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

The maintenance tasks for a thermal printer are relatively straightforward when compared with other printer types. In this video, you’ll learn about thermal paper replacement, cleaning the heating element, removing debris, and the sensitivity of thermal paper to heat sources.

If you’ve ever had to purchase replacement paper for a thermal printer, then you know it’s a relatively inexpensive purchase. But you have to make sure you get exactly the right kind of paper. There are different widths and different configurations, depending on your printer. You need to replace the paper with exactly the right size. So it might be good to keep documentation so you know exactly what to order.

Since the printers are designed with such simplicity, it becomes very easy to quickly replace the paper in a thermal printer. To replace the paper, you open the printer, remove the old spool, replace it with a new spool of paper, and close the cover. And now you’ve replaced the paper in that thermal printer.

There may be times when your thermal printer is missing information on the output. That could be because the heating element is dirty. So cleaning that element can solve that problem. You might want to use IPA, or Isopropyl Alcohol, to clean that heating element. They also have cleaning pins with IPA inside of them. And you would simply rub the pen over the heating element itself. Make sure you check the manufacturer’s recommendations to know exactly what cleaning process is right for your printer.

These heating elements are not very large. So we’d either clean or swab down just the area where the heating element is making contact with the paper. They also make cards that you can put through the printer that will clean the entire paper path, making it a very simple process for cleaning that heating element.

Although a thermal paper doesn’t use ink or any toner, it still gets very dirty on the inside of the printer. This is usually due to dust coming from the paper that’s going through the printer path. So one of the easiest ways to clean this out, especially for these very small thermal printers, is to take the printer outside, open it up, and blow out the printer with some compressed air.

If compressed air’s not an option, you can always use a damp cloth to clean on the inside. You would probably not want to use a typical vacuum cleaner, unless it’s a vacuum that is specifically designed to work with electronic equipment. That’s because the movement of all that dust tends to create static electricity, which of course, is very bad for electronic devices.

Another important consideration is that the paper you’re using inside of that printer is very sensitive to heat. If you add additional heat to this paper, you’ll see that he gets darker and darker as you add more heat. So you want to be sure that you don’t put any of this thermal paper any place there might be heat, like the dashboard of your car, a radiator, or anywhere near a hairdryer. If it does get near a heat source, you’ll find the page will get darker and darker until it becomes very difficult to see what was originally printed on that page.

This is why we don’t use thermal printers when we need to archive information. This will fade throughout the years. And if you get it near any heat source, it will become unreadable. And that’s certainly not what you would want if you want to archive this information for a long period of time.