Have you noticed that the quality of your prints or copies has been a bit rubbish lately? Do the blacks suddenly look grainy? Is the ink smudging, or maybe even not appearing altogether? Are there lines where there shouldn’t be any? Or maybe your printing has always been like that, and you just hadn’t noticed it until we pointed it out. Sorry about that, by the way. But if this is you, we have a few hints and tips to get your print quality back on track.
In order to produce high quality copies, a machine needs 4 elements to all be working properly. An issue with any one of these could cause problems.
Believe it or not, a lot of issues with print quality can be traced back to the paper, not the printer itself. For example, if the print is too light or too dark, it could be because you are using the wrong print media for the printer. If you see irregularities on the page, it could be because the paper has absorbed water during humid weather, so all you need to do is load fresh paper. If the toner or ink is rubbing off the page when you handle it, or it curls up once it’s printed, it’s the wrong type of paper (think glossy instead of matte, which can affect how the materials stick to it). If your pages come out skewed or with weirdly proportioned margins, your paper tray guides might be wrong. Always remember to check your paper and paper setting first, before you start unscrewing bits of your printer.
Drums, Developer And Toners
The first thing you should do when you notice poor print quality is have a good look at your ink cartridges or toner drums. Check for any obvious signs of wear, including lines or scratches on the drums, as these could be causing some difficulties. If you open up your machine and see lots of excess toner, that’s also a bad sign. So is noticing any springs or covers missing or hanging off their fixings. Any one of these could cause print issues, and can usually be fixed by simple repair or replacing the parts.
If you’re using refill cartridges (and odds are good that you are), you should check to see if they are worn too. But more importantly, what type of refill cartridges are they, and where did you get them? If you bought them from somewhere ebay (naughty naughty) and they are causing you issues, your best option is to throw them away. Cartridges bought on ebay are often cheap knock offs, and fail more often than not. This can cause all sorts of print issues, such as specks, smears, distortion, strange lines, voids and even colour going missing altogether. Instead of buying replacement cartridges or toner online, use a reputable supplier (like us) who can supply the correct products and replace them if they don’t work.
Seeing specks or lines of extra toner all over your documents is a nuisance, and quite frankly it’s very messy, so you want to get that fixed as soon as possible. If you see these defects appearing, open up your printer and check the transfer roller. The part could be damaged or defective, or they could simply be worn and not operating properly. Other symptoms of a defective or misaligned transfer roller include noisy printing, unpleasant smells, light printing and paper jams. It should be fairly easy to tell if your transfer roller is misaligned on visual inspection, and with some persuasion you should be able to realign it and fix the issue. If it’s not misaligned, try replacing it.
And finally, the fuser unit, which is the set of heated rollers that fuse the toner to the paper in a laser printer. The issues a bad or old fuser causes can be similar to those caused by a faulty transfer roller, so you need to be careful here. You may need to replace your fuser unit if you see streaking, double imaging or smudges, which are caused by the toner sticking to the rollers, or the rollers continuing to turn after the first print has been fused. If you have replaced your transfer roller and are still getting these problems, your fuser unit is probably the cause.
And if none of that works, or you aren’t sure how to check, you need to get a man in. Luckily, at Archway we are man. Or men. Anyway, our team of experts can diagnose printer quality problems quickly, and get them solved for you the same day in most cases, as well as doing regular maintenance to make sure it doesn’t happen again. So if your office printer needs some TLC, pick up the phone and call Archway today.