Seven Things Your Printer Manufacturer Doesn’t Want You To Know

  1. Using rebuilt ink cartridges will NOT void your warranty.Thanks to laws like the Magnuson Moss Warranty Improvement Act, it is illegal for printer manufacturers to claim that using rebuilt cartridges will void their warranty. Here is the excerpt that deals with third party suppliers: “No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer’s using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name.” Buying and using a third party supply cannot invalidate your warranty. That’s the law.
  2. Your printer is ink agnostic. Think about it: it’s like Maytag telling you to only use certain detergents in their washing machine or that only a certain brand of gas can run a Honda. Manufacturers may say they prefer one brand over another, but that is a marketing partnership boondoggle (follow the money) more than an actual reality for customers using their products.
  3. Your paper is as important as your ink for making vibrant copies and output. High pigmentation and saturated colors need a glossy paper that will hold the ink colors and not mute them. The average multi-purpose copy paper that is sold at low prices by the ream will not hold the ink AND will create more paper dust in your printer (which shortens the printer’s life without service calls and cleaning.) When you want great copies and color – buy great paper.
  4. Servicing will extend the life of your printer – and keep you from buying a new one to replace it. Printers need to be cleaned and maintained to run smoothly. Besides downloading firmware from the manufacturer’s website, cleaning a printer whenever it begins making more noise than usual, when paper dust or toner remnants are noticeable.
  5. Rebuilt printers can save you hundreds of dollars over new ones. Your local Rapid Refill store can help “fit” you to the right printer for your needs. For budget-conscious customers, choosing a rebuilt printer can provide the same reliability and print quality as new for hundreds of dollars less.
  6. All-in-one fax/scanner/printer/copies can cost more than separate dedicated machines. Truth is, some all in one machines do everything OK but nothing very well. Print image clarity, cost per printed page and energy costs can be higher than a dedicated B/W printer/copier and a scanner/fax machine, for example.
  7. Flashing lights and error codes CAN be translated by the average user. Rather than using the manufacturer web pages which frequently direct you to “an authorized service provider” consider a site like Fix-kb which lists error codes by manufacturer with simple step-by step instructions for fixing flashing lights.

Why Do Laser Printers Need to Warm Up?

It never fails: when you are in a hurry to print, the laser printer decides it needs to take a few minutes to “warm up.” Why is that?

We asked our resident expert, Merle Meyer – Vice President of Technology at Rapid Refill  – and learned a lot. Laser printers typically delay printing to warm up the image transfer drum and rollers prior to creating the first image. The imaging drum must first be cleaned by negatively charging the drum while a delicate rubber flange clears off all past toner residue to make sure that the new print out will be as clean as possible. In fact, the excess toner residue that is scraped off the drum builds up in a reservoir that must be periodically purged to make sure that your laser printer works correctly. This is one of many steps we take in all of our servicing and printer cleaning maintenance calls.

Before the imaging drum is ready to accept the positive charge which will ultimately attract and hold the toner particles to it before being transferred and fused to the paper, the imaging drum literally has to be “warm.’

So now you know. And, as they say, knowing is half the battle.

Troubleshooting Printers

Here at Rapid Refill we hear our share of printer problems. Printers seem to instinctively know when we are under deadline when they fail to operate correctly. Here are some fast ways to troubleshoot a printer when it is causing you stress.

  1. RTM. Yeah, yeah – we know. No one like this. But it works: Read The Manual.
  2. Three basics:
    1. Plug. Check that the plug, surge protector and outlet are working. Move all three to make sure.
    2. Online? Yes. I know it SHOULD be online. Just double check to make sure. Ask someone else to print to it if possible.
    3. Test print. Use the test print button on the printer itself, if possible, to diagnose if the problem is within the printer (like needing toner or ink) or with the connection to the printer. Otherwise, use the printer icon in Control Panel to sent a test print to the printer.
  3. Check those lights. Blinking lights are how your printer tells you what is wrong. A printer with an orange light or a blinking green light is signaling an error. Check the blinking light signal against the manual or the manufacturer’s website to understand what the trouble is.
  4. Is it clean? If you see streaked or messy printouts you may need to clean or service your printer. Deep head cleaning may need to be done several times. If that doesn’t correct the problem, contact a Rapid Refill store to schedule a cleaning appointment.

Strange but True Printer Stories

Just for laughs, here are a few of our favorite printer stories. Most involve people who just didn’t use their heads.  Don’t let us include you in our next Strange But True post.

A New Mousetrap? In cold weather, mice love to find a dark, warm place to snuggle in for the winter. Sounds exactly like the inside of a large floor-model printer. Yes, we have found mice in printers. “So THAT is the squeaking we heard.”

Just because it’s called paper, doesn’t mean it goes in the printer. Like wax paper (there was a Pinterest fad about that a couple months ago,) wall paper, construction paper, paper towels and thermal paper. All of which will lead to a service call.

It’s all fun and games at the office party: until someone realizes there are lipstick kisses on every copy afterward. Yes. Someone kissed the copier glass and left a messy kiss on every copy afterward.

They aren’t THAT smart yet. A older gentleman called because his computer said it couldn’t find the printer. He even turned the screen of the computer right at the printer and it still couldn’t “see” it.

Setting Your Printer for Quieter Printing

Quieter Printing Printers have come a long way since dot matrix days when the racket of printing could be heard across the office. Today’s printers offer much quieter service – and many new ones provide a Quiet option that specifically operates at a more gentle sounding level. To find the setting, select printer options on the menu screen of the printer itself (not on your computer) and search for the Quiet setting. This is a great option when printer noises are disruptive – although the printing speed may be affected.

Another way to keep your printer operating as quietly as the day you bought it is to maintain and clean it regularly. Printer cleaning and maintenance will also keep your printer operating efficiently, extend the life of the printer and reduce supply waste. There are moving components inside every printer that wear over time. Keeping those components, clean, lubricated and appropriately calibrated keeps the printer working quietly and efficiently. One sure sign that your printer is overdue for a cleaning is if it operates more loudly than before.

For expertise and guidance about your printer or to get a thorough cleaning and service call from a printing professional, contact your local Rapid Refill store today.

Paper & High Quality Printing

As much as we love to go on and on about ink and toner and their importance to high quality print output, the truth is PAPER MATTERS! Budget-priced, all-purpose copy paper will not grab and hold the micro-fine toner the way a high-quality paper made for laser jets will. So, here are just a few reasons to re-think your decision to save money on paper by buying the truckload multi-purpose paper the next time it goes on sale at the MegaMart:

Poor quality paper will create paper dust that jams your printer and ultimately shorten the life of your printer.

Low quality paper tends to curl in heat and humidity. It also warps and bends if not stored completely flat. Not exactly the image you want to make.

Poor quality paper will not grab the color toner and showcase the true colors correctly.

High quality paper needs to be able to hold the LAYERS of toner that are applied when you make a laser jet color printout. Think about it: Toner is pressed and melted onto the paper to adhere to it. When you use color toner, you are using layers of CYMK on top of the paper to create the same color you see on the computer screen. Layers that bleed into the paper will give your color a faded look. High quality paper holds “vibrant” colors on top of the paper.

Which brings us to weight and brightness. Higher quality paper will have a more durable weight (we recommend 20-28lb) and a brightness rating (we recommend 85-90.) For budget- minded businesses, we recommend that you keep a heavier, high quality paper near the main printer for important printing and a less-expensive paper for day to day print jobs.

If you have been using a multi-purpose paper in your printer, now is the time to have it cleaned and serviced to reduce the damage of paper dust to your moveable parts in your printer. Call Rapid Refill now to schedule a maintenance visit.

When you are disappointed in the quality of the output from your printer, take a look at the PAPER you are using and consider upgrading the paper quality to take full advantage of the toner and printer you use.

Improve Your Home Office

Now that school is back in session and fewer activities are happening outdoors, the home office area of your home can be under a lot of unproductive strain.  Here are four things you can do TODAY to improve your home office!

  1. Get faster internet. If changing internet service providers seems daunting, just think of the time you spend every day waiting for pages to load, emails to open and photos to send. Whittling away at your productivity a minute at a time, slow internet service is a serious time waster. Time IS money – for everyone, so think of improving your internet speed as money and time given back to you. Contact local providers and get a speed upgrade.
  2. Get your printer cleaned. Contact Rapid Refill  for a cleaning service and see an improvement in print quality, quieter operation and less ink and toner use per page. It’s a smart move all the way around.
  3. Clear clutter. I know and you know that the piles of paper are not just a nuisance, they waste time and energy. Plus, lost coupons and offers cost money. Sort coupons and special offers in a divided pouch to make them more portable. Set up a tabbed system for papers you need to keep for the long term like
    1. Insurance
    2. School Records
    3. Medical Receipts and Records
    4. Legal Documents
    5. Warranties
    6. Owner’s Manuals
    7. Then, PURGE, PURGE, PURGE.
  4. Clean your email inbox. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Without stopping to re-read emails, go through your email inbox and either delete or file every item in your inbox. Create a folder that says “REPLY” and drop the emails awaiting your response. Make that the first order of business over coffee tomorrow. By tomorrow at noon, you will have a clean inbox and a new outlook on being in control of your home office.

Does Shaking Toner Work?

The right way to shake toner?

Does Shaking Toner Work?

Yes!! And no. When you reach the end of your toner’s life in a laser printer, you may notice that print is light or uneven. If the reason may be that the remaining toner powder is unevenly distributed within the cartridge. Removing the cartridge and GENTLY sloshing it left and right (not up and down) can redistribute the remaining powder within the cartridge and give you from 20-50 more high quality pages before running out completely (depending on your print intensity.) If someone has already done that and you didn’t know it, you may not get any more prints. Also, the toner may be, in fact, depleted and this will not yield you more pages.

In either case, once your print quality degrades, it is time to contact your local Rapid Refill store for a remanufactured cartridge and recycle the current one. You’ll save money and preserve the resources used to manufacture your cartridge by giving it another useful life in the future.

Cloud Printing: Print Anywhere From Anywhere

Just as Uber revolutionized the taxi industry with ridesharing, cloud printing apps promise the ability to print from your mobile device to any connected printer – making it easier for you to print on the go. Apple’s Printer Finder app for iPhone, the Epson’s Printer Finder for Android and a dozen more promise an easy on-the-go printer location experience. (to find more – go to Google play or iOS App Store and search “printer finding.”)

Here’s what you need to know to print:

1) You won’t print for free. Most accessible cloud printers are at big box stores, libraries, public buildings, mail service stores or other locations where you will need to pay for each print before being able to get that document onto paper. Still, you can find a close location to print!

2) Security is an issue. Beware that sending a print job to a printer means that the job is visible to others and you could have your job re-printed or viewed by any entry-level computer hacker (like most 7th graders.) Not an issue if your document is a recipe or directions – but be careful with any contract, business proposal or copyrighted materials.

3) There are limits. Most printers on the cloud can accept Office documents and pdf’s but non-standard document files can be problematic. Your device may need to download a driver to get full printing capabilities on some printers.

Want to turn one of your printers into a cloud printer? Google makes it easy if you have Google Chrome. Or you can easily add many new models of laser jet printers as long as they are connected to the internet using a series of steps in their initial set up.

Want to know more? Contact your Rapid Refill Printing expert who can help you find the best print solution for you.