Archive for April, 2012
Large-format printers are those that can support media at larger widths than standard devices. They can often support a range of widths from 17 to 100 inches, allowing users to create banners, large artwork, blueprints, and other similar projects. While these printers provide a lot more flexibility, they may not be the right choice for a lot of buyers, as they are not only much larger than typical home or office printers, but they can also come with extra costs. Let us look at a few of the ways large-format printers cost more than standard printers.
Modern printers use a lot of design tricks to limit their energy consumption, keeping electricity bills lower. Large-format printers must be able to move and print on larger media, which requires more power. Even when printing on smaller media, a large-format printer may consume more energy compared to a smaller machine, resulting in higher utility bills.
Most large-format printers use inkjet technology, which can be more expensive on a cost per page basis than laser printers. Even compared to typical inkjet models, the costs can be higher, as many large-format printers use more colors to produce a wider color gamut. For example, the HP Designjet T790 uses 6 separate colors of HP T790 ink cartridges, compared to the 4 cartridges used by many consumer machines. Replacing so many colors can start to add up over time.
Special Media and Add-Ons
Large-format printers can often print on standard paper types, but larger projects require special media, that often comes at a premium cost. Many larger devices support the use of paper rolls, which can be somewhat expensive, and they may not come with all of the components necessary for the type of media you need to use, which means adding extra parts.
In general, printing on larger formats often requires the use of specialized design software. In some cases, this software comes bundled with the printer, but if it doesn’t, this can represent another added cost. Professional design software can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars, so it is a major consideration.
Large-format printers are specialized devices that are not necessarily designed for the average consumer. While the extra costs associated with a large-format printer may be worth it under the right conditions, every buyer should be aware of these extra costs before they make a purchase. For more ways that large-format printers can be used, see Uses for Wide Format Printers.
Printer problems often come up at the worst possible time, and finding a solution to the problem is not always easy. Luckily, Microsoft offers a software solution called Microsoft Fix It, which can diagnose a multitude of Windows problems, and in many cases it can solve the problems automatically. It does this by downloading and installing updates and patches, as well as fixing driver and connection errors that may be holding up the process.
To diagnose and fix printing problems with Microsoft Fix It, follow these steps:
- Visit the Microsoft Fix It printing problems page and click “Run Now”. Choose to run the program now, or choose a location to save the file, then double-click to open it.
- Agree to the license agreement by clicking the “Agree” button.
- Click the heading for “Detect problems and apply the fixes for me”. The program will run diagnostics and attempt to find patches, drivers and other solutions to solve the printing problem for you. It will also check for any services or Windows components that are not operating properly.
Once the process is complete, you will see a list of problems, such as “Print spooler service isn’t running”, and the program will tell you whether it has fixed the errors. With any luck, all of the errors will have been fixed, and you should now be able to resume printing. If your problem is still not resolved, you may wish to try other troubleshooting steps, or contact the manufacturer of your printer or a local repair shop for more assistance.
The Microsoft Fix It program can solve many other types of problems, such as crashes, installation problems, and more. You can visit the Microsoft Fix It Solution Center page, choose the type of problem you are trying to solve, and follow the same process as above to attempt to resolve the errors. With this very useful tool, you may be able to save yourself hours of trial and error, or even costly repair bills, while resolving your issues in a few simple steps.
Anyone on the market for a fast printer that can handle the pace of a busy office and large daily volumes will find the best match with a laser printer. Though inkjet printers are reliable and deliver precise resolutions, laser machines tend to offer faster speeds and sharper text, but how does a laser printer actually work? Let us look at the laser printing process, and some of the science behind it.
The basic science behind laser printing is the use of static electricity, which is combined with heat. The photoreceptor or drum is a large cylindrical object that can hold a static charge. At the start of the printing process, the drum is given an entirely positive charge from a component called a corona wire. As the drum rotates, the laser points at the drum in precise patterns, discharging the static charge wherever it is pointed. This gives these areas a negative charge.
The toner is positively-charged, and attracted to the negatively-charged portions. When it is released, it is drawn to the drum in the areas of negative charge. The drum then rolls across the paper and releases the toner particles onto the paper in the same pattern. Color printers use multiple drums: one for each color of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This is a continuous process, where the laser is etching portions of the image at the same time that some particles are being attracted, while at the same time others are being transferred, so there is a lot of coordination required.
Once the toner particles are aligned on the page, the paper goes through the printer fuser assembly, which contains one or more heated rollers. The fuser applies the heat necessary to melt the toner particles, so that they are fused to the paper. This is the reason pages that come out of a laser printer often feel warm.
The technical aspects of getting all of the components to work perfectly together is quite a feat of engineering, but the basic science is fairly easy to understand. A laser printer can produce a wide variety of text and images with the use of static electricity and heat, and at a very high rate of speed.
Here is a video that illustrates the process of laser printing:
Epson Connect is a collection of solutions that enable certain Epson printers to connect with mobile devices. HP (AirPrint), Brother (iPrint&Scan) and other major manufacturers have also jumped on the mobile printing bandwagon as mobile device sales have skyrocketed over the last two years. Epson Connect entails two different mobile printing solutions: Email Print and the Epson iPrint Mobile Application.
This application can be downloaded to any Apple or Android mobile device, including tablets and smart phones. Once this is downloaded and installed, the application will automatically scan for local Epson printers. A list of the available printers will pop up and you will need to select yours. You can print webpages, images and documents, recieve scanned documents from the printer, store data online, and monitor printer information such as ink levels.
This is another technology that can be used on all mobile devices, but it doesn’t require the downloading of any application. The only thing required to use the Epson Email Print is a device with email capabilities. You will have to sign up for this service, which can be done on the Epson website. Once you sign up, the printer you are using will be given a unique email address. (To find this, log into your Epson Connect Email Print account or print the confirmation page via the control panel on the unit.) If you are using your tablet and want to print a picture, you simply access your email account and send the picture, as an email attachment, to the printer’s email address. It will print automatically.
Here is a current list of printers compatible with both options:
|Artisan Series||Epson Stylus Series||WorkForce Series||WorkForce Pro and Pro-C Series|
Epson Remote Print and Epson Scan to Cloud
These are two elements of Epson Connect Solutions that are not mobile-based. The Remote Print allows users to email print jobs through a remote desktop to a printer. So if you are at home and need to print something in the office, you can use this program as a simple solution. The Epson Scan to Cloud is limited in support, meaning only a few printers have this feature. This feature gives you the opportunity to scan something, like a picture, then send it off to people in an email directly from the Epson printer.
These Epson Connect Solutions make it easy to print from a desktop or mobile device to your Epson inkjet or laser printer. Both methods are free and simple, and offer good solutions to common problems. Download the application or register for a unique email address in moments and print freely from the palm of your hand.
Many buyers have the impression that remanufacturing printer toner cartridges is simply a matter of refilling the toner and reselling them, which is why they often have the impression that refilling themselves will get the same results. In reality, there are a number of steps in the remanufacturing process, and a high standard of quality is upheld during this process to ensure that users get the best results out of these cartridges. Simply refilling the cartridges will not meet these standards, and could even result in damage to the printer. See Dangers of Refilling Toner Yourself for more information on why refilling can be harmful.
Because these rebuilt toner cartridges are made up of 40-75% of recycled materials, the end user price is considerably lower than a brand new product. When a toner cartridge is empty, rather than wasting its reusable parts by throwing it in the trash, using a recycling program allows them to be remanufactured, ultimately saving the consumer’s money, and reducing the impact on the environment. It is estimated that recycling toner cartridges could save as much as 400 million cubic feet of landfill space each year.
Here are a few of the major steps in the remanufacturing process:
Inspection and Sorting
When an empty cartridge comes in, it is carefully inspected for any damage. Overused, scratched or dented materials will be sorted out. Even when a cartridge has been used to the point of no return, certain parts within it can still be used in the printing process. Those components are removed and prepped to be installed in another cartridge. Parts that cannot be reused are properly recycled.
Opening and Cleaning
Specialized tools are often needed to open the empty cartridge without causing damage. This is one of the most difficult steps for a consumer to replicate, and can often cause damage to the cartridge if done incorrectly. Once the cartridge is properly opened, it is cleaned of any residue or dirt that has built up.
Refilling and Sealing
The cartridge is then refilled with new toner powder. Each cartridge is filled until a specific weight is reached, to ensure that it provides the same amount of prints as the OEM version, or in some cases, even more. The cartridge is then sealed tightly so no toner can leak out.
Many new parts may be added during assembly, including the OPC drum, PCR, roller, and wiper blade. For those cartridges that use chips for verification, the chips are replaced to ensure compatibility. This is one of the benefits that refilling alone does not provide, as parts that have been worn out get replaced, to ensure a more reliable cartridge.
Testing and Packaging
When the assembly is finished, extensive testing for quality control ensures these cartridges produce the same results as a brand new product. This is another aspect that may be difficult to replicate by an end user, but it is important in guaranteeing that the cartridge is functioning properly. Once the cartridge has been tested, it is packaged and ready to ship to customers.
While refilling a printer toner cartridge might seem like a way to save even more money, the cost savings for remanufactured cartridges compared to more expensive OEM versions is generally already dramatic. For example, OEM black cartridges for a popular model like the HP LaserJet 2600 are over 3 times more expensive than the remanufactured equivalent. Refilling it might seem like an opportunity to trim a little more off the price, but it is not worth the extra risk that something could go wrong and in the long run will cost you much more. With a remanufactured cartridge, you get the peace of mind of knowing each part was inspected, and that the process was handled by workers with experience, without paying the high price of OEM cartridges.
There are many small parts that make up a printer. The fuser is one of the most important parts, however, as it applies the heat needed to transfer toner to the paper when printing. The toner is transferred to the paper from the drum, but it is the fuser that heats the toner particles and fuses them to the fibers that are in each blank piece of paper.
Sometimes, though, the fuser malfunctions or the temperature needs to be changed for different types of media. If the fuser temperature is too low, you may start to notice loose toner on the finished product. Some of the toner may get brushed from the page or potentially even smudge when you grab the paper from the output tray. If the fuser temperature is too high, you may start to notice some burned or browned areas on the paper itself. This doesn’t always indicate a malfunction, however, as certain types of paper often require different temperatures for proper adherence of the toner.
The steps for altering the temperature are generally simple, though they may vary slightly from model to model. Consult your manual for specific steps, but here are some general guidelines for some common models, particularly HP LaserJets.
- Navigate to the main menu on the printer control panel.
- Select the ‘Print Quality’ option. It should then give a list of items.
- Sort through until you find the ‘Fuser Mode’. Typically, the options will be Low, Normal and High.
- Set it to ‘High’ if the toner is loose on the paper or ‘Low’ if the paper is coming out singed or discolored.
Whichever you select, be sure to run at least one test page. Make sure the coloration is correct and rub your finger over the print. No toner should come off on your finger if the fuser is set to the correct temperature. If you set the temperature only for a specific type of paper, make sure to set it back before switching back to standard paper. If the problem you are having continues after you have tried adjusting the temperature in both directions, it may be that your fuser is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. You may also wish to try our Check List for Quality Issues.
With the growth of mobile devices, people have been trying to find easy ways to print from the palm of their hand. Well, Brother has made an application that can be downloaded for free and makes the process of printing your pictures, emails and documents simpler than ever.
The iPrint&Scan application is easy to download and will automatically search for compatible Brother printers and all-in-one units within the local network once the app is fully installed. This app is supported by Apple, Android and Microsoft phones and tablets. Check here for a full list of all printer models that are compatible with the iPrint&Scan app.
Did you just take the best picture of your sister’s family while they are visiting and she asks you to send her a copy? With the iPrint&Scan app, you can do better than that. As long as you are within range of your local home network and have a printer model from the list of compatible machines, such as the Brother MFC-J280W, you can connect and instantly print the picture. Don’t worry about quality, either, as this wireless printing will uphold the same quality standard as all photos and documents printed from Brother equipment.
After you give your sister the photo you just printed out, perhaps she wants to look at more pictures from when you were kids. She finds the one from Halloween ‘89 and wants to send it to your other sister in Detroit. Instead of making a copy and sending the picture snail mail, scan the image and load it straight to your phone with the iPrint&Scan application. Now you can send it off instantly.
Other printer manufacturers have designed similar applications for mobile printing as it is estimated that people with this capability to print from their mobile device will print twice as much overall. And in a world that is almost completely digital, every print helps keep the industry alive.
These days, it seems like almost everybody has a digital camera and a smartphone with incredible picture-taking capabilities, except, of course, for my two grandmothers who both have played a role in keeping disposable cameras and landlines alive.
While some may say the ability to take pictures in an instant, anywhere you go, has deprived us of the privacy individuals used to have, this revolution has also allowed us to capture moments that may otherwise have been forgotten.
As we work our way through the start of the 21st century, a new phenomenon is starting to take over – mobile photo printing. These small machines are designed to be portable and allow you to literally print a picture as soon as you take it, regardless of where you are. Some of these printers are as small as a phone, which adds a layer of convenience, but also comes with limitations on the size and number of pictures printed. Others cannot fit in your pocket, but will slide right into a laptop bag or tote.
Most major printer manufacturers have released a mobile photo printer, and more are being designed each day because the demand is growing.
Most current mobile photo printers have:
- Wireless and/or Bluetooth connectivity
- Black-and-white and color printing capabilities
- Network functionality
- Editing and enhancement options
According to PCMag.com, some of the top mobile photo printers on the market are:
Canon Selphy ES40 Epson PictureMate Charm
Pandigital Portable Photo Printer HP Photosmart A646 Compact Printer
The unique designs, incomparable photo quality and affordability (not one of the aforementioned printers cost more than $150) open the door for everyone to enjoy this fun technology.
So, the next time you are at a baseball game and you wait around after the game to meet your favorite player, be sure you bring your mobile printer. That way, you can take a picture of the meeting, print it out quickly, and have him sign it!