Printing Pro Tips: how to troubleshoot your printer problems



Printers can be maddening at times. There you are printing a much needed report when all of a sudden the printer just quits. You restart, check the toner, try to slap it on the sides, but nothing is doing. You take a deep breath and count to ten then start at it again. Before you head to the ink toner store to buy another cartridge, how can you tell what is wrong?

Problem: The lights do not show

Check the electrical cables and confirm that the printer is getting power from the mains.

Problem: The printed text is too faint or streaky

If you are sure that the cartridge is not empty but the printing is still too faint or streaky, the print could be blocked by dried up ink. Wet a paper towel with bottled water and wipe the print head. After wiping the printing head, use a moist paper to prime the print head.

Problem: Cartridge not recognized

When electric current cannot flow across the cartridge’s contacts the printer may bring up this error or print gibberish. This can be solved by scraping the coating of ink dust or oxidized copper on the contact strip. Use an eraser to do it. You can also use alcohol to clean the strip but be careful not to touch the print head with the alcohol.

Problem: The printer is too slow and does not print at times

The network connection speed is the first suspect in this case if the printed pages are coming out okay. If you are printing over Wi-Fi the distance could be the problem as WiFi speeds can decrease over distance. Try switching to a wired connection. Wireless printing should be done over 802.11n wireless frequency which is as fast as wired connection. Network malfunction can also take the printer offline in which case it will not get the assigned jobs. Ask the network admin to have a look.

Problem: The printer says the cartridge is empty

If the printer says the cartridge is empty while it is not, the electric strip contact is the suspect again. Try cleaning the strip with an eraser or alcohol. You can also remove the cartridge and reset it.

Problem: The printing looks awful

Ink toner recycling could be the source of your problems in this situation. This is notorious with newer printers. Try switching back to the original manufacturer recommended toners. Third party toners can get notoriously wasteful, releasing too much or too little ink.