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How to fix common HP Printing Problems

August 19th, 2008 No comments

Printer causing you headaches? Here are some fixes to common printer problems:

Paper Jams – Paper jams are usually caused by because the printer is dirty, the printer rollers that feed the paper through the printer are worn out, or you are using the wrong type of paper. Cleaning your printer is an easy fix, check your instruction manual to find out how to clean your particular printer. Even easier is making sure you are using the correct type of paper for your printer. Replacing the rollers on your printer can be tricky though. Check your instruction manual to see if the rollers are easily accessible. If not, you might want to have a repair shop replace these for you. Some printers have to be torn apart to get to the rollers. Remember when clearing a paper jam, to pull the paper in the direction of the paper path. Pulling the paper backwards can cause damage to your printer.

Ghosting – Ghosting means the image prints properly, but a much lighter copy of the image also prints elsewhere. This is usually caused by a problem with the power outlet that is supplying power to the printer. Check the power outlet by plugging in a different printer to see if the same results occur. Ghosting can also be caused when consumable printer parts (such as the drum or imaging kit) are near the end of their life. All of the consumable parts in a printer are rated for a certain number of pages. Once a printer gets near that magic number, you’ll need to replace those parts to eliminate ghosting.

Toner smears - If words and images come off the paper when you run your hand across the page, there are a few possible problems. First, the fuser assembly may be damaged or at the end of its life. The solution is to replace the fuser assembly. Repairing a fuser assembly is generally not recommended because the fuser is considered a consumable printer part and not worth the time or effort to fix. Second, the toner cartridge may be defective and letting too much toner out at one time. In a black-and-white laser printer, the solution is to replace the toner cartridge. In a color laser printer, only replace the cartridge that is exhibiting the problem. Third, some toner may have spilled in the printer. If so, you’ll need to clean it out.

The Ink Looks Faded – A faded print image can be caused because of low toner, setting the print density too low, or having Economode printing turned on. To find out what your settings are, run a printer self-test (typically a separate button on the printer) will show what the current settings are. If the toner is low, you can extend the life of it a bit by removing the cartridge and shaking it to redistribute the toner more evenly.

Printer is displaying a 50.4 error message – A 50.4 error message on some of the newer HP LaserJet printers indicates a problem with the power supply. If the printer is connected to a UPS, disconnect it, or disconnect it from a power strip and plug it directly into a wall outlet. A laser printer should never be plugged into a UPS, because the UPS can be damaged by the surges of power required by a printer to keep the fuser assembly warm.

Can’t find a driver for a particular operating system – As new operating systems are released, new drivers will need to be loaded for your existing printers. Not all printers have a driver for every OS. In these cases, it’s best to consult the printer manual and find out what printers the drivers will emulate. While not all of the functionality of the printer will be available under this emulation, at least basic printing will work. For example, most HP printers will print with the HP LaserJet II driver installed, although specific options, such as duplexing, will not work.

Printer is displaying a 79 error – A 79 error can occur because of a problem with the network print server that services the printer. When troubleshooting a 79 error, first open the Printer folder from the Start menu on the Print server to make sure there are no jobs pending. A 79 error can also indicate a failure of a printer add-on component, such as an MIO card or a RAM module. All add-ons should be removed and then added back to the printer one by one to determine which module may be at fault.

Trouble printing onto envelopes – Envelopes can cause many problems for laser printers. Choose envelopes that are close to 20-lb paper in weight and thickness. Also, make sure that the adhesive on the envelope is capable of withstanding the heat that the fuser puts out to keep the printing on the page. If you don’t, the envelopes will come out of the printer already sealed. If envelopes are coming out of the printer wrinkled, they may be too stiff for the paper path. Open the rear of the printer and let them exit at that location instead.

Printer is not printing from the expected paper tray – Check first on your computer to see if the application is set to print to the wrong paper tray. Correct it from the application by clicking on “Printer Properties” and finding the “Tray Selection” source. Also, check the printer, to see if the paper sizes in the control panel match what is actually in the paper trays.

Printer picks up all the paper from the manual feed tray rather than one sheet – The pad that is responsible for separating the paper might be worn out and need to be replaced. You can order just the pad and easily install it. Also, check to see if your paper is wet due to humidity. Make sure the paper is properly stored and that it is “fanned” before putting it into the printer.

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