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Laser Printers

Laser Printers

What Have We Learned, Discovered and Realized About Printing Over the Years?

Technological birth and obsolescence accelerate at breakneck speed. Desktops are being superseded in favor of laptops (save for specific uses with ultra-high-end hardware that laptops cannot keep up) to leaner, more portable and faster machines. And soon, laptops will follow with the proliferation of tablets and smartphones. As for printers, they also have a trend path of their own although it’s not that precipitous.

Printers have gone a long way from its simple, almost crude electromechanical beginnings to technology sophistication. Dot matrix printers reigned supreme back in the 80s; inkjets and laser printers were still at infancy. And if they were available, the masses couldn’t afford them. Millennials may have forgotten or haven’t seen the LPT printer port. Even if today single-functions printers are still hanging around, its market share has significantly dropped because AIOs are simply much better units.

Every year, manufacturers release a new breed of printers, serving even the niche market. You rarely see anyone, or any office use a dedicated fax machine because an all-in-one printer can do the same task. Even large photocopiers aren’t exempted from descending to obsolescence. Multipurpose units are getting better at copying documents (albeit a few seconds slower at copying but for light-duty work environments, they’re up to the task.) From USB to Ethernet to WiFi to Cloud printing, these connectivity options are solutions for work environments that is time critical with added flexibility.

Despite the progress, it is not without flaws and it breeds new challenges. Users get confused how they can use their new printer and maximize its features. It takes time getting used to a new one and their learning curve can be steep. Sometimes when the printer is not responding or behaving strangely, they would hastily think their printer is defective or before realizing something’s amiss and wouldn’t take long to troubleshoot such problem. Or they get frustrated if a tried-and-tested solution doesn’t work.

All these considered, here are some things to keep in mind about printing in general:

  • Economics is the name of the game. Yet most often than not, consumers can be instantly drawn how cheap a printer is without considering the ink cost.

Try this: while you’re reading the specifications of a printer, do a quick search of its ink and calculate the average cost of printing in a month for every cartridge or toner within your shortlisted printers of choice before purchase. Some printers may surprise you how low (or high) the cost may be. 

For businesses that require continuous printing, a laser printer or AIO with high-yield toner capacity option and very high duty cycle is recommended. Anything else that doesn’t require much printing can opt for an inkjet or an entry level laser printer instead.

  • You can install the software from the printer CD unless it also stealthily installs bloatware.

Nobody likes bloatware. Put it in another way, nobody should use bloatware. They hog memory resources like gluttons; making your computer sluggish. Unfortunately, many users install their printer software from the CD unbeknown to them or not giving some time to select what programs they only need. Worse, bloatware can be inconspicuously preselected, and subtlety blended in between window dialogs during installation process that you can only notice it after the installation. When installing from the printer CD, only the drivers are needed. Install or reinstall the printer software if you’re sure it doesn’t slow down your computer and it has all the essential functions needed for your printer to work.

  • If possible, have a printer with screen panel interface rather than the blocky LCD or none.

Its visual impact makes you more aware what the printer is (or you are) doing while not being confused or lost in the middle of an important task.

  • Choosing within two or more printer models of the same series can have different features present or lacking.

Some manufacturers have these acronyms for distinguishing features from one printer to another. For example, a Brother HL-L3230CDW is a color multifunction LED printer that supports duplex printing and wireless printing unlike its other sibling Brother HL-L3230CDN which shares the same features except wireless printing, hence, without letter “W”. A printer with wireless feature usually supports wired network printing but it’s the opposite is true the other way around. Commonly seen acronyms are: 

  • W for wireless
  • N for wired network
  • D for duplex printing
  • C for color
  • L for laser or LED
  • M or MF for multifunction 
  • F for fax 

 

  • There’s no harm if you’ve skipped updating your printer drivers. Update only if it is necessary. 

Update or reinstall only when:

  • Having hardware changes like modem or router (for wireless)
  • Upgrading your operating system
  • A printer driver bug was discovered that can only be fixed with a later driver version
  • Your printer isn’t working properly

 

  • Familiarity about wired or wireless networking and other common technical terms is a necessity.

Unless you only have one computer and you only need to connect via USB, if you have no idea how to setup your WiFi, chances are you won’t be able to set up your printer at all. 

  • Setting your printer up can be trickier than you thought it would be.

Even if you’re tech-savvy, printer quirks solutions range from a walk in the park to downright challenging. Some printers aren’t that easy to install by just adding a printer in the Add Printer Wizard. Sometimes during the installation process, you are required to manually input your local network’s SSID or the router’s IP address. And if you have multiple laptops that need to connect to a single printer, you probably need to perform the installation for each computer especially if you’re doing wireless method. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not skip any steps or else you have to do it over again.

  • Different methods for different models.

With the help of Google, you should search specifically of your printer’s model for any help guide needed. Because sometimes what works for a recent model may not work to the newer one even if they are of the same manufacturer.

  • When connecting via USB, some printers will work to the specific USB port when it was first set up and installed.

This is caused by the printer’s USB interface not having a unique serial number or you’re connecting to virtual printer port if another printer is connected. Windows cannot distinguish one USB port order of the printer to another, so it creates one driver instance for each port. This happens to any USB device without a serial number. You can see where your printer was originally installed from the Printers and Devices at the end of the printer model name with the suffix USBxx1 (can be USB002, USB003) depending on how many USB ports your computer has. Your solution is to use the same port as when it was last installed or open Devices and Printers and set the active printer to default.

  • Make use of WiFi Direct printing method. It’s that convenient.

A WiFi Direct feature lets you connect from a wireless device directly without connecting to a WiFi network. Setting it up from your laptop or an Android device is easy as turning it on from Wireless and networks in Settings then scan for the printer (make sure it’s on), select it, and then accept the invitation to connect.

  • You can also print via Bluetooth, which is another wireless printing method but surprisingly isn’t widely used.

It can come in handy if all other options fail. All you have to do is pair your device to the printer and you’re good to go. The distance between your device and the printer should be close.

  • Mobile specific printing apps like Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint don’t work if your printer isn’t connected to a wireless network.

They are just as inconvenient without WiFi. Enough said.

  • Sometimes a wireless printing problem is solved as easy as just enabling printer sharing.

If you managed to install the printer with its wireless feature enabled and still unable to print, you can enable sharing by turning on file and printer sharing in the Printer properties in the Control Panel. You should see your shared printer from the Network window. For Mac users, navigate to Printers and Scanners and then make sure Printer Sharing is checked or enabled. Then add your printer in the Add Printer or Scanner from Printers and Scanners window and select your Mac computer, your workgroup, and your printer model. Then click add.

  • Be mindful to your printer status whether coming from your printer panel interface or its software.

It’s not a big deal if you only ran out of paper, paper jam or a low-ink notification. Other than those warnings, your printer might need serious attention.The list can go on, and if I have learned something new along the way, I may add it to this list. How about you? Let me know what you have learned by posting a comment or two below.

Laser Printers

Cleaning the Corona Wire of Your Laser Printer

A laser printer contains several moving and heated parts during printing. Some of the parts require more attention than usual to keep your laser printer running smoothly. Located in the toner cartridge is a corona wire. It’s a thin wire made from tungsten. 

During printing, the corona wire is charged with electricity and draws the toner off the drum to the paper. When the corona wire is charged, it gives the drum a positive static charge then the drum transfers the charge to the paper that in turn attracts the toner to the paper. The printer releases a laser beam transversely to the surface to discharge certain points while the drum spins. The laser then etches the letters and images to be printed as a pattern from the corona wire. Cleaning the corona wire regularly ensures a long service life.

Keep in mind attempting to clean them without basic printer troubleshooting knowledge voids any warranty and can cause damage to your laser printer.

  1. Open the top cover. If necessary, lock the top cover place. Failing to do so can cause severe damage to the printer.
  2. Pull out the drum and toner assembly.
  3. Set aside the drum and toner assembly on top of a cloth or paper to prevent the toner messing up the surface.
  4. Locate the corona wire tab on the left side of the toner assembly. Clean it by sliding the tab back and forth from left to right 10-15 times.
  5. Repeat the previous process if the wire isn’t completely clean. 
  6. After cleaning, place the corona wire tab back to its original position on the left. Improperly placed wire will result a printed vertical line smear to the paper.
  7. If necessary, repeat the previous steps to clean the rest of the wires of the remaining color toners.
  8. Return the drum and toner assembly back. Ensure that the assembly is placed on the correct color label.

Make sure you clean the corona wires first before you replace toner cartridge of your laser printer. 

If the procedure doesn’t improve the print quality, refer to a qualified technician to perform the cleaning.

Laser Printers

A Quick Guide to Iron-On Heat Transfer Paper for Shirt Printing

Do you print shirts or garments and make money out of it? Or just a pastime hobby? Do you have a printer sitting in your desk? You can print shirts with a printer using an iron-on transfer paper. 

Printing shirts can be fun and rewarding. But if you’re left with the traditional silk screen or machine heat press (using vinyl) methods, you might not have tried iron-on method using a heat transfer paper. Both former printing methods have their own pros and cons. Silk screening is a time-consuming method especially the during drying, but its print output lasts, resistant to heavy washing and does not wear easily. Unless you own one, a heat pressing machine is expensive than a printer. Iron-on transfer has none of those disadvantages mentioned, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise caution and skip some important things to keep in mind.

Iron-on method is a cheaper alternative for shirt printing and can be done at home using your regular iron as your heat pressing machine; making shirt printing process way easier than before. This process requires a heat transfer paper that can print multicolored images on a single sheet. A heat transfer paper is intended for use on garments or other substrates with cotton, cotton blended fabrics, or synthetic fabrics like polyester, lycra or nylon. It contains polymer film, which enables to bond the ink and paper to the garment together. 

 

Heat Transfer Paper 

Before you start printing, there are a few kinds of transfer paper with its own subtypes that should be used for specific applications. A light heat transfer paper is used for light colored fabrics like white while dark heat transfer paper is used for black or other dark colored shirts. While printers don’t have white ink, light heat transfer paper uses the white or light color of the shirt as a substitute while dark heat transfer paper prints like a regular transfer paper using the white color from the paper itself. There are heat transfer papers specifically made for inkjet or laser printer so be mindful what you buy because these papers cannot be used interchangeably. Laser transfer paper is further categorized to single / full color or white toner laser paper. Single color laser transfer paper is compatible with both light and dark shirts while full color laser transfer paper has separate light and dark variants similar to inkjet transfer paper. There’s also a white toner laser transfer paper, a unique type that’s specifically made for white toner laser printer for transfers on one or multiple colors that can blend in the background or blank space of the image.

 

Applying

When all things are ready (printed image from the appropriate paper, shirt, iron, cardboard), lay the shirt on a flat, hard wooden surface. Don’t forget to mirror your image before printing and ironing the light heat transfer paper to your shirt. Make sure that the shirt must be washed, completely dry and ironed and put a cardboard underneath where the image will be ironed on to protect the fabric. Cut and trim the image so you can neatly position and place it to the shirt. Set the iron to maximum setting (do not use steam!) then evenly iron-on the image to the shirt with steady moderate pressure for a few minutes. Continue ironing the edges until the image is fully attached to the fabric. Make sure to keep the iron moving to avoid destroying the image and scorching the paper. After ironing, give it time to cool before peeling the transfer paper carefully. You can only hand wash the shirt inside out after a day since ironing so that the transferred image will last.

 

Have fun printing!

Laser Printers

Printer queue problem; How to resolve and continue printing?

The printer queue feature of a printer is one innovation that has entirely revolutionized printing. With this feature, users will only need to forward print jobs and no longer wait in line literally.

Print jobs are lined by the printer firmware automatically and print documents one after the other. However, print jobs vary in complexity, so that if the printer infrastructure cannot cope up the printer crashes and stops printing. All print jobs in the printer queue stuck and productivity suffers.

To resume printing, the user must clear the queue first, like giving the printer a fresh new start. But, how to clear printer queue is a simple process but follows certain protocols. This setup is applicable if the system is served by Windows which is not specific but practically all Windows OS;

  1. To clear the printer queue, proceed to Start, Control Panel and look for the Administrative Tools, then double click on the Services icon.
  2. While in it scroll down to the Print Spooler service, right click on it and tap Stop. You need to logged in as Administrator to avail of the Print Spooler service. Take note that during this process, no one will be able to print anything on any of the printers hosted by this particular server.
  3. The next step is to enter the following directory C:\WINDOWS\System32\spool\PRINTERS. Or type %windir%\System32\spool\PRINTERS into the address bar in Explorer that is if the C Drive is not the default Windows partition. And delete all the files in this folder.
  4. After all the files have been cleared, return to the Services Console, right click and choose Start for the Print Spooler Service.

After which, printing can now commence without any problem.

If you are doing printer queue stuck clearing process on a server, be certain that there are no other print jobs processed in line for any other printers on the server since doing so will also delete those print jobs.

That’s about it be ready when faced on how to clear printer queue, remember the process is simple and easy to execute.

Laser Printers

Pixma Printer App; Check, not all Canon’s are compatible?

Canon has developed the pixma printer app intended selectively for its line of printers, obviously to allow its countless users to avail of the benefits that pixma printers offer. 

This is a wireless printer app that enables users to print from the PC, from the tablet or any other mobile devices without the need to connect with cables. With wireless connectivity assured, users can directly access the printer and easily send documents and print from almost anywhere, distance is no longer a concern.

However, sad to say that not all Canon pixma printers are compatible with the printer app. Interested parties will have to check with the complete list of printers released by Canon that are designed compatible with the printer app. There is no way for a user to use the app if his/her printer is not included in the list.

For pixma printers compatible with the app, there are countless options available for the user detailed for your convenience. Each and every wireless option is paired with a brief explanation of the features that is available to be explored. It is just like opening a box full of features for each one to enjoy.

Some of the features that the app offers include photo printing with trimming even, you can print from PDF files and Microsoft office documents. It can easily print from web pages with share, scan and save documents or photos as PDF or JPEG. You can even adjust copy, settings from your mobile device.

Convenience is all for the taking, but like all printer app, users will have to go through a series of instructions to connect the Pixma printer to the local wireless network. Canon has crafted Pixma wireless connection setup guides, for each one to follow and avoid glitches.

Remember, the Canon Pixma Printer app is practically one of the best developed, but is intended only for some select models of printers. In particular, it is for wireless printers, being a wireless printer app.

Laser Printers

Canon Printer: what is WPS connect protocol?

Printers right out of the box are soulless devices, even if plugged directly to the wall socket. It must first be loaded with a compatible firmware, and must follow the guidelines in how to connect to WiFi, particularly WPS connect.

WiFi came into mainstream use because of the desire to rid the office environment of meter upon meters of connecting cables. Which many find to be entirely out of character in a well maintained and aesthetically developed office environment. Thus, together with the shift, printers have to abide with the WPS guidelines.

Everyone knows that at the heart of a wireless connection setup is the router, where radio signals emanate or the junction at which WiFi signals are sourced from. Routers are sometimes referred to as access points or hubs. And to make the connection setup easy it is built with an automatic feature known as the WPS (WiFi Protected Setup).

The WPS allows a Canon Printer for instance to connect to the office WiFi or local area network, without the need to use a password. With the button, the user becomes privy to the ‘WPS Connection Method’ and be able to methodically follow the instructions in the connection process. This method is the least cumbersome when connecting to WiFi.

The process to connect is really easy, but before turning on the printer, see to it that the router has a built-in physical WPS button. Most LAN are provided with a WPA (WiFi Protected Access) or the WPA2 security protected protocol. The rest of the process comes as follows:

  1. Turn the printer on, press and hold the WiFi button until the lamp flashes just once only.
  2. The lamp found next to the WPS button should start to flash blue, and while on it press the WPS button within two minutes after pushing the WPS button.
  3. The WiFi lamp (blue) on the printer will continue flashing, that is when searching together with the power and WiFi lamp when connection has been established.
  4. Once connection has been confirmed, flashing will stop and lamp continue to lit with a steady glow.

That’s about it, the WPS connect is now complete, do a test print if necessary.

Remember, how to connect canon printer to WiFi is simple and easy, anyone can do it without the need for professional help.

Laser Printers

Why Does My Printer Say Offline? Problem Solved!

When your printer showing ‘offline’ it only means that connectivity to the computer is non existent. You see, signals are never steady; some things can interrupt the flow and break the connection.

There is no clear pattern when a signal break can happen, so never consider why does my printer say ‘offline’ a big issue. The problem really is devices are not attuned to be sensible to signal breaks. It does not allow automatic reconnection once signal has returned, and needs reconfiguring to restore capability.

Connectivity issues can be resolved by troubleshooting, considering that the cause is not network oriented, but device terminal shorts. Of course part of the solution is to grope the printer and computer terminals to look for loose connections. Since when metals overheat, it contracts and loose connections follows.

That is why in some instances, shutting off the printer and computer and allowed to rest for a few seconds before powering on can most of the time restore connectivity. Just like humans devices also need to rest to allow overheated components to heal, sensitive contact points to reset and allow connectivity.

If physical troubleshooting could not resolve the issue, proceed to your computer and click on the ‘start’ button. ‘Devices and printers’ should now appear and click on it, and ‘see what’s printing’ and a display spooler window will appear. Then on it click ‘printers’ and select ‘use printer offline’ restoring the printer back to ‘online’.

By this basic configuration, the printer should be back ‘online’, if the issue still persist then the problem lies with the drivers. You will need to upgrade and download the right drivers to remove the ‘offline’ messages and continue printing. Always be aware that the choice of drivers is important, only compatibility can restore the printer’s capability.

Remember, why does my printer say ‘offline’, is a message that deals with your printer and computer connectivity issues. And when properly resolved it has addressed the printer showing ‘offline’ error messages.