Printer Troubleshooting Tools – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 4.9

If you’re working on a printer repair, then you’ll need the right tools for the job. In this video, you’ll learn about laser printer maintenance kits, toner vacuums, the best use of compressed air, and managing the Windows Print Spooler.

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Laser printers are pretty complex pieces of machinery. There are a lot of moving parts, there’s a lot of heat, you’ve got things that wear out constantly, and that’s why you have laser printer maintenance kits.

These maintenance kits have feed rollers that you can replace with the ones that wear out inside of your laser printer. There’s new fuser units and other things that you can use to keep your laser printer working as efficiently as possible.

You should generally perform this maintenance when a certain number of pages has been printed. And there is a page counter inside of the printer that you can keep track of. And when you get to a certain point, you can decide to use your laser printer maintenance kit and replace all of those components and get everything refreshed again.

You’ll usually want to power down the printer and let it sit there for a while and cool off. These printers get very, very hot. And since generally you’ll be replacing the actual fuser component, you want to be sure you don’t burn yourself. And when your maintenance is complete make sure you reset the printer counter again so you can track and know when to do the next printer maintenance.

Laser printers are also pretty messy on the inside. There’s a lot of toner and a lot of pieces of paper dust that are everywhere. And it really can get all over the inside of your printer.

You want to check with the manufacturer of the printer to see what the best way to clean this up might be. You might want to use very cold water, perhaps even isopropyl alcohol, or IPA, but you don’t want to use any harsh chemicals either on the inside or the outside of your laser printer.

On the outside, generally a damp cloth is all you need. You don’t want to use any hot water or anything that might melt any toner that might have been on the outside of your printer. So make sure it’s some nice, cool, damp cloth without any drops of water that might get anywhere.

And on the inside you want to wipe that dust away. You generally don’t use a vacuum cleaner for this because that dust is so fine that it’s going to go right through a normal vacuum cleaner. If you are going to use a vacuum cleaner, you get one that is specifically designed for laser printers. That’s something you don’t usually see, but if it’s someone who’s doing a lot of laser printer maintenance they’ll probably be able to get one of these for you.

There may be some very tight spaces inside of a printer that you just can’t get to to clean, so you might want to consider using compressed air. Compressed air is very useful for getting into those spots, but keep in mind that this is not like the normal air the we breathe. This is actually a compressed fluorocarbon gas that’s compressed into this liquid form and then when you release it, it becomes a gaseous form.

If you use this for your printer make sure that you’re taking the printer outside. This really isn’t a very good use of cleaning a printer because that toner will go everywhere. And those little tiny dust particles of paper will certainly be spread wherever you happen to be. So if you’re using compressed air of any kind, you may want to take this far away from your workspace.

If you’re using a lot of compressed air you might want to be a little bit more environmentally sensitive. And instead of using these chemicals, simply use a compressor that’s going to compress that air that will effectively give you all the compressed air that you need.

Another important troubleshooting tool with your printer is the print spooler itself. This is the software that you send all of your print jobs to, and that software is now responsible for printing out every single print job directly to the printer.

Because this is happening in the background, your computer is then free to do other things. This runs as a Windows service. It obviously doesn’t need any user intervention. It’s going to happen all behind the scenes and send all of those printouts directly to the printer. But unfortunately, it’s not always a perfect running application. Sometimes the print spooler does crash, or it stops operating, and you have to stop the service and restart the service again to get the printer working again.

If the spooler is crashing a lot, you might even want to look at the recovery options of the service itself. So instead of you manually going in and restarting the service, you can have the service automatically recognize when there’s a problem and it will restart itself. And because the printer is something that people are using quite a bit, and you’re not always there to restart, that might be a good way to keep things running all the time.