The top 5 most common printer problems and how to resolve them
Printers and photocopiers are great pieces of equipment when they’re working. Essential for everyday use, it can make office life very difficult when they experience problems.
Of course, on a Managed Print Service (MPS) the vast majority of printer or copier issues are resolved well before they become a problem thanks to the fantastic preventative maintenance work we perform on a regular basis. However, for those businesses not utilising an MPS service problems can snowball fast, causing delays and even an interruption to business.
Print Logic, digital workflow and print management leaders in the North West and Birmingham, help many businesses across (and beyond) our core regions with various printer and copier issues as part of our engineer callout service. We asked some of our expert engineers what the most common problems people experience were and listed them here.
Probably one of the first and most well-known printer problems people are aware of. A printer jam occurs when a piece of paper travelling through it’s print cycle slips, is obstructed or is interrupted. If dealt with correctly they are very easy and quick to resolve, often taking just moments to un-jam. Modern photocopiers even include a easy to use guide on their display screens on where the jam is and how to remove it.
Sometimes (especially on older models of printers and photocopiers) jams can be difficult to remove, and can sometimes tear inside the machine, leading to even more problems.
If a jam occurs on your printer or photocopier, the important thing to remember is not to force any paper out. Pulling paper out too quickly and harshly will result in it tearing apart in your hands, so its important to take care to only gently pull paper. Most modern photocopiers have specific parts to help people push paper through a device manually (such as green screws and handles), Using these will pull paper through a system properly and will eventually lead to jams safely leaving the machine.
Bad looking Prints
Have you ever been annoyed because of the 20-page booklet you’ve been working on for the past few days has got full width, thin lines and smudges all across it? You’re not alone, and this happens quite a lot to every laser print device out there. But what causes these strange lines? Maybe there’s a problem with the original file, or perhaps the toner needs replacing?
There are a few things you can do to resolve this, such as:
- Updating the printer driver to it’s latest version
- Double check that the paper loaded matches the paper type on the driver
- Check the toner cartridges for any damage
- For smudge marks, print off several blank sheets of paper and they will go eventually
Mystery Error codes
Error codes are often very useful or very confusing depending on the type of machine displaying them. Most times it’s quite unclear as to what the issue with the printer might be. Something saying ‘Error A24’ isn’t helpful unless it’s accompanied by a brief description of what it might refer to, and so a professional copier engineer needs to be called to resolve it.
It’s important to have an expert’s input when attempting to resolve an error code on a photocopier (such as a designated member of your team, or as part of the engineer callout service provided by Print Logic), as any attempt to resolve it by an untrained person may result in further complications.
Nothing happens – the printer won’t print!
Sometimes you might send a document to the printer only for nothing to happen at all. After the dreaded paper jam, this is the second most common problem users face. Don’t worry though, this can be resolved quickly enough by following a few simple steps.
Firstly, check that you sent the print job to the right printer (you might be sending dozens of jobs to another printer!). You can select the printer from a drop-down list on the printer settings screen (after pressing the ‘print’ button), or just make your printer the default one.
It might sound obvious, but its worth checking that there’s enough paper (and the correct type of paper) in the tray – someone else may have used it up or taken it to write on, leaving the tray empty and you unable to print.
Lastly, it’s probably a good idea to restart your computer. Save all your work and hit restart – you’ll flush out all the corrupted data on your machine and (literally) reboot it, so you can start printing afresh!
Time to let go and upgrade!
As hard as it might be to admit, there comes a point where many printers reach the end of their usefulness. If you bought your copier or printer ‘off the shelf’ from a high street store or second hand, then chances are it’s not going to perform exactly how you’d expect it to.
Even though your printer has become part of the furniture in your office, you can’t ignore the growing amount of annoying hiccups which keep happening, so it’s best to upgrade to a new machine and let yours have some well earned rest.
When you’re ready for a replacement, it’s worth considering renting or leasing a printer or photocopier from Print Logic. It's actually cheaper than running a machine independently, and you'll get maintenance, all toner and training included in the price. We’re experts in all things print related, and we might even be able to help speed up your workflow and make your office even more efficient too!