CARTRIDGE FAILURE OR PRINTER MAINTENANCE?
Getting poor quality print outs from your inkjet/toner printer, is it the cartridge or printer maintenance to blame?
Are you seeing smudges on the paper, colours mixing, or missing sections? Then it could pay you to have a look at the maintenance of your printer,
Here are some things you should regularly do to maintain good printer quality:
– Use your inkjet printer regularly
When your printer is left unused for long stretches of time, the ink in the print head and nozzles can dry and cause printing flaws such as jagged lines and incorrect colors. To prevent this, use your printer frequently, even if just a page of printing.
– Perform nozzle checks
If you leave your printer unused for a long period of time, you should perform a nozzle check before you use it again. This will make sure your printer prints normally. The nozzle check can often be run thorough your printer’s utility function. Look at your printer’s user manual for specific directions.
– Clean the print heads
If your nozzle is clogged, cleaning the print heads should fix any poor print quality issues. Cleaning utilities come with your printer drivers. Some printers even have a print head cleaning button on their control panel. Your printer’s user manual will have specific directions.
– Align the print heads
If your printouts have vertical lines or horizontal bands this generally means that your print head needs to be aligned. This utility can be found with your printer drivers or in your printer control panel. When you align the print heads, the printer will print a pattern on a piece of paper. You then follow prompts from your printer to adjust the pattern. Specific information for performing a print head alignment can be found in your printer’s user manual.
– Replace your inkjet cartridges
Flawed printouts can often be caused by cartridges that are low on ink. Your printer will prompt you when a black or color cartridge reaches a certain level of ink. Printer manufactures say you should replace your cartridge when you receive this warning because print quality will suffer if you don’t. When replacing your printer cartridges, be sure your purchase the correct replacement cartridge ( check the printer models on the cartridge box or from the web page) and install it as the supplied instructions or your printer’s user manual directs. Incorrect installation can cause more flawed printouts.
– Turn your printer off (the correct way)
Leaving your inkjet printer on for extended periods of time can cause clogged nozzles and flawed printouts. After you finish using your printer for the day you should turn it off using the printer’s own power button. In most printers, the power button initiates a process that seals the print head from outside air, preventing clogged nozzles. If you unplug your printer, or turn it off using a power strip, the print head sealing function may not run.
Alternatively, to check your cartridge, insert an alternative one, if it prints well, then contact your supplier to replace the malfunctioning one. But remember, cartridges don't last forever - if it is over 3 months since you've received it, or experienced abnormal temperature conditions, then discard it as the supplier is unlikely to offer replacement.