Jul 252012

If you are located outside of Washington State or Oregon but you’ve got a printer that needs some fixing, think about our Depot Maintenance option. Depot Maintenance is where you send your printer to us (carefully wrapped up), we repair it, and ship the working unit back to you. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I ship my printer off when I can probably find someone locally to fix it?”

Of course, we at American Printer Service, Inc. always recommend you try to locate a printer repair company locally if you can. However, for some of our customers, that just isn’t an option due to the remoteness of your location or costs involved. Believe it or not, we have customers who ship us units to repair as far away as Alaska! Sometimes, for whatever reason, it just may be easier to ship your broken unit to us rather than have it repaired locally. Depot Maintenance customers enjoy a fast turn around time, discounted labor rates, and inclusion in the process from start to finish. When you use our service, we’ll return your printer in working condition and looking brand new! Give us a try if you’ve got a printer that needs to be repaired but you can’t find anyone locally to work on it!

Jul 112012

In your copious amounts of free time, and because I know dusting is high on everyone’s priority list, if you ever feel the need to move your printer around, here are a little tips that may save you costly repairs!

For some reason, printer manufacturers tend to hide the power switch on their units, especially laser printers. However, you can damage your unit if you simply ‘pull the plug’ out to power it down. Search around and if the power switch for your printer isn’t on the front cover, chances are it is either on the back near the plugin or on the site.

Check the back of your printer after shutting it down and remove all the cables attached to it. I can not tell you how many times a printer is brought to American Printer Service, Inc. where the customer forgot or didn’t think to remove the Ethernet cable and then tripped over it, ripped the cable from the connection, and then couldn’t get it to work later. Even if you think you won’t trip over a loose cable, it just isn’t worth the risk… and if you’re really unlucky, tripping over the cable may pull your entire printer off your desk and completely destroy it!

If you’re taking a printer out of service for some time, it is a good idea to remove the cartridges, especially when you’re dealing with inkjet cartridges, which can dry with non-use and then clog. Toner cartridges should be kept out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place. If dust is going to be a problem you may want to place it into a plastic bag… any garbage-type should do. If you’re storing inkjet cartridges for an extended amount of time, clean the contacts with a light alcohol / water mix so there are no ‘globs’ of ink on them. Then carefully place it in a plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as you can, and try to store it upright (the way it sits in the printer).

Never turn any printer on its side or upside down. With inkjet printers, the carriage bar may become loose, causing damage to the printer. With laser printers, it is just not a good idea. Printers are made to sit upright and never to be turned on end.

If you did pull out the plug instead of using the power switch to power the unit down, make sure it is turned off (complete circle) before plugging the unit back in. Plugging in the unit when it is switched on may result in a power surge that could permanently damage your printer.

I hope these little tips help you when you decide it is time to see what is hiding underneath your printer!

Jul 022012

Generally speaking, it is OK to use canned air to help clean paper debris from your printer; however you need to be cautious. If you’ve experienced spilled or leaked toner, canned air is the last thing you want to do as toner dust is very, very fine and you’ll only end up creating a larger mess than you began with. Another instance where you don’t want to use canned air, or at least use it very strategically, is inside an inkjet printer. You may end up spraying globules of ink around the inside of your printer, which may take a long time to either dry or disappear from use.

Canned air is most appropriate for impact printers where you can have paper debris build up over time and collect on the rollers. At American Printer Service, Inc., we don’t recommend using canned air inside of a laser printer unless you’re fairly familiar with the model of printer and know where the different components are. There is a small chance that you’ll actually do any damage to the inside of a printer using canned air during a repair but blowing around all that debris, dust, and toner could cause some problems.

If you notice your printer is looking a little worse for wear, the best thing that you can do is call a professional Technician to come out and give it a thorough cleaning.

Jun 272012

printer repair pickrollers Of Printer Repair And Pick Rollers

Ever wonder what in the world Pick Rollers, Separation Rollers, Paper Feed Rollers, and all those other rollers that you’re constantly replacing are? Well, let’s take a little look and see…

Different printer manufacturers and different printer repair companies call the rollers that help move the paper through your printer by different names. Additionally, the same roller is often called by a different name dependent on where it is located within the printer… confusing right? At American Printer Service, Inc. we just refer to all these rollers generically as, “Pick Rollers”.

Pick Rollers are like the shoes on your feet…except far less fashionable, especially if you’re into your Jimmy Choos. Besides making outrageous fashion statements, shoes serve the more mundane purpose of providing traction and comfort while doing things like running a marathon, rock climbing, or playing sports. It is this traction that the Pick Rollers provide, allowing your printer to ‘grab’ the paper and move it through your printer. Pick Rollers are manufactured with different types of rubber, dependent on the model of printer and the expected amount of usage, but most have a sort of tacky feel to them.

Over time, the Pick Rollers can accumulate small bits of debris that causes them to ‘smooth’ out and lose their grabbing ability. This leads to ‘mispicking’ or paper jams. Also, if you have a toner spill, or the Fuser Assembly is not properly adhering toner onto the page, the loose toner can accumulate on the Pick Rollers and cause them to stop working correctly. Sometimes all the Pick Rollers need to correct mispicking and jams are a good cleaning; however, even with a cleaning, once Pick Rollers have become compromised, it is best to replace them so the problem does not reoccur immediately. This is the reason why we advise customers to keep their printers as clean and free of debris as possible. Pick Rollers are not the most expensive parts in printers, but most printers require several sets to operate smoothly, and worn Pick Rollers can add up!

Jun 252012

It happens. There is absolutely no such thing as a ‘jam-less’ printer, whether you’re talking inkjet printer, laser printer, or impact printer. Sooner or later, you’re going to run into a paper jam with your printer, and how you handle it can easily determine whether you’ll be out searching the next day for a printer repair company like American Printer Service, Inc. to service the unit, or if you’ll be happily humming along after a quick and painless removal of the paper debris.

Unfortunately, paper jams seems to happen at the most inopportune times, like right before you’re on your way out the door to an important meeting and just need to print off one last report. Often, this adds to the frustration of the user, which usually results in the yanking, pulling, and cranking we often see as a result of incorrectly removing a paper jam. As in most emergency situations, the main thing to keep in mind is that you’ve got to remain calm and figure things out…

Some printers and copiers have a handy little diagram in the inside covers that will tell you how to remove a paper jam. For those that don’t, take your time figuring out where the jammed paper is located and how bad the actual jam is. Once you’ve established that, gently tug on the leading edge and see if the paper feeds through the rollers. Paper is made to feed through most printers in a one-directional path… advancing. If you pull the paper backwards through the rollers, you risk causing permanent damage to your printer. If you cannot get the paper jam to advance, it is best to call a professional and have them remove the paper jam.

Another important thing to remember when removing paper jams is that at NO time should you be inserting foreign objects into the printer to help you remove a paper jam. I think we’ve probably heard just about everything, from forks to screwdrivers being used as tools to remove stubborn bits of paper. Using any metal object inside of printer can easily damage internal parts, which may lead to a much more expensive problem… like replacement of the unit. Additionally, with laser printers, you can actually end up with an electrical shock if you use a metal object and end up hitting the wrong part of the printer.

Paper jams are frustrating. The important thing to remember is to take your time and realize that, most likely, it isn’t the end of the world. If you are cautious and figure out the problem, you’re far less likely to be replacing the unit due to damaged parts or gears. And remember, if you can’t remove a paper jam or the printer continues to say you’ve got one even though you pulled out the paper debris you could see, call a professional. There is no shame in admitting defeat when it comes to stubborn or ‘ghost’ paper jams, and a professional printer repair Technician will probably be able to get you up and running without the need to replace parts.