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Archive for July, 2009

When Empty Ink Cartridges Aren’t Actually Empty

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

When a printer reports that the ink cartridge needs to be replaced, it generally does not need replacing. Printer ink cartridges tend to retain a considerable amount of ink despite being “empty.” A considerable amount can best be described as anywhere from 40% to 60% of printer ink. Amounts vary depending on the printer model and what it is programmed to perceive as empty. The reason for this misconception is based upon how a printer determines the ink cartridge is empty.

Toner consumption is normally measured by a series of factors: how a printer is used, what it prints, how much information is printed per page, and the density each page is printed at. Sensors inside laser printers monitor toner cartridge levels and yield a basic idea of how much toner has been used. However, these sensors are unable to detect exactly how much toner has been used over a specific time frame. Therefore when a printer ink cartridge is still quite full, your printer delivers a message stating the printer ink is running low and should be replaced.

If you want to continue printing with the same printer ink, despite the fact that your printer ink cartridge is dried up and empty, there are some techniques that will help to extend the life of your printer ink.

The easiest and most common technique is to simply remove the ink cartridge, shake it, and re-install it. Another simple technique is to open the toner compartment and leave it open for a few seconds. The printer will believe a new cartridge was inserted during that time. A third method includes placing a small piece of tape over the printer ink sensor. This tricks the printer into believing a new ink cartridge has been installed and helps keep it running smoothly. There are also websites available with combinations and instructions for fooling printers into thinking ink cartridges have been replaced. Some of these techniques may work better on certain printers as opposed to others.

There is always the option of replacing the ink cartridge as recommended. Or continue printing with the existing cartridge until it indeed runs dry and begins to produce faint copies.

In most instances, the ink cartridge in your printer will last long past the time it runs out of ink. It just takes some basic knowledge and manipulation in order to keep it running smoothly despite being “empty.”

Tips for Troubleshooting Your Printer Problems

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Printer problems are one of the banes of modern times. Although there are too many printer models out there to cover the specifics of each type, there are some common problems that can be easily fixed to ease your frustration with your printer.

The Very Basic

• Connections. Always check both your electrical power connection and your connection from the printer to the computer. USB connections are the most common way to connect a computer and printer, but the USB cords do have a tendency to “loosen up” occasionally with the vibration of the printer.
• Printer Selection. Always check to make sure that you selected the correct printer. All too often computer operating systems seem to have minds of their own. Although you may have a default printer selected in your operating system, the computer will not always connect to that default printer when you try to print.
• Printer Drivers. Verify that you have the correct driver for your printer installed on your system. With the continuous updates to operating systems being installed on your computer, the original driver you installed with the printer may also need to be updated. Go to your printer manufacturer’s website to get the latest driver for the model you have.
• Test Print. The first step in solving many printer problems is to use the Test Print function. If you can print the test page, this eliminates the printer itself as the source of the problem.

Printer Ink Issues

• Replacing Printer Ink Cartridges. Before we go any further, you need one piece of advice: Do not replace your printer ink cartridge when the ink monitor tells you to. The ink monitors installed on most printers indicate the need for replacement long before you actually have to replace the cartridge(s). So do yourself a favor and save some money by only replacing the printer ink cartridge when the printer refuses to print.
• Clean the Jets/Nozzles. This is the simplest fix to many printing problems. Whether you’re getting blue when you wanted green or you’re getting gaps in your printout, cleaning the jets is usually the solution. Open your printer’s Printing Preferences dialogue box. On most systems, you can right click on the printer icon in the lower right-hand corner to open the dialogue box. Find the Maintenance section and click the Jet/Nozzle check. Follow the instructions to have the printer clean the jets.
• Clean the Print Head. If your printer has a separate print head, sometimes cleaning the nozzles is not enough; you also have to clean the print head. Follow the instructions in the Maintenance section. If you’ve cleaned both the jets/nozzles and the print head and continue to have a problem, you need to replace your printer ink cartridge(s).

How to Save Money on Printer Ink Through Font Choice

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Everyone who owns a printer dreads the day the little LED light starts blinking to inform you that you’re almost out of ink. In both our current economy and environment, replacing a printer ink cartridge can be costly and wasteful. So what can you do when you absolutely have to print something? There is a way to print and save ink, and it has to do with something you may not even consider: your font. Here are some ways to save ink by choosing your fonts wisely:

-Don’t use bold fonts. A bold font has thicker characters than a plain, or light, font. Most people use bold fonts for emphasis, but you’ll save ink—and money—in the long run by using the light font in italics. If you have a hard time reading smaller fonts, increase your font size until it’s comfortable for you.

-Use the smallest and narrowest font you are able to. Less space per character equals less ink used overall. Professional documents often require a size twelve font, but it’s unlikely anyone will notice if you use eleven instead. For personal uses, if your eyes can handle a smaller size, use it. Wider fonts take up more space for the same amount of text as a narrower font, so choose fonts that aren’t large in height or width.

-Use sans serif. A sans serif font is one without embellishments at the ends of each character. Times New Roman, for example, is a serif font. It has small, extra lines at the edges of the letters that are purely stylistic. By choosing a font sans serif, you will reduce the amount of printer ink used per letter, and therefore extend the life of your cartridge.

-Last, but not least, go Eco. Special “Eco Fonts” are easily found and downloaded for free on the Internet, and use less ink per character than any of the techniques mentioned above. Eco fonts work by hollowing out the “empty” space within the lines of each character, thereby retaining the structure and readability of each letter, but reducing the amount of printer ink used for each one.

Each of these tips by themselves will help to reduce the amount of printer ink and cartridges you go through, but together they can achieve even better savings for the printing you absolutely must do. By using these suggestions, the next time you print something you can relax knowing that you are not only saving yourself money and ink, but also reducing your waste, and that is something to feel good about.

How to Create a Greener Printer Facility

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

A green printing facility is one that employs environmentally-sound procedures to reduce the negative impact on our world and ecosystem. Create an eco-friendly workplace by focusing on energy conservation, waste control, and recycling. Start by exploring the following points:

Use Safe Printing Products and Practices

The printing business has long been an environment in which chemicals are used to wash the presses and clean the printing plates. Today, through advancements in computer technology and environmentally safe products, a printing shop can be a greener facility and still function effectively.

In the past, a large part of the pre-press process relied on chemical solutions to get the job done. Today, these practices may no longer be necessary. If a company must use chemical agents for printing procedures, there are safer methods available to maintain equipment and carry out the printing process.

It’s also wise to dispose of chemicals the right way. There are green waste facilities that use non-hazardous methods to recycle and dispose of chemicals safely.

Reduce Energy Consumption

In the current printing and manufacturing fields, many businesses are embracing new and different ways of conserving energy. The first step is to investigate the local renewable sources of energy in your area. Next, use vegetable oil-based inks and look into bio-diesel for operating small to mid-sized machinery.

Recycle and Reuse Printer Ink Cartridges

An eco-friendly printer is one who recycles his laser and ink cartridges. A large number of businesses rely on re-manufactured items that work just as well as new ones. This helps reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the country’s landfills and garbage disposal facilities.

Using refurbished components is one of the best ways a printer can create a greener workplace. The printer ink residue can be toxic to the environment and the plastic casing is not biodegradable. However, there are companies that sell re-manufactured cartridges to suit an assortment of printing techniques. Seek out a recycling company that sells a wide variety of toner and ink products. Additionally, many companies offer sorting and collection services at no cost to their clients.

Conserve Paper and Reduce Waste

Lately, printing companies are taking paper recycling practices to the next level. Along with recycling paper, printers are also making use of their paper trimmings, delivery boxes, and excess paper materials.

Additional tips for recycling paper and following green politics:

• Purchase recycled paper in bulk
• Support deforestation organizations
• Set up recycle bins in convenient areas
• Educate employees about best practices for recycling
• Create gift items out of scrap paper; then donate them to local organizations
• Recycle batteries, CDs, unwanted computer equipment and DVDs
• Minimize transportation/deliveries
• Encourage local customers to pick up their orders

Common Printer Ink Issues and How to Fix Them

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

There are a few problems you may encounter when using your printer that have to do with your printer ink. These problems range from barely printing to printing lines or streaks. This is mainly because of your printer ink cartridge. Below are some of the most common printer ink issues.

Printer Prints Blank

Did you just print something out and the paper was blank? You heard the printer running across the paper doing its job, but when the paper appeared, there was nothing on it. That has likely happened to many of us a couple of times. So, what’s the problem? There could be two distinct issues. First, your printer could be totally out of ink. Second, your ink cartridge could be dry. The nozzles could be dry. If it has been a while since you have used your ink cartridge, chances are, they are dried up. These things seem to dry up really quickly. So, how do you fix it? You have to buy a new printer ink cartridge.

Printer Prints Streaks

Did you just print a job that was returned with streaks? This is common and happens when your printer head needs realigning. To realign your printer head, you will need to go to your start menu and open your control panel. Next, you will need to double click the Printer and Faxes icon. Then right click on your printer and choose properties. In the properties box, click Maintenance > Alignment. That will align your printer head. Close everything out when it is finished. Your printer should print without the streaks now.

Printer Won’t Print after Replacing Ink Cartridge

Did you just replace your ink cartridge and your printer still will not print? There are a couple of reasons as to why you may be experiencing this problem. Reason number one is you may not have the cartridge in the correct slot. Some printers have two slots for the cartridges. One slot is for a black cartridge and the other is for color. If your printer isn’t printing, switch slots. Another reason includes having to install your cartridge. Some printers require that you install new cartridges. Go to your control panel and double click on Printer and Faxes. Then right click on your printer and select the Properties option. Look for the cartridge section and follow the steps to install the cartridge.

Printer is Printing Really Lightly

If your printer is printing really lightly; it is time to replace your ink cartridge. You can buy a new cartridge or use a refill kit if your printer allows it.

What is Toner?

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Toner is used in ink jet printers and copy machines in order to form the images that are created on the paper. It’s a powdery substance made from carbon and other polymers based on the specific ingredients determined by each individual manufacturer. In newer printers and copiers, toner is extracted from a cartridge that is inserted into the machine and applied to the paper as directed by the processing unit. For older machines, the powder is manually transferred from the packaging container into a reservoir in the unit. The powder is then extracted from the reservoir through the printer ink jet machine and ultimately ends up on the paper in the form of the desired images.

Sensors on the printer can determine when a toner cartridge needs to be replaced or when the reservoir needs to be refilled. The printer will not function properly without a sufficient amount of ink to complete the job. It’s very simple to replace a toner cartridge. Generally, when the machine indicates that the powder is running low, it’s possible to prolong the life of the printer ink cartridge by removing it from the machine, gently shaking it to gather the powder inside, and placing it back into the cartridge housing. For the older machines, refilling the reservoir is the only way to allow the printer to function again.

The combination of carbon and the other polymers is mostly harmless; however, when dumping the powder from the packaging into an older machine, the powder can linger in the air and can be ingested through normal breathing. While there are generally no immediate effects, prolonged exposure can lead to potential respiratory disease, which is why it’s necessary to handle the toner with care.

When replacing the ink in any machine, it’s a good idea to be cautious, to avoid banging the cartridges against anything, and to move slowly. It can stain clothing and skin if it’s not washed off in a moderate time-frame after making contact. Use cold water to remove ink from skin. For clothing, wash articles in a washing machine using the cold cycle. Warmer water will cause the powder to bond to the clothing.

To discard of the toner cartridges, it’s important to recycle and keep the packaging separate from regular waste. Many manufacturers will offer a discount or rebate on a refill if the used cartridge is returned or exchanged when purchasing a new one.

Toner is currently the most widely used form of printing words and images in both color and black ink from processor to paper. Industrial sized toner cartridges are made for businesses, larger printing, and copying machines while smaller units are made for personal and home use.

What Ink Cartridge Do You Need?

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Which Printer Ink Cartridge Do You Need?

Deciding which printer ink cartridge you need depends on the type of printer you buy, and what type of projects you’ll be completing. The three most popular types of printers on the market are inkjet, snapshot, and color laser printers. Once you’ve considered your printing needs, and have chosen a printer, you need to consider ink replacement costs. Some replacement printer ink cartridges can cost about as much as the printer itself. There are some important factors to consider when it’s time to replace your printer ink cartridge.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers provide a variety of functions that are usually suitable to home and small-office users. They can print a small volume of materials ranging from driving directions to vacation photos. Low-end models can still be slow, but the high-end models can be impressively fast. Today’s inkjet models come with features such as larger displays, or touch screens, integrated Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and more paper-handling options.

Laser Models

They offer speed, and produce professional looking documents, especially if you print a lot of text such as letters and business documents. Color or monochrome models are available, but for comparable prices, purchasing a color laser printer will allow you more freedom in your projects.

Snapshot Printers

They are the slowest of the three types of printers, and are designed specifically to make photographs. They are usually portable, and allow the convenience of on-the-spot printing. All snapshots have several things in common: a single paper tray, a color LCD, and media card slots so you can print without a computer. If you need to print anything other than photos, you’re better off buying an inkjet.

According to PC World, before you put down the cash on a printer, you want to find out how much the replacement printer ink cartridges cost, and how many pages each cartridge can print. For inkjets, a three-color cartridge can cost $10 to $40, and $5 to $35 for an individual color or black cartridge. The cheaper the cartridge, the less ink it holds. For snapshot printers, the same rule applies; check out the cost of a snapshot printer’s replacement cartridge, and how many pages each cartridge can print. A three-color cartridge will run you $28 to $38 or more. You can go generic, and save money by buying replacement cartridges made by a company other than your printer’s manufacturer, but beware that you risk losing print quality.

If you want cheap printing for short-lived documents, there are affordable options out there. Further, be sure to check out manufacturer recycling programs as some offer discounts on new printer ink cartridges for returning empty cartridges.

How to Conserve Your Printer Ink

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Printer ink cartridges do not come cheap. Whether it’s Canon printer ink that you’re using or not, you want to be practical by maintaining your printer ink jets and stretching the life of your printer ink. Here are some tips on how to conserve those precious ink cartridges:

1. If you do a lot of color printing, you might want to invest in a printer that holds separate ink cartridges. Unlike the traditional printer ink cartridges where all colors are contained in a single cartridge, newer models are able to include separate cartridges for cyan, yellow, and magenta that combine with black to create the various colors required for printing.

Bottom line is, when one color runs out, you simply have to replace only that particular color. These printers are relatively more expensive, but with their more efficient use of ink, you’ll save money in the long run.

2. Choose appropriate settings for quality. Use low quality settings for less important files. Simply find your default printer and click on the print preference option on the properties tab. Then select “print quality” on the “paper/quality” tab and click on Fast Draft/Econofast. The lower the setting, the lesser the ink used.

3. Don’t rush when printing. Always proofread your work before printing to avoid reprinting for corrections. If you need multiple copies, print one copy then reproduce it in a photocopying machine. When printing for personal use, especially for short notes and reminders, why not simply write them by hand?

And perhaps instead of printing (if they’re not entirely necessary), simply keep emails and documents filed in your hard drive or USB.

4. Colored prints are lovely to look at, but if you don’t need them don’t use them. Most documents will only require black ink. Review your documents to be printed and ask yourself, “Do I really need to include this photo?” or “Does the image have to be this large?” You might want to consider resizing your font as well. Editing your work will save you a lot of printing.

Make use of the “Print/Page Preview” function. By clicking this, you may view your files for your printing task. You can then confirm that what you’ll be printing will only be those pages that are actually needed. It pays to double-check.

5. Use high quality paper when printing. Using better paper (with regard to thickness and composition) will allow you to print at a lower quality setting, and you’ll barely notice the difference on the end product.

Inkjet Printer Care

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

A printer is a piece of hardware that you need to maintain just like anything else. There are several steps you can take to ensure that you’re properly caring for your printer. The better you treat your printer, the longer it will last. There are many types of printers, but the most common one for personal use is the inkjet printer. Canon is typically the most common name in household printers. The longevity of your printer is usually determined by how well it’s treated. Here are a few important things to remember when buying and taking care of your personal inkjet printer.

Your printer inkjet cartridge is a piece of your printer that needs to be changed frequently. Before you completely run out of ink, you should check it and see if it needs to be changed. It’s not good to let it go until the last minute and then replace it. You can always test your ink levels in your printer by printing out a test paper sheet. This will show you the levels of black and white as well as color ink that’s in your printer. Once you’ve determined how much life your inkjet printer cartridge has, then you should act accordingly.

Try to make good use of your printer. You don’t want all of the ink in the ink cartridge to dry up. Even if you have nothing to print all week, it’s a good idea to print out a few pages to get the ink juices flowing. You should print a black and white page as well as a colored test page. There are two separate cartridges for both color tones. Remember to check them both. If you buy an inkjet printer because it’s cheaper, then you may run into problems. Check out consumer reports about a printer before making the purchase. The printer companies that have been around longer usually are more reliable. They have a proven track record and in the end this will save you time and money on your inkjet printer.

If you notice that your printer is acting funny or making strange noises, these are usually signs that something is wrong with your printer ink cartridge. Do not ignore these signs. Companies will usually have a toll free customer service number available to assist you with your needs. Also, visit the website of your printer manufacturer to troubleshoot whatever problems you are having. Worst case scenario, you may have to seek the help of a printer specialist to take a look at and fix your device.

Recycling your Printer Cartridges

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Over 13 printer ink cartridges are disposed of in the U.S. every second. This translates to 780 every minute, which makes 46,800 an hour. At that rate, by the end of a year, there will have been over 400 million printer cartridges added to landfills across the country.

That’s 400 million pieces of plastic that can take up to 1,000 years to completely degrade. Luckily, it’s very easy to cut down on this type of wasteful behavior. First off, some inkjet cartridges can be used more than once with the purchase of a refill kit. If this seems too messy, take your empty cartridges to nearby drop-off centers so that they can be reused by others. This includes cartridges from copiers and faxes too.

Some companies will take printer ink cartridges back free of charge. One of these companies includes Hewlett-Packard. They provide mailers or labels for you to ship your HP printer ink cartridges back to be recycled or refurbished.

Remanufactured printer ink cartridges use about half the amount of oil needed to make brand new ones, so your best bet is to purchase reused ink cartridges from the onset.

Most printer cartridges can be recycled up to six times and are guaranteed to work just as well as new ones, given the manufacturer. If you’re having trouble, just take a look in the box of your printer ink jet cartridge and there should be instructions on how to recycle it properly.

Perhaps the easiest way to find a recycling location is to search the Internet for organizations that accept used cartridges in exchange for cash. Most sites offer pre-paid shipping or pickup of used cartridges, and some compensate up to $4 per cartridge.

Turn the job of recycling your printer ink jet cartridge into an event. Recycling used cartridges makes for a great fundraising idea for schools, church groups, charities, high school sports teams, and other non-profit organizations. Further, it can be a significant cost savings for businesses.

Here is a list of some recycling sites that you can contact when it comes time to recycle that printer ink jet. Some will even give you the option to either take cash for your empty cartridges, or you can donate the proceeds to a charity of your choice.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to get on board today! The earth was never intended to be covered in plastic. Since we’re the ones covering it up, we’re the ones who have to fix the problem. Take the time to help. It’ll make for a healthier world for all of us.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.