At home as well as in the office: if the printer goes limp, it’s usually a minor catastrophe. We will show you what you can do in this case and how you can best prevent it right away.
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You may have experienced this too: your printer has been sitting undecoratively in the way for months and never will used – now you want to print the concert ticket for tonight and only thin grey comes out on the paper. Or the box makes no move at all. What now?
Printer problems at home are in most cases really annoying – if you have to print something these days, it is usually important and urgent. It’s even worse in the office: the whole operation can be paralyzed here.
In this article, we at kaputt.de want to show you what you do can when the printer stops working, and how you can best prevent it from happening in the first place!
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Printer repair – What do I need to know?
A modern printer can suffer from a variety of different defects – the more functions, the more can theoretically break. But who repairs printers actually? Because of the prices, there is often talk of a new purchase. Here you can find out what you need to consider if you want to deal with your defective printer.
- What device or what type of printer you have may be interesting at first glance. Depending on whether it is a laser printer, an inkjet printer or a multifunction printer (“MFP”), you can rule out or check certain defects from the outset. You can find the most important information about this in the next section.
- Have you recently changed anything on the printer? Be it a setting, new cartridges, new paper or a new network connection – if the defect has occurred since then, the first thing you can do is check whether you might be able to find an error here.
< li>Do you still have the instructions for use or the manual somewhere? A look inside will definitely give you information about certain specifications of your device and in most cases the manufacturer will provide direct tips for troubleshooting simple errors. Didn’t keep the paperwork or can’t find it? Then have a look on the Internet – there you can usually download the manual for your printer as a pdf. Here you will find, for example, the manuals for HP, Canon, Epson or Brother.
Types of printers
Here we briefly introduce you to the most common types of printers. Depending on the design, different problems with the printer are particularly common or do not occur at all.
With the help of the eponymous laser, the page to be printed is first stored as an electrical charge on a roller. The powdered toner is attracted by this charge and then “rolled” onto the paper, where it is finally melted by heating.
The paper is printed piece by piece in the ink (jet) printer. The print head moves back and forth again and again and applies the ink line by line. Depending on the design, the ink is either set in motion by heat or an electrical charge – but the result is the same.
In addition to the printing function, these devices also offer scanning, copying and faxing. There are models with both laser printing technology and ink printing technology. Nowadays, the additional functions can already be found in many inexpensive devices, professional devices also offer further advantages.
– Very sharp lines
– Prints resistant to light, temperature and humidity
– Good color printing possible on normal paper
– Toner is very durable
– Doesn’t dry up
– Suitable for high-quality photos on photographic paper
– Suitable for heat-sensitive material
– Low acquisition costs
– Low energy consumption
– No air pollution
– Full functionality for every occasion
– Entry-level models hardly more expensive than printer-only
– High speed, many adjustment options and longevity in professional models
– Not suitable for photo printing
– Not suitable for heat-sensitive material
– High power consumption
– Air pollution by toner dust and ozone formation possible
– Ink cartridges dry up if they are not used for a long time
– High acquisition costs for new cartridges
– Printouts are not always resistant to light, temperature and humidity
– Not as fast as laser printers
– Higher quality models are very expensive and space-consuming
B/W from around €80, color from around €140
B/W and color from around €40
Entry-level models from around €50, professional models >300€
The most common errors and quick fixes
Regardless of whether you set up your printer via WLAN, use a Bluetooth connection or use the good old USB cable – something can be done always go wrong. It’s either a network error so your printer can’t be found, or the software or firmware doesn’t want to play along on either end. If there are such connection problems, it often helps quite cheaply to do everything from scratch. Turn off the printer again, restart your computer or the app you are trying to use to control the printer from your phone or tablet, reconnect the cable, and then try again.
One wireless connection to the printer make sure that it is really active. If in doubt, set up the Bluetooth connection or WLAN connection again – the manual for the device will tell you how.
If you are printing from the computer, it is also worth opening the Printer driver because sometimes outdated versions lead to errors. If you want to do it exactly, you can read here how to completely remove the driver in Windows manually and then download and install a new version from the manufacturer’s website.
Paper jam or paper feed problems
Depending on the design, there can be quite a few places in the printer where paper can be placed – one or more drawers (so-called paper cassettes) for larger stacks, a vertical paper feed b> for smaller stacks, and with multifunction devices then also the scanner support or the automatic paper feed for multi-page scan templates. During printing and scanning, the paper is usually more or less pulled through the printer, whereby mechanical errors can of course occur. When the printer doesn’t pick up the paper or it gets stuck somewhere, it’s called a paper jam. This can have various causes, most of which are fortunately easy to fix:
- Paper inserted incorrectly: Either you were too hasty, it’s the size of the stack is a little excessive, or any of the adjustable edge guides are out of adjustment – things like this can sometimes cause the printer to not get a good grip on the paper or, worst case, misfeed it and feed it then completely crumpled. So it is best to always check, or just when the paper feed does not work, that you have inserted everything straight and that there are no rails squeezing the paper too much or pushing it in the wrong direction. Your printer will often be happy afterwards!
- Problems with the paper itself: Sometimes it can also happen that the paper sticks together, for example due to moisture or simply does not match your printer model in terms of its nature. In the first case, you can check whether everything is nicely laid out on top of each other by fanning the stack through. If the paper has gotten really wet and has possibly already curled up, it is unfortunately often no longer possible to use it in the printer. So the following also applies: Always store paper in a dry place! In the second case, you should check the packaging of the paper when you buy it to see if there are any notices that might limit its usability for certain devices. It would be a shame not to be able to use a whole batch!
- Defective or worn out rollers: If your printer is a few years old or is simply used a lot, it can It can happen that the small rollers that are used everywhere to transport the paper are worn out or dirty. You can often get to the outer rollers in particular without having to disassemble the printer. If they look dirty, clean them carefully with a little white spirit or alcohol and a lint-free cloth. Some manufacturers now have spare parts, so a look at the manufacturer’s website would be your first clue here.
Faint or corrupt print
Another classic among printer errors: software and mechanics are doing their job, but what comes out of the printer at the end is still useless. A print that is too pale can sometimes be tolerated, depending on the purpose, but at the latest when the print is really defective, you can usually only throw the paper away or put it with the scrap paper. The “most popular” errors and problems are:
- Faded or barely visible printout: This problem is more common with inkjet printers. In this case, the first idea is of course: The ink cartridge is empty! Of course, the cartridges are really empty after a while. Often the software of the printer or the corresponding one on the computer already provides information that you can look at. In this case, logically, the only thing that helps is a new one, or to refill the existing one. With many models you can save money and waste with this variant – just look for a printer filling station near you. Sometimes, however, a faded print is not caused by too little ink in the cartridge, but by the fact that the ink has dried up. If the level indicator actually says that there is still ink, or the cartridge has simply not been used much, then that can be the cause of the error. As mentioned above, the ink dries up if you don’t print regularly – this is often the case at home. In this case, the inkjet printers offer a print head cleaning, in which the blockage is flushed out with a small amount of ink. If it has dried up too much, however, this can sometimes no longer work. It can then help to remove the cartridge and carefully wipe the nozzle with warm water or, if necessary, alcohol. Then run the printer cleaning program again. Incidentally, the much more durable toner cartridges from laser printers will eventually run out. If you get faint printouts with the laser printer without any other particular abnormalities, a new cartridge is probably advisable.
- Vertical white stripes: As can be seen in the picture on the right, it can also happen that white stripes appear vertically through the entire printout where nothing was printed. This specific error usually occurs with laser printers. This is because, for various reasons, the powdery toner in the cartridge is no longer evenly distributed. Accordingly, nothing can be transferred to the paper at these points. Fortunately, the solution here is very intuitive: take the toner cartridge out of the printer and shake it well. This should redistribute all the powder evenly and the cartridge will last quite a while longer.
- Streaks or stains: This problem can occur with any type of printer. Dried ink is usually to blame for inkjet printers. Just follow the steps above to fix the problem. However, even with laser printers, colored stripes or contamination can occur if too much dirt or toner residue has collected on the drum. Most laser printers have an automatic program for cleaning the drum, which is often sufficient. If not, you can also carefully check the drum manually for larger dirt and carefully remove it if necessary. Never use strong detergents or sharp tools here though, and always wait for the machine to cool down properly if you’ve used it before.
- Wrong or shifted colors: For color printing with inkjet printers, the printheads may not be properly aligned with each other. However, this is absolutely necessary so that all layers of paint land on top of each other on the paper. Fortunately, there is also a software solution here: the printers are usually able to align the print heads themselves. The best way to do this is to click through the printer menu or read the operating instructions. The same applies to color laser printers, here the process is called calibration and can also be carried out via the menu.
If nothing helps, or the defect is actually more complicated, there is of course still the option of having your printer(s) professionally repaired. There are a few restrictions here as to what generally repairs everything can be, but the problem here lies more in the financial. Professional repairs can get really expensive, so keep these points in mind when considering one:
- The magic word is guarantee: If the statutory warranty (often referred to as a guarantee) or an additional, actual guarantee from the manufacturer is still running, a repair is actually always the right choice. In this case you have no costs at all and can rely on correct troubleshooting.
- The more expensive the printer, the more worthwhile it is to repair it: Even if there is no longer a warranty or guarantee is present, a repair can still be worthwhile in many cases. Especially if you have a very expensive device or even several in the company (sometimes referred to as “printer fleet”), a new purchase is usually even more expensive in comparison – then it is still the best choice to invest the possibly quite high price for a repair , as you can then often continue to use your device(s) for years. It should also not be forgotten that new devices in the office or similar often involve additional work such as setting up the system, getting used to it, disposing of the predecessors, etc. Conversely, this unfortunately also means: If your printer itself was already very cheap, the repair costs often exceed the purchase price of a new device of the same value. Then, of course, the choice falls more on the second, even if a fairly large piece of electronic waste is left over.
- Price estimate: To find out if a printer repair pays off for you, always ask the repair service for a cost estimate. Otherwise you often don’t have a chance to judge for yourself whether it’s worth it or not.
Here you can find repair companies for printers:
Printer repair in Berlin
Printer repair in Hamburg
Printer repair in Cologne
Printer repair in Munich
Tips for everyday printer care
The same applies to everything else in life when it comes to printers: Better to take precautions than worry later! With proper day-to-day care and maintenance, a printer can provide years of trouble-free service. This saves you the most money and hassle and you can always use your device reliably. The simplest yet important maintenance tips are here:
- Be careful with the printer. That should be obvious, but of course the risk is that something goes wrong or breaks, less if you always handle your printer carefully. Moving parts should always be moved slowly and paper should always be loaded and unloaded carefully. Extra tip: Hitting it is actually not the best way to deal with it either.
- Keep the printer clean. Dust is everywhere anyway – and printers make their own to make matters worse. Devices that are used a lot should therefore be cleaned regularly. Not only to make them look nice, but also to prevent jammed rolls or dirty printouts in the first place.
- Buy the suitable accessories and supplies. The right paper stands for some purposes even in the first place, e.g. for photo printing, but also in general you should make sure that you use the right paper for your printer. Of course, the same applies to other consumables, especially ink and (albeit less frequently) toner cartridges. Make sure that the quality is right, because paying half the price is no longer worthwhile if you simply cannot use the product.
- For ink printers: Use regularly! Paradoxically, inkjet printers are more common in household use because the devices themselves are usually cheaper – even though inkjet printers are actually less suitable for infrequent use. Many devices suffer from the ink drying phenomenon described above. You can avoid this by printing a test page every 2 to 3 weeks – many devices already offer this function by default, otherwise you can of course just print out any page yourself. It doesn’t have to be a completely filled one either.
- Extend the warranty: This doesn’t really fall into the “care” category, but an extension of the warranty can still help you to protect against any to be covered against defects. This is definitely worth considering for high-priced printers – after all, you can save high repair costs with it. Another option, especially for companies and offices, is a service contract. Many office technology companies offer regular maintenance and repairs if necessary, while even then you only have to consider the first points on this list.
Disposal of defective printers
Your printer is completely dead or not worth repairing? Then it is important to dispose of the broken device professionally. As you can already guess, a broken printer is not suitable for simply being thrown in the residual waste. Because of the size alone, that would not be possible in many cases. And what’s more, it’s not permitted: defective electronic devices must always be properly recycled due to the valuable components that are hazardous to the environment. You can either take the old printer to a recycling center or recycling center. Most of the time it’s even free. You can also pick it up, which can make sense especially for very large devices or larger quantities, but then unfortunately often for a fee. You can also contact the manufacturer or an electronics store. The manufacturing companies usually accept their own devices free of charge, but sometimes only in larger quantities. Retailers can sometimes be the easiest from a logistical point of view, but they also don’t always accept such devices. So be sure to ask before you stand on the mat with your broken printer!
We hope you enjoyed our tips and information about printer repairs. We at bust.de are of the opinion that (almost) everything can be repaired. Do you have a broken phone or tablet? Then take a look at our site. We’ll look for the best repair service in your area, or show you directly how you can do it yourself – with the right spare parts.
If you are also interested in technology, sustainability and repair, check out our blog or follow us on Facebook and Instagram span>.
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Sometimes computers stop talking to printers or the printer “freezes.” It’s very frustrating because, of course, the printer seizes up only when you’re in a hurry. A printer has a lot of mechanical and electronic pieces that all have to work together, so isolating the problem could take some time.
Don’t use recycled paper in a printer because it sheds particles. If you use a high quality paper that doesn’t shed, such as conventional 20 pound xerographic paper, you’ll get better results and have fewer maintenance problems.
Here’s what to do when your printer doesn’t work:
Look for a loose connection or damaged cable.
If you find one, that’s likely the problem.
Check inside the printer for a paper jam.
If you see paper under the platen or roller, unplug the printer.
Pull the paper toward you.
Some printers have a manually operated paper release; check the manual to locate it. In addition, there may be more than one sheet jammed, so make sure you get every single page.
Look at the configurations in the printer software and the drivers. If anything has changed, change it back to the original configurations.
Clean and lubricate the printer according to instructions in the manufacturer’s manual.
If you can’t find the booklets, take the printer to the computer store or go there yourself and ask questions. Usually, you’ll find knowledgeable staff, or someone in the service department will help you out.
Delete your most recent print commands.
Reboot the computer: Turn it off for 10 to 15 seconds and then restart it.
After restarting the computer, you might get a pop-up that asks whether you want to cancel the jobs waiting to be printed or try again. Play it safe — cancel them.
Try printing again.
Don’t worry that the printer didn’t receive the command; once is enough.
Perform a self-test on the printer.
The computer doesn’t even have to be powered on. You can do this with every printer. The self-test isolates the problem to the printer and forces a printout that provides a list of the printer’s current settings and options, showing all the print density and quality features.
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If you don’t already have a cover for your printer, get one and put it on when you’re not using the computer. That will keep it free of dust and anything else floating around in your home.
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