LaserSave, Inc.'s FAQ on office machines and common problems

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Laser printers, copiers and similar machines were designed for easy maintenance and reliable, high-quality output. By occasionally taking a few minutes to care for your printer, you can extend its life, reduce service calls and ensure optimum, trouble-free operation for many thousands of copies.

   

Click a question to jump to the answer:

"What general tips can I follow?"

"My printer isn't working. What do I do next?"

"I need to call for help..."
 

   

  "What general tips can I follow?"

Keep your printer clean.
   
Most damage done to printers comes from an accumulation of debris. Even electronic failures can begin with a dirty printer. Only trained service personnel should access contact surfaces to remove critical accumulations, but you can help by keeping the machine clean, preventing toner and dust from building up at the key points.

Don’t neglect the outside.
   The entire area around and under the printer is inclined to accumulate dust and debris, converting it to charged particles that are potentially dangerous to the machine. Remove exterior dust and debris at least every two to three months. The printer’s plastic case can be cleaned with commercial cleaners such as Mr. Clean or Formula 409. Be careful, however, not to let the cleaner penetrate the interior of the machine.

Control toner debris.
   Debris is the primary cause of failures, and toner is the primary cause of debris. All toner cartridges will release a small amount of toner into the machine. LaserSave recommends Preventive Maintenance servicing on a periodic basis to extend the life of printers and other office machines. It’s also important that the density control of the machine be properly set to prevent the machine from pulling too much toner into itself, creating toner debris. If you have questions on how to properly adjust your machine, our Technical Division offers free advice.
 

"My printer isn't working. What do I do next?"

1. First, change the toner cartridge.
   
Unless the toner cartridge has damaged the machine or is dumping toner into the machine, you can deal with toner cartridge problems yourself. One simple rule: Always have a spare toner cartridge. Without a spare, you can’t properly diagnose a printer problem. Nor can you meet a printing deadline if all you have is a defective cartridge.

2. It's likely to be a communications problem, and not a problem within the printer itself.
   
Defective printers cause less than one in twenty problems. Printers are relatively simple machines that do the same thing over and over. All of their software is hard-wired. Your computer and its network, on the other hand, change a lot every day. Chances are that one of those changes inadvertently altered the environment and is now preventing data from being properly formatted and sent to the printer.

   Analyze the situation by swapping out components. Connect the printer directly to another computer that has the proper printer driver and see if that combination works.
   Make sure you have selected the correct printer, and that your drivers aren’t corrupted. If you are using a simple print-sharer device, it may be causing the problem.
If you are able to print at other printers, physically move the object printer to that network address and switch the network cards. Only after you have exhausted every other alternative should you conclude that the printer is most likely at fault.

3. If you are having persistent jams, they may be caused by a dirty machine.
This, regretably, may mean that you have done all you can do. Persistent jams usually require the attention of a service technician. Sometimes the problem is cured by a preventive maintenance (PM) cleaning. In other cases, a mechanical assembly in the printer will need to be replaced.

4. Be alert for (but don't be alarmed by) unfamiliar noises or smells.
   Most noises are benign. They signify little or nothing. When left alone, they frequently will go away or fade into the background. For example, a new cartridge may squeak until it’s broken in by 200 prints or so. A few noises are symptomatic of serious problems, or are indicative of imminent failure. Having annual preventive maintenance done on your printer will minimize anything that can cause noise. Otherwise, call for service or advice when your printer produces a noise or a smell that’s out of the ordinary.

5. An error message isn't always a major malfunction.
   There are all sorts of messages that the printer can send you. There are condition statements such as READY or ONLINE, prompts such as PAPER OUT and PRINTER OPEN, resetable errors such as 13 PAPER JAM and 51 SERVICE (beam detect error), and fatal errors like 50 SERVICE or 55 SERVICE. ("Fatal" means the printer will not operate properly until it's been serviced.)

   A. Write down the message exactly! Frequently, customers tell us that their printer displayed an error message, but that they don’t know what it said. Without this information, we may not know which part or parts to bring on-site to effect a repair. The first step is always to record the exact error message.
   B. If the message just asks you to do something, do it and see if the message clears. Sometimes, messages are constant because the sensors are failed or dirty, but usually they will clear.
   C. Many error messages can be reset. With jam messages, most machines will reset after you open the machine, clear the jam, then close it again. Other problems may require you to press a <Continue> button.
   D. Finally, if no other action reactivates the machine, power cycle and start over. Turn the machine off, wait a few seconds, then turn it on again.
   E. If you had a 50 SERVICE error, wait ten minutes or so before turning the machine back on.
   F. Confronted with a persistent error, we invite you to call LaserSave for advice, suggestions, and options on certified service.
 

"I need to call for help..."

By the time you get around to calling for service, you may be pulling your hair in frustration. However, the quality of the information you give us will have a direct impact on how quickly we can get you back up and running. Relax. The chances are good that the machine will soon be fixed as good as new.

1. Call us early in the day.
   Our goal is to assist you as quickly as possible after you’ve called us for technical support. The earlier in the day we hear from you, the faster we’ll be able to respond, and share information with you. If you discover a problem after our normal business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST), call and leave a detailed voice mail message (or send an E-mail message with a time you'll be available), so that one of our service representatives can contact you first thing the next day. Our toll free number is 1 800 529 3772.

2. Focus on the main problem.
   
You may have a lot of information to offer about what the machine is doing. However, the most important fact you can tell us is the primary problem that’s preventing you from getting your work done. In other words, what isn’t happening that should be happening?
   Try to remember whether anything changed or happened just prior to the first incidence of the problem.
   There are six different types of problems that might prompt you to call us:
   A. Power Problems: you turn the machine on and nothing happens.
   B. Communications Problems: you send a file to the printer and it doesn’t print.
   C. Jams: paper isn’t feeding through the machine properly.
   D. Poor Imaging: what is on the paper isn’t what was on your screen.
   E. New Noises: the machine is now making a noise serious enough to be disturbing.
   F. Error Message: the machine’s operation has been interrupted by an error message.

3. Fill in the blanks.
   
You can help us a great deal by giving us as much information as possible about how your printer is acting up. For instance, a paper jam will generate an error message. Where in the machine did the leading edge of the paper stop? What was the exact error message? Is the error predictable, or does it occur only every so often? If it’s an image problem, please save copies of the bad image. If the paper is coming out deformed, keep samples. The more our technical staff has to work with, the faster we’ll be able to get your machine back up and running productively.

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You are invited to contact LaserSave:

   800 529 3772 toll free, or
   920 735 0444 in Appleton, WI
   service@lasersaveinc.com E-mail, or
   
   Service at LaserSave, Inc.
   225 N. Richmond St., Suite 102
   Appleton, WI 54911-4601

    

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Copyright 2011 by LaserSave, Inc., Appleton, WI 54911 USA
 
LaserSave, Inc. recycles toner cartridges, inkjet cartridges, printer ribbons and other office machine consumables by remanufacturing them. This saves money for our customers, and helps the U.S. environment. LaserSave products in home or office can be part of a worthwhile program of office recycling.