make them directly. It is a simple case to discern – the machine itself will notify us of the reason with an error message on the printer – and easy to solve: you have to buy new cartridges.
Again, it is more than possible that the cartridges still have ink left to write enough sheets but when a certain number of prints are made, the printer thinks that “it is enough” and will not continue.
Clogged heads (again)
Sometimes the clog in the heads is so gross that no ink will come out of them at all. It is quite difficult for it to happen with all of them at the same time unless the printer has not been used for years, but if only black and white prints are being made, it will be enough that the head of that cartridge is stuck for us to appear a nice Blank sheet. The way to solve this problem is exactly the same as in the case of wrong impressions.
If the printer makes strange noises or does not make any at all, there may be some error in the printer’s own hardware that is preventing it from printing. Usually an error will appear on the screen explaining the reason, but it is worth checking the inside of the machine to check a series of basic things with which to avoid taking it to technical service.
Check for possible paper jams, that the network or data cable is correctly inserted, that the rollers rotate correctly, that if a CISS system is installed the ink cables reach the end without pulling … All these checks can be done done in a minute and hopefully can save us money and time when repairing a printer.
Anyway, if you are not sure what you are doing better take the printer to a professional. All done!