Archive for May, 2012
Every printer has RAM, as it provides print queues and holds individual tasks so they can be printed. The data is sent from the computer to the printer memory. The amount of memory determines the number of jobs that can be in the queue at the same time and the size of documents that can be processed, which is why machines that have expandable memory are good for growing companies.
Role of built-in RAM
- Host printer queues for networking
- Receive and process data from computer
- Send tasks to be printed in consecutive order
- Clear jobs when complete to make room for more prints
Hard drives are not a built-in feature of every printer because they are intended for specific needs. Adding a hard drive will increase storage space, add security options and allow users to manage documents directly from the printer.
Benefits of adding a HDD
- Track the usage and level of ink or toner
- Track what is being printed and individual printing statistics
- Store frequently printed documents and images (i.e. international credit card paperwork)
- Log all printing errors
- This information will allow for more specific, preventative maintenance.
- Store custom styles, fonts, letterhead, logos, etc.
- Enable password protection within a network
- Lock sensitive documents so nobody can view them except the person printing
- This will require the person printing to be at the machine to enter password
- Restore history and operating system if printer should crash
- It is advised to backup the information on a hard drive
When the printer has been used to capacity and is to be junked, keep in mind the hard drive has stored a copy of everything that has ever been printed. Be sure to wipe it clean or remove it to avoid a breach in security.
The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is one of the most important components in any piece of major office equipment. While many people are aware of the role a CPU or processor plays in a computer, few may realize that a CPU is a very important component in most printers and multifunction devices as well.
The CPU itself is generally a single chip connected to the machine’s motherboard. It is usually measured in terms of GHz or Gigahertz, which is a broad indication of its processing speed. There is significant debate about the accuracy of measuring a CPU in Gigahertz, as other factors like the number of cores (processing units) can have a larger impact on performance. As a general benchmark, however, this rating provides a decent point of comparison.
As the so-called ‘brain’ of a computer or printer, the CPU handles the input and output processing, which can include logic and mathematical calculations. In the case of a printer, the CPU receives and processes the commands coming from the computer or control panel, and tells the different components of the machine how to carry out the commands. In this way, it acts as the central control unit for mechanical operations as well.
The processor also plays an important role in control panel functions, especially as control panels begin to look and act more like computers. Modern printers with full-color LCD screens, and even touch-screen displays, rely on the CPU to run the unit’s internal operating system or firmware, process a user’s interaction with the control panel, and turn it into printer operations.
The CPU is also essential for networking functions. As printers and other devices are required to support large numbers of users on a wired ethernet network or a wireless network, the unit needs a way to process the different incoming tasks, prioritize and organize them, and carry them out in a consistent manner. The processor provides the logical and mathematical calculations to accomplish this.
All of the pieces that make up the puzzle of printing technology are complex and each component is important. The CPU plays a central role in almost every operation that a printer can handle, and as these devices become more complex, it becomes even more essential.
When a printer encounters an error, it will often display an error code on its LCD panel, alerting users of the problem. Newer models with larger displays usually give a clear message such as “Paper tray empty”, but older models with a small display may only display numeric error codes, such as “Error 11″ to alert users to a problem. The user manual is generally the best resource for an explanation of what the specific error code means for your printer, but the list below provides some of the most common error codes, and possible solutions to the problems. These codes generally apply to older HP laser models, but models from other manufacturers such as Samsung may use these standardized codes as well.
Error 11- The paper has run out. Reload paper.
Error 12- Compartment lid is open. Close the lid to resume printing.
Error 13- Paper is jammed in the machine. Clear the paper jam to resume printing.
Error 14- No toner cartridge has been detected. Replace the cartridge or cartridges if they are empty. Otherwise, remove the cartridge and reinstall it to see if it is recognized by the machine. If you are still having problems, see Possible Reasons Your Cartridges are Not Working.
Error 16 – The toner is running low. You can generally continue printing with this error, but have a replacement cartridge ready for when it runs dry.
Error 20- The memory is overflowing or full. The document you are printing may be too large for the printer to handle. Try printing it a few pages at a time.
Error 22- An issue has come up in the configuration. Stop the printing task, restart the printer, then try the print job again.
Error 24- The memory that processes multi-page tasks is full. Stop printing tasks and restart the printer. Consider adding more memory.
Error 40- An issue has occurred within the data transfer. Stop the printing tasks and restart the printer.
Error 41- Unexpected paper size. Reload the paper tray with the correct-sized meda, or ensure that pages are not sticking together.
Errors 50-53 are service errors that generally require a repair technician. You may wish to try restarting both the printer and the computer to see if it resolves the problem. Otherwise, call the manufacturer for support or take the device to a repair shop.
Error 54- The duplex feeder is not working properly. Check the feeder for paper jams and restart the printer.
Error 55- A break has occurred in the internal communication. Check the cables and restart the printer.
Error 57- An incompatible memory card has been inserted. Make sure the memory card is compatible. Reinsert it firmly into the slot and try again.
Error 61, 63, 67- There is some sort of defect with the formatter. Restart the printer and try again.
Error 62x- The installed memory is defective. Try reseating the memory inside the printer if it accessible. Otherwise, consult a repair shop.
Error 79- The software is being read incorrectly. Restart the computer and the printer and try again.
Many of the numeric error codes are fairly simple to fix once you understand the problem. The most common involve an empty paper tray or cartridge, which are easy to remedy. For those errors that are not resolved by the solutions above, contact the manufacturer for support, or take your printer to a repair shop for a more comprehensive diagnosis of the problem.
In the past, printers were typically very large and expensive, as manufacturers had not yet figured out how to fit all of that power into a compact frame. Dot matrix and laser printers were just about the only option until the late 1970s, when a different type of machine started to be developed. From innovators like HP, Canon and Epson, inkjet printers burst on to the market in 1984, but reached optimum popularity in 1988 when HP introduced the Deskjet line of ink-based personal printers. Though it cost as much as $1,000 at the time to own one of these inkjet printers, it didn’t take long for the technology to advance and for other companies to jump on the bandwagon, while prices began to shrink. By the 1990s, inkjet printers had virtually silenced the dot matrix printing industry and began to compete with standard laser printers.
Inkjet technology works completely differently from laser technology, as it is dealing with liquid ink rather than powder toner. Instead of attracting toner to the paper, as with laser printing, inkjet printheads are moved across the page, dropping small droplets of ink as they move from side to side. The ink is expelled as the printer creates a vapor bubble, which forces a drop of ink onto the page. The fact that this happens more than thousands of times per minute is actually quite astounding. By applying multiple drops of different colors at different ratios, virtually any color can be created, and the result can be a fully-formed image or just simple text characters.
Most older inkjet models featured only two ink cartridges – one that held black printer ink and one combined cartridge that held cyan, magenta and yellow. More current models on the market offer a separate cartridge for each color, minimizing the amount of ink that is wasted. Some more advanced models even use 6 colors or more for even more detail and a wider color gamut.
One of the biggest drawbacks to inkjet printing is that ink cartridges tend to be much more expensive on a per-page basis than laser toner cartridges. Manufacturers had long held a monopoly on their supplies, and fostered the idea that cartridges made from other manufacturers might be incompatible or even damage the printer.
When compatible and remanufactured cartridges came onto the scene, the game changed. Big manufacturers that were developing these machines now had to compete with prices of third-party vendors. Though some consumers always prefer to have name-brand products, the flip side to that is the fact that approximately 1.8 billion ink cartridges are currently residing in landfills and can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. The remanufactured options reuse the cartridges and avoid unnecessary waste. Thankfully, many organizations and even the major manufacturers now offer recycling programs to help reduce waste.
Bluetooth is basically a limited wireless connection. Both offer connectivity without the use of cables, but Bluetooth has a short range, usually about 30 feet or so. Many of the new printer models come with Bluetooth capabilities, but USB Bluetooth adapters are available that can give almost any printer Bluetooth compatibility.
If you have a laptop that is Bluetooth-friendly, you can connect to a Bluetooth printer in Windows by following these simple steps:
- Go to Start Menu.
- Select Devices and Printers.
- Click Add Printer.
The pop-up Wizard will automatically scan for Bluetooth devices. Once yours is found, just select it and you are all set to print.
If you are printing from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device, find the Bluetooth option in the Settings. Devices should be listed under Wireless and/or Networks. Again, the devices that have Bluetooth capabilities will scan and find each other automatically. Once that happens, print away!
Depending on how you choose to set up your particular printer, a number of Bluetooth devices can be connected to it at the same time (though not more than seven). Once a device has connected to your Bluetooth printer, such as a Canon PIXMA MP980, they will remember each other in the future, which will eliminate the time it takes to scan for devices within range.
- Be sure your Bluetooth device is not in “discoverable mode”. This opens your network to any device within range.
- It is recommended to do most pairings in a private location, such as a home or office. Pairing two devices in public could make them susceptible to being hacked.
- Set up your device to require a PIN code of at least 8 digits. The more numbers there are, the harder the code will be for hackers to crack. This way you can choose who can access your Bluetooth printer.
To maintain the standard of speed and quality, be sure to keep the firmware updated on your Bluetooth devices. As this is a young technology, keep in mind that changes and advancements will come about. This form of wireless connectivity is becoming an industry standard, but not just on printers. Almost all mobile devices, including phones and tablets have Bluetooth capabilities, as well as many vehicles and computer mice. As more and more devices are being designed to support Bluetooth, the easier it will be for devices to seamlessly communicate with each other, saving you time and hassle.
Standard printers are a necessity in most offices regardless of the nature of the business. However, there are a few specific situations that require a thermal printer, which is typically small enough to be carried in one hand. Some examples of work environments that use thermal printers on a daily basis are gas station pumps, tickets kiosks, lottery machines, any establishment with cash registers or credit card machines and warehouses that print shipping labels.
There are four essential components of these devices, all of which must be properly functioning to produce sufficient labels or receipts. The controller board is basically a built-in computing system that controls the overall functionality of a thermal printer. Most printers have a controller board. The platen is a roller system made of rubber that feeds the paper through the unit. The thermo-sensitive paper will typically be on a roll, as to avoid a need for a paper tray. The thermal head is the component that generates heat and actually prints on the paper, but it is the spring that puts pressure on the head, forcing the contact between head and paper.
When an image is sent to the thermal printer, the head selectively heats specific areas of the paper when it passes through, which then blackens. There are dual-color thermal printers that can produce black and another color, which is almost always red. This is done by applying two different temperatures of heat.
So, what work conditions typically require thermal printers?
Grocery stores, transportation and health care are a few. In a grocery store, or really any store where purchases are made, thermal printers are used to print the receipts. When it comes to various forms of transportation, such as airplanes and trains, thermal printers are used to generate boarding passes and if refreshments are sold on board, the receipts will also be printed with thermal technology. It is the health care industry that probably uses thermal printing the most though. From prescriptions to ultrasounds, this type of printing is known for its clarity, which is essential in the medical field. In hospitals especially, where messes are made daily, documents printed with a thermal printer will be far more durable than standard prints.
Both inkjet and laser printers are designed to print on a variety of media types from envelopes to labels, but one type of media that may not often be considered is transparency film. Transparency film is generally used with an overhead projector, and different models can print everything from text to full color images using either laser toner or inkjet cartridges, and can really jazz up a presentation.
The problem with transparency film is that if the process is not handled correctly, the results will be less than ideal, and in extreme cases, incorrect transparency film can even cause damage to your printer.
Choose the Right Media
Finding the proper transparency film for your model of printer is generally not difficult. The main consideration is to make sure you are using media designed for your specific printer type. For example, look for laser transparency film when using laser printers, and look for inkjet transparency film when using inkjet printers. For more on the differences between the two technologies, see Laser Printer vs. Inkjet Printer. If you want the most predictable results, you can even choose media created by the manufacturer of your printer.
WARNING: Using regular non-printer transparency film or a type that was not intended for your type of printer could cause the media to melt or cause other damage.
Use the Proper Tray
If your printer has more than one tray, or has a separate multipurpose tray, consult the manual or visit the support website for your printer to find the proper tray for your transparency film. In general, most printers utilize a multipurpose tray or a single-sheet slot feed for transparencies and other alternative media like envelopes, and these trays may be located in the rear of the machine. After loading the media into the proper tray, you will then need to select this tray or slot in your printer driver software on the computer.
Additional Tips for Printing on Transparencies:
- Some printers have settings within the software driver for different types of media. Look for a transparency setting and utilize it.
- If one side of the film is shinier than the other, feed it so that the printer will print on the “dull” side for better adhesion of the ink.
- Ink may need more drying time on transparencies. Allow extra time for drying before touching the ink or stacking sheets on top of each other.
- If you are planning to print multiple copies of the same page or design, test it on a single sheet to view the results. This could save extra ink if there are adjustments that need to be made.
Understanding the different types of transparency film and the potential risks of using the wrong media type can help you avoid a costly mistake. By taking the time to find the right kind of media and the best process for printing transparencies, you can keep your printer safe from harm and get the best possible results.
Though the printer spooler is a service that is not required for operation of a computer, it is an essential service for managing print jobs. Basically the spooler serves as a queue coordinator. With multiple jobs being sent to the machine, often at the same time, keeping the tasks organized is essential. The jobs are put in chronological order, though the print queue can be accessed from the computer, giving users the opportunity to manually prioritize the tasks in the queue.
To access the queue:
- Go to Start menu on your computer.
- Select Control Panel.
- Choose Hardware and Sound.
- Click Printers.
- Double-click the printer you are using to view the queue.
One thing you need to understand about the print spooler service – though it does provide simplified task management, it also consumes memory space. This can cause issues depending on the volume of tasks being held in the queue and the amount of memory the printer contains. If 10 different jobs are sent to a laser toner printer at the same time, the spooler intercepts the orders and sends only one at a time, in the proper order. This takes a chunk of memory, but ensures that the printer will never be overloaded.
The print spooler is an organizational tool that allows users to send documents and close out of an application before the data even hits the printer. It will deliver documents in succession and chronological order, unless otherwise specified. Except in the case of spooler errors, most users will never need to access the spooler directly, as it handles its tasks silently in the background.