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Every machine comes with problems and copiers are no different. Some can be minor teething problems when first installed, but even the best photocopier will run into some issues after some heavy usage.

When they do, there’s no need to kick, scream and shout at the copier because in all likelihood, it’s a common problem with an easy solution either by yourself or someone in the tech department.

Common problems with office printers and simple ways to fix them

It takes ages to print

No matter how fast machines are, we always want them to do the job just that little bit faster. There are times however, when the print speed really does beg belief. If you find your print jobs are taking far longer than your patience can handle: Try these tips for size:

Lower the print quality – it’s the fastest way to speed any print job up, but it only really works if you can afford to sacrifice some print quality or you may not like the printouts.

Use duplex print in conjunction with document formatting to fit more content per page.

For networked printers, hook the Ethernet cable in. Wireless signals are affected by distance and interference. The most reliable way to connect a networked printer to a server is directly with an Ethernet cable to guarantee the fastest connection speed possible.

Simplify web prints by disabling images. Images are the most costly of print materials because they are nearly always in colour and most information printed only requires mono. When printing a web page, use browser features to disable images. In IE – use the tools, click on advanced, select multimedia, deselect show pictures, reload the page and then go to print.

Memory matters too, so if you’re still struggling to get speedy prints, open your printer driver folder, select the properties and see how much memory your printer has. Printers resemble computers more than you may realise and just as you can add some RAM to boost PC performance, you can do the same with MFPs. Buy some memory and improve its performance.

The toner costs too much

Depending who you complain about this to, you’ll get one of two answers. It’s the cost of doing business, but if you ask me, I’ll tell you that any toner less than a 2000 page yield, isn’t worth your money. Higher page yield always.

Windows Updated and I can’t print to the right printer

Any upgrades to an OS can change the settings on the network, including altering the designated default printer. Just go into the printer folder and re-select the printer you want to designate your jobs to be sent to by default.

Another thing that seems to happen frequently on Windows is networked printers showing as offline, when they’re not. Robin Wilson explains this is Windows using SNMP to connect to the network and not all printers use the same.

Prints are coming out looking wet and wrinkled

Meet the occasion when palm meets face. Head slap when this one comes up and you won’t be the first to have come across this problem. It happens when you use the wrong type of paper for a laser printer and if you have experienced this, count your blessings the fuser rollers aren’t damaged. Inkjet paper is coated for ink to absorb. That same coating prevents toner from sticking to the paper and that’s why it comes out wet looking and wrinkled. The heat is too much for it.

It’s confusing when it happens because naturally toner is dry, so the logical thing to do is inspect the unit for signs of a spillage, like a co-worker accidentally spilling coffee or cola into the unit, running away and pretending it never happened. You could spend ages and even call out a repair service and you’d be slapping yourself when you find out you’ve loaded up the wrong paper type.

The lesson there is to read the label on the paper before you put it into the printer.

On that same issue, another common paper related problem is dampness. Printer paper is best kept stored in the wrapper until it’s time to load the printer. Otherwise, you’ll likely to encounter some fuzzy prints.

Paper misfeeds

One reason this can happen is the paper type being too thin, or too heavy for the printer to feed it. It can happen with the right paper type too though, and if it does, you’re best to fan the paper because it may be more than one sheet stuck together confusing the printer into thinking it’s too thick to feed.

The feed tray could also be the problem though, because some are spring loaded. Those can become weak over time and the springs and rollers may need replacing.

This is one reason you should inspect any MFP before you buy or lease it, because even some of the largest copier manufacturers have been known to release models with flimsy paper trays. If they feel slack, they won’t last. Instead, you’ll be adding to the cost of consumables and increasing the TCO of the unit because you’ll have to keep replacing the springs, rollers, or the feed trays.

Inspect before you buy!

Image problems

Any deterioration to print quality will be related to the drum and the rollers. Start your troubleshooting there by opening the shutter protecting the image subsystem. Be careful when accessing this because the drum is sensitive to light.

What you’re looking for is scrapes and scratches because any of those on the drum will transfer to the printed material.

Warning sound’s going nuts!

When the toner is running at critically low levels, some MFPs have sound alerts that can be quite loud. You can go into the sound settings in most and change the alerts to a low volume, however, if  you’re flat out of toner and awaiting the arrival of new stock, in the meantime you can remove the toner cartridge, give it a shake to loosen some of the toner and it should get you by for another few prints. You’re best to do that anyway to get every last drop of toner in each cartridge used. Over the year, the savings add up.

Some problems, like the above, are fairly easy to remedy. Some can be as simple as a few tweaks here and there, whereas others may require some inspection and tweaking inside the unit. Some parts may need replacing, and others just some routine maintenance to get your printing going again. If you find a technical issue unsolvable in your office and your IT dept. can’t get it up and running, you can call our support line on (Magnetone line here) and find out if we can talk you through a fix over the phone.