Archive for February, 2011
Since they lack an LCD screen for relaying information, the HP Deskjet 6100 series printers use a series of lights on the control panel instead. This article will provide a breakdown of the status or error messages conveyed by the lights.
On the front panel, these units have three lights and four buttons. The status of the printer can actually be determined by what the lights are doing. The top button is the “Cancel” button, the second is a printer cartridge status light. The third one down is the “Resume” button and light, and fourth is the power button and power light.
Print Cartridge Light is Flashing
If the print cartridge light is flashing, there could be two issues with your machine. The first is that the top cover of the printer may not be closed properly. If that is the case, close the top of the unit completely. The second is that the ink cartridges are empty, or are not installed. You should have an HP 78 and an HP 45 cartridge in place. If you believe they are not empty, try removing and reinstalling the cartridges to see if the flashing stops, otherwise, replace the cartridges.
Resume Light is Flashing
If the resume light is flashing, the problem is related to the paper. It could be that the paper tray is empty, or that there is a paper jam. Check the paper tray and refill it if necessary. Also try removing the paper and reloading it into the tray. If you aren’t out of paper, there is probably a paper jam, so try to clear the paper jam and/or remove any fragments of paper that may be stuck. Once the paper is loaded properly and you have cleared any paper jam, press the “Resume” button to continue the print job. If you find that you are consistently experiencing paper problems, see our article on Preventative Paper Care.
Power Light is Flashing
If your power light is flashing, this isn’t a problem, but simply an indicator that your machine is preparing for a print job or in the process of printing. When the light stops flashing, the print job is complete, and it is ready to print again.
All Lights are Flashing
If all your lights are flashing, don’t be alarmed. Most likely, a communication error has occurred and the printer will just need to be restarted. To do this, turn the printer completely off and disconnect it from power for at least 10 minutes. Then, plug the printer back in and turn it on.
Despite the lack of an LCD screen, it is impressive that the Deskjet 6100 series is capable of relaying the most important errors to the user using only a few indicator lights. If, after trying the solutions in this article, you are still experiencing flashing lights that indicate an error, you should probably contact HP support for more assistance.
When shopping for a multifunction printer or using the one you already have, you may find a reference to OCR technology or software. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, but what is it? And why do you want it?
Optical Character Recognition takes the images from a scanner or other input source and identifies the text. It then attempts to “recognize” the characters and convert them into editable text files. The result is like the difference between a picture of a printed document and the actual word processor file itself. You can’t copy or edit the text from the picture, only view it. Here are a few of the major benefits of using OCR software to convert paper documents into editable, digital documents.
Benefits of Optical Character Recognition:
- Easy editing – Once the OCR software has converted the text, you can copy and paste it into other documents, correct spelling, and more.
- Searching – Looking for that single receipt from years ago is difficult among boxes of papers, but digital documents can be searched for specific keywords quickly and easily.
- Less paper, less space – Once documents are converted to digital versions, you can recycle the originals, saving space in your home or office.
- Easy backups – Backing up digital files can be as simple as copying them to a disc or external hard drive, unlike paper documents which must be physically copied.
- Accessibility – Users with vision impairment can convert documents to text so that they can be read aloud using voice-over technology.
OCR software packages can be purchased on their own, to be used with almost any scanning device, but the price for some of the better packages can be fairly high. In many cases, OCR software is included with many multifunction or all-in-one printers, however, saving buyers the extra cost.
Models like the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600, for example, include an automatic document feeder and a flatbed platen for scanning. Once paper documents are scanned into the computer, users can select the OCR option within the software to create a digital file with editable text. Some laser multifunction devices even have OCR built into the machine itself, enabling them to make editable PDF documents of scanned files without the need for a computer.
While OCR technology has been around for many years, accuracy continues to improve, making it a more viable option for users. If you think you might benefit from converting old paper documents to digital files, look for an OCR option the next time you are shopping for an office machine, and you can reap the benefits of this amazing technology. In the meantime, if you already have a scanner, you can even use online OCR tools to handle the conversion for you.
One of the most common and troublesome errors you may encounter with your HP printer is the error 50.4, which affects laser printers specifically. The error indicates that you have a fuser issue, but the confusing part of this error is that there could be three different causes of your fuser working improperly, and it may not be an actual failure of the fuser itself. Here are the three most likely causes of the 50.4 error, and some troubleshooting steps to help you resolve them.
Fuser Temperature Problem
The first possible cause is that your fuser has experienced an increase in temperature caused by overuse. This is the most common reason for the 50.4 error. The benefit of this error is that it is actually triggering a safety feature in the control panel, keeping your printer from printing when it would be unsafe to do so, avoiding damage to the printer, or even a possible fire.
Since this is often a case of overuse that led to overheating, you should simply wait for awhile for the printer to cool down before trying again. You may even want to power down the unit, allowing it to complete its cooling cycle, then unplug it for awhile. Once your machine has cooled down to room temperature, you can try printing again.
Paper Jam or Unsupported Media
The second cause is a paper jam in the area of the fuser, or a piece of unsupported media that has gotten wrapped around the fuser itself. Generally this will happen when printing with transparencies on laser machines that don’t support this media type. With the media jammed or wrapped around the fuser, it can hold in heat, causing the temperature to rise. See Printing on Transparency Film for tips on selecting the proper media and avoiding this problem in the future.
You will need to power down the printer and unplug it. Next, remove the fuser, and check it for damage. If you can easily remove the paper jam or unsupported media, do so. If the media has melted to the fuser, you have damaged your fuser, and it must be replaced. If you don’t feel comfortable performing this repair yourself, contact technical support rather than running the risk of damaging the machine.
Line Voltage or Hardware Failure
The third possible cause is that the power circuit is sending an insufficient line voltage to the fuser. This can generally happen because your DC Controller has lost connectivity to the printer.
Power down the printer, and unplug it for about 20 minutes. Your DC Controller should reset. Plug it back in and power it up, then try printing again. If the error persists, you may have a hardware issue that needs to be repaired. Contact technical support for more assistance.
Two of the three possible causes above are generally easy to fix, and you may be able to get back to printing quickly. If you have tried the tips above and you are still receiving the 50.4 error, however, you should contact a repair shop or HP support for professional assistance.
Most users know that there may be updates to the software on their computer from time to time. One thing that often gets overlooked, however, is the need to upgrade a printer’s firmware.
What is Firmware?
Firmware is the internal software of a printer that helps it carry out its functions. For example, this software controls what is displayed on the printer’s control panel, and responds to button presses from the user. Though most people tend to mix drivers and firmware up, these are actually quite different. The driver acts as the translator between a computer and the printer, but the firmware tells the printer how to handle this information once it is sent.
While most firmware operates quite well right out of the box, there may be occasional bugs or other problems that the manufacturer decides to fix with an update. If you are experiencing a particular issue with your printer, it can be helpful to check for a firmware update, as it may resolve the problem. However, there are a few reasons to avoid printer firmware updates, as they could actually remove functionality by denying you the ability to use compatible supplies. Although this is rare, do a web search to determine whether users report any problems before updating.
How to Update the Firmware
The process for updating the firmware on your printer will vary from model to model, so the best advice is to consult the user manual for exact instructions. However, here are some general steps that apply to many common printers.
- Go to the support page of the printer’s manufacturer website and type your printer’s model into the search box.
- Click Drivers and Software, Updates, or Firmware to see a list of updates.
- Download the newest version of the firmware, and note the location where you saved it.
- Double-click the file to begin the installation, and follow the onscreen instructions to carry out the update. The instructions may ask you to disconnect or restart the printer at certain points.
This video from HP provides more detailed instructions for finding firmware updates on their website, and the process is similar for most manufacturers.
Xerox has been a powerhouse in the printing industry for many years. It was among the innovative corporations who have advanced printing technology to what it is today. Unlike other major players, such as HP and Canon, Xerox has kept its focus primarily on office printers. Many workgroups across the world benefit from the efficiency and consistency of Xerox printers, but one of the ways that the company continues to innovate is their variety of specialty paper types.
Of course, standard paper types like glossy or matte paper can be purchased off-brand and serve the same purpose. But specialty media from Xerox is designed specifically for certain consumers and there are few options on the market that are even comparable. These are four of the most interesting types of specialty Xerox paper:
This paper is unique because it is not exclusively designed for inkjet printers or laser printers or all-in-one printers. Rather, this paper is universal. If your office has an inkjet printer, a laser copier, and a basic fax machine, for example, the Xerox Multi-Purpose paper will be compatible with all of these. This eliminates the need to purchase various types of paper to print standard text documents. Multi-Purpose paper is made without acid, so it is more resistant to yellowing years down the road.
Durable Pressure-Sensitive Labels
These labels are customizable and vary in size based on your needs, but what sets them apart from other labels is the durability. Xerox carefully designed this type of label to be able to endure heavy use without fading or tearing. More specifically, pressure-sensitive labels will be resistant to all levels of weather, water, chemicals, and they are even washable. An ideal way to use these labels is to make bumper sticks, window signs or even wine bottle labels.
The primary purpose of Xerox Carbonless paper is to be used for multi-part documents. For instance, a 3-part order form that has a white, yellow and pink copy – this paper allows you to write on the top sheet and get a clear image of the writing on the other sheets. The first and second sheet have a special coating on the back that contains image-forming dye while the second and third sheet have special coating on the front that allows images to be transferred when pressure it applied. The newer carbonless paper is less messy than older carbon paper, and provides a clearer image on the lower pages.
This video gives a more detailed look at Xerox Carbonless paper:
This specialty media type is made from polyester film that is known for being extremely tough. Xerox describes polyester paper as “tough as nails”. Both sides of this paper have matte coats for extra protection, making it durable even when exposed to the elements. It is similar to the labels in strength and durability, but does not include adhesive on the back. Polyester paper can be used for things such as menus, catalogs and tags for suitcases or even garden plants.
Naturally, specialty media is going to cost more than standard paper, but Xerox has made all of these options affordable, and considering the strong construction and unique purposes each can serve, it seems like a good value. Keep in mind, Xerox specialty paper types are not limited to use in Xerox printers either, so just about any user can benefit from them.
A common problem that users of Dell inkjet printers experience is having the “Low Ink” warning pop up when in fact the ink is not low at all. Though this can happen with any printer, it seems to be more common in Dell printers. It is an annoying flaw, but is generally an easy fix.
Here are a few quick steps to hide this false error through the Dell software on your PC:
- Click the Start menu.
- Open the Control Panel.
- Select Printer and Faxes or Devices and Printers.
- Right click the icon for your printer and choose Printing Preferences.
- Go to the Advanced Settings tab.
- Click More Options.
This is where you will be given the option to change the “Appearance Mode” to display a minimized print status in the task bar or to not display the print status at all. Make the decision you think will work best for you. Keep in mind, though, if you opt to turn the status updates off all together, this means the real “Low Ink” messages will no longer appear either.
The above instructions are a way to bypass the error message, but to tackle the underlying issue, you may want to consider cleaning the cartridges, printheads, and sensors. You can run the internal cleaning system first, but if the error message is still coming up, refer to Cleaning an Inkjet Printer for detailed instructions for safely cleaning your machine.