Inkjet Printers – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 3.11

Inkjet printers can provide high-resolution color output at a reasonable cost. In this video, you’ll learn about the internal components of an inkjet printer and how to manage the calibration process.

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Inkjet printers, which could be categorized as ink dispersion printers, are relatively inexpensive technologies, especially when you compare them to laser printers, which are much more complex and tend to be more expensive. Inkjet printers are also very quiet when they’re printing, which make them a good choice for almost any working environment. Inkjet printers can also print in very high resolutions, and also in color, so you can make some very nice-looking documents or photographs.

One of the disadvantages of Inkjet printers is the cost of the ink. Although it’s relatively inexpensive to purchase the printer, the ongoing cost of ink tends to be relatively expensive in comparison. This ink is also not permanent. It tends to fade over time.

So if you’re printing out something that needs to be kept permanently over a number of years, an Inkjet printer may not be the best solution. And because this printer ink tends to clog very easily, you’ll find that many printers will run an automated cleaning process every day just to make sure the printer remains operable.

Here’s a picture of these Inkjet cartridges inside of an Inkjet printer. You can see there’s ink inside each one of these, and the ink cartridge is going to put a drop of this ink onto the page as needed. And you’ll notice there are only four different colors in this particular group.

There is a cyan, a magenta, a yellow, and a black. You’ll sometimes hear this referred to as a CMYK. The K stands for the key color, which is usually the black color. We’re obviously printing documents that use more than just these four colors, so your printer combines these colors together to give you exactly the right color on the page.

In many of the Inkjet cartridges that we use in our home and our office, you’ll find that the Inkjet cartridge and the printheads are integrated into the same component. That means that if you change out the cartridge, you’re effectively also changing out the printhead. On larger, more commercial Inkjet printers, you may find that the ink itself and the printhead are separated from each other so that you can change them out individually.

Here’s a close-up of this printhead on this print cartridge. The printer’s talking directly to this printhead through the connectors that are on the side, and then the ink is dispersed out of these small openings that are in the printhead itself. Inkjet printers commonly use feed rollers to be able to pull paper through the printer as it’s printing.

You commonly see feed rollers, also, on laser printers. And it’s important to keep these feed rollers clean and make sure they’re not worn so that they’re able to pull the paper through properly. If you do have a printer that prints on both sides of the page, there’s probably some additional hardware in the printer that allows for duplexing. This means that the printer will print on one side of the paper, there will be hardware to flip the page over, and then it will print on the other side of the paper.

Here’s a closer look at these feed rollers. They’re responsible for pulling that paper all the way through. So if you find that the paper’s not feeding properly or it’s not being pulled all the way through the system evenly, you may have worn feed rollers that need to be replaced.

During the printing process, all of those ink cartridges with their print heads are going to be placed inside of a carriage. This carriage is responsible for moving back and forth across the page, putting the drops of ink along the page as it goes. There’s usually also a belt that is pulling this carriage back and forth. So those are the two moving components that you’ll often need to troubleshoot on a printer.

You’ll need to make sure that the carriage is able to move back and forth across the page, and that the belt itself is able to pull all the way across the page and send it back to the other side. Here’s a view of the carriage and the belt as we’re looking from above into the printer. All the ink cartridges sit inside of this carriage, and you can see the brown belt that’s here that’s responsible for pulling the carriage from one side of the printer to the other.

Because you have these multiple ink cartridges inside of an Inkjet printer, there are times when there may become misalignments between the different colors. And if that occurs, you may want to perform an Inkjet printer calibration. This calibration process will print some test images that will help you determine if all of the colors are aligned properly, and will make sure that all of the lines and other images are sharp and crisp on the page.

There’s usually a calibration option that you can access by using the menus on the printer itself, and it will print a page without having any type of system connected to it or having to send a particular print job to the printer. You should be able to look at the alignment page, make sure all of the lines look crisp, and make sure that all of the colors are lining up with each other and there’s no overlap between the different colors as it’s printing them on this alignment page. You may have to look carefully to see that all of the colors are printing properly and that there’s no misalignment of the colors as it’s printing on the page.