Solving common printer problems

There are a few common problems that account for the vast majority of printer problems, and can be solved without expensive trips to your local PC store offering support. Whilst the problems appear simple, they are so often overlooked.

Printer Cables

One of the most common problems people have with printers is simply that the printer is not connected properly to the PC. With older style parallel cables they could be screwed and clipped in at both ends, but modern printers are now usually connected with a USB cable.

Unfortunately one downside to USB cables is that they can become unplugged very easily. Catching the cable with your foot, or moving the pc, or even tugging on a different cable, such as the mouse, can cause the USB cable to become unplugged.

Check that both ends of the cable are firmly in place, and also make sure you are checking the correct cable. If the cable is not plugged in correctly you may get printer offline error messages whenever you try to print.

Power Lead

Just like USB cables, the power lead can become easily dislodged. Especially those that use an external power brick, and just plug in with a small connector. Make sure it is plugged in correctly, and power is getting through.

Usually whenever you connect the power to a printer, it should after a few seconds start making a noise and it performs a quick self test. If if doesn't make a noise, make sure the power lead in plugged in at both ends correctly and turned on. Check if there is a separate power switch on the socket or printer.

Blank Pages

If your printer is turning out blank pages whenever you print, then if you are using an inkjet printer, the print head could be dried up, or you may be out of ink.

Once the ink cartridge is opened and installed, the ink can start drying out. If you only print infrequently, every few weeks, then it is easy for the print head to become dried out, stopping any ink from getting onto your paper. Try installing a fresh ink cartridge, and see if that solves the problem. If your ink cartridge regularly dries out, then try to print a page off more often, at least every few days, as this should stop the print head becoming dried out, as fresh ink is run through.

Related Links
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