Archive for June, 2011
Are you experiencing some sort of trouble when trying to print while connected to a Windows PC? If so, there are a number of things to check to check. The most common problem is that the printer doesn’t show up in Windows. These types of problems can be caused by anything from a bad cable to a bad printer driver, but most issues are fairly easy to resolve.
The first thing to check when there is a connection problem is the cable. For most printers, it will be a USB cable, but older models might use a parallel or even a serial cable. Disconnect the cable from both the printer and the computer, and look for signs of wear or damage. Reconnect the cables firmly into each device. If possible, try a different port on the computer to eliminate the possibility of a bad port. If you have an extra cable, try swapping it out and test to see if the issue is resolved. If so, your cable was probably bad.
A printer that is not getting adequate power can often exhibit connection problems. Power down the printer and check the power cable and AC adapter for any signs of damage or wear. If it looks worn, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. If the printer is plugged into a splitter or surge protector, try plugging it directly into a power outlet, and even try plugging it into a power outlet on a different circuit, to eliminate the possibility of a bad outlet.
It may seem simple, but restarting devices can often fix more problems than you might expect. Power down the printer and the computer completely. You may even want to unplug the printer for several minutes, as some older printers sometimes reset themselves more completely while unplugged. Power up the computer first, then the printer, and see if the issue is resolved.
Add the Printer (again)
Sometimes the printer may have been removed without your knowing, and you will need to add it again. If the device is no longer showing in your list of available printers, follow the steps in this video to add it again.
After that if your problem isn’t solved, use a troubleshooter. This can help fix problems during installation, connection or spooling. Follow the steps in our Microsoft Fix It article to attempt to resolve problems with Microsoft’s helpful troubleshooting tool. In many cases, this program can help resolve common errors.
Reinstall Printer Drivers
If the first two suggestions don’t work, there is one last thing to try — reinstalling your printer drivers. You can insert the disc that came with your printer, find the drivers online, or even use Windows Update to attempt to find the proper drivers. Whichever method you choose, this may resolve the issue if it was caused by incorrect or improperly installed drivers.
If you have tried all of the steps above and still have connection problems, it is possible that your printer is in need of repair. Contact the manufacturer or a repair shop for further support.
Did you know that you can print pictures without loading them onto a computer?
If you have a printer that offers a PictBridge connection, your printer will be able to read and print pictures straight from your digital camera. PictBridge has become an industry standard since it was first introduced in 2003 by the CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association).
The PictBridge connection is not based on the brand of the camera, only on the connection options of both the printer and the camera. To determine if your printer and camera support a PictBridge connection, look for the logo on the box or the device. —–>
The connection does require a cable, but it is generally the same cable that you use to hook up the camera to the computer. Most likely, this is a cable that came with the camera upon purchase. One end of the cable is typically a USB Type Mini-B connector that fits in a large majority of mobile electronic devices these days. The other end is a standard USB connector, Type A.
The convenience of eliminating the time it takes to load pictures to a computer is great, but this connection option can be limiting depending on the type of printer and quality of camera that you have. Once you plug the camera in, you will use the screen on it to select the pictures you want to print, but if your camera doesn’t offer editing features and your printer doesn’t have an LCD for previewing and enhancing the images, your editing options will be extremely limited.
However, if you have a printer with a big, color LCD screen that provides a menu of editing options and adjustable settings, it will hardly be different from previewing images on a computer. Many digital cameras will allow you to adjust the size and layout of the image as well as the date stamp and the type of media being used.
A PictBridge connection is perfect for printing a high-quality picture quickly, but is not ideal for printing images that require extensive editing. Overall, this variety of photo printing is fast and easy and has the potential to deliver the same quality that is obtained when printing from a computer.
When searching for a printer, there are obvious considerations such as speed, color capabilities, and wireless support, but there are also less-obvious aspects that can affect the quality of your final output. One of these aspects is the type of paper path used by the printer. The three main types of paper paths are U-shaped, L-shaped, and straight-through paths. When deciding between the different path types, there are a few factors to consider, as each has its advantages and disadvantages, and some printers even offer multiple paths within a single device, making the choice easier.
The most common type of path for home users tends to be the U-shaped paper path, though many laser printers also utilize this design. It is commonly seen in a printer that has both the input and output tray located in the front of the device. The advantage is a model that is more compact, but the sharp bend that the paper makes during feeding and printing can often result in more frequent paper jams. Heavier stock such as photo paper is also more susceptible to bends and creases. A common printer that has the U-shapped path is the Brother HL-2270dw.
An L-shaped path is generally used in a printer with an input tray on the top of the machine and the output tray in the front, like the Canon PIXMA MP560. When the printer feeds the paper from the top, it bends slightly so that it can come straight out of the output tray. L-shaped paths result in fewer jams than U-shaped paths, and work well with most specialty media. The main disadvantage is the extra vertical space required by many of these devices. Also, top-loading devices that are open can sometimes collect extra dust.
The most versatile type of paper path to consider is a straight-through paper path. This type commonly results from a printer with a loading tray in the rear and an output tray in the front. There is virtually no bending of media required, which makes it ideal for heavy stock that is susceptible to jamming or creasing. Many printers provide a single-slot rear feed that gives users the option of a straighter path when printing on thick or specialty media, and this is often in addition to a U-shaped or L-shaped path for standard printing jobs. One of these printers that offer both a U-shape and straight-path is the HP LaserJet 1320. The main disadvantage of a straight-path system is the extra space required in the rear of the machine, which is often alleviated by models that offer it with a fold-out tray that is only opened when needed, offering the best of both worlds.
When choosing the best paper path, you should consider the type that will suit the media you print on, and how frequently specialty media is used. Users who only print on plain paper can use any type fairly successfully, while those who print on thicker media like card stock should probably choose an L-path or straight-path device. Of course, the available space and the dimensions of the machine may also dictate which type is most fitting. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each type, you can now make a more informed buying decision.
If you are using a Mac and are trying to connect to your wireless Canon PIXMA MP620, you may be having trouble getting the devices to communicate. You may have even tried the steps outlined in Setting Up Wireless Printers without any luck. This is a somewhat rare issue, but it has to do with the default Mac firewall running on your computer. By following a few troubleshooting steps, you should be able to resolve the problem and still use the firewall.
- Click the Apple icon in the upper left hand corner of the screen, then choose System Preferences. You can also click the System Preferences icon in the dock, if you prefer.
- Click the button that reads Show All. This helps you see all of the options listed. Now click Security or Security & Privacy. Click the Firewall tab. If the buttons are grayed out, you need to click the Lock icon in the lower left of the window, then enter your user password to make changes.
- Choose Allow All Incoming Connections. This will temporarily allow your computer and printer to see each other, but turning off the firewall completely makes the computer somewhat vulnerable, so don’t leave this setting on long-term.
- Click the left arrow button at the top left to go back to the System Preferences page. Click Hardware, then click the Print and Fax or Print and Scan option.
- There should be a list of printers on the left side of the screen. If your printer series “MP620” is listed, delete it from the options. Now put your Canon installation CD that came with the printer to reinstall the printer onto your computer. If you can no longer locate the installation CD, go to Canon’s website to download the driver there.
- Once the driver is reinstalled, you should be able to re-enable your firewall settings. Follow the first two steps again, but choose Allow Only Essential Services.
At this point, the printer and computer should communicate properly. If you are still having connection issues, you can try adding an exception to the firewall. If you already have a firewall running through your router or elsewhere on the network, you can also consider leaving the Mac’s firewall disabled.
Printer manufacturers occasionally issue firmware updates that are typically publicly available via the company website. These updates typically provide the ability to load new and improved features to your dated machine. Firmware updates can also fix problems with existing functions and expand compatibility for software and OS upgrades.
Not All Firmware Upgrades Are Created Equal.
In January, our office received this notice from a trusted vendor:
It has come to light that some manufacturers have designed printer firmware upgrades to disable your printer’s ability to accept any after-market cartridges, thus forcing you to pay inflated brand name/ OEM cartridge prices.
So far, numerous cases of this deceptive and consumer-unfriendly practice have been reported for Dell, Lexmark and Samsung printers. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell which firmware upgrades will make a machine incapable of reading compatible or remanufactured toner or ink cartridges.
When you first get your printer and are being prompted through the installation process, one way to avoid these harmful upgrades is by unselecting the option to receive automatic software updates. As of now, there is no definitive information on which models are susceptible and what users should look to avoid these firmware updates.
For the hundreds of thousands of people who have been able to cut budgets by using remanufactured or compatible cartridges, these firmware updates can be extremely costly. This move by Lexmark, Dell and Samsung calls in to question the integrity of any company purposely destroying the sanctity of free trade.
If you have a Lexmark 3300 series printer, you receive errors as numbered Lexmark error codes, due to the smaller screen. Error code 1203 is common enough that is worth spending a little extra time on, and it is often fairly easy to resolve.
Generally you will see this error because miscommunication has occurred between a cartridge and the machine itself. You may also see this error if there is an electrical failure in a printhead.
Reset the Printer
In order to fix this error, shut down the machine and unplug the power cable from the back of the device. After about 30 seconds, plug the power cable back into the machine and turn the multifunction device back on. Try printing a test page, and if that is normal, the error has been resolved. If it doesn’t work or the error message returns, you can try a few more things.
Reset the Cartridges
Next, turn the unit off and remove the power cord again. Open up the top of the machine, and use the carriage belt to gently move the cartridge to the middle of the machine. Take out both cartridges, close the top, put the power module back in and turn the unit back on. If the message returns, you most likely will need to contact Lexmark for support.
If the message does not return, shut down the unit and dislodge the power supply from its hub. Open the top, and move the cartridge carrier to the middle of the unit. Now put in the color cartridge and turn the machine back on. If the message returns, you need to clean your cartridge contacts.
Now do the same thing for the black cartridge. If the message comes back, you will clean these contacts as well. If there is no message, print another test page and the error should be resolved. If the message persists, try replacing the cartridges with new ones.
At this point, if you are still receiving the error message, there is likely a hardware problem with the printer. You should contact Lexmark technical support for more assistance.
The Scanbox is an innovative, portable solution for scanning documents of all kinds using the camera on your smartphone. Made of laminated cards and magnetic buttons, this box can be constructed in seconds and will fold down flat so it can fit in a bag. For occasional photo or document scanning needs, the days of having an expensive, bulky scanner, such as the Epson WorkForce 845, on your desk are over.
The Scanbox can be used for scanning photos as well as 3D objects, but it also can serve as a projection screen and an organizational tool by allowing you to digitize receipts. The section designated for the document or object being scanned is big enough to fit a letter-size piece of paper. The two sides of the box not only prevent shadows and outside lights from negatively affecting the scanned image, but those sides also optimize facial recognition when scanning pictures.
When the document or object is ready to be scanned, set your camera phone on the top of the box with the camera pointing through the designated hole. Once you take the picture, you have a few options. Using a mobile printing application such as AirPrint, you can send the image to a printer, thus making your phone a photocopier of sorts. You can also download a scanning application (Camscanner+ is recommended by the creators of Scanbox), which will give you the opportunity to save the image to a PDF or email it.
Also available is the Scanbox Plus, which is virtually the same thing as the regular Scanbox but has an additional flap on the backside of the box that diffuses light. The Plus also features LED lights so you can scan at any time, even in low light or in the dark.
On course to change the face of mobile scanning, the Scanbox is simple to set up and nearly weightless to carry. It provides an environment to take pictures of a document or object without the concern of awkward lighting that could make the scans unclear, and utilizes the smartphone that many people already carry with them anyway.
Here is a video to help you better understand what the Scanbox can do for you:
If you have a Canon copier, downloading the Canon ScanGear Tool will turn your single-purpose copy machine into a dual-purpose copier/scanner. This software allows you to maximize the functionality of your equipment in a free and intuitive way.
This process does not require years of training, it is as simple as following this list of steps:
- Download the ScanGear tool from the Canon website.
- Run the downloaded EXE, which can be accessed in the TEMP folder.
- Launch the file and follow the prompts to install ScanGear.
- The IP address of your copier will be needed for the launch the ScanGear tool.
- Make sure the connection is established by selecting ‘Test Connection’.
- At the copier, press the Scan button and select ‘Online’ to turn the Scan mode on. It will automatically
search for the ScanGear software.
- Place document in feeder trayand from your computer, select an option from the Scan New Document
box (typically, black and white or color).
At this point, your document should scan, letting you know the process is complete. And in a few simple steps, you will go from end user to technician.
If for some reason this process does not take, contact Canon to troubleshoot the problem.