Thermal Printer Maintenance – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 3.11

The process of maintaining a thermal printer is relatively easy compared to other printer types. In this video, you’ll learn about replacing thermal paper, cleaning the heating element, and removing debris.

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When replacing thermal paper, you have to be sure to get exactly the right kind and the right size for your thermal printer. Although the paper itself is relatively inexpensive to purchase, you do have to make sure that you have the right specifications for your printer.

With a laser printer, you can buy standard-sized sheets that’ll work across almost any manufacturer’s laser printer. For a thermal printer, you want to make sure the paper is exactly the right size. You don’t want to get paper that’s too small or too large. It might cause jams during the printing process.

If you’ve ever been in a store checking out and the register has run out of receipt paper, then you know that replacing this thermal paper is a very fast process. You would open the printer cover, you would remove any existing rolls that are inside that printer, replace it with a brand-new thermal roll, close the cover, and then press a Feed button to make sure that the paper is feeding through the printer. And you’ve now replaced the thermal paper inside of that receipt printer.

The heating element that’s inside of a thermal printer can tend to get dirty over time. So it’s useful to use something like IPA, isopropyl alcohol, to make sure that it remains clean.

You can use a cleaning pen that has IPA at the end of it to get into those very small areas, and most manufacturers will provide instructions on the best way to clean the heating element in their printers. If you’re using a swab or a cleaning pen with IPA, you want to be sure to swab very gently across the heating element. It’s usually a very small area, and it doesn’t take much to clean it.

Some printers allow you to clean using a cleaning card. This is a card that is passed through the printer, very similar to the thermal paper. This means that you’re not only cleaning the heating element, but you’re also cleaning the entire paper path, as well.

Because there’s no ink or toner, there’s usually not much debris that would be inside of a thermal printer, except for small bits of paper that tend to flake off and become dusty inside of the printer itself. To be able to clean this, you can always take it outside and blow it out with compressed air. Or it may be easier to keep it inside the building and simply wipe out the inside with a damp cloth.

Because vacuum cleaners tend to build up and discharge static electricity, we tend to avoid using vacuum cleaners inside of our electronic devices. But if you do have a vacuum cleaner that is specifically designed for computers, you might want to consider very carefully using one inside of your thermal printer.