Archive for May, 2012

Printer Memory Management

Hard drives and memory are both used for data storage in printers, so what is the difference between the two and what is theirpurpose?

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.

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Role of the CPU – Processor

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.

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Printer Numeric Error Codes Explained

Error codeWhen 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.

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Breakdown of Inkjet Printing Technology

Inkjet PrinterIn 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.

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Bluetooth-Enabled Printing

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.

USB Bluetooth Adapter

USB Bluetooth Adapter

If you have a laptop that is Bluetooth-friendly, you can connect to a Bluetooth printer in Windows by following these simple steps:

  1. Go to Start Menu.
  2. Select Devices and Printers.
  3. 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.

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How Thermal Printers Work

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.Thermal Printers

These machines are not the same as thermal inkjet printers.  If you have a thermal label printer and you purchase inkjet cartridges for it, there will be nowhere to install them.

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Printing on Transparency Film

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.

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Printer Spooler Explained

Print SpoolerThough 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.

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