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

There are a number of important tasks associated with maintaining an inkjet printer. In this video, you’ll learn about cleaning print heads, replacing inkjet cartridges, and calibrating an inkjet printer.

One important maintenance step on an inkjet printer is making sure that these print heads remain unclogged. The ink that’s used in these inkjet printers is very prone to clogging, and many printers are set up to run a cleaning process every day to try to keep these print heads as clean as possible. If you’re printout has streaks that are going across the page, then you probably have a print head that needs to be cleaned.

Many printers, there’s a button you press that will go through the entire cleaning process without having to do any type of intervention. But you can also take the print head out yourself, clean it off manually, and place it back into the printer. On most printers, this is an easy process because you can easily remove the cartridge to clean the print head or remove the individual print heads themselves.

Here’s a rather extreme example of a clog with an inkjet print head. And you can’t even see the print head because of all the clogging that is on the outside. If you go through the cleaning process or clean it manually, you’ll end up with a print head like this one, which should work perfectly in the future. The inkjet cartridges that are in your printer will need to be replaced when they’re depleted, and it’s usually a relatively straightforward process. It may be that you have multiple cartridges in your printer.

In this printer, we have a single K cartridge. That is the black cartridge or the key cartridge. And then we have a single cartridge that contains three different colors, the C, the M, the Y, the cyan, the magenta, and the yellow. In this particular example, if any one of those colors becomes depleted, you have to remove the entire cartridge and replace it with a new one. Some printers will have a single cartridge for each color, making it much more efficient to replace when you have a single color that has been depleted.

This usually takes just a few seconds to replace. These individual cartridges pop right out of the printer. You place a new one into the printer, close the top of the printer, and it begins its process of alignment and cleaning to prepare for the next printout. These cartridges are mostly plastic, so make sure you recycle them when you’re done. The manufacturer of the print cartridge often has a list of options on their site for recycling.

Here’s someone removing one of those print cartridges from their inkjet printer. Replacing the cartridges just as easily, it fits right into that slot and locks in place. Once you replace the print cartridges, you may have to calibrate the printer to make sure that all of the colors overlap perfectly on the page. You can usually start the calibration process from the front panel of your printer. It will print out a page, and you can reference that page to make changes to the alignment.

A troubleshooting challenge with any printer is clearing paper jams. As the paper is going through the printer, it makes a lot of twists and turns. And occasionally, it can become stuck. To be able to remove that paper, it’s easiest to remove the paper tray, get rid of any loose paper that might be inside of the printer, and then firmly try to remove the paper from the path that it’s already on.

There may be some options in the printer to release the tension on that paper path, which might help you with the removal of that paper jam. Once you have that paper out of the printer, check it and make sure that it is complete and that no pieces of that paper are still stuck inside the printer somewhere. It may take some additional work to look inside the printer to be able to confirm that no other pieces of paper are jammed inside of that device.