The paper jams, your print is full of stripes and the printer beeps when the cartridge is nearly empty. Sometimes making a print is not that easy. What can you do if your printer is not working properly?
How do I improve the quality of my prints?
1. Check that the printheads are clean
The inkjet printer will only work properly if the nozzles in the print head are clean. To avoid clogging, you must use the printer regularly, otherwise, the ink will cough. Printers keep track of how much they print. If necessary, they use ink to keep the nozzles clean between printing. This cleaning is done automatically.
If there are nevertheless streaks on the print, then there may be a nozzle clogged. Then start a cleaning cycle yourself via the menu of the printer. Then you print a test page because you can assess whether all the colors of ink will be printed correctly.
2. Are the cartridges still full?
Are parts in a certain color vague, faded or does the color no longer match? Then it may also be that your cartridge is almost empty. Replace the cartridge for a better result. The quality of the cartridge can also affect the results. Find the best cartridges in our test ink cartridges.
3. Do you use the right paper?
Check that you have chosen the correct paper settings (normal or photo paper) during the print job. Make sure you do not print on draft quality and check the selection of the paper type. Each paper has its own print speed, and the wrong speed can cause streaks.
Printer paper is stuck
Is the paper jammed? If the paper is already (partly) in the output tray, you can pull it out very carefully in the print direction. Is the paper jammed in the printer? Then turn off the printer and ensure that the print head does not hang over the paper. Then carefully pull out the paper with both hands. If the paper tears, check that there is no piece of paper left behind.
The paper is not printed straight
Always secure paper with the sliders in the paper tray. Are texts still crookedly printed? Then have the printer aligned again. You do this via the settings or maintenance menu of the printer. This can be done automatically and manually. Follow the instructions of your printer.
The printer reports that the cartridge is empty
Many printers quickly report that the cartridge is almost empty. In most cases, you can ignore this message and simply print it out, but at a certain point, you have to replace the cartridge. It is, therefore, useful to always have a spare cartridge in the house.
Some printers, including some models from Epson and Brother, stop printing black when one of the color cartridges runs out (or vice versa). Choose if possible in the software for ‘black ink mode’ or ‘print in grayscale’ to be able to continue printing.
What should I do if the printer does not respond?
Check some things if your printer is not responding:
- Bit obvious, but first check if the printer is turned on.
- Check that the USB cable is securely in place.
- Is your printer connected via the network? Check that the printer and laptop are on the same network.
In the print queue, you see whether the print is still in the queue. There you can also send the print again to the printer.
Does not this work? Then check in the control panel whether the printer is checked as the default printer. On a Windows PC, check that under ‘Hardware and sounds’ and then ‘Devices and printers’. The default printer is indicated with a green check mark. Some programs, such as PDF writers, install themselves as a standard printer and thus displace the real printer. Right-click the printer icon and choose “Set as default printer” to correct it.
Is your printer no longer in the control panel? Then download the latest version of the driver from the website of the printer manufacturer. Search for the type number of the printer and then look under ‘downloads’ and choose the operating system of your computer. Follow the instructions for installation after downloading.
On a Mac, go to System Preferences> Printers.
Changing cartridge does not work
To change the cartridge, open the printer cover. Make sure you detach the cartridges with the tab. There may be an instruction with the cartridge, and printers with a screen sometimes show a movie.
If you place new cartridges, they must really click into place.
- Will the new (original) cartridge not work? Possibly one of the other cartridges is empty. Many printers stop printing black ink when the color ink runs out and vice versa.
- Are all cartridges full? Then carry out the cleaning program of the printer.
- Does not that work? Exchange the cartridge in the store for a new one.
Extra tip for laser printers
Always clean a laser printer when you replace the toner cartridge. Allow the appliance to cool down first, as some parts become hot. With a laser printer, you are not allowed to clean by blowing, as a result, toner powder will dissolve and that is unhealthy.
Vacuum the printer with a slit nozzle and set the suction power to the lowest setting. Do not damage printer parts with a hard nozzle. Toner is very nice, so you have to put a Hepafilter (a certain type of air filter that can stop very small dust particles) in the vacuum cleaner. Otherwise, the toner powder blows out of the vacuum cleaner again. If necessary, pick up spilled toner with a dry, lint-free cloth.
You can automatically remove defective parts of a laser printer when replacing the toner and drum. Then you also replace the felt bar (‘fuserwiper’) which keeps the hot fixing roller clean. If necessary, clean the roller with a cotton swab. Do not touch other objects and avoid contact.
The printer does not accept the alternative cartridge
Sometimes the printer thinks the cartridge is empty after inserting a new, non-original cartridge. Consult the manual of the alternative cartridge (this is sometimes supplied and can be found online). For example, with several Canon printers, you must hold the power button for 5 seconds.
Do not the tips of the ink suppliers work? Then ask for a new cartridge or your money back. Manufacturers of alternative ink handle this smoothly because it happens sometimes.
Does a refilled cartridge not work? For printers with separate cartridges for each color, you sometimes have to reset a chip. You do this with a chip re-setter, which you buy in stores where you also buy clone ink. You can also have a chip reset in a refill store.
Printing from my smartphone or tablet does not work
Update your printer and also check for software updates for your smartphone or tablet. If the printer itself does not have an update function, look at the printer manufacturer’s website.
Make sure the printer is on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your tablet or smartphone. After starting up, it may take a few minutes for the printer to connect. Can not you still find the printer? Then it sometimes helps to restore the factory settings.
The ink reservoir is full
Inkjet printers discharge the ink they use for cleaning in an ink reservoir. This may become over time and the printer will refuse service. Manufacturers, unfortunately, do not have inkjet printers designed so that you can empty or replace that ink tray yourself.
If you do not want to have the printer repaired or scraped, check out YouTube. Because fortunately there are smart users who have found a solution themselves. But it is often not easy. They pour the ink into a bottle, or unscrew the printer and clean the collection container.
Canon’s B200 error message
A common error message with Canon inkjet printers is ‘B200’. Then there is a problem with the print-head. According to Canon, this can sometimes be remedied with a new cartridge. Or by removing the print-head from the printer and cleaning it. Does not this help? Then the end is an exercise for the printer. Always contact the Canon printer support. If you still have a factory warranty, Canon will replace the printer free of charge.
Service from the printer manufacturer
The manufacturers have a service section on their website where they discuss common problems and error messages. If you do not come up with the above tips, then you can go to these pages:
Brother printer (support page)
Canon (error codes)
Canon printer (support page)
Epson (general tips)
Epson printer (support page)
HP printer (support page)
Samsung printer (support page)
Choose a new printer
If it does not help, it is probably time for a new printer. View the best printer or compare printers in our comparator.