Seeking out printer advice – should you trust everything you read on the web?

Seeking out printer advice – should you trust everything you read on the web?

These days the internet is everyone’s first port of call for most things.

If you need a killer recipe for lasagne, the BBC food website has it. If you are desperately trying to remember the name of that kid from Home Alone, IMDB can tell you. If your printer starts chewing paper and spitting it at you in a ball, the internet can probably tell you why.

But can you, or should you, always trust advice from the web?

Here at Inkredible, we thought that we would answer this tricky question by evaluating some of the DIY fix-it jobs that are out there.

We will start with the ridiculous. The bad, although hilarious, advice that is out there, presented as fact.

1. Hit/ kick/ punch it. We know that technology can be extremely frustrating sometimes. When it stops working and you don’t know why, wanting to smash it up is pretty much the go-to reaction. As a method of repair, this rarely works. Occasionally a well aimed blow might get your old TV working, but we would discourage beating on your printer as you are likely to do more harm than good.

2. Take it apart completely. Whilst getting screwdriver happy may seem like a great idea at the time, there is nothing worse than taking something to pieces, 'fixing' the problem, putting it back together and then looking at a small pile of parts or screws that you forgot to put back in. Unless you are a qualified printer repair person, maybe stay away from the tool kit. The chances are, you won't know exactly what the problem is and sticking a screwdriver into the machine may make it worse.

3. Pour water on an overheated printer. No, just no. If you need an explanation for why this is a bad idea, you should probably stop buying technology.

Now that we have established what NOT to do, we can move onto the slightly more sensible options.

If you are having printer trouble, try these options before taking it in for a potentially expensive repair. The following advice is much more reliable than that above!

1. Turn it off and on again. Although this is simple advice, it is good advice. Turning your printer off at the power supply will reset the printer if there is a system error.

2. Check the ink. Yes, we know it’s obvious but if your documents are coming our more grey than black, it may be something as simple as replacing the ink.

3. Open it up. Don't get a screwdriver involved, but just lift the lid. Open the cover of the printer to check for paper jams (your computer will probably alert you if this is the problem). Take care when doing this as the printer may be hot. Free any paper from the printer by moving the necessary levers. Then throw that paper away as it will probably cause another jam if you smooth it out and put it back in. If the paper isn't rolling through the printer properly, check the paper pickup roller. If it has worn itself shiny, there may not be enough friction to pick up the paper and it is time to replace it. If your printer keeps telling you it is out of paper, when there are still a few sheets left in the tray, test the levers your printer uses to sense paper by gently pressing down on them. Some printers may encounter problems if they are running low on paper, so keep your tray full.

4. Check you are running the latest software. Printers, like computers and smartphones may run into problems if there are not running the latest version of software. Check online to see if there are any updates for the driver or the software.

5. Call Us! Now we don't profess to be experts on every kind of printer out there but we have been around a while to pick up some little gems of information. We may just be able to talk you through any problems you are having and save you an expensive trip out for a new printer.

 

The internet can offer great advice, so do check online before you spend money on repairs. If you do decide to fix your printer yourself, be careful not to do any further damage as this may invalidate your warranty. Just remember, if it sounds like a bad idea, it probably is.

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Olympic challenge

Olympic Challenge

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last six months, you will be aware that London is currently hosting the biggest sporting event in the world.

If you were one of the lucky few to get a ticket, well done to you.

 

If you, like the rest of us, will be watching the games from the comfort of your living room/ sneaking peaks via iPlayer at work, there are ways you can be more involved in the Games.

The Olympic challenge is simple. Simple and fun and free. The best kind of fun is always free.You can take part in this at home with your kids, in uni halls with your mates or in the office.

There are 205 countries taking part in the Olympics this summer and over 17,000 athletes will be competing for Gold. 

Firstly, see who wants to be involved and decide if there is going to be any form of prize.

Secondly, chose countries for everyone to represent. Print of the names of the countries you would like to play with, so to speak. There is no need to print off all 205 as that would be a bit excessive, so find out which countries have the most athletes competing in the most sports.

Put all these countries into a hat/ bucket/ any form of container and get people to draw for the country they will be supporting.

Next, design and print out a table. This can be as simple or as complicated as you choose.

Organise the table by sporting events and countries.

As not every country will have an athlete in every competition, put ten or 15 sports on the chart but only allow competitors to pick five categories that their country is competing in. This will ensure that everyone stands a fair chance of winning.

For an additional fun element, print out Olympic themed stickers to stick on the chart for when someone wins a point. This is your chance to get creative!

Now you just need to watch the Games and make sure you record who gets a medal.

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How to clean your printer drum

How To Clean Your Printer Drum

Hey folks. Our recent blog on general printer maintenance got us thinking that it'd be great to offer you some more features and how-to's on printer cleaning.


OK - not the most inspiring of topics we're sure you'll agree, but it might just come in handy one day!

So here's our first one – on cleaning your laser printer drum. The laser printer drum is the major component that dictates print quality, so it's crucial that it is regularly checked.

What is a printer drum?

Simple. The printer drum unit is the big central part of your laser printer. Inside it is the bit that really does all the work – the tube-shaped object that looks a little bit like a really long packet of mints. Or something.

Why should I bother to clean it?

Because it might fix your printer and extend its lifespan. As soon as the drum stops working properly, it would be easy to simply replace it.

But it wouldn't be cheap – have you seen how much they cost!

So it's worth trying to clean the drum first to see if this can remedy the problem - so not only is it good practice to clean your printer's drum, it could make it last for longer, too.

Easy to clean - step-by-step

If you start having printing problems - such as sketchy or blotchy prints – it could be a sign the drum needs a once-over.

Cleaning your printer's drum unit doesn't have to be expensive - all you need is some elbow grease and a few bits and bobs.

An important point: when cleaning, it is really important not to use anything that may damage the inner drum. This could cause damage to your printer - and we don't want that.

If you have print quality problems, clean the drum unit as follows:

1. Get yourself some tweezers, a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol

2. Turn the power off to your printer and consult the manufacturer's guidelines to see if there's anything specific you need to know about when it comes to cleaning the machine

3. Remove the drum unit from the printer - with great care. Drums are very sensitive so it's important not to damage them. Remove carefully and place on a safe surface

4. Remove any chunks of toner with the tweezers. Bits of toner breaking off and embedding themselves in the drum unit is a big cause of problem prints. If you spot any, gently remove them using the tweezers (or pliers, or something similar)

5. Next, apply some rubbing alcohol to the soft cloth and (gently now) clean the drum unit. Then, give it a final once-over before popping it back in the machine. Simple, huh?

Finally, conduct a test print to see if your cleaning has worked. We hope you find that it has. If not, it's likely there's something else wrong with the drum and you may need to replace it.

But the important thing to remember is that if your printer starts playing up, don't assume you need to start shelling out and replacing parts. A quick clean might do the trick.

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