Thursday, October 18, 2018

Printers - Choosing the Printer That Fits Your Needs

Printers have become a daily essential for anyone who has a computer - after all, we all need to produce hard copies of our electronic data.  Choosing which printer serves your needs best can be tricky.  Here's a 101.

Kinds of printers
Whether you need to print documents, photos, stickers, large banners or any other data that needs to be printed, there is a printer that can suit your needs.

o Card Printer - for printing plastic cards
o CD Printer - for printing labels directly onto the CD
o Check Printer - for printing text on blank checks
o DVD Printer - for printing labels directly on the DVD disc
o Inkjet Printer - usually used for basic printing needs (i.e. documents, photos, etc.) in the home, school or office.
o Laster Printer - has similar functions with the inkjet, only faster.
o Photo Printer - the printer especially designed and made for printing high-quality images.
o Portable Printer - for use with mobile devices like laptops and other mobile computers
o Postcard Printer - for printing images and text on postcards and other novelty papers.
o Poster Printer - for printing bigger media (i.e. posters, banners, etc.)
o Thermal Printer - typically used for printing receipts and labels
o Wireless Printer - utilizes Bluetooth technology to connect to your computer instead of traditional cables, which makes it ideal for small spaces with computers.
Before you buy that printer...

No matter what your printing needs are, make sure you take into consideration the following features when choosing a printer:

o Power source
o Connectivity
o Printing size
o Format (what it can print)
o Speed of printing
o Efficiency
o Paper types and sizes it can accommodate
o Security features
o System requirements (ensure your device is compatible with it)
o Capacity (how much it can print at a time and how much paper it can accommodate)

For more info -

Read more ...

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Guide to Buying a New printer

One of the more perplexing decisions when faced with choosing a new printer is which print technology is going to suit you the best.  At the moment there are two main printing systems: the laser technology, using toner cartridges and a transfer drum assembly; and ink jets using ink tank cartridges and fine-spray nozzles.  The method that will suit you best will depend largely on what you plan to print on your new printer, and cost factors that affect the costs of running it.  Laser printers are possibly better for high-volume printing, with lower 'per page' costs and they have better black intensity text, than most ink jets. Laser printers tend to have a faster page rate but ink jets still offer the important advantages in affordable color printing.

For home use, you'll probably want to print out digital photos or graphics, which makes color a must. The traditional differentiation between lasers and ink jets has been office versus home use; however, color offers obvious presentation advantages for business use as well.  Fortunately, prices for both categories of printers have come down enough to make it practical to purchase both a laser and an ink jet if you absolutely need both color and high-quality text.

The work you do
There are a number of different printer configurations available today, many of them are quite specialized in the applications.  There are specialized photo printers, direct disc CD printers, Multi-function printers, desktop ink jets and high-speed lasers.

If you want a printer that is specifically designed for printing photographs, you will most likely look for a color ink-jet system that is a photo printer, allowing very high quality color output and capable of printing all the way to the edge of the page.  Recent releases by major brands now include all-in-one Multi-function devices that include scanning and printing capabilities.  Many smaller units that are designed purely as a photo-printer to plug directly into your digital camera are also available.  Much the same can be said for CD or DVD printing, with specialized printers available for printing directly onto discs, saving label application.

On the other hand if you are a small home-office worker, then your requirements may be more general, in which case you need to make a printer decision based on the types of documents you produce and how many.  In general terms, ink-jet printers offer high quality color outputs, at a low hardware cost, but high consumable cost.  Lasers offer significantly higher speeds but at a much higher hardware cost. High volume usage however, reduces the cost per page considerably.

Multi-function printers (MFP) are often ideal for home office or student needs because they combine multiple functions into one unit, usually a scanner, printer, copier fax machine, doing a little bit of everything, and saving considerable desk and office space in the bargain.  Generally ink-jet style printers, some MFP's may trade-off performance for price and convenience (e.g. lower resolution, slower print speed) than if you were to buy a printer and scanner individually.

You can buy Multi-functional printers specially configured for printing photographs, with some machines providing the ability to scan directly from 35mm slides and store digital files and print them, which is ideal for archiving old photo libraries.  However, the scanned images may not exhibit the same clarity and brightness of digitally capture photographs, or as the kind of quality that you can obtain from a dedicated scanner. 

Dealing with Technical Talk
One of the specifications that you will be faced with, is that of resolution.  Up to a point, a printer's resolution determines aspects of its print quality.  Images are made up of tiny dots of ink or toner that is applied to the page, and resolution is the term given to the number of dots per inch-quoted as dpi.  This usually is represented in a two-dimensional matrix (eg: 600 x 300 dpi).  Most printers today support a basic 600 x 600 dpi resolution that produces adequate quality in most instances.  Many ink jets, however, especially photo printers and high-end plotters, offer higher resolutions and more dots in the vertical plane than the horizontal.

Resolution ratings are not the whole story however.  Many printer manufacturers now incorporate smoothing and enhancing features through software algorithms.  This means that some output from printers with a lower dpi looks just as good as that from a higher dpi unit.  And, although some printers have very high resolutions, you're not likely to notice any difference in quality with common print jobs once you go above 600 x 600 dpi resolution.  What you will notice however, is much higher consumption of inks or toner.  It is noteworthy, and perhaps obvious to some, that the higher resolution you are printing at, the higher will be your consumable consumption, and this is the most expensive part of your printer.

Speed is another important consideration.  Vary rarely will you find that your printer performs at the 'pages-per-minute' rate (ppm) that is advertised or cited in the specification.  There are a number of reasons for this including the size of the file being printed, the amount of ink coverage on the page, the proportion of black to other colors, the weight of the paper stock and possibly even the constancy of the power supply of electricity to your premises.  This is not today, that the manufacturers, under laboratory conditions are not able to make the machine perform at spec, just not to rely on the claim as a gospel figure.  However, you can use the speed ratings to make some judgment of performance differences, between brands and models.  If speed is an important consideration, then you can short-list printers that claim to perform above a certain rate and then compare other factors. 

Laser printers use powder toner that is electromagnetically attracted to the page by an image temporarily made on a transfer drum through a laser scanning process, and then fused to the page with a heat-setting system.  This toner is supplied in cartridges, usually one for each of a four-color printing system (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).  Manufactures give some estimate of how many pages of a given size each toner cartridge will print, based on a predetermined proportion of coverage (say 10%). As with the speed claims, these estimates are rarely accurate, but can be used to make some judgment between makes and models.  The higher resolution of image you are printing, the more toner will be used in the process.  Ink jet printers use a liquid ink stored in tanks that are sprayed by very fine nozzles onto the page as they are required.  Just as you replace the toner cartridges in the laser system, you replace ink tanks when they're depleted in an ink jet printer.

It is important to understand that even though the printer might be cheap, consumables is where the manufacturers actually make enormous profits, so be sure to consider replacement consumables when doing your cost comparisons.  With ink jet printers, some have color cartridges in one unit, others have separate color units.  In the long run, separate tanks will most likely work out cheaper, because as one color runs out, you replace only that color.  When all colors are housed in the one cartridge unit, you may have a nearly full tank of cyan when the yellow is completely gone, and you have to throw away unused ink.  Not only does this waste your money, it can also be environmentally expensive.

There are two parts to your cost assessment of a printer.  The first is the purchase price of the printer itself.  This can vary considerably between brands and models, and is usually differentiated through different features being offered.  However, possibly more important is the ongoing cost, often measured in cost per page.  A typical ink jet printer may cost you 40-50 cents per printed page, depending on how much ink you are using on the page, it may even cost more.  By comparison, a color laser may work out to 15-20 cents per page.  These costs don't usually include the paper stock, and are based on consumables and maintenance costs.  Companies like Xerox often supply large color Laser printers for a cost per page fee.

One cost assessment technique is to estimate how much printing you will do in a given period, load your calculations with a percentage of ink coverage (if you are printing all full gloss and high resolution photographs, for example, you might load the cost per page by a factor of 8-10), factor in the machine cost and make a comparison of what you will spend in a year, including the cost of the printer.

Other things you might consider
How paper travels through a printer can affect your whole printer experience.  The closest you can get to a 'straight through' paper path, the more trouble-free your printer will be.  If all your printing is only on plain white bond paper, then paper path will possibly not be a major consideration; but if you're printing on photographic stock, thick paper, envelopes, transparent film or other materials, then be sure the print path is compatible with your requirements.  How you connect to your computer might also be a consideration, especially if you work with large files where connection speed is a consideration.   Most printers today offer relatively high-speed USB interfaces. You might also want to consider wireless connections or networking capabilities.

When choosing a Laser printer, on-board RAM (read only memory) might be a consideration.  A printer with a standard 64 Megabytes of RAM will be slow to print a quantity of documents that are larger in size than the printer's memory.  If large documents are a consideration, make sure you can upgrade the printer's memory.  The printer driver provides the software interface to your printer, offering you on-screen control over copies, page size, orientation, resolution, text smoothing and paper thickness and type.  Many drivers now include advanced features and enable you to create your own custom-setting profiles for quick selection.  Moreover a good driver provides complete printer management from on-screen, including paper jams and job queue management.  Ink-jet drivers often provide graphical indications of remaining ink levels for each color.

For More Info -
Read more ...

10 Ways To Extend The Life Of Your Printer

With so many moving parts and opportunities for paper jams, it's a wonder that many printers last as long as they do.  Especially since, on average, support pros devote precious little time to working on printers.  It's too bad, because costly repair bills can add up quickly, and replacing printers before their time is an expensive endeavor.  While supporting printers is hardly glamorous, a little effort will lengthen any printer's lifespan.  Use these tips for any type of printer you support.  Just keep in mind that consulting the printer's owner's manual is always a good idea before embarking on any major printer maintenance procedure.

#1: Clean the inside of your printer
As simple as it may sound, one of the best preventive maintenance tasks you can perform is to keep your printer's insides as clean as possible.  It's easy to do, if you look for excess paper dust or other debris whenever you open up your printer.  At least once a month - or more often, if your users print a lot - use a can of compressed air to blow the dust and debris out of the printer.

#2: Refrain from using bent, torn, or used paper
Damaged paper can cause paper jams.  Any time a paper jam occurs, there's a possibility that something else on the printer can break.  To prevent jams and other problems, always use new paper that isn't bent, torn, or damaged in any way.

#3: Use high-quality paper
As a cost-saving measure, many organizations purchase medium- to low-grade paper to use in their printers.  However, this type of paper can also cause paper jams.  Although a decent brand of 20lb paper should suffice for most printing jobs, to make your printing shine, you should use at least 24lb paper.  To help you determine exactly what type of paper you should use in your printer, most printer manufacturers publish minimum paper standards.  If your paper doesn't meet these specifications, the vendor won't provide warranty support until you use the proper type of paper.  Review the documentation that came with the printer or visit the manufacturer's Web site to learn the paper specifications.

#4: Store paper in a low-humidity environment
High environmental humidity can cause paper to stick together, leading to paper jams and paper feed errors.  This is especially true for low-end printers or DeskJet printers, whose paper-feed mechanisms are not as finely tuned to separate pages in the paper tray.  To prevent multiple pages from sticking together and feeding at the same time, store your paper in a cool, low-humidity environment and locate your printer in a low-humidity environment.

#5: Use high-quality labels
Whenever a printer is used for making labels, always supply it with high-quality label stock.  This is even more important than using high-quality paper because cheap labels can completely ruin printer parts, such as a platen or fuser.  When cheap labels are sent through a fuser or around a roller, they can peel off of the backing paper and become affixed to the first surface they come in contact with.  This wreaks havoc with printer parts because you either have to peel the labels off, which can be an enormous task, or you're forced to replace the part.  In the case of fusers, the cost of such a repair can be several hundred dollars.  High-quality labels, on the other hand, do not come off quite so easily, so you can use them with less fear of damaging the printer.

#6: Use the straightest paper path for labels
When printing on label stock, eliminate as many bends in the paper path as possible.  For example, use the manual feed tray, which allows the labels to feed directly into the printer without bending. If the printer has an additional paper exit path that eliminates the labels passing around another roller, you should use it.  Reducing the number of rollers that label stock passes around will reduce the possibility of a label peeling off the backing paper and sticking to something inside of the printer.

#7: Replace old and worn rollers
Worn feed rollers are another cause of paper jams.  When the rollers have come to the end of their useful life, they'll have a glazed and/or slippery surface that lets the paper slip off.  This can either prevent the paper from being picked up in the paper tray or cause the paper to feed incorrectly while in the paper path.  In laser printers, rollers normally have a life expectancy that is as long as the printer maintenance kit's.  Therefore, if you change the rollers when you change the maintenance kit, you shouldn't have too many problems with feed rollers.  However, DeskJet and other types of printers don't normally require a tune-up like laser printers do, so you won't need to change the feed rollers on a regular basis.  Often, the manufacturer will offer a kit you can use to rough up the surface of a roller, so it will reliably pick up paper again.  These kits include a very stiff Scotch-brite pad and a program that causes the feed roller to run against the pad so the surface of the roller is roughed up.  If your printer's manufacturer doesn't offer such a kit, you can do the job yourself with a small file. If you do, be sure to rough up the roller surface evenly.

#8: Close the manual feed tray when not in use
If the printer uses a manual feed tray for printing labels or legal-size documents, make sure that it's always closed when not in use.  A quick turn of a chair or an accidental slip could cause a user to bump into the protruding tray and break it.  Although it may be a slight inconvenience to keep unfolding the tray, it's much safer in its stored position.

#9: Use care when replacing parts
Since printers are made of breakable materials like plastic, you should use care when assembling or repairing them.  This is especially true when working with covers and cases because the small plastic tabs that hold them in place are easy to break off.  If you find yourself exerting a great deal of force when reassembling a printer, you should probably back off and take another look at how the parts fit together.  The chances are good that the angle you're using to put the parts together is wrong or the parts don't fit together the way you thought they did.

#10: Purchase a service manual
If you'd like to know more about repairing your particular model of printer, you can buy a service manual from the manufacturer.  These manuals provide extensive troubleshooting tips, subassembly diagrams, and other useful repair information.  When it comes time to make repairs on your printer, the service manual will make your job much easier.  Depending on the type of repair you're doing, you may even be able to read step-by-step instructions for solving your particular problem.

Read more ...

Like Us

Correct-Tek Copier Service

Contact Form


Email *

Message *