Impact Printer Maintenance – CompTIA A+ 220-1101 – 3.7

Some simple maintenance steps can keep your impact printer in peak operating condition. In this video, you’ll learn about replacing a ribbon, dot-matrix print head replacement, and replacing the continuously-fed printer paper.

On a dot matrix printer, there is an ink ribbon that’s inside of that printer that is one long piece of fabric. It’s going around and around and around to be able to provide the ink that you need to create the output on the page. As you might guess, eventually you’re going to use all of the ink that’s inside of that ribbon. And the output on the page will become lighter and lighter as that ink is consumed.

To resolve this, you’ll need to replace the entire ribbon cartridge. Fortunately, these cartridges have been designed to be quickly replaced. And usually, this easily disconnects from the printer. And you’re able to replace another one and begin printing again in just a matter of moments.

On an impact printer, like the dot matrix printer you see here, the printhead is constantly hitting those pins against the printed page. That constant movement will cause this printhead eventually to fail. And you’ll need to replace the entire printhead. As you can probably tell by the dot matrix printhead we’re showing here, the printhead is very small.

But the whole container for the printhead is quite large. Because it contains heatsinks to be able to pull the heat away from the printhead and dissipate that into the air. This is going to get very warm when you’re printing. So if you are replacing this printhead, make sure you’re very careful not to burn yourself.

But these are made to be relatively modular. They’ll disconnect from the printer relatively easily, usually with a release lever or a bar. And then you can replace the printhead and begin printing again. It’s very common that when you’re replacing the printhead, that you also replace the ribbon so that when you start printing with this new printhead, you’re getting the best possible output.

Replacing paper in a dot matrix printer can be somewhat trickier than replacing printer on a laser printer or an inkjet printer. Dot matrix printers commonly do not have paper trays. And you’re not using loose paper that you might use in a copier or a laser printer.

Instead, you’re probably using paper that has tractor feed holes on the side to be able to pull the paper through the printer. This means when you’re replacing this paper into the printer, you need to make sure it is straight and lined up perfectly and that the holes on the feed are connecting with the holes on the paper.

You also have to make sure that nothing is in the way of the paper feed. Since this is effectively one very long piece of paper, you need to be sure there’s nothing in the way that would cause a problem with that paper easily feeding into the printer. Once you’re sure that the paper has been installed properly and that the holes in the paper are lining up with the holes of the tractor feed, you can push the paper feed button and continue with the printing process.