Common ‘every day’ Printer Problems

Virtually every computer user will have a standalone printer or a Multi-Function Printer/Scanner. After all we all need some way to print our documents and pictures. Perhaps your printer works without a hitch but most people suffer at least a few problems now and again.

Paper Jams

This is a very common printer problem and occurs when the paper feeding through the printer gets twisted or crunched up. Sometimes the printer ignores the problem and continues trying to print. This may push out a crumpled piece of paper into the output tray. On other occasions, the printer stops in mid-job, and the crumpled paper, or part of it, remains trapped somewhere inside the machine.

When a paper jam occurs, some printers flash lights at you and scream for help. Others sense where the jam is and provide guidance on clearing the blockage. If your printer offers diagnostic advice, follow it. Also, take time to check the printer’s documentation for help in clearing jams.

Here are some of the basic steps to follow to correct this problem:

First, turn off the printer. If you’re going to be working inside the printer, you don’t want any trouble with electricity or moving parts.

Open all doors leading to the paper path. If you can’t tell which door leads to the paper jam, start by removing or opening the input tray and following the paper path all the way to the output tray, opening every door or panel that you can find along the way. Some printers even have a removable panel at the rear of the unit and this is often a quick way to clear the paper jam.

Carefully pull out all the paper sheets and scraps of crumpled paper. Pull paper out of the path firmly but very carefully and very slowly. If possible, pull paper in the direction it is supposed to take through the printer under normal conditions  – not backward, which could strain and even damage the printer’s mechanics. Take care to remove all of the paper, as any scraps that remain could cause further jamming.

Close all doors and turn on the printer Once switched on, the printer should reset itself automatically.

Spilled Printer Ink

Printer inks are formulated to spread, adhere, and last a long time. But that’s supposed to happen on paper, not on the floor of your home or office.

It’s unusual for ink to spill from a cartridge unless the cartridge has been punctured, cracked, squeezed, or crushed. A refilled cartridge, which QBS PC HELP are not at all keen on, may be more susceptible to leaking or spilling. Handle the cartridge very carefully.

First step in all cases: Blot spilled ink with an absorbent cloth or paper towel.

Ink on skin: Use soap and water to clean further. If ink remains (and it probably will) try scrubbing. Use additional solutions on your skin cautiously, and at your own discretion.

Ink on fabric or carpet: With soap and water, brush the stain using an upward-inward motion  – upward so as not to push the ink deeper into the fabric, and inward so as not to spread the stain across a wider area.

Ink on hard surfaces: If a stain remains after blotting, try another method or cleaner that is appropriate to the particular surface.

Ink in the printer: This is a messy job, and the outcome of your efforts is uncertain. It’s very hard to completely remove all traces of the ink. First, turn off the printer, unless it has to be on to you to access the cartridges. If the printer offers access the cartridges only when it is on, keep it on for now. Check the ink cartridges.

If the offending ink cartridge is still in the printer, you must decide whether the spill is likely to be worse if you leave the cartridge where it is or if you remove it. Do whatever you can to minimize further spillage while you clean. Turn off the printer, if you haven’t already done so, and access its interior. Find and remove as much spillage as you can through blotting. Then use rubbing alcohol and lint-free cloths to clean further, taking care not to get anything stuck in the printer.

Run a test page and check for evidence of leftover ink, such as splotches or continuous streaks on the page. Observe the printer as it operates to ensure that it is acting normally again. If you’re lucky, everything will be fine after you run pages through the printer so the spilled ink can print itself out. If you’re unlucky, ink that you couldn’t remove may lead to further damage.