Basic Printer Maintenance

To help your printer give you satisfactory service for as long as possible, you'll want to practice some basic good printer housekeeping.

Inkjet printers work by shooting tiny droplets of ink out of nozzles in the print head. Those nozzles can get clogged, especially if the printer isn't used regularly. Luckily, the printer driver (the software through which you send your photos to your printer) almost always has a very easy to use utility that will clean the nozzles for you in a way that won't require you to physically touch the printhead or nozzles. Just follow the software instructions, which involves clicking your mouse a few times, and the printer will take care of the job itself. If you use your inkjet on a regular basis, clean the heads about

once a month. If the printer isn't being used frequently (which means the ink has more opportunity to dry in the nozzles), clean it every couple of weeks.

Almost all color printers, regardless of the technology, come with some sort of alignment utility that makes certain that the different colors of ink will line up to each other correctly. Most printers automatically adjust alignment, but you may want to do it manually when you change a ribbon or a cartridge, or when the colors look out of place.

Laser and phase change printers have waste receptacles that must be emptied periodically. Otherwise, the printer simply will stop working. Should that happen, don't worry; there's no real damage because your printer will function normally after you empty the waste receptacle.

Paper often flakes, rips, shreds, and tears as it goes through the printer. Toner dust coats and collects inside the printer. Rollers and paper grabbers become slick with use. This is why you will want to regularly clean inside your printer. For removing unwanted dust, chaff, and anything else that leaves a residue, consider buying a small hand-held vacuum cleaner (available at most computer and stationery stores) and periodically suck out everything that doesn't belong. For rollers and other surfaces that come in contact with paper, you can use either commercial cleaning swabs or cotton cue tips dipped with isopropyl alcohol (unless your printer specifically warns against it, as a few do). Cleaning the inside of your printer can extend its useful life, because dust and dirt tend to contribute to a gradual buildup of component-destroying heat. Be sure, of course, to follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions specific to your printer.

0 0

Post a comment