Avoiding printer breakdowns: our tips

When a printer breaks down, it’s panic time. To get you out of it without waiting for the technician, here is a list of the most common printer breakdowns and some tips for using them.

How to avoid printer breakdowns

Printer breakdowns are rare. Whatever the brand, photocopiers are reliable devices. Under normal conditions of use (temperature, humidity, dust) and maintenance, you are never bothered.

However, we thought it would be a good idea to provide you with a list of the most common printer breakdowns to help you solve them.

Be careful when opening the panels of your copier, as the fragile parts of the machine are then at the mercy of a blow or a scratch. Your fingernails, rings and other paper clips or staples are all sources of copier failure.

So be careful when you work on your machine, because a bad manipulation can cost you a lot.

Remember that a stop-motion of the photocopier solves many breakdowns 😉

Printer breakdowns related to paper

Poor paper quality is the cause of the most common printer failures.

Printer failure number 1: paper jam

Sheets of paper get stuck in the machine, causing a breakdown to be displayed on the control screen. The procedure to follow to remove the sheets is described on the screen. It is generally sufficient to open the panel located on the right-hand side of the printer to remove the sheet.

During this operation, take care not to scratch the machine’s components with your fingernails or rings, as this could cause irreparable damage.

To avoid this common printer breakdown, watch out for the following elements

Poor quality paper, especially recycled paper
Storing paper or the copier in a humid atmosphere
Incorrect size setting in the paper cassette
Incorrect setting of the type of paper (weight, labels, glossy paper…)

A video produced by the Matmond company is available:

Printer failure number 2: lines and scratches on the paper

The prints have vertical lines of variable width. The colors are degraded and not uniform. The most probable causes of this printer failure are:

Damaged or toner overloaded drum cleaning squeegees,
Dirty scanner glass (in this case you find the stains present on the glass, on your printing),
Dirty laser glass,
Deteriorated development unit,
End of life fixing unit,
Damaged transfer belt (case of a scratch resulting from the recovery without precaution of a stuck sheet)
Cleaning scraper for the transfer cloth damaged.

Apart from the cleaning of the glass of the scanner which can be carried out by the user with alcohol, the breakdowns printers resulting from degradations of the unit of fixing or damage on the fabric of transfer require the intervention of a qualified technician. Do not attempt to do anything yourself.

Printer failure number 3: faded prints

If the sheets coming out of your printer are faint and your toner cartridges are not empty, it is very likely that you are facing a failure that is related to a drum problem.

Check that you are using quality toner. Also check that the previous user of your printer has not adjusted the print contrast and forgotten to return it to its initial setting.

If none of the above causes apply, the reasons for the decrease in color intensity when printing are:

Drum unit(s) at end of life,
Developer unit(s) at end of life.

The solution to this printer breakdown requires the intervention of a qualified technician. He will replace the worn parts, which is part of the regular maintenance operations.

Printer breakdown number 4: the sheets come out of your machine crumpled.

If you notice that the sheets coming out of the photocopier are crumpled, (like a shirt coming out of the washing machine), you are facing a rather serious breakdown.

Make sure that the sheets of paper are correctly positioned in the paper cassettes. Also, check that none of the tabs used to hold the sheets in the cassettes are in the wrong position or damaged. Finally, check that the paper cassettes are set to the size of the sheets you wish to print on: A4, A4R, A3…..

If, after checking all the above settings, your photocopier breakdown is not resolved, it is likely that the fixing unit (also called oven) is at the end of its life and needs to be changed.

The lifespan of an oven is several hundred thousand pages. The operation of changing the fixing unit is simple but the diagnosis must be made by a qualified technician who will take advantage of this operation to check the state of wear of the other consumables (drum, scrapers, developers).

Printer breakdowns linked to consumables

Printer breakdown number 5: Impossible to print or scan

It has become impossible to print or scan your documents.

Check that the photocopier is correctly connected to the mains, and that it is still connected to the computer network socket. Check that the computer server is functioning normally and that your computer is connected to the network.

If, despite restarting the copier and your PC, the breakdown persists, it is likely that the printer breakdown is linked to a faulty update of your PC, the computer server or, more rarely, the copier.

Contact the IT department so that they can check the network components and the automatic updates.

Printer failure number 6: spots and stains on printouts

The sheets coming out of your photocopier’s copy printers have black or colored spots (sputtered type) or more extensive spots. If these spots are only present in a few specific places and repeated in the same places on each photocopy, it is likely that the glass of your scanner is dirty. It is also possible that the glass that protects the laser is stained. In this case, wiping with a lint-free cloth moistened with a little alcohol will clean the glass and solve your problem.

If these spots appear on the printed sheets (and not on the photocopies), the problem is undoubtedly more serious and comes from the printing organs. It can be a question of :

Deteriorated or worn drum(s),
Worn or deteriorated developing unit(s),
Damaged or end-of-life transfer belt,
Damaged or dirty transfer belt scraper.

The repair of this fault requires the intervention of a qualified technician. The repair is simple and fast.

Printer fault number 7: malfunction of the control screen

The control screen refuses to respond to your requests or no longer lights up.

Check that the photocopier is connected to the mains. If it is and you hear it start up but nothing appears on the screen, you cannot do anything on your own. Call a technician for diagnosis

If you notice that the keys on the screen do not seem to be placed in the right place anymore, i.e. when you press a touch button nothing happens or the function of the next key is activated, your screen needs to be recalibrated. This operation can be carried out remotely by following the advice of a specialized technician.