Maintaining Impact Printers – CompTIA A+ 220-901 – 1.15

There are some periodic maintenance tasks that will keep your impact printer running at peak efficiency. In this video, you’ll learn about ribbon replacement, print head replacement, and tractor fed paper replacement.

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One of the most common maintenance tasks on an impact printer is the replacement of the printer ribbon. This is a single ribbon. It’s all one big circle that’s interconnected. There are a lot of other pieces of ribbon on the inside of this, but it’s simply circles around, and around, and around, in this long circle. You usually replace the ribbon when it’s circled around so much that you’ve really taken all of the ink off of that ribbon, and now it’s printing very lightly on the sheet of paper.

This is usually very modular inside of the impact printer. You simply snap out the old ribbon cartridge, you replace it with a brand new ribbon cartridge, and you’re back up and running.

Another component that you’ll find yourself swapping out of an impact printer is the print head itself. These take a lot of abuse. They’re constantly hitting the ribbon and the paper to create the image that we finally get. But these also get very hot. If you’re replacing one that’s just been used, they can burn your fingers. So be very careful when you’re replacing it.

This is also another modular part that’s inside of the printer itself. There’s usually a release lever or a release bar that allows you to pop out the print head so that you can replace it with a brand new one. You’re usually replacing the print head and the ribbon at the same time, so that now your printouts look the best that they can.

Replacing paper in an impact printer or a dot-matrix printer is a little bit different than a laser printer because we are not usually using single sheets of paper. Usually, it’s one very long sheet of paper with perforations in between each printed page. We’re also usually feeding them in using this tractor feed, where there are these holes on the side of the paper, and we’re pulling it through with this tractor feeder that’s inside of the printer itself.

Not only do you have to make sure that the pins in the impact printer are fitting perfectly into the tractor fed paper, but if you’re printing to a form, you have to make sure that your form lines up with the printing that you’re doing. Your applications will sometimes have a sample form that you can print out to make sure that everything is aligned perfectly.

You also have to make sure that this long, continuous piece of paper is able to feed through the printer without anything in its way. If anything happens to grab the paper or snag it, it’s going to rip the paper and then you’ll have to re-feed it through the printer again.