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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Laser printer troubleshooting

Personal laser printers combine the economy and print quality of their more expensive enterprise counterparts with the price of an inkjet. Personal lasers lack an IT department to keep them running, however. Here's how to solve problems that may plague your laser printer:

The Windows Printing Troubleshooter wizard focuses on basic problems, but it's well worth trying. In Windows XP, choose Start, Help and Support, type list of troubleshooters in the Search box, and press Enter. Click list of troubleshooters in the left pane, select the Printing troubleshooter from the list on the right, and follow the steps. In Windows 2000, click Start, Help, and choose Troubleshooting and Maintenance on the Contents tab. Select Windows 2000 troubleshooters, click Print in the list of troubleshooter wizards in the right pane, and follow the steps. To open the wizard in Windows Me, click Start, Help, type troubleshooter in the Search box, and click Go. In Windows 98, select Start, Help, Contents, Troubleshooting, Windows 98 Troubleshooters, Print, and follow the wizard.

Check the basics: If your printer is plugged in but doesn't power up, look at the fuse or circuit breaker on the surge suppressor that your printer is plugged into. Reseat both ends of the USB or parallel cable that connects your printer to the PC. Many laser printers have an online/offline control on the front panel that may have been bumped inadvertently.

Print a test page: Most printers can run a self-test if you hold down one or more buttons on the control panel while the unit powers up. If the test page looks good, then the problem lies with your data cable, PC, or software. If the printout doesn't look right, see the chart below for a list of common problems and solutions.

Get the latest: Install the newest driver and firmware for your printer. Both should be available from the maker's Web site. To install a new driver in Windows XP, select Start, Printers and Faxes and choose Add a Printer under Printer Tasks on the Explorer bar in the 'Printers and Faxes' window. In Windows 2000, Me, and 98, remove the printer's driver and reinstall it: Select Start, Settings, Printers to open the Printers window. Right-click the printer, select Delete (choose Yes if you're asked to verify the removal), open the Printers window again if it closed, double-click Add Printer, and complete the reinstall.

Stop jam sessions: Always remove any jammed paper by pulling it in its normal direction of motion through the printer. If your printer chronically jams, unplug it, let it cool down, remove its toner cartridge, and examine the interior for any debris that may impede paper movement.

Check your connections: If your printer uses a USB connection, open Device Manager and look for a red X or an exclamation mark in a yellow circle next to any of the USB device listings: In Windows XP, 2000, and Me, click Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties, Hardware, Device Manager. In Windows 98, right-click My Computer and choose Properties, Device Manager. These icons can signify a problem with your printer's link to your PC. If your printer stops working when your system comes out of hibernate or suspend mode, double-click each root hub listed under USB, select Power Management, and uncheck 'Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power'. If you're using a USB hub, see whether connecting the printer directly to the USB port on the PC solves the problem.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Laser Printers - Care and Maintenance

By David Hickman

This article has been written to help the existing owners of laser printers to get the best from their machines. It is aimed at users who may not have a lot of technical expertise but who can, with a little help from articles like this, get the best from their equipment.

It is written in New Zealand, for NZers, and while the information may be useful in other countries, it is not intended for use outside New Zealand.

If you do not yet have a laser printer, or are thinking of buying a new one, please refer to the associated article, "Laser Printers - Choosing the right one for your needs"

Your laser printer is designed for easy maintenance and to reliably produce high quality printed pages. By occasionally taking a few minutes to care for your printer you can extend its life, reduce the number of service calls and ensure optimum, trouble free running for many thousands of copies.

Site your printer in the right place
If you can, place your printer where there is good air flow around it, out of strong light, particularly direct sunlight, and away from other major office equipment. Strong light, especially sunlight, can have two effects. It can increase the operating temperature to the detriment of your printer. Remember that toner is being fused into the paper at a temperature of around 220 degrees Celsius so the inside of your printer is already very hot. Light can "leak" inside the printer affecting the quality of your output. Static electricity from other equipment, such as large photocopiers and certain types of heaters, can cause print quality problems.

Keep your printer clean
Much damage done to printers comes from an accumulation of dirt and debris. Many electronic failures begin with a dirty printer. Every time you change a toner cartridge clean out the inside of the machine with a lint free cloth to remove toner and paper dust. Don't neglect the outside. Because the laser printing process uses a lot of static electricity dust is attracted to your printer so clean under and around it.

Manage your toner
All toner cartridges will release some loose toner into the machine (some designs more than others). This is why cleaning is emphasised. Make sure that the print density is set correctly to prevent the machine pulling too much toner into itself. We all like black print but too black can cause a problem. Also it is getting harder to achieve the hard glossy blacks of a few years ago as modern 1200 dpi toner sacrifices black for better gray scale. So you could be increasing the density for very little result other than more toner in your printer.

Use good quality paper
It's hard to save money on paper!! Cheap paper tends to have a high clay content making it susceptible to swelling (and causing paper jams) in humid weather and in winter. The clay is more abrasive causing greater wear. Find a good quality paper that you are happy with and ignore the specials on paper brands you've never heard of. You will save yourself many paper jams and almost certainly some costly service calls.
Have your printer serviced annually
If you maintain your printer well then a professional technician should be able to service your machine in 30 to 45 minutes. An annual service and clean will set you up for a trouble free year.

Need quality and affordable Brother Cartridges? Visit www.Brothertoners.com!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Brother MFC-8840DN review

$649.99 (Est. Street Price)
Type: Multifunction laser (mono)
Max. Print Speed: 21ppm (black)
Max. Print Resolution: 2400 x 600
Special Features: Independent faxing, up to legal size document glass, duplex (double-sided) printing, 50-page document feeder

If you're serious about getting a good, solid multifunction device, and want to offer a direct hint to your family, then you might want to drop the name of the Brother MFC-8840DN. PC World gave it an Editor's Pick tag, and PC Magazine was enthusiastic about the number of features it offered and above-par output quality.

In PC World's review, it starts with the happy premise that the Brother MFC-8840DN is lighter and smaller than most laser devices of its class, and then proceeds to lay out all the other advantages, including an understandable front panel, razor-sharp text, and good grayscale graphics.

PC Magazine gave the Brother MFC-8840DN four stars out of five, citing its high-quality text and photo printing as a basis (especially the latter, since most laser printers tend to be only so-so on photos). Also mentioned was the device's 50-page automatic document feeder, built-in fax modem, and duplex printing.

Need an inexpensive replacement Cartridge? Visit BrotherToners.com! HERE