Since a printer is a hardware equipment, it is possible that some problems can occur after using it for a while. In such a case, you need to follow some troubleshooting steps and try to resolve the issue. You may call a printer technician later, if the problem is not solved. Though, there are some basic troubleshooting steps that can save you a trip to the technician and in the process some money too. Most printers manufactured today have a light which stays on when the device functions properly, but blinks or changes color in case any problem in found. For a problem-free printing, you need to clean the printer heads and cartridges periodically and check for updated drivers when possible.
Common Printer Problems and Solutions
No Power to Printer
If you cannot see the power light on, even if you have switched on the printer, you need to check the connections. Generally, there are two cords that run from the printer, one to the computer and the other to the power source. Remove and reconnect all ends of the cords, and then try to switch on the printer. If this does not resolve the problem, you might need to take help from the company's service engineer.
Printer Takes in all Papers
There can be times when you give a print command and the device takes in a chunk of papers for processing. This problem is occurs when the papers in the tray stick to each other. To solve this issue, you need to separate the papers by fanning the paper edges before putting them in. Another way to prevent this problem is to keep the paper pack in a cool, dry place.
Paper Jam Error
This is a common problem in a printer that is connected to a network of computers and is used frequently. Nowadays, printers have a display which gives a paper jam error. In advanced printers, you simply need to restart the printer to get the jammed paper ejected. You can even search for an 'eject' button to remove the jammed paper. Or else, you can choose the traditional way of lifting the top cover and removing the crumpled sheets.
Poor Print Quality
Poor printing quality can mean anything such as an improper shade, white lining on the paper, a smudgy image, and so on. If you are getting smudgy prints, the problem generally lies in selected print settings. Text matter should be printed at a low quality, whereas high quality settings are suitable for printing pictures. If the print quality is not acceptable in terms of color and shade, a possible cause can be the ink wells running empty. Get the ink cartridges filled or replaced if used for a long time. Leaking cartridges can result in spotting of ink of print paper. One laser printer troubleshooting tip, to resolve the problem of poor quality print, is to replace toner cartridges or toner drum. When it comes to buying printer parts like toners and cartridges, opt for the same brand which the printer belongs to. Using products from other brands may damage the output quality and even nullify the warranty.
Printing Blank Pages
If the printer is throwing out blank papers even after giving the print command, you need to clean the printer head. This can either be done by using the function on the printer itself, or from the 'Printing Preferences' option in the 'Control Panel'. In case you have replaced the ink cartridge and are getting blank pages as prints, see if the tape on the cartridge is removed.
Printing Weird Characters
If the printer is working but is printing some weird characters on the page, the drivers are to be blamed. Drivers are specific applications which help the hardware communicate with the main computer for efficient functioning. You will have to update the drivers or install new drivers from the manufacturer's website. In most cases, drivers are available for download in the 'support' section of the website. This driver updation can even resolve the issue where the printer is not recognized by the computer.
If you are getting any kind of installation errors, see that you have followed the correct procedure to configure the network printer. The correct link to configure a printer is: Start → Control Panel → Hardware and Sound → Printers → Add a Printer and follow the instructions. A majority of the errors in printer installation are resolved by updating the drivers to the latest versions. Another troubleshooting step is to run an antivirus program to diagnose if the virus is causing the problem.
No Print Jobs
When any print command is given to a network printer, it first gets stored in the spooler before being executed. The files are automatically deleted only after the job has been processed. If there is no response from the printer, one possible cause is the spooler being full with print commands. You need to navigate to the spooler directory and manually delete the pending print jobs.
Most of the above mentioned steps on solving common printer problems can be applicable in the troubleshooting of wireless printers as well. In addition, you may need to restart and reset the complete setup which includes the printer, wireless router, and the computer. Remember that these are just the troubleshooting steps to be followed on a standard printer. The steps may differ from model to model.