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Deciding When to Call a Printer Technician

Printer TechnicianFor the past few years, the print industry has seen many of the consumable maintenance parts be designed so the end user can do a self-install.  This helps promote the sales and use of newer and more efficient devices as well as lessen down time.  Some are easy, some not as easy as it sounds.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are thinking about looking for the tool kit.

Before you pick up a screw driver and a pair of pliers, just remember that if you are unsure of yourself in any aspect of the process, you should always call in an expert.  One thing you do not want to do is take a printer that is jamming once every day or two and make it completely unusable.  Especially if it is your only printer.

The most common part of any printer, copier, or even fax machine to wear out first is the feed roller.  These little parts are sometimes called tires, rollers, separator rollers, etc.  By any other name these are still same thing: They push the paper through the printing process. 

Rollers are soft rubber or synthetic material that grips the paper and pushes it along.  Just like tires on a car, they wear down from the surface of the material they contact.  If they are worn out and slip just a little, sensors expecting the paper to be at a certain point do not see it and signal a paper jam.  Sometimes there isn’t even any paper stuck because they slip so badly.

Some models allow you can change a roller, without tools, in less than 30 seconds.  Other models may require some rather extensive work to get a new set of rollers installed.  Most fall right in between.  If you have worn rollers, do not delay in changing them.  You are asking for damage to other costlier parts.  Pulling out a paper jam incorrectly can cause serious damage to things like the fuser or transfer assemblies.

When someone asks the opinion of our help desk technicians, we always suggest that end users draw the line when they are just unsure or worried about causing further damage.  Of those who try, there are a majority who just cannot do the install correctly without requesting some phone directions.  It’s something you almost need to see being done to repeat it successfully. 

Speaking of changing parts, the next item is also the most expensive part of the machine: the fuser. 

What is a fuser?  In short, it is modular component that instantly heats up to 380 °F and melts the toner powder to the paper.  With faster and faster speeds of even the smaller devices, it is critical that this component to be at peak performance at all time.  A fuser spins up to 8 times every second, depending on the model.  It’s made of plastics, metals, ceramics and electronics.  It breaks or wears out.  If you get a paper jam, never pull the paper out opposite the way it normally travels.

In the marketplace, there are a few of the newer models where an end user can be talked through changing a fuser.  However, if your fuser gives out prematurely, there may be other issues with your printer.  Everything from paper type to the amount of print on each page will determine how many pages your printer can go before it needs a new fuser. 

Remember, when the printer starts giving you messages on the screen that it is time to change maintenance parts, take that seriously!  Newer devices have many improved sensors installed throughout the machine.  In general, they often give the warnings to install new maintenance parts right before they stop working completely. 

Need some phone help?  Here are a few things to have ready when you call for assistance:

  1. The device manufacturer
  2. The model number of the machine
  3. Is there a message on the screen?
  4. If no message, what was it doing right before it stopped working?
  5. When was the last time it was worked on or maintenance done?

With older units, the breakdown can be so severe that it may be less of an expense to replace the unit instead of repairing it.  As the machines age, they will break down much more often.  This is especially true if the only time it was repaired is when it stopped completely, and not on a regular maintenance program.   Our techs can give you an honest opinion of their assessment of the machine. 

At Dove, we have phone assisted thousands of our contract customers and end users with self-install parts.  After a few minutes of discussing it with one of our help desk technicians, you can judge for yourself if you want to try to install a replacement part, or have an experienced technician handle it.

When you use a printer that is considered a business class unit it requires periodic maintenance for a reason.  The standard maintenance parts that are made to wear out to save the rest of the machine.  If the entire machine were designed without any weak-links then any breakdown would require a new replacement printer.