Corporations and home owners alike use printers and a very popular type of printer used almost everywhere, is a laser printer. The print quality and speed of such printers is prized. But printers, like all devices, can face problems and errors, which is also highly frustrating for the user. So if your laser printer is acting up and you are tempted to tear all your hair out or tear your printer apart, stop, take a deep breath and read the laser printer troubleshooting tips given below.
Top 4 Troubleshooting Tips for Laser Printers
Tip 1 : Check the Connections
More often than not, the printer's connections have come loose or not fitted in the right place.
☛ First check the power supply. The cable between the power outlet and the printer should be plugged in firmly at both ends. Put the supply on and see if the light comes on. Check the online/offline LED or light on the front panel of the printer. The power can be on but if the offline LED is lit, then the offline control of the printer has been pressed.
☛ With USB port connection printers, you will need to check the printer's connection, physically and through the computer itself. Open the Device Manager on the computer and under USB Serial Bus Controllers heading, check the devices connected to the computer. If you see a red X (X) or a yellow exclamation or even a question mark (! or ?), this is the indicator that the printer is malfunctioning.
☛ Right click on the icon and click on Properties to see the specified error code. Try connecting the USB connector from the printer to a different USB port on the system to resolve the issue. If you connect your laser printer to a USB hub, then try connecting it directly to a computer. In some cases, the driver or firmware of the printer needs to be updated.
Tip 2 : Keep it Clean
Here's a heads up, printers like to be cleaned. They are a bit picky about how and what they are cleaned with as well. To really understand what needs to be cleaned and how, read the printer's manual first. Here are some of the basic laser printer cleaning tips:
☛ The exterior should be cleaned with a slightly damp (not wet) cloth and then dried with a dry cloth. You can use a cleaner product but make sure it is for electronics use only and will not harm your printer's surface. Power off the printer while cleaning it, to avoid pressing buttons. Do not spray any cleaner or liquid near holes on the printer's exterior.
☛ Now for the interior, you need to blow the dust and small paper particles, that have collected in various nooks and crannies. For this, a small vacuum machine or compressed air spray is recommended. Remember to take out the fuser assembly, prior to doing any dust blowing, so that the dust can exit the printer. If you do not know how to control a portable vacuum, do not experiment, you may end up damaging the printer.
☛ Once you have finished with the dust blowing, use a dry lint-free cloth to wipe the interior clean. Do not use any cleaner product over here unless specified by the printer's manufacturer.
☛ Don't treat your printer cleaning duties as an annual or bi-annual event. Be regular, at least clean it once every 2 weeks to prevent problems. And use a dust cover to keep it covered, when not in use. Color laser printers require more cleaning and maintenance in general, as compared to black and white models, due to increase in number of cartridges.
Tip 3 : Read and Understand Error Codes
Printers are amongst the most expressive of electronic gadgets with their error or status code messages. Sometimes the message is displayed on the computer screen, through the printer queue dialog, sometimes in the mini-display of the laser printer itself. And error codes are pretty accurate and specific. So find the printer's manual from whichever corner you have hidden it in, open it up and turn right to the troubleshooting section and list of error codes and their solutions. Maybe your printer might require a firmware or driver software update, so head over to the official manufacturer's site and follow the respective procedures. Download software, updates and even error code info, only from the manufacturer's site or manual.
Tip 4 : Paper Jams
This is every printer's favorite problem and every user's most frightening printer issue. Don't panic.
☛ The paper has simply jammed, so pull it slowly in the direction, that it would normally be ejected from the printer. Do not tear the paper, removing the full sheet is easier.
☛ If it still won't come out, turn off the printer and remove the toner cartridge to take out the paper. Repeated jamming is probably due to paper pieces still stuck from a previous jam or from not cleaning out the printer.
☛ Sometimes it's a user error, putting the paper in improperly can cause it to jam, while printing. Paper quality is also an issue, as old or weak paper can crumble into small pieces and cause a jam.
The above laser printer troubleshooting tips are ineffective, if you lose your cool or panic. Slowly and steadily check each part of the printer. With very specific error codes, read the manual thoroughly. In case the issue is still not resolved, approach the manufacturer if the product is under warranty, or opt for a proper repair company. Do not play or fiddle around with the internal parts of such a device, you might end up doing more harm than good.