How do you (mis)treat your Printer??

  Wak 16:47 11 Jun 03

Considering how many people come to this forum with printer cartridge problems, I have been wondering if the way they treat their printer has any bearing on the cause of the problems.
For instance, when is the printer switched on??
a/ With the computer and left switched on all day?
b/ When you want to print something and then left on until the computing session is finished?, or
c/ When you want to print something and then switched off when the printing is finished?

With the majority of printers, (Epson excluded) the printer heads are a part of the cartridge and, I believe, are normally parked on a little rubber housing which seals the print head and prevents access to the air. So, if you think about it, as soon as the printer is switched on, the cartridges are un-parked from their housing and are moved to the centre of the printer bar ready for action.
Consequently, at this point, they are open to the warm, dry air of the office or the living-room, etc. and are immediately in a position where they can start to dry out.
When you switch your printer on every day (just in case it is required) and only print something once a fortnight, is it any wonder that the cartridges are dried up just when you need them most????
I strongly recommend leaving the printer OFF until it is actually required to do it's job and then switching it OFF immediately afterwards, thus avoiding the problems and frustration of dried-up, blocked printer cartridges. Maybe the people who write to forums complaining about crap printers that only last a few months should consider who is really to blame??
Not having owned an Epson printer, I have no idea what happens to their cartridges or the built-in print head but would be interested in any feedback or thoughts on the above suggestion.

  Andybear 16:56 11 Jun 03

I have an Epson printer which I leave on all the time. I don't have any problems with the ink drying up or anything. It's fine.

  lovelylel 17:03 11 Jun 03

as a sideline to above, last winter I had horrendous problems with my Epson Photo 830 as it's ink cartridges dried up at a rapid rate even though I wasn't doing much printing at all. After much racking of the brain, decided to move it - away from the radiator! Immediate improval in ink consumption, in fact, have not had to replace at all since the move. Obvious, maybe, but it wasn't to me at the time!

  Agent Smith 17:03 11 Jun 03

Speaking as an ex office equipment engineer (again) I would recommend that your printer should be turned on at least once a week and a print out produced. This as you rightly say keeps the inks flowing. Incidentally, on today I was talking to a friend of mine who is still in the business and I was asking him on his views of alternative ink. He told me that his recent discussions with a Canon Tech Rep concluded with the FACT that Canon inks contain a detergent which helps maintain the print head by cleaning as it prints.
With Toner printers and copiers the very act of switching the device on improves the toner due to the fact that toner requires agitating so that the toner particles are charged by a process call Tribo-electric charging. The prints/copies otherwise can become 'flat' or dull due to lack of the opposite charge to the corona unit.

  Wak 17:04 11 Jun 03

Cheers Andy, Like I said, I don't know about Epson printers but you can still read about the built-in print head getting blocked up and having to be replaced.
Is the Epson printer head covered at all when its switched off???

  Andybear 17:14 11 Jun 03


The printer head is covered all the time, even when the printer is switched on. If you want to change the cartridges you have to lift a hinged lid to do so. Also they're not in the centre when the printer is on; they're at the right hand side. I honestly don't know why some people have so many problems. Perhaps it's to do with the model. Mine's the Stylus C62.

  Pesala 18:22 11 Jun 03

In Burma the humidity is very high. The paper for the photocopier was stored in a cupboard with a couple of ordinary domestic light bulbs left on all the time. So keep your paper dry.

When printing double-sided, the first side always prints first time. On the second run through my Epson EPL5900 often fails to pick up the paper. The best solution I found is to hold my finger behind the paper stack. When I suggested to Epson that they should redesign their paper-feed mechanism to include a "foot" behind the paper stack as you see on some HP Laserjets, they told me that my printer was not designed for double-sided printing. Maybe they should redesign the paper-feed. (>_<)

Modern laser printers are designed to go into power-down mode when not in use. They can be left on all day, but don't try to print for more than half-an-hour continuously on a budget printer. It will work better after a short rest.

  Sir Radfordin™ 18:27 11 Jun 03

My Epson C60 sits there all the time, turned on all the time and doesn't have any problems. If its lucky it'll print a collection of pages once a week, sometimes it won't do anything for a month. I haven't got any problems with it at all...and also use those cheap inks from Choice Stationary.

Printer abuse is things like ramming the paper tray into the fuser unit, sticking lables to the roller and then attempting to carry on printing before you call IT, ignoring the 'maintence needed' warning till the printer packs up and you find out the cogs on the fuser don't exist. Thats the way to really mistreat your printer!

  woodchip 18:44 11 Jun 03

My Epson 680 Print heads does not move when switched on

  Wak 18:49 11 Jun 03

Thanks to you all for your comments and feedback but strangely enough, everyone (apart from Agent Smith who mentioned a Canon) apparently uses an Epson printer and it was the non-Epson users that I was hoping to hear from and that the posting was originally aimed at.
Maybe they are too busy unblocking their cartridges to have time to read the posting or to offer any kind of comment.
I shall tick this as resolved for now and hope to see some non-Epson replies later on.
Thanks, once again for your interest.

  Sir Radfordin™ 19:16 11 Jun 03

If you want non-epson printers then I'll state that I've not had problems with HP. Have a 9xx series thats fine, and at work we have loads of other inkjets and multi-function ones at work that are fine. Some of those don't get used that much!

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