Printer Troubleshooting

Printer Maintenance

Laser Replace Toner, applying maintenance kit, calibration and cleaning

Thermal – Replace paper, clean heating element and remove debris

Dot Matrix – Replace ribbon, replace print head and replace paper

Ink Jet – Replace ink cartridges, maintenance alignment, monitoring ink level and replace paper


General Printer Troubleshooting Issues

Printer will not print – Check connection, it is plugged in, printer online, AC outlet, cables, does it have paper and spooler

Problems with Feed Mechanisms – Either user error or too much paper

Spooler Problems – Print Directly to Printer, Restart, Pause or Stop Services

Garbled Characters or Garbage Printing  –
Driver Issues with Printer, Circuit Board or loose printer cable

Wrong Settings – Check settings and use correct paper

Low Ink and Toner – Replace the Ink and Toner cartridge immediately

Connection Errors – LPT error, COM error and USB cannot detect PnP

No Printout – Check ribbon, toner cartridge or ink cartridges also take sealing tape on Toner Cartridges

Paper Jam – Check pathway, rollers, paper types, too much paper, creased paper and misalignment issues

Out of Paper Errors – No paper in the printer

Calibration  – Setup printer properly before use

Maintenance, Alignment and Settings – Right Click Printer Icon and click on properties

Networking problems – rights, permissions, network connections

Compatibility – Make sure your printer is compatible with your OS

Error Codes – Certain printers have error codes to tell what is wrong with it
Printer Hardware Failure – unless it’s a high end laser printer it’s better to replace and get a new one

Out of Memory or Low Memory  - Check Spooler and RAM of Printer

Connectivity Issues – Printer connection, drivers, network, IP configurations, Remote Connections, Default Settings

Access Denied – Permission and connectivity Issues

Unable to install printer – Hardware or Driver issues

Color prints in wrong print color – settings and compatibility issues

Maintenance kit
Toner vacuum
Compressed air
Print spooler

Input/output Errors
This happens when the computer is unable to communicate with the printer:

Is the printer plugged in?
Is the printer turned on?
Check the cable connection?
Is the printer driver installed?
Is there any system resource conflict (IRQ or DMA)?

Dot Matrix Printer Troubleshooting

No Printout –
Check Ribbon
Bad Looking Text, White bars or Chopped Text – Print Head
Smudges or Dirty Printout – Clean Platen with denatured alcohol
Uneven Printout – Adjust Platen

Ink-Jet Print Quality Issues

Unclear Images – Running low on ink and needs to be replaced
Blank Printouts – No Ink or Nozzle is clogged
Smudges on Printouts – User Error (touch the printout before the ink is dried)
Wrong Colors in Printouts – Low Ink or Dirty Nozzle
Alignment Issues – Check printer properties and run the alignment program

Laser Printer Troubleshooting
Unlike with PCs, laser printer maintenance follows a fairly well established procedure.  Follow these steps to insure a long, healthy life for your system.

Keeping it Clean
Laser printers are quite robust as a rule.  A good cleaning every time you replace the toner cartridge will help that printer last for many years.   

Periodic Maintenance
Although keeping the printer clean is critical to its health and well being, every laser printer has certain components that will need to be replaced periodically.  Your ultimate source for determining the parts that need to be replaced (and when to replace them) is the printer manufacturer.  Following the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines will help to ensure years of trouble-free, dependable printing from your laser printer.

Laser Printer Problems

Blank Paper - Blank sheets of paper usually mean the printer is out of toner or transfer corona wire
Black Paper
– primary corona wire
Dirty Printouts –
Clean Printer and Fuser using maintenance program
Ghosting, Vertical White Lines, Blotchy Print or No Printout
usually you need to shake the toner
Paper Jams – To much paper, misalignment, wrong paper and check sensors if no paper causing paper jam
Lines, Smearing, Not Fused – Scratch in the EP drum, Dirty Transfer Corona, Fuser needs to be replaced

Pulling Multiple Sheets
If the printer grabs multiple sheets at a time, first try opening a new ream of paper and loading that in the printer.  If that works, you’ve got a humidity problem.  If the new paper angle doesn’t work, check the separation pad on the printer.  The separation pad is a small piece of cork or rubber that separates the sheets as they are pulled from the paper feed tray.  A worn separation pad will look shiny and well, worn!  Most separation pads are easy to replace. 

Warped, Overprinted, or Poorly Formed Characters
Poorly formed characters can indicate either a problem with the paper (or other media), or a problem with the hardware. 

Wavy Image – Defective Laser Scanner

Strange Sizes – User mistake (printer settings) or wrong paper

Reverse Power Up – Turn on Laser Printer first before you turn on PC

Managing Printers and Print Jobs
Local vs. Network Printer Setup
Printer Priority