10. Does it have paper? Be sure the
paper is installed correctly and there is enough of it. Most printers
have a paper-out detector. On most dot matrix printers it is a photo
diode. If form-fed paper is not aligned correctly (usually on the
left side) the diode won't see it. DOS may indicate it has lost communications
with a printer which is out of paper instead issuing a paper-out error.
11. Is it jammed? Paper jams are frequently
the reason my wife is able to fix many printers. She's very good
at it (and she has smaller fingers than mine). Always read the manual
on how to clear a jam. Don't be a "gorilla" with
your printer! You can easily damage a printer (strip gear threads,
etc.), or even get hurt, if you do not follow instructions and are not
careful. Turn the power off--unplug it. You have 110 volts
running around the inside many printers. And print heads, gears,
etc. like to nip fingers.
Laser printers have some very fine wires to remove static
charges from the paper near the fuser mechanism which will break if you
aren't very careful. Also, the fuser itself can be very hot (it fuses/melts
toner to the paper).
Don't move a print head unless the instructions direct
it. You can damage the belt, etc.
Address labels cause many paper jams and cannot always
be seen. The old shirt cardboard trick can be used to dislodge them
from many printers. Just feed a shirt cardboard (or cut a piece of
like-sized cardboard form a file folder) through like a sheet of paper
and wiggle the label loose and out.
Staples, paperclips, dog hair, and cookie crumbs are
among the many things we have coaxed out of printers. A staple will
raise havoc with the drum in laser printers. If you see vertical
lines on pages printed by a laser printer (or copy machine), the drum is
probably scratched. Replacing it can be a very expensive repair,
If jams persist, or the printer won't feed paper, there
is a good chance that gears are stripped or rollers are worn-down or have
flat spots. Fixing this sort of problem may require specialized
tools and elaborate alignment procedures and is often best done at a printer
repair depot. It is not usually economically feasible to send
low-end ink jet and dot matrix printers, etc. to a repair depot. Sometimes
roller problems can be fixed by cleaning the rollers.
Changing to a different kind of paper may help. Refer
to your user manual for guidance.
On humid days, slightly damp paper can cause jams by
sticking together causing more than one sheet to be fed at a time. Try
removing the paper from its tray, etc. and fanning it. Make sure
the edges or corners aren't curled and the tray is either not too empty
or too full. Read the book...
Then there are those printers which no one can figure-out
how to dissemble without damaging them...
12. Is it wedged? The printer memory
could be full or there may my a glitch caused by a power spike. Turn-off
the printer, wait a few seconds and turn it back on.