Getting a printer error is one of the most frustrating aspects of home computing. Nowadays with smartphones and tablets there isn’t as much of a need to print things such as movie tickets, hotel booking reservations or concert ticket confirmations, as you can just show it to staff on your device. So when you need to print something, it’s because it has to be printed! Such as with official letters to the council complaining about how your bins are never left in the same spot, posters to stick up around your neighbourhood to find your lost pet/garden gnome or you badly need a permanent physical copy of that motivational picture you’ve just been emailed. Whatever the reasons, you need to print and you need to print right now!
Since their commercial release, home inkjet printers have drastically come down in price. Somewhere along the line, printers have become cheaper, yet ink cartridges prices have increased. You can now get some home inkjet printers, which come with ink cartridges, for the same price that as it costs to buy the ink separately. Which is terrible for landfill, but good for you given that when a printer stops working you can replace it with next to no financial difference.
Still if you’ve bought a fancy more expensive printer which does a lot more than just print or you have your printer all set up just how you want it, and you’re reluctant to mess with it, especially given that the power cable is really hard to reach to disconnect it, or you don’t want to disturb the pile of loose paper and office paraphernalia that precariously sits atop your printer, then there are a few things that you can try before getting a new one.
Printers come with software drivers which basically act as a translator that enable your computer to talk to your printer. Given there are 100’s of printer dialects out there, you need to make sure that your translator knows the right one for your printer. Sure while mis-communications between humans who don’t speak the same language can result in hilarious situations, misunderstandings between your computer and printer only result in frustration. So you can always try uninstalling the printer drivers in device manager and then letting windows automatically re-install them.
Besides the obvious problem of an ink cartridge running out of ink, there can also be issues where the connection between the ink cartridge becomes damaged, possibly from installing it incorrectly. As well as a problem with ink cartridges that you may have had refilled. These problems can be hard to diagnose unless the printer displays a particular error which you can Google to find solutions. If the printer is displaying ink level warnings, which you dismiss and force the printer to continue regardless and the printer goes through the motions of printing, yet leaves no ink on the page, maybe it’s a time to get a new cartridge.
Cables and connectors can get damaged quite easily. If for example you like to give your desk, office chair or filing cabinet a 5mm boost by putting your cables underneath them, this can lead to the tiny wires within the cable breaking so that the connection goes in and out. This might not be visible from the exterior. But if you’re device cuts in and out of use it could be a good sign that it’s your cable. You can try using an alternate cable to isolate this as either the problem or not. With connectors there is also the issue of the connector becoming loose due to it being knocked about. If it wiggles too much and cuts in and out it may be a good time to toss it.
Most home printers still rely on mechanical components such as motors to pull the paper through and to move the ink head across the paper. These much like any other components can wear out over time causing errors. If you’re lucky this error will be self diagnosed by the printer and displayed on the console. With most inexpensive printers the cost of fixing them would be more effort than it’s worth, so you should just consider purchasing a new printer and beginning the cycle all over again.
If you’re having ongoing problems with your printer that no amount of Googling can fix, then you can always try getting Super IT Solutions to check it out.