Learning Resources
 

Troubleshooting Printer


The Paper Jam
We have all had this one happen. You are printing merrilyaway when all of a sudden you hear that distinctive crunch of paper gettingeaten by your printer. You immediately cancel the print job, leap from yourdesk and flip open the printer. “Ugh,” you say as you notice the crinkled edgesof paper wrapped around god knows what. Okay, so you have found the problem,but what do you do?

The best way to remove a paper jam is to gently pull thepaper in the direction of the paper path-with power off, of course. Whateveryou do, don not pull the paper backwards. You could damage your printer foreverby doing so!


The Missing Driver
This is another common problem. You are all geared up andready to print but your computer can not find the right driver to “talk to” theprinter. Why is this? Not all drivers are pre-installed on all operating systemsand as new operating systems are released, you will need to install driversyourself. Consult your printer manual. You can also most likely find thecorrect driver online at the printer manufacturer’s website. If not though, asimple web search should help you find what you are looking for. Tryingsearching for your printer manufacturer, the model and “printer driver.”


The Printer Picks Up All the Paper
This is a frustrating one. You are trying to print outsomething and the printer feeds in the whole paper stack rather than just onepiece at a time. For starters, make sure you fan the paper edge before puttingit in the printer feed tray. This helps separate the sheets. Also, be sure tostore your paper in a cool, dry place as humidity can contribute to this peskyproblem.


The Blank Page Syndrome
So you have just installed a new printer ink cartridge andyou print a document only to see a blank page come out. Aggravating, no? Butthis usually has a simple solution. Make sure you completely removed thatlittle sticker from the ink cartridge before installing it. If it is removed,run the clean print head function on your printer to make sure all air bubblesare removed. Just whatever you do, don not remove the cartridge once it is beeninstalled!


The Color and Print Quality is Diminished
This usually happens when one ink well is running low. Ifall of your images start to look a bit purple, blue or orangish, this may beyour problem. The usual solution for this problem is to replace the wholeprinter ink cartridge, unless you can refill the individual ink wells.



The Smudgy Printout
This happens a lot when you print out pages with a lot ofimages with bright, vibrant colors. The cause is usually having the wrong papersetting selected. If you are printing text documents, don not print at thehighest quality. And if you are printing on photo paper, make sure you don notuse the regular printer setting.


The Computer Won not Talk to the Printer
Once you rule out that it is not a printer driver issue,check to make sure you are using the right cables to connect everything. Onceyou confirm everything is connected properly, read your printer manual and yourcomputer manual-at least the part that pertains to printing. Older printersmade for Macs may need a serial cable to work while PC printers an IEEE 1248cable.


The Blinking Light
While there is no surefire answer to this problem, it is acommon enough one that it should be included. Each printer has a differentreason for its dreaded blinking or orange light but some general reasonsinclude a paper jam, a printer cartridge problem or a problem with the printerhardware. It could also be an indicator that the computer is not talking to theprinter. Check your printer manual to see what specific light errors mean foryour model.


The Printout Looks Misaligned
Problems with alignment have a lot to do with maintainingproper print head alignment. You can run a simple diagnostic to fix thisproblem. If the ink seems to be going onto the paper improperly or you noticeuneven coverage, try aligning the print heads before you bring out the bigguns.


The Printout Looks Grainy
This may have nothing to do with the printer at all. In factit may have more to do with the quality of images you are using than the printer@squality. Make sure that when you print photos that they are of print quality,meaning 300dpi. Anything lower than this will appear pixilated and lower thanphoto quality.