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Common Printer Errors and How to Avoid Them

October 15, 2015

Remember the character in "Office Space" who becomes so frustrated with the office printer's "PC Load Letter" message, he finally takes the printer outside and smashes it with a baseball bat? That's an extreme reaction, but most office workers can empathize. Malfunctioning printers can be maddening, particularly when they fail at inopportune, urgent moments within your workflow. So before you grab that baseball bat, check to see if one of the following common printer errors has occurred and if Pacific Office Automation can help solve your problem.

1. Nothing is happening.

Run down this checklist: Is it plugged in? Turned on? Online? If you're having trouble connecting your printer to your computer via Wi-Fi, try using a USB cable to manually connect the two and make sure your printer software is installed on your hard drive. It also doesn’t hurt to check if you've chosen the correct printer to send the job to; sometimes the default printer reverts back to an old printer.

2. You're getting a low-ink message, even though you recently installed new ink cartridges.

Considering the high cost of printer ink, this is perhaps one of the most frustrating errors. Believe it or not, ink dries up even if you're not printing regularly, which can be common for printers for small business who don’t print at high volumes. One way to avoid the low ink problem is to try to print more frequently, even if it's just a test page.

3. Streaky ink.

This happens when the nozzles on the printer heads get clogged or needs realignment. For this problem to be solved, you'll need to clean the print heads. Don't worry: It sounds more complicated than it is. In fact, some office printers we sell can clean themselves. You'll have to click on your printer's utility software to check if you have this feature. Otherwise, your printer manual or one of our professionals can give you a step-by-step guide to cleaning the printer.

4. The paper is jammed.

Even a tiny piece of paper can cause a jam, so you'll need to open up your paper tray and as many panels as you can to try to find the culprit. Make sure to remove dust and other debris with a small vacuum as per your manufacturer's instructions. To work to avoid paper jams, make sure you load your printer paper evenly to avoid misalignment.

5. The printer operates at a glacial pace.

A surefire way to speed up printing is to choose "fast draft" mode for basic, black and white documents from your "print properties" menu. Another way to speed things up is to move the printer closer to the router, or connect the printer to the computer with a cable. Wi-Fi can slow things down significantly, depending on the strength of signal.

6. The print quality isn't good.

Try removing the toner and shaking it around a bit (do a dance if you feel it might help). If the toner settles in the cartridge, it can affect print quality.

7. I can't scan.

Check your printer utility software to make sure that the scanner software is working to the best of its ability. If need be, reinstall the printer's software.

For printer errors that aren’t as common, look to a printer/copier technician. Parts and software can wear out over time and need replacing from a professional. At Pacific Office Automation, our award-winning repair team has the expertise and the parts inventory you need to get your printer up and running in no time. If the problem is of a networking nature, Pacific Office offers remote support via a shared screen for a quick diagnosis and resolution. Pacific Office Automation's motto is "Problem solved," and on top of repair, we offer managed IT print services that provide continuous monitoring to stop printer problems before they happen.

Don't let your printer drive you crazy. Contact us today for printer repair needs in Denver, Seattle or Portland, and we'll help you keep your printer humming along smoothly.

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Get in touch with a printer expert

With offices in Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, Pacific Office's top-notch sales team and technicians are quick to respond to service and repair requests and offer overall technical support.

Call or e-mail us today to learn more about our multifunction printers, IT services or submit a service work order. We'll be there to help you say, "Problem Solved."