Archive for March, 2012
Wide-format printers (or large-format printers) are less common than the typical home or office units many users are used to, but they can be used for a much wider variety of tasks, and can be used with a wider variety of media as well. For those who already have a wide-format printer, you may not even be aware of the many uses for your machine. Most of this uses don’t even require special ink cartridges.
What is a wide-format printer?
This type of device is large in size with a wide range of the paper size (17 inches to 100 inches) being printed on. Anything bigger than 100 inches will require a super wide-format printer. Large rolls of paper are often used rather than sheets. Automatic or manual cutters can separate the printed page from the rest of the roll, providing flexibility as to the length of a project. For a more detailed look, see What are Large-Format Printers.
Uses for Wide-Format Printers
Banners and Signs – This is the most common use for wide-format printing. The bright color and wide formats of these printers lend themselves perfectly to creating eye-catching banners, and separate strips can even be combined for larger uses like billboards.
Photographs and Art – As photographers and artists move into the digital age, having a method for creating large prints is even more important. These require the wide media support of wide-format printers.
Window Signs and Decals – Large, colorful window displays can be created to catch the eye of customers and clients.
Magnetic Media – Wide-format printers can even print on special media that can be overlayed onto magnetic material. This is suitable for sticking to vehicle doors or other metal objects as a temporary solution.
Other more specialized uses include backlit semi-transparent signs, printed flooring decals, life-size cutouts, and menu boards for restaurants.
While this article isn’t meant to provide an exhaustive list of options, it can point out some of the uses of a wide-format printer that you may not have considered. Hopefully, it will inspire you to try some new creative projects.
All together now- YES!
In recent years, the sale of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have surpassed the sale of laptops and PCs. The digital world has evolved, so the printing industry is designing new equipment and technologies that allow great integration with these devices.
It is estimated that the number of mobile devices being purchased around the world will double within the next 3 or 4 years. In 2011 alone the number increased by nearly 200 million. Following in the footsteps of frequent pioneer HP, software protocols are being developed by many companies to make it simple for consumers to print just about anything directly from a handheld device. The two major protocols are HP ePrint and Apple’s AirPrint. There is also another protocol available, Google Cloud Print, which has its own unique features.
The HP inkjet Photosmart e-All-in-One was one of the first machines to have built-in mobile printing capabilities. This model is equipped with ePrint software that assigns an individual email address to the unit. Nearly any type of text, image, or document can be sent to this specific email and automatically printed.
So, if you take a picture with your phone or tablet, you can use any email account (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) to send the image in an email to the address of the printer. Once the message is sent, the picture will print.
AirPrint is an application that can be downloaded to your mobile Apple device that enables printing. Once you have downloaded the app, you will need to select your printer. Keep in mind, not all printers will support Airprint.
Check out this step-by-step guide to downloading the AirPrint app to your Apple device and a current list of AirPrint-enabled printers.
Google Cloud Print
Google Cloud Print can be used with any printer to print anything from anywhere. Through this application, your printer is connected to the internet, allowing anyone you choose to use it and providing you the ability to access it via any device, including your phone or tablet.
Follow this link for detailed information about the applications you will need to download in order to use Cloud Print through any device of your choosing.
When you are out shopping for your next printer, be sure to choose one that is compatible with your mobile devices so you can print pictures of your kids in an instant or print the flight itinerary the airline just sent with a few taps on your smartphone. Over time, you may find that you have less need for a computer or laptop.
March 22nd, 2012–Canon and Ink Technologies have resolved their pending lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding Ink Technologies’ alleged infringement of Canon’s U.S. Patent Nos. 5,903,803 and 6,128,454, with Ink Technologies stipulating to a Consent Judgment and Permanent Injuction from the Southern District of New York, which will prohibit Ink Technologies from making, using, selling and offering for sale in the U.S., and from importing into the U.S., the toner cartridges that Canon accused of infringement.
Certain offices would benefit tremendously from a laser printer that has finishing functions. Many big business printers offer these finishing capabilities as optional upgrades. The price of a printer with built-in finishing features will be a bit higher than a standard laser unit, but the time and manpower that will be saved is priceless. Finishing options go beyond printing and stacking documents and provide organizational capabilities that make it an essential investment for the appropriate offices.
Printing multiple 10-page packets for all of the employees?
You can use the collating feature. This will print pages 1-10 in consecutive order as many times as denoted. You will not have to worry about sorting and arranging each packet yourself.
Set the mode to automatic hole-punching. Rather than printing numerous pages and having to punch the holes yourself, this finishing feature will do it for you. This particular capability may be especially beneficial in a school or library.
Tired of taking hours out of the day to fold hundreds of documents?
An automatic folding feature will eliminate that from your day. Just choose the type of fold you are looking for and wait. This feature will appeal to a number of offices that print invoices, brochures or paychecks.
Have tasks that require stapling?
The stapling feature can be set to distribute a single staple or many staples. A folded document, such as a booklet or brochure, can be stapled along the crease of the fold. This is known as saddle-stitching; imagine the time that could save!
These features can be done in succession. If a document needs to be folded and stapled, that can be done in one sweep.
To access these functions, pull up the Print screen and go to the Finishing tab. The stapling and collating options can generally be found in the Finishing section while the folding and hole-punching features are listed separately below Finishing. (It may vary slightly from model to model).
If any of these scenarios ring true for your office, consider purchasing a new unit with finishing options or at least a base model that finishing features can be added to. Having a printer that can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete multiple tasks will be an absolute asset to any office.
As printers become more and more affordable, it seems that ink cartridges often become more expensive. This is somewhat by design, as manufacturers lower the price of the machine but hope to make it back on the increased cost of supplies. Many savvy consumers try to save money by refilling their own cartridges or purchasing third-party versions, but they may run into a problem with compatibility: microchips.
Some major manufacturers use microchips (sometimes called “Smart Chips”) in their ink cartridges to ensure that the cartridge is genuine. When inserted into the machine, the microchip communicates with the computer and sends a signal to let it know it is a genuine cartridge. If the signal fails, some printers may refuse to print. Other models, such as those that use Canon ink cartridges will still print, but will continue to display an error message to the user.
How Do the Microchips Work?
The microchips inside an ink cartridge are often tied to the serial number of the cartridge itself, while some use another type of unique ID that can be verified by the printer. When installed, the chip communicates with the printer through an RF signal or direct contact, and the printer decides whether the ID is genuine. Some microchips also include an expiration date built in, so that a cartridge may stop working after the date has passed. This can lead to frustration by the consumer when there is clearly ink left in the cartridge but it refuses to work.
There are quite a few advantages the microchips provide to users. Although the unique ID aspect is often criticized, it is part of an anti-counterfeiting process. If you buy a cartridge that is supposed to be from HP, for example, but it is actually counterfeit, the chip is designed to alert you to this problem.
Another major advantage of using microchips in ink cartridges is more accurate communication between the cartridge and the printer. As the chip tracks usage, ink levels, and the age of the cartridge, it can relay this information to the printer, and therefore, the user. When a cartridge is almost empty or has expired, a warning can be displayed.
One can hardly blame printer manufacturer’s for wanting to verify that cartridges are genuine. After all, the company put time and money into creating the printer and should be able to recoup their investment. Once this investment has been recouped, however, and a machine is no longer being sold as new, the microchips remain, and consumers are left with restricted choices. These tactics can give printer manufacturers a monopoly on the ink industry, and tend to leave other vendors out in the cold. Consumer advocacy groups have continued to push for restrictions on how the microchips are legally allowed to affect the operation of the machine. This gives consumers more protection from a monopoly on ink prices.
The other major problem is that even genuine cartridges can malfunction, and the printer may read the cartridge as invalid and refuse to work properly. Consumers often complain about cartridges that are noted to be empty that still have some remaining ink, which can lead to waste, and extra costs.
Buyers who still want to save money have a few options. The first is to choose to purchase third-party ink cartridges and simply live with the error messages that indicate the cartridges are not genuine. The other option is to buy compatible ink cartridges from a vendor that includes a valid microchip. Many vendors have found ways to crack the code and install a chip that will be verified by the printer and operate just like a genuine OEM model. Lastly, consumers can purchase a “microchip resetter” device, though the cost will likely outweigh any savings it provides.
Microchips in ink cartridges have many benefits, such as verifying that a cartridge is not a counterfeit, and alerting users when the cartridge is empty. However, it is estimated that these processes waste up to 20% of the ink because the empty error message is displayed long before the cartridge is empty. Add to that the fact that they can often malfunction, and they can seem like more of a curse than a blessing.
Printing is no longer limited to standard sheets of paper. Most current models can print on a variety of paper types and different media types. While there are a number of specialty media types, such as iron-on transfers, labels, and stickers, even traditional paper media comes in multiple types that can tailor the output to your specific needs. Armed with a bit of information, you can expand your printing horizons and step away from boring, plain prints when the right occasion calls for it.
Typically, the thicker the sheet of paper, the higher the quality of the print and the more prestige it represents. Especially for businesses that rely on printouts to represent the company, it is important to use paper that has more durability and flare than a standard sheet. Here are a few options:
For everyday printing, it is hard to beat standard paper. This paper is generally the least expensive option, and is great for office memos and tasks that don’t require an impressive finish.
Recycled paper has been manufactured from post-consumer waste, so it is more environmentally-friendly. While some recycled paper is more brown in color, white recycled paper is available as well. It is useful for the same types of tasks as standard paper, but is often a bit more expensive.
Generally the most popular alternate paper type, a majority of users will use glossy paper to print photographs. The gloss enhances color tones and provides a shiny finish, and is often more water-resistant and durable than plain paper. It has a smooth surface, but can often collect fingerprints and dust. Semi-gloss paper has a little less of a glossy finish, for those in-between applications. HP provides a resource for choosing the right HP Photo Paper, and many of these tips apply to printers from other manufacturers as well.
Gloss Laminated Paper
A perfect example of this paper type is a postcard. The front side is a standard glossy paper, with vivid colors and shine, but the backside is a cardstock type of paper. It has the benefit of being less-expensive than two-sided glossy paper, and is often quite durable.
UV Gloss is not its own paper type, but an additive to glossy paper. It is basically a garnish, applied after printing to enhance colors and provide an extra layer of protection. Often it is only used in certain spots. For instance, someone making business cards may apply UV gloss to the business name so it stands out a little brighter than the rest of the words.
Matte paper is thicker and stronger than standard paper, but without the gloss. The colors will be less lively, but it will not be as easily damaged by fingers and sunlight. This is a good paper choice for advertising in a lighted spot, as the Matte paper does not cause reflections. It does tend to be more prone to water damage than glossy varieties, however.
Cover and Card Stock
Cover stock and card stock are heavier weight paper that are often used to create covers for bound reports, or things like place cards that need to be more rigid than standard paper.
This type of media is used to create magnets for advertising. This media generally requires a specialty printer, however, and may not be compatible with a home or office machine.
When exploring the different types of paper available, consult your printer’s manual to view the types of paper supported, as well as the sizes and weights. Some printers also utilize an alternate paper path to reduce bending of thicker media. It is also important to ensure that the paper you choose is compatible with your type of printer. Some paper is designed for laser models, while others are designed only for inkjets, for example. By researching the different paper types available, you can make the best choice, dress up your next project, and grab the reader’s attention.
What is an OPC drum?
OPC standards for Organic Photo Conductor Drum. The OPC drum is a long piece of metal with a cylinder shape and a delicate outer coat, typically green, blue or red. These drums can be found in many laser printers, such as the HP LaserJet 1320. They offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to older photoreceptors that were labeled hazardous.
OPC drums help electrical conduction, meaning they serve as a receiver of the negative charge needed to transfer the toner to the paper. In laser printing, different electrical charges are given to different components to attract them to each other, such as the toner and the drum. The drum has an aluminum substrate that allows it to hold these charges, temporarily attracting the toner powder to it before transferring it to the page. Each drum has three coating layers that serve different purposes and are all made from environmentally-friendly, biodegradable materials.
UCL (Undercoat Layer): This layer serves as a glue between the aluminum and inner-most layer.
CGL (Charge Generation Layer): This is a thin layer, 50 times thinner than an average piece of hair, that aids in the print speed and determines the color of the drum.
CTL (Charge Transport Layer): The outer, transparent layer of coating that allows the laser to strike through the CGL. This will define the acceptance of electrical charge and ultimately the life of the drum, as it is exposed to the elements, including paper, rollers and toner.
How to care for an OPC drum?
First and foremost, it is important to know that OPC drums are very easy to damage. Do not touch it with your fingers or expose it to bright lights. It is highly recommended that you purchase a replacement rather than attempting to clean it yourself. If you choose to try cleaning it, do so in a dimly lit, temperate area and do not use oils or other cleaning products. When the OPC drum starts to get worn, prints will be lighter. If it is damaged with a scratch, for instance, printed pages will start having black marks on them.
Though it is not commonly discussed in the printing process, an OPC drum is an important component in laser printing technology. It serves as an electrical conductor and is essential for transferring toner powder to the paper properly.
Scanners are used to turn paper documents into digital files that can be stored on a computer hard drive. It is often essential in business and in your personal life to keep an accurate record of important transactions, and the ability to scan receipts, invoices, images, etc. into computer files helps to keep everything organized.
There are two standard types of scanners- flatbed and sheet-fed:
Flatbed scanners are becoming more and more common, both as single-purpose scanners and as a part of multipurpose machines, like the Epson WorkForce 600. Listed below are some of the benefits of using flatbed scanners instead of sheet-fed scanners.
Flatbed scanners often scan at much higher quality than sheet-fed scanners. The text files will be crisp and easy to read while the color image files will have vivid coloring that is true to the original. Flatbed scanners typically offer larger color depths and can reach resolutions that more than double that of sheet-fed scanners. Because of the flatbed technology, which requires the scanning sensor to pass under the still document, rather than the document passing over the sensor, the results are often more precise and clear than they are with a sheet-fed scanner.
Automatic document feeder (ADF) units are often attached to the lid of flatbed scanners, increasing speed of production by continuously feeding the documents placed in the ADF tray over the scanning surface. Using this method may reduce quality a bit, but the speed and efficiency may be worth the tradeoff.
The problem with sheet-fed scanners is how true they are to the name; only a single page can be scanned at a time and any document that is thicker than average will not be able to be pulled through the paper path. Flatbed scanners do not have these limitations. You can scan a page from a textbook, an old Polaroid photo or even a body part if you so choose. You can scan a photo ID or 4×6″ photo, which is not an option on a sheet-fed scanner with only a standard input tray.
Some flatbed scanners have the ability to scan both sides of a document at the same time when using the ADF. This is referred to as duplex scanning. These machines are designed to be exceptionally easy to use, which also helps the rate of production. With specialty adapters, some flatbed scanners can scan film negatives.
Scanning is essential to homes and offices, especially for record-keeping and organization purposes. This technology is making faxing obsolete and limiting paper usage, which is beneficial to the budget and the environment. Though you may get more speed out of a sheet-fed scanner, the flatbed scanners offer versatility and quality that make them more appealing for personal and professional use.
Every printer comes with a certain amount of built-in RAM, or Random Access Memory. This memory is generally used to store documents as they are being processed for printing. Low-volume printers that were designed to handle infrequent printing needs in a home or small office will have a smaller memory that should suffice for the life of the printer. However, printers that are designed to deliver complex graphics and images while maintaining a quick output rate or high-end office printers that print hundreds of pages each day could eventually require an upgrade. Multifunction and all-in-one devices also use this memory for temporarily storing documents when copying, scanning, or faxing as well, increasing the load.
In a high-volume office environment, it is crucial to have a machine that can be relied on to deliver professional-quality documents efficiently. This is especially important for network printers that multiple people are using in a shared environment. For example, if a printer such as the HP LaserJet P3005 has 64 MB of memory and two documents are sent to the printer that are each 32 MB, any other documents will have to wait before they can be processed. Upgrading to the maximum of 320 MB could alleviate the problem. Users who notice that a machine begins to get bogged down when processing large documents or especially when processing multiple documents in a networked environment may be good candidates for upgrading the amount of memory in their printer.
Upgrading the memory can be fairly inexpensive, and can sometimes breathe new life into a machine that has been performing poorly. Some printers allow you to increase the memory in small increments until you reach the maximum, while others only give one upgrade option. In most cases, an upgrade that is less than twice the original amount of RAM will not make a noticeable difference. Given that prices for memory upgrades are often fairly inexpensive, it is advisable to upgrade your printer to the maximum amount of memory it can support.
Where to Find Memory
The first place to look to find out your options is the manual or the manufacturer’s website. You should be able to find the standard amount of memory included with your printer, and the maximum amount supported. If these numbers are the same, you cannot upgrade. While the manufacturer will offer memory upgrade parts, this is often not the least expensive option. Sites such as Crucial.com offer a memory advisor tool that can help you locate the right parts, and their prices are often well-below those of the original manufacturer. Many of these resellers also supply instructions for installing the memory, but consulting the user manual is a good idea.
It is common to upgrade the memory of a laptop or desktop computer, but many users never consider how much time and money it would save to increase the RAM for the printer when they notice its performance is not up to par, rather than buy a replacement or backup machine. The next time you feel your printer is operating too slowly, consider upgrading its memory before you purchase an expensive replacement.
Kodak is known for producing excellent cameras, and their photo printers are some of the best on the market as well. Even with the best-designed printer, however, problems can arise. Most modern Kodak printers give the user clear feedback about the problem in plain English, though some older models may use codes due to a limited screen size. Here are some of the most common error messages, and some possible solutions:
This will mean that the tray is either empty, out of line or jammed. Remove all of the paper in the tray and reinsert it carefully to make sure it is properly aligned. If there is a paper jam, open the lid and any panels, and carefully remove the jammed paper. Also, be sure to check for any paper particles that may be stuck near the sensors, as these can trigger an error message as well.
If you receive a message such as “Parallel Connection Error” or “USB Connection Error”, power down the printer and unplug it. Check to make sure both ends of the cable are securely connected, then restart the printer.
This message usually involves a communication error with the computer or a paper alignment issue. Power down the printer until all of the lights are off, then remove and reinsert the paper. Turn the printer on and try again. If the message continues, you can try sending fewer pages to the printer at one time.
Error Code 3800-3811
If you receive an error code in this range, power down the printer and disconnect the power cable from the back of the printer. Allow it to sit for more than 30 seconds to reset, then reconnect the cable and power it on. If the problem persists, remove the cartridge and reinstall it a total of two times. If it still persists, you may need to contact technical support.
Ink Cartridge Not Recognized
In most cases, this is caused by a cartridge that is not properly installed. Remove the cartridges and carefully reinsert them, making sure they fully snap into place. You may need to restart the printer to clear the error. You can also try cleaning the printheads. If the message persists, the cartridge may be defective or incompatible.
Rear Access Door Open
Remove the rear access door from the printer and reinstall it. Make sure that it snaps in completely on both sides. You may need to turn the printer off and back on to reset the error message.
Spooler Service Stopped Working
Power down the printer and restart the computer. Once the computer has fully rebooted, restart the printer. If the message continues, try the steps below:
- Click the Start button and type “services.msc” into the box, then hit Enter.
- Right-click Print Spooler and choose Restart.
- Right-click Print Spooler again and choose Properties. Under Startup Type, choose Automatic and click OK.
These represent some of the most common errors you are likely to encounter with your Kodak printer, and should help you resolve most simple issues. If you encounter an error that is not in this list, consult your user manual for more specific information. If you are still unable to resolve the issue, contact technical support or a repair shop for assistance.