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A Beginners Guide To Paper Jams

If you ever need someone to come and unblock your printer, just shine the print-signal into the night sky and wait for the Archway superheros to show up. No, we won’t be wearing tights, and thankfully we won’t be rolling in through any windows. We’ll probably just knock on the door like normal people. One of the most common support issues we encounter is a printer jam, which is almost always related to paper. Thankfully these are an easy fix, so it doesn’t take long to get you back up and running. But what causes printer jams, and how can you diagnose them yourself? 

What Causes A Printer To Jam?

Printer jams happen when the paper feeding through the machine goes awry. Sometimes the printer just ignores the issue and carries on going, producing a crumpled, ink soaked mess at the other end. Other times, the printer will throw up its hands and stop mid print, leaving that crumpled mess (or sometimes just part of it) trapped somewhere inside the machine. On rare occasions printer jams can be caused by something else, like a foreign object being drawn into the printer with the paper, or if your printer hasn’t been serviced (you are getting your printer serviced, right?) a mechanism or something from inside the machine can dislodge and block it up. But most of the time, it’s good old fashioned paper that’s to blame.

How Do I Fix It? 

If you do discover that your printer is the tragic victim of a printer jam, there are a few things you can do to fix it before you fling it out of the window in frustration.

  1. Check the paper size is correct. If you’re trying to use paper that is either too wide, to small or too thick for your calibration settings, it can get stuck in the printer. If this is the case, replace the paper with the correct size and remove the jammed paper manually.
  1. Fan the paper to separate it. Sometimes paper that comes in those tight packages can stick together, causing the printer to take more than one page at a time, which in turn causes a jam. Make sure you fan out your paper before you insert it into the printer.
  1. Change the paper. If you’re still having issues, try changing the paper out completely and see if this solves the issue. Defects in a batch of paper can sometimes cause printing issues.
  1. Look for a blockage. If you’ve not been trying to print and you are still getting an error message, open all of the doors and look for a blockage manually. Sometimes it’s as simple as something falling into one of the openings, and sometimes it can be something internal that has come loose and is blocking the mechanisms.
  1. Try switching to a new cassette and see if the issue repeats itself. If not, stay with the new cassette and get the old one replaced or serviced.
  1. Check your paper feed types. If they are looking worse for wear, you can give them a quick clean with a soft cloth covered in light alcohol or WD40. This will remove any collected paper dust and make it run smoothly.

Of course, sometimes you just can find the source of the problem, or don’t have time to go poking around to find it yourself. When that happens, Archway Business Solutions have your back. Our dedicated service team are on call to diagnose and fix your printer anytime, so you can be confident that you will be able to print, no matter what it throws at you. For more information, visit our website or get in touch with our team today.

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