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Common Copiers and Printer Problems and Their Solutions

copiers and printer problems & solutions

It’s hard to think of anything more frustrating than dealing with technical difficulties. Unexpected equipment downtime delayed communications, and backed-up projects are all possibilities when multifunction printers break down. Copiers, faxes, and printers are the heart of any busy office. When they break down, it’s vital that team members are familiar with common challenges and their solutions to help get the office back up and running as soon as possible. 

Your Computer Can’t Connect to the Multifunction Printer

It may be the last thing you want to hear but just to be sure, check that your multifunction printer  (MFP) is plugged in. Next make sure you have a working wireless connection. If your computer is connected by a LAN line, you might use your phone to try to connect to your company’s wireless network. Finally, find the manufacturer’s Printer Set-up Page on their website. 

Most companies send a manual with their equipment and also have a helpful guide published on their site. Finally, check in with your MFP dealer or managed IT service. Your dealer will most likely have an option to set-up the printer for you. And if you have purchased managed IT services, they’ll be more than happy to troubleshoot with you over the phone or in person. 

Paper Jams

The dreaded paper jam is one of the most infamous frustrations of all office equipment challenges. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest problems to solve without calling for tech support. Step one requires that you stay calm. As strong as office equipment may seem, there are a lot of moving parts. Being too rough while investigating a paper jam can cause other, bigger problems. Step two is to check the compartments for a visible paper jam. Then dislodge the paper. There is usually a visual reference on the printer itself to help guide you through the process. Remember not to pull so hard on the paper that you cause one paper jam to turn into several. 

To help prevent future paper jams, remember to square off the paper when you load it into the tray, only use approved paper weight and size, according to the printer manual’s listed specifications. And remember to get your printer serviced regularly. Routine maintenance helps to clear the dust and debris that paper leaves behind, helping to limit future paper jams and other common breakdowns.  

Lines on Paper

When lines show up on your latest printed report, it can mean a few different possibilities but they are all easy to fix. First, check that the printer settings are on high quality printing. 

Sometimes a co-worker might choose the DRAFT setting, which means they are printing at the lowest quality print setting to help conserve ink. 

Double check that there is enough ink and that the cartridge is loaded correctly. 

Finally, clean the glass! Sometimes the problem is something as simple as smudges on the glass that are translating to the print results. 

Cartridge or Toner Issue

A number of symptoms may come from cartridge or toner issues. If you find that your toner runs out too fast, and it’s not because your team is printing more often than you realize, it’s time to investigate that low toner warning. The first thing to do is remove your cartridge and shake it a bit. It’s possible that it’s not really low on toner. By distributing the toner more evenly you may be able to get rid of the low toner warning, and get more out of your cartridge. If you tend to run low because you really are using your printer often, there’s the option of getting the extra large cartridges to help lessen the number of toner orders you have to place. 

Are you experiencing print quality problems? There are a number of possible problems. If you have blurring, smears, or streaks, it’s possible that you have a defective toner cartridge. You might try printing a few blank pages to see if that clears and resets the problem. If the problem persists, consider replacing the cartridge. If the problem is still occurring, it may be a defective drum unit. 

If there is fading on your printouts but you aren’t low on toner, it may be one of two issues. There may be a transfer roller issue, or a laser mirror may need to be cleaned. If blank spots are your biggest concern, it can be a number of issues including obstructions, defective toner, or the transfer roller. Ultimately, the best thing you can do to avoid toner issues is to make sure you maintain your printer regularly. 

Printing Costs Too Much

The initial cost of a printer, whether you lease or buy, can feel like a big investment. However, it’s the ongoing costs that can add up. Regular maintenance, paper, and toner really add up! Luckily, there are a few ways you can minimize your costs. 

First, check your default settings to ensure they are set to the lowest quality, often called duplex or draft printing. You can also make sure the default is black-and-white. Unless your team is printing public- or client-facing documents, black-and-white default settings will save money on expensive color toner. 

Next, do an audit of your printer output. By discovering the team members with the highest usage, you can limit wasteful printing by adjusting permissions. It’s also worth reminding team members about the proper use of printers and company supplies. 

Finally, enroll in managed print services. Having a team of professionals that understand what’s best for your printer means your usage will always be optimized and efficient. 

Copiers are Too Light or too Dark

It’s possible the printer is running low on toner if copies are too light. And there could be dust or smudges on the glass, creating a darker effect. If it’s neither of these, then the most likely problem is the light/dark setting. People love to adjust settings, mostly because computer settings and document settings may be different. If your print results are too light or too dark, make sure the light/dark setting is adjusted to your preference or that your printer is on default. 

Spots on the Page

Spots on your print are annoying but an easy fix. The most likely cause is debris or foreign objects in the printer. Wash the glass and wipe down some of the parts without taking the thing apart. If that doesn’t fix the issue, take a look for any easy-to-reach foreign objects. The last option is to call a technician to have a look. Regular maintenance is the best way to avoid dirty looking prints. 

Final Thoughts

Problems with technology can be one of the most frustrating moments of your team’s day. The best way to avoid most problems is to ensure you keep up with a regular maintenance schedule. Educate your team about common issues and solutions so everyone can take part in keeping your office equipment running, especially the heart of your team office, your multifunction printer. 

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